The top five things to do in Manchester over Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:44 05 December 2013 | UPDATED: 11:44 05 December 2013

Ashleigh Butler & Pudsey

Ashleigh Butler & Pudsey

Archant

Where else to get into the festive spirit than Manchester? The city is buzzing with new bars, restaurants and the fantastic Christmas markets. It's so fabulous that it's a shame to waste any minute of it, so why not actually treat the city as a "holiday" destination and include a night in an hotel, so you can really enjoy yourself to the max.

1. Shopping

The number one reason for coming to the city has to be to shop. Now we love our local boutiques but the city is the place to get the buzz and stores like Harvey Nichols and Selfridges really pull out all the stops with their stunning Christmas windows and in-store decorations. Why not indulge someone with a special gift like this hamper www.harveynichols.com.

December is also a good time to pick up some bargains as many stores have sales and special offers around this time of the year. Here’s one amazing exclusive that you can buy from Manchester’s beautiful Hulsta store on Deansgate. If items are collected from the store. they come in a special “Rolf Benz” box to make them easy to wrap up as great Christmas presents. www.manchester.husta.co.uk

2. Christmas markets

The Christmas markets are not just about shopping, although they are a brilliant place to pick up food for the festive feast as well as unusual gifts. They are the best for making you feel really Christmassy. Mulled wine, music and alfresco food does it for us every time. This time they are bigger than ever before and certainly rival anything in other cities in Europe.

3. Party

Whether you’re off around the Northern Quarter for a boho take on the festive season or looking forward to some swanky dining in new venues like Mr Cooper’s and Manchester House, Manchester is always fun at Christmas time. (just make sure you book a taxi home beforehand, although I have known people to meet their future partner in taxi queue!)

4. Dine and unwind

We love places where we can not only shop but hang out too, so we will be heading over to the Corn Exchange this Christmas. Chateau luxury furniture, Bravissimo, Jigsaw, Aspecto and East are just some of the shops in this beautiful historic building and when you find you need a break you can kick back and relax over anything from real Italian coffee to a fine festive dinner. www.cornexchangemanchester.co.uk

5. Visit the theatre

Oh no I won’t! Oh yes you will! Dancing dog Pudsey is the star of this year’s big panto Dick Whittington which is heading to the Opera house as I write but for a refreshing alternative, the Royal Exchange’s That Day We Sang should be a source of Christmas magic. Visit www.royalexchange.co.uk

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