This smart marbled mall, five miles from the city centre, is brimming with more than 200 stores, including designer boutiques and high street fashion favourites. You’ll find homeware brands at the mall’s Barton Square, while intu Trafford Centre is home to the first Selfridges outside of London. For other entertainment, there are 60 eateries and bars, plus a 20-screen Odeon cinema, Sea Life and Legoland Discovery Centre. You might even catch a fashion show, book signing or film premiere!
Nothing gets the little ones in the Christmas spirit like a visit to Santa’s grotto. This year, an arctic wonderland awaits where you can meet Santa’s polar friends, his baby reindeer Norbert and then capture the magical experience with a family photograph to take home in a snow globe! Before you enjoy a day of Christmas gift hunting, why not start the day at the Magical Christmas Parade? Filled with music, dance and lots of famous cartoon characters, look out for family-favourite Peppa Pig, the yellow minions from the Despicable Me movies and a magical cast of fairy tale prince and princesses.
The Polar Expedition Christmas grotto
7th November – 24th December
Children: £7.50 Adults: £5
Magical Christmas Parade
18th November, 11.30am – 2.30pm
Manchester Arndale is one of the biggest city-centre shopping malls in the UK, and the third biggest in Europe, with stores including Topshop, Nike, Apple and Bose. It boasts the world’s largest Next store, a particularly inspiring branch of Waterstones and a vast Clas Ohlson. Just over the bridge, on the other side of Exchange Square, you’ll find M&S, All Saints and Selfridges, while tasty pit stops range from Bagel Nash to YO! Sushi.
If you want to show a loved one you’ve gone the extra mile when it comes to their presents, have them all wrapped up by a pro at the Arndale’s gift wrap kiosk. Not only will they look the best in show under the Christmas tree, all the money raised will be for charity too. Prices range from £1 to £5 depending on the size of the gift. If it’s a visit to Santa the children are keen for, head to his snow-covered grotto on the upper mall. Photo packages include mounts, baubles, snow globes and glitter frames plus if you book tickets in advance and you’ll have a festive teddy bear to take home too.
Gift wrap kiosk
16th November – 24th December
16th November – 24th December
£5.50 plus booking fee
If you’re a discerning shopper, head for The Quays, Manchester’s mecca of discount shopping. In fact, Lowry Outlet is the only factory outlet shopping centre in the Manchester area, with more than 80 stores selling big brand items for up to 70% less than you’ll find on the high street. Among the options are the likes of Marks & Spencer, Gap Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Molton Brown and The Body Shop. There’s also a huge food court and Vue cinema.
Manchester's Northern Quarter is a buzzing urban hub of creative and independent shopping, most famously Afflecks Palace. This four-floor emporium mixes new designers and vintage traders with fetish fashion and boho surfwear. What was once a Victorian fish market is now Manchester Craft & Design Centre, home to artist-run studios of jewellery, bags, textiles and prints, as well as quirky little shop-café hybrids.
Upmarket King Street is Manchester’s answer to Bond Street in London. Along with Bridge Street, to the south of King Street West, it’s the place for all your British and international designer stores. Among them, you’ll find names like Emporio Armani, Jaeger, DKNY, Max Mara, Whistles, Diesel, Gant, Timberland, Karen Millen, Calvin Klein, Thomas Pink, Agent Provocateur, Polo Ralph Lauren…you can spend some serious cash here.
You’ll find several department stores in the city for all your convenience and luxury shopping. House of Fraser, once the famous Kendal’s and briefly named Harrods, is on Deansgate where the road meets King Street West. Harvey Nichols is on Cathedral Approach, between Deansgate and Exchange Square, and Selfridges is on two sites – Exchange Square and Manchester Trafford Centre.