From ghost hunting to partying in a canal, there’s more to December than Christmas

UNIVERSITY OF MAGIC | Lucardo | From November

The newest addition to Lucardo Escape Rooms sees participants vie to secure a place at the prestigious University of Magic. Indulge your inner Harry Potter as you cast spells, recite incantations, mix potions and battle with dark forces... Lucardo, Virginia House, 5-7 Great Ancoats Street, M4 5AD (various; check the website)

HIDDEN TREASURES | The Portico | 24 November - 22 December

Presenting oft-unseen highlights from The Portico’s 25,000+ collection, this one-off exhibition marks the launch of the library’s first colouring book and annual Adopt-a-Book appeal. Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, M2 3HY (various times; free) 

2017 11 27 Portico
The Portico collection includes travel literature, natural history, poetry, fine arts, history and maps

DINNER & GHOST HUNT | Palace Theatre | Friday 1 December

From a pint-carrying poltergeist to a haunted cleaner in the ladies’ loos, there’s said to be ghosts galore in the Palace (which was, after all, opened in 1891). Now’s your chance to seek them out, with a paranormal soiree complete with a two-course meal and a drink in the Oxford Street Bistro. Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, M1 6FT (8pm; tickets £49 at 

MANCHESTER OPEN WEEKEND | Rochdale Canal | 2-3 December

Why anyone would want to party in a drained canal lock chamber we’re not quite sure - Hacienda tunes or otherwise. But there are plenty of other (less smelly) events at the Rochdale Canal Open Weekend, including a pop-up museum displaying historical artefacts and some surprising canal finds. Rochdale Canal, entry via towpath near Lock 91 (10am-4pm; free) 

2017 11 27 Lock 91
Lock 91 off Deansgate

FOR THE LOVE OF SCI FI | Bowlers Exhibition Centre | 2-3 December

The Hoff is joined by the likes of Gremlins’ Zach Galligan, Star Wars’ Ian McDiarmid and Ghostbusters’ Ernie Hudson for this annual convention, which promises cheese and sci-fi in equal measure. It’s not all about the guests though, with a galaxy of attractions spanning symphony orchestras to set recreations, lightsabers to steampunk. Bowlers, Longbridge Road, Trafford Park, Stretford, M17 1SN (9am-12am; tickets from £11 at


A small yet perfectly-formed version of the GNCCF, this showcase of 40 local artists and makers should make finding unique gifts a doddle: from jewellery and handmade leather bags to functional ceramics and statement pieces for the home. Altrincham Town Hall, 25 Market Street, Altrincham, WA14 1PG (10.30am-4.30pm; tickets £3 on the door) 

Manchester Craft Fair
All LNCCF proceeds go towards supporting graduates at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair


As part of its new ‘in conversation’ series, Central Library welcomes former The Fall drummer Paul Hanley - now in Brix & The Extricated - whose new book Leave The Capital details a history of Manchester music in thirteen recordings. Central Library, St Peter's Square, M2 5PD (6.15-7.30pm; free, donation encouraged) 


Not one for the squeamish, this gothic symposia explores everything from the digital dead body to sixth senses and celebrity cadavers. Elsewhere find poetry, ancient beer brewing…and an art installation in a former graveyard. MMU, All Saints Building, All Saints, M15 6BH (various times; tickets from £5 at

2017 11 27 Encountering Corpses
A killer weekend guaranteed

LIGHTWAVES | MediaCity | 8-17 December

MediaCity will again be scattered with illuminated artworks this year, as Lightwaves beams back into the Quays for another showcase of light-based sculpture: from Blackpool illuminations to new commissions and an interactive literary piece by international poet and author Jackie Kay. It’s all free too. Salford Quays, Salford M50 3AZ (various times; free)  

ART BOX | Solomons Café | 14 December

Comprising of a silent art auction and ‘Postbox’ club night, Art Box is a great chance to support emerging artists and support Manchester Mind while you’re at it. Both events will feature jazz bands and local DJs. Solomons Café, 447-449 Wilmslow Road, M20 4AN (5.30pm; free registration at

2017 11 27 Lightwaves

After something more festive? Then check out our 15 ways to avoid Manchester Christmas Markets: plenty of Yuletide inspiration, without a sausage in sight…