If you’ve already exhausted the markets, fear not, there’s still time to muster that festive feeling in Manchester this Christmas.
Renowned tour guide, historian and writer Jonathan Schofield is gearing up to take the latest flock of tourists around the nooks and crannies of Manchester and delve into the Christmas secrets of the city.
This month will see Schofield’s very own Big Christmas Pub Tour and Big Christmas Ghost Tour, which will take place on December 8 and December 15 respectively.
Schofield is one of the best in the industry and although he jokes that he has been delivering tours ‘since the Roman period’, he promises that his two Christmas specials will be real winter warmers.
The first tour will feature a variety of old and atmospheric Mancunian pubs where guests can quench their thirst by sipping on some of Jonathan’s fascinating tales.
“I tell the absurd story of Manchester drinking through the ages. We do a daft couple of pub games – not darts and things like that – some strange activities based on the questions and stories that I am giving,” Jonathan told MM.
He may not take to darts, but Jonathan’s tours have certainly hit the bulls eye with customers over the years, including current Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Katherine Viner.
“What I would say to people is that tours are not like when you went to school and you were bored – a good tour is more of a performance and you should go away having learned something,
“it’s a really good way of spending money – this is entertainment with facts.”
The Corn Exchange will provide the iconic starting point for Jonathan’s Big Ghost Tour, which will see groups prowl the streets in pursuit of one of Europe’s most renowned late opera singers, before devouring a set of spooky tales.
“You’ve got all the human stories – people want to hear about all the humans, their foibles, bravery, idiocy. When you realise across the years that there’s nothing new under the sun in terms of the range of human experience – a guided tour can then bring that out.”
“It’s just a bit of an excuse to go into a pub, have a bit of Christmas cheer, and tell a ghost story – we will have to wrap up warm!” Jonathan said.
But Manchester Confidential’s Editor-at-Large isn’t completely sold on the idea of ghosts, despite experiencing a number of strange paranormal happenings.
“I’ve had a couple of weird experiences but when it comes to all that Ouija board stuff I don’t believe in it. I believe that people are impressionable in certain moments in their lives and may see things that maybe others don’t see.
“I do believe in some sort of spirituality but I don’t think it’s as obvious as say knocking under a table.
“The thing is, it’s a story telling tour, these stories have been recorded and a couple of them are immensely powerful,” said the experienced tour guide.
“People will laugh their heads off and also have a drink. I can guarantee that.”
For more information including how to book one of Jonathan’s tours, visit jonathanschofield.com