With the peak of summer now a pinprick in the rear-view mirror, any feeble bursts of sunshine between now and early winter aren’t nearly enough to put us off from starting The Countdown.

With just three months to go, here are some of the best family events coming to Greater Manchester and beyond this Christmas, from orchestral concerts to train journeys with Santa himself.

Christmas at Dunham Massey | Trafford | Fri 18 Nov - Mon 2 Jan | £14.50 (Child), £22.50 (NT Member), £30.50 (Non-member)

Featuring glittering tunnels of light, giant baubles, shimmering lakeside reflections and sparkling trees, Dunham Massey’s Christmas trail is Greater Manchester’s own festive fairytale. With trail entry available until 8.30pm every day except Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, the illuminated wonderland comes complete with street food vendors and, somewhere along the way, Father Christmas.

Altrincham, WA14 4SJ
Santa's Specials with East Lancashire Railway | Bury | Sat 26 Nov - Sun 24 Dec | £23-£49.50

With Santa, his elves and a full brass band as fellow passengers, the East Lancashire Railway’s 80-minute Christmas voyage from Bury to Rawtenstall and back is the North West’s answer to the Polar Express. Beginning with a wonderland scene at Bury Bolton Street Station, the journey features a sing-a-long, a choice of soft drinks and a free gift for every child, a choice of somewhat stiffer drinks and a mince pie per adult, and an improved range of kids’ entertainment.

The event also offers tickets to a Christmas Shuttle Bus from Heywood to Bury Bolton Street.

Bury, Lancashire, BL9 0EY, Tel: 0333 320 2830
Skate Manchester | Cathedral Gardens | Fri 21 Oct - Mon 2 Jan | £13.70-£17.20

Returning early as a Scare Skate in the lead-up to Halloween, Skate Manchester’s Christmas rink is open to all at Cathedral Gardens for the entirety of November and December. Featuring both an outdoor rink and a covered ice pad, this year’s skate path encircles an enormous Christmas tree and is situated right next to the markets.

The Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG
The Lanterns at Chester Zoo | Chester | Fri 11 Nov - Fri 23 Dec | £11-£20.50

An evening event ‘filled to the brim with colourful lanterns, spectacular costumed characters and Christmas scenes’, The Lanterns at Chester Zoo sends imaginations running wild amidst giant illuminated figures of its animal population.

Moston Rd, Upton, Chester, CH2 1EU, Tel: 01244 380280
Glow 2022 at RHS Garden Bridgewater | Wed 16 Nov - Fri 30 Dec | £3-£12

Promising ‘a new trail full of festive colour and sparkle’ inspired by local folklore, a ‘dramatic fountain display’ amid a spectrum of light at Moon Bridge Water and a selection of warming festive food and drink from the Garden Cottage Shepherd’s Hut and Stables Cafe, Glow 2022 is set to transform Worsley’s hidden gem into a winter wonderland just 20 minutes from the city centre.

Occupation Rd, Worsley, Manchester M28 2LJ, Tel: 0161 503 6100
Hallé Family Christmas Concert at the Bridgewater Hall | Lower Mosley Street | Sun 4 Dec | 11am | £17.50-£69.50

An engaging festive song-and-dance show backed by the world-famous Hallé Orchestra, this one-off performance follows Santa’s wild race against time to recover the map he lost on a practice run of his Christmas delivery route.

Lower Mosley Street Manchester, M2 3WS, Tel: 0161 907 9000
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 5 Oct 2022