A busy programme of festive events and activities is taking place in Rochdale over the next few weeks.
Last weekend's Christmas lights switch on at the town hall signalled the start of 5 weeks of entertainment, and to help plan your time during the run-up to Christmas, a new festive guide has been produced.
The 12-page booklet published by Rochdale Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the council features a wide range of festive highlights as well as some of the best destinations for celebrating in style.
On Saturday, 30 November 2019 there will be a Christmas Artisan Market on The Butts from 10am – 4pm with over 40 stalls promising a feast of quality gifts, food, mulled wine and other treats from local producers.
'Experience the festivities'
Small Business Saturday returns on Saturday, 7 December 2019, with local independents having a stall in Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre all day, showcasing a vast range of products and services available on your doorstep. And on the same day there is the Festive Extravaganza at The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre where children will get the chance to build their own Lego toys before adding them to the tree, as well as festive slime making, crafts, Christmas storytelling, Father Christmas and face painting. There'll also be live music and dance from local groups.
Father Christmas will be in his grotto every weekend from Saturday, 30 November 2019 at Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre.
There's a Christmas Concert in the stunning surroundings of the town hall on Thursday, 5 December 2019 from 7pm, with Rochdale Music Service performing all the festive classics.
On Thursday, 5 December and Thursday, 19 December 2019, re-live tales of terror and the ghosts of Christmas past with a Festive Ghost Walk, starting at 7.30pm from The Baum on Toad Lane.
Rochdale Town Hall is being transformed into a wintery wonderland for a 20 minute walk through festive experience which includes a meeting with Santa and a gift. The 'Christmas Grotto' experience opens on selected days and early evenings from Friday, 6 December – Thursday, 12 December 2019.
On Saturday, 14 December and Saturday, 21 December 2019, Father Christmas will be at Touchstones Rochdale. Each 45 minute session includes a meeting with Santa as well as a festive craft activity.
A Victorian themed festive Royal Christmas Ball will be staged at the town hall on Friday, 20 – Saturday, 21 December 2019 with delicious food and entertainment in the most festive of atmosphere.
Between Monday, 2 December – Friday, 20 December 2019 Rochdale Clock Tower Dining Room are serving a 2–3 course Christmas lunch every afternoon.
Acclaimed organist Johnathan Scott is holding a Christmas concert at the town hall on Wednesday, 18 December 2019 at 1pm, showcasing the 'king of instruments' at its very best during a dazzling afternoon of seasonal music. Jonathan, resident organist at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, is renowned worldwide and has featured numerous times on BBC Radio 2's 'The Organist Entertains.'
On Saturday, 21 December 2019 Rochdale Pioneers Museum celebrate 175 years of co-operation with a short play from 2pm followed by a Christmas brass band concert and festive food at 4pm.
Families looking for a festive treat are spoilt for choice with pantomimes Cinderella at Middleton Arena from Monday, 2 December – Tuesday, 31 December 2019 and Aladdin at Heywood Civic Centre from Friday, 20 December – Monday, 30 December 2019. Both professional productions feature great songs, dance routines, special effects and beautiful costumes.
A trip to your local bar or restaurant with friends and family is a festive tradition and Rochdale's venues really come into their own at this time of year. The Medicine Tap, The Flying Horse Hotel, The Baum, The Cask and Feather and Vicolo del Vino will all host festive events and live music throughout December. The guide includes line-up details as well as ideas for some of the best places to enjoy Christmas drinks and food in the town centre. Rochdale's newest addition – Bombay Brew opens this weekend, specialising in craft ale, cocktails and Indian street food.
Rochdale town centre BID manager Paul Ambrose said: "There's such a lot going on in Rochdale in the coming weeks so we're encouraging everyone to come and support our businesses, shop local and experience the festivities here. Markets, concerts, carol services, magical Father Christmas experiences, live music and more, on top of 3 hours free parking and fabulous independent shops … there's plenty going on and we've some great restaurants and bars too. We've put this guide together to help plan your visit and highlight some of the treats we have in store."
You can also pick up a copy from town centre shops, bars and restaurants, local libraries, leisure centres, the town hall and Rochdale Tourist Information Centre at Touchstones Rochdale.