Top 10 Christmas Things to See and Do near Manchester Airport

Header for Christmas near Manchester Airport: Top 10 Christmas things to see and do near the airport

It’s officially December and the team at Manchester Airport Guide couldn’t be more excited about Christmas! We want to spread the festive cheer to all so we’ve made our top 10 pick of the best festive things to see and do near to Manchester Airport.

Whether you’ve just landed and want to get your first glimpse of festive Britain, or you have a couple of spare hours before you board, then we’ve got the Christmas adventure list for you! Take a look at the permenant attractions near Manchester or read below for your new Christmas Wish list…

Here’s our top 10 things to see, do and celebrate Christmas near Manchester Airport!

1. Bolton Winter Festival

Get ready to feel festive with Christmas events near Manchester Airport! Introducing the Mayor’s Annual Christmas Fair with its Christmas trees and nativity scene on Victoria Square, ready to make anyone feel festive.

Bolton Town is just north of Manchester and will take you around 35 mins to get with an airport taxi or hire car. On the train, the journey is around an hour. If you’re ready to feel festive, it’s a great day out and fits around any busy schedule.

There’s also an ice rink, Santa’s Grotto and the biggest snow slide you’ll ever see! It’s open from the 2nd December through to 7th January, every day from 10am (closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).

2. ELF the Musical at The Lowry

“Discover your Inner Elf” at The Lowry Theatre in Manchester this Christmas. It’s 40 mins away on the train or a 30 min drive. Check out your local travel options with our Transport Guide.

Based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie, Buddy is sent on a mission by Santa Claus in New York and discovers more than he bargained for… Enjoy this loveable story, live on stage and rediscover the joys of Christmas with the whole family.

Discover the Christmas Magic with Elf in Manchester.

Christmas Show to see this year is ELF in Manchester

3. East Lancashire Railway

Why not try a different kind of Christmas this year?

The East Lancashire Railway Centre in Bolton can take you on a magical ride this Christmas to meet your favourite Christmas characters. It takes around 35 minutes to drive from Manchester Airport (public transport will take you around 1 hour 15).

During the weekends in December, you can meet Santa and his Elves, have a go on the Great Christmas Treasure Hunt and enjoy a live brass band and carol singing. Perfect for any train fanatic or family adventurers!

Visit Santa as you’ve never seen him before, and he’s only 35 mins away from Manchester airport! If you’re driving, you’ll want to follow the postcode for BL9 0EY.

4. Elf Adventure Challenge, Great Northern Warehouse

Join in for an interactive, indoor Elf Challenge set by Santa himself! There are games, Elf songs, family tasks and challenges and you’ll be rewarded with a certificate and free illustrated storybook for your efforts helping Santa this Christmas.

Try something a little different this year and recruit all of the family to complete this fun Christmas experience. The challenge usually takes 60 minutes and you’ll get a chance to meet Santa Claus himself!

Takes 25 minutes to drive from the airport, or 45 on public transport. It’s a great day out to celebrate Christmas near Manchester Airport

Take the Elf Challenge this Christmas!

5. Manchester Christmas Market

You’ll wish it could be Christmas every day at the Christmas Markets near Manchester Airport!

With traditional stalls serving mulled wine and locally made crafts, Belgian waffles and Christmas decorations; it’s the ideal place to soak in some Christmas joy.

The market comes to 9 locations all over the city centre. The big ones are in Albert Square, Cathedral Gardens and Spinningfields and are open 10am-8pm until Wednesday 20th December. Check their website for details as each of the markets vary their opening times on different days.

Get that festive feeling at a Christmas Market local to Manchester Airport this year.

Market celebrating Christmas near Manchester airport
Photo Credit: Mark Waugh

6. Heaton Park, Greater Manchester

There’s loads to do at Heaton Park for Christmas this year, and it’s just a 30 minute drive from the airport!

Take a look at Christmas crafts, trees, and Santa’s Grotto from now until Christmas, as well as the Winter Funfair until January 7th.

Special events at Heaton Park’s 2017 Christmas include stargazing with the Heaton Park Astronomy group to see the Star above Bethlehem, the Santa Parade on Saturday 2nd December, Father Christmas themed Park Run and more.

Heaton Park had to be one of our top 10 Christmas destinations near the airport.

Father Christmas charity Park Run at Heaton Park

7. Christmas at Dunham Massey

National Trust is becoming famous for preserving the traditional Christmas feel in its historic buildings as well as providing seasonal challenges to do with the kids, from Christmas Grottos to festive games.

If you’re taking some time during the day, browse the house and enjoy a Christmas lunch in the restaurant. From now until the end of the month, fall in love with the magical after dark experience at Dunham. It’s the star on the top of the Christmas tree this year.

Take a look at the full schedule for Dunham Massey’s Christmas.

8. Manchester Cathedral and Ice Rink

Manchester Cathedral Gardens is hosting one of the city’s biggest Christmas markets this year, but it’s made our Christmas Top 10 because of it’s annual ice rink in the Cathedral gardens. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional, religious Christmas or want to skate at one of Manchester’s greatest landmarks – this is the place to be.

It takes 30 mins to drive from Manchester Airport, so it’s a really local way to enjoy the festivities. Loads of fun for all your friends, family and fellow travellers.

Since it’s in the heart of the city, there’s plenty of snug cafes and major restaurants to pop in for a mug of hot coco. Cheers!

Family skating at Manchester City's Christmas Ice Rink

9. Tatton Park

The Cheshire treasure, Tatton Park, sits 20 minutes drive west of Manchester Airport and is the ideal way of visiting a traditional old English style Christmas. Check out your transport optionsto help you get to Tatton Park.

Inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas, enter a magical mansion this festive season, sing along with Carols and Concerts in the stableyard, have a go at Christmas crafts (both for kids and grown-ups), visit Father Christmas at the farm every weekend until the big day, munch on Christmas lunch and browse their traditional gifts.

If you’re dreaming of a Tatton Park Christmas, they’re open for festivities from now until the 23rd of December. Including special concerts from the Northern Chamber Orchestra and Macclesfield Male Voice Choir.

Enjoy a traditional style Christmas near Manchester Airport with lantern displays, decoration, Father Christmas and real life reindeer at Tatton Park’s Christmas.

Father Christmas meets the children at Tatton Park Farm

10. Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is Manchester’s biggest Indoor Christmas attraction and will be taking over EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre for 2017. It’s no suprise it made our Number 1 spot for Christmas near Manchester Airport!

Come and visit a real life Rudolph and his friends, let Father Christmas know what you want on the big day and meet the cast from legendary children’s TV show, Rainbow! Winter Wonderland runs from the 9th of December to the 1st of January and has everything you need to make the most of Christmas in Manchester with the family.

It’s one of the closest and biggest Christmas Attractions to Manchester Airport as it’s only 15 mins drive. We recommend taking a taxi or hire car as the train route will take you over an hour. But visit our Transport Guide to pick for yourself.

With rides like bouncy castles, dodgems, carousels and themed rides, alongside a circus, meet and greet with Father Christmas as well as festive foodie stalls… what more could you ask for?

Take a peak at this year’s attractions.

Winter Wonderland near Manchester Airport

If you need help getting around Manchester this Christmas, see our Transport Guide with tips on getting a Manchester Airport taxi, hiring a car or getting on the train or bus services.

Know about a bigger and better Christmas event near Manchester Airport? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a very Merry Christmas.

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