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Free local activities across Manchester

15 Dec 2022

A guide to free local activities taking place across the festive period

Manchester skyline

In these challenging times, we understand that many members of our broad University community will be affected by the current cost-of-living crisis. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing with you a range of information and resources on financial wellbeing.  

December can be an expensive month, with gift buying, catering and invites to celebrate the festive season. So, we’ve put together a list of some free activities across Manchester – some of them are on specific days in December and January, while others can be accessed all year round.  

Free activities across Manchester 

  • Manchester Monastery are hosting a Christmas Story and Donkey Day on Sunday, 18 December – parking and entry are both free  
  • The new High Line Gardens on the historic Castlefield Viaduct are free to visit, but you do need to book a ticket via the National Trust website. Since the garden opened, earlier this year, these tickets have been in high demand. 
  • Mayfield Park is a brand-new urban park, five minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Station. It has a fantastic play area for all ages 
  • If you fancy some outdoor art, you can follow a street art map for the Northern Quarter. 
  • Manchester Walking Tours offer free guided tours of Manchester – they run every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. Meet at 11.00am outside the Alan Turing Memorial. 
  • Manchester has a wide range of museums to access, some are free to visit, both in the centre and in the Greater Manchester area. You can find more details on those that are free to visit here - Free things to do in Manchester - Visit Manchester. 
  • There are lots of great walks in Manchester and further afield.  
  • Irwell Sculpture Trail extends from Salford to Bacup for 33 miles. You don’t have to walk it all. The Trail is made up of clusters of sculptures, so you can take a short walk or spend the day exploring. 
  • A little bit further afield from Manchester, there’s a free festive fun day at The Archives in Leigh 
  • First Breath – Factory International, a light installation at Water Street is running from 1 -29 January. 

Helping you make your money go further 

As a University employee, you have access to a wide range of benefits that can help you save money, from supermarket shopping, clothing, home electricals and much more.