Nothing beats a festive day out to get you in the seasonal mood in the run up to Christmas, from ice skating to visiting Santa's grotto, it's a great way to make memories and take a break from everyday stresses.

Tickets are already on sale for some of the most popular winter attractions in and around Manchester, so get in there early to ensure you don’t miss out.

After many events were cancelled last year due to the pandemic, demand for tickets is set to be even greater this year.

There’s something for everyone so the whole family will be happy; events within Greater Manchester, as well as those further afield, perfect for a wintry weekend treat.

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Lightopia Festival at Heaton Park

Lightopia at Heaton Park
Check out the impressive displays at Lightopia at Heaton Park

Dark nights can get a bit depressing over winter, but they do mean one thing - Christmas lights get a chance to shine.

The Lightopia Festival at Heaton Park is a world away from the more traditional festive light scenes, featuring colourful lanterns and stunning art installations.

This year promises to have new routes and installations, and the themes this year include woodland fairy tale, animals and local heroes.

Lightopia runs from November 19 until January 3 2022 from 5pm until 10pm daily. .

Christmas Grotto at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Aerial view of Blackpool Tower and Central Pier
Take a day trip to Blackpool to visit Santa

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to see the big man himself, and what better way than to combine it with a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach? It's a great excuse to enjoy the many other attractions Blackpool has to offer and visit the illuminations too.

As well as meeting Santa, included in the ticket price is a gift, a DIY bauble making kit and some goodies to use on Christmas Eve.

You can even warm up with a mug of hot chocolate at the end!

The grotto opens from November 20 for weekends, from Wednesday to Sunday from December 1 until December 12, then from December 15 until Christmas Eve.

Winter Funland at the Trafford Centre

Winter Funland, BEC Trafford Centre
Enjoy festive displays at Winter Funland

Winter Funland is back again this year and promises to deliver festive fun for all the family. The UK’s biggest indoor funfair will be at the BEC arena, just five minutes from the Trafford Centre.

There will be every ride you could want at the event, from carousels and helter skelters to Dodgems. This year is set to have more rides and attractions so regular fans - and new visitors - are sure to be impressed.

It will be in Manchester from December 19 until January 2, and early booking is advised as capacity to the event will be limited.

Liverpool Ice Festival

Ice skating at the Liverpool Ice Festival
Ice skating at the Liverpool Ice Festival

Who doesn’t love gliding around (or at least attempting to) on the ice at Christmas time? At the Liverpool Ice Festival their rink is covered over so there’s no risk of the weather spoiling your plans.

There’s also the ice slide, which includes three fast 30m runs, 6m above, giving you a birds-eye view of the festival site. Thrown into the mix are funfair rides and the UK’s only Ice Jet Ride, plus other games and stalls.

And, when you’ve tired yourself out with all the fun, you can head to the Alpine Bar for a hot drink and a mulled wine.

The Ice Festival will be on from November 19 until January 3.

Tatton Park

Deer in the snow at Tatton Park
Deer in the snow at Tatton Park

Visit Father Christmas in his farmyard grotto at Tatton Park, where children can help to make reindeer food to take home and put out for Rudolph and his friends on Christmas Eve. You can take photos with Santa’s sleigh and enjoy live music from local choirs too.

For those with younger children Tatton Park are putting on a themed garden trail, ‘One Snowy Night’ based on a Percy the Park Keeper story. Enjoy wintery scenes and kids even get a Christmas gift from Percy.

One Snowy Night runs on selected dates from November 27 until January 3, while Father Christmas at the Farm is on selected dates from November 27 until December 21. for more information.

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland

The ice rink at Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland
The ice rink at Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland

Home to the north of England’s largest outdoor ice rink, complete with a 30ft high Christmas Tree in the centre, Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland does not disappoint.

A vintage funfair has all the traditional rides you could want, including an original 1930s Speedway, and the Hush Hush Train is perfect for little ones.

Entry to the wonderland is free to enter, but tickets are required for the ice skating and Santa’s Grotto.

Yorkshire Winter Wonderland will take place from November 19 until January 9.

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