Christmas in Manchester 2023
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The best things to do in Manchester this Christmas season

We’ve hand-selected some of the most recommended winter activities in Manchester for 2023, so you can make the most of this holiday season.  

We know a thing or two about relaxing and unwinding during the winter months, so if you’re searching for the best activities to do in Manchester this Autumn and Winter, we’ve hand-picked our favourite seasonal outings that you won’t want to miss out on. Located in the city centre, Dakota Manchester offers you the perfect base for embracing the season’s merriment while having a cosy retreat to return to after a day of exploring. Elevate your experience by booking one of our  Dakota Manchester specials and enjoy luxury overnight stays, delectable dishes in the Dakota Grill, and even more benefits – only available when you book directly with us.


1) Enjoy a traditional Sunday roast

If you’re planning to visit Manchester during Autumn or Winter, you should not miss the chance to treat yourself to a traditional Sunday roast. The Dakota Grill in Manchester offers a warm, intimate, and cosy atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to escape the chilly weather of Autumn. Indulge in your choice of succulent beef, roast chicken, or nut roast, served with all the classic sides you’d expect from a traditional roast but with a signature Dakota twist. We believe in doing the simple things brilliantly. Take a look at our full Sunday roast menu and tantalise your taste buds this fall. Make a reservation and experience the perfect way to end a busy day of adventuring in Manchester city centre.

2) Explore Dunham Massey’s Christmas Light Trail 

Christmas at Dunham Massey is back this year from 17th November to 31st December and has been widely recognised as a festive must-see, if you enjoy enchanting light displays and wholesome winter walks, Dunham Massey’s Christmas light trail is sure to be a hit. A beautiful experience to enjoy as a couple, with friends, or as a family – traditional refreshments are on hand throughout with pop-up food and beverage stalls located around the site for your convenience. Unleash your inner child as you let loose on the festive fairground rides and create memories to last a lifetime. When you’re full to the brim of festive fun, Dakota Manchester is just a 30-minute drive so that you can relax and unwind in the comfort of luxury in no time.

3) Enjoy the perfect winter date night at a Candlelight Concert

There’s a certain enchantment that comes with the flickering glow of a candle on an Autumn evening, multiply that magic by a thousand and pair it with a symphony of strings reimagining contemporary classics, and you’re in for a night that will linger in your memories for a lifetime. Candlelight concerts have been hugely popular date night destinations since they came to Manchester, with viewers describing them as enchanting and mesmerising. For the ultimate date night experience, why not make a full night of it? Our Dakota date night special includes a delectable dinner in the Dakota Grill, an overnight stay in one of our luxurious rooms, and a full-cooked breakfast before you leave. It’s the epitome of perfection.

4) Wrap up and get your ice skates on at Cathedral Gardens

Get your ice skates ready because Skate Manchester is returning to Cathedral Gardens this year after proving to be a huge success the past few years with guests of all ages. Manchester’s iconic skate rink is open from Friday 27th October right through to the 2nd January 2024, so there is plenty of time to enjoy some fun-filled memories on the ice. Dakota Manchester is just a short walk from Cathedral Gardens, with an array of festive stalls peppered along the streets on the way, so when it’s time to hang up the skates and head back home, we’re the ideal place to stop and unwind for the evening.

5) Indulge at the famous Manchester Christmas Markets

The iconic Manchester Christmas markets are not to be missed – crowned as one of the best festive markets in the UK, with over 220 stalls consisting of handmade treasures and delectable dishes from around the world, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Spanning 7 different locations across the city, Dakota Manchester makes the perfect base to relax in between your festive explorations – you can read even more about this year’s Manchester Christmas markets, here.

6) Celebrate New Year’s Eve in true Manchester style

Manchester is renowned for its nightlife and vibrant atmosphere and New Year’s Eve is certainly no exception – with events happening across the city, Christmas lights lining the streets, and delectable dining experiences at your fingertips, you won’t be short of things to do when spending a New Year in Manchester. For a truly elevated New Year experience, take advantage of Dakota Manchester’s New Year’s Eve special and pave the way for a truly wonderful start to 2024. Enjoy an overnight stay in one of our luxury classic rooms for 2, a delectable 7-course tasting menu served in the Dakota Grill, and a full-cooked breakfast to ensure you’re feeling rejuvenated the following morning. Book your Manchester Dakota New Year’s Eve experience.

7) Be entertained at the Manchester Palace Theatre

When the weather turns brisk, Manchester offers a variety of indoor events to keep you warm and entertained. The Palace Theatre is the perfect venue for enjoying seasonal musicals and extravagant pantomimes. With shows ranging from Hamilton and The Rocky Horror Show to Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste this winter season. Make your visit to Manchester extra special with an overnight stay in one of our luxurious rooms. Dakota Manchester is just a short 15-minute walk from the Palace Theatre, making us the ideal location for a nightcap and a restful evening.

8) Shop ’til you drop

As the festive season approaches, it’s time to start checking off those Christmas lists, and Manchester is the perfect place to start. With the Arndale Centre, Exchange Square, and the Trafford Centre at your disposal, it’s a shopper’s paradise. You’re guaranteed to find the perfect gift for them, and you might just find a treat for yourself too. If you need a break amidst the shopping chaos, the Dakota Bar offers a serene retreat from the bustling streets of the city, providing a peaceful moment to relax.

9) Embrace the festivities at the Trafford Centre’s Tinsel Town

Are you looking for a full-on festive extravaganza for the family this holiday season? Tinsel Town at the Trafford Centre is making a return for Christmas 2023, with even more Christmas delights in store for you to enjoy. Skate at Tinseltown has partnered with Hits Radio for a musical soiree on the ice. If ice skating isn’t your scene, you can enjoy the many rides at the magical funfair, or enjoy a trip to see Santa Claus himself, who is being joined by a very special friend for 2023; Paddington Bear.

10) Explore Heaton Park’s brand-new Christmas Light Trail

A brand-new Christmas Light Trail will be coming to Heaton Park this December, the popular 600-acre park in Manchester is expected to be transformed into a world of dazzling lights and festive cheer. If you’re a fan of autumn walks and seasonal entertainment, this one is for you. The event will be running from the 1st December to the 31st, with tickets starting from £10. Throughout the trail you can expect an array of food and beverage stalls serving hot chocolate and other festive delights, to keep you toasty as you explore your magical surroundings. Heaton Park is easily accessible from Dakota Manchester, via car, tram, or bus – so, why not make it a full-on festive affair and take advantage of our exclusive ‘Tis the Season package to complete your Manchester visit in style?

There you have it, our top recommendations for things to do in Manchester this festive season.

Just looking to get away from it all?

We understand that the holiday season can be overwhelming for some, so if you’re just looking for a place to unwind and relax, we can offer you just that. Our luxurious amenities and outstanding service guarantee that you won’t have to leave the hotel unless you want to. Book your staycation with Dakota Manchester, and allow us to take care of you.