If you can’t face tonight’s big Christmas light switch on in Albert Square (from 6.45pm, feat CBBC’s Hacker the Dog and Misha B), here are three alternative ways to get that Festive Feeling.

1. BBC Philharmonic Orchestra + craft fair at Islington Mill

Every November, the artists, ceramicists and designers at Islington Mill throw open their doors for a pre-Christmas festive market. The aroma of reasonably priced mulled wine drifts through the corridors as classical musicians from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra play festive favourites. Ideal for tucking into the season’s first mince pies and picking up ceramic, jewellery and prints and bags by Mr PS (among others) for a whole lot less than you’d find in the shops. Thu 29 Nov, Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW, 4pm-9pm, FREE, www.islingtonmill.com.

2. Glühwein at the European Market in Albert Square

The traditional way to get that festive feeling is to head down to Albert Square and take a dip in several litres of hot German mulled wine while munching a sausage the size of your nephew. This year, you can get involved from next Saturday (17 Nov) when the market, complete with cartoon-proportioned santa and famous singing moose, returns. Stalls to look out for include the ‘Two Fat Ladies’ who sell glühwein at £1 less than other outlets (it’s just as nice) as well as Savin Hill hotdogs, served with hunks of locally sourced cheese. Sat 17 Nov – Sun 23 Dec, Albert Square, 10am-9pm, FREE, www.manchester.gov.uk

3. Fondue, chestnuts & carol singers in Spinningfields

Spinningfields doesn’t really shout ‘Christmas’, does it? But this year, both the pop-up Ski Club bar and restaurant (pictured, located in Quay House overlooking Carluccios) and the Oast House pub are going for it. The Ski Club is a run by a sister company of events-organisers Ear to the Ground and is based on an 1980s luxury French ski chalet. Think Hot Tub Time Machine with wall-sized mountain prints and sheepskins. Food is fondue and hog roast sarnies with some rather imaginative cocktails on the side. Port and Starboard (with port and blue cheese) makes a change from hot vino while the Bardot is a deliciously limey take on the Cosmo. Over at the Oast House, hot chestnuts are available in the courtyard beside an impressive ‘festive teepee’, with carol singers promised every Thursday evening from 7pm. The Ski Club, Quay House, Spinningfields, M3 3JE, www.skiclubmcr.co.uk. The Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, M3 3AY. Tel: 0161 829 3830, theoasthouse.uk.com

Fri 9 Nov - Tue 25 Dec
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Thu 29 Nov 2012