It may still only be November but Manchester is already in the festive mood with the Christmas Markets spanning our fair city.
The weather’s turning bleaker as gusty gales roll in and everyone has begun to don their hats, scarves and gloves to keep the Northern chill at bay.
This week though, I say embrace the cold, get out there and make the most of the brisk winter days and there’s a whole host of activies to get stuck in to.
Personally, I favour Spinningfields. It’s a fantastic area of Manchester that’s becoming renowned for its quirky pop-up venues.
We’ve already had the pop-up bowling alley that took us back to the 50s but now we can all be transported to a winter wonderland.
Granted, it’s not quite Lapland. There’s a severe lack of snow for starters but the good folks down at Hardeman Square are doing their best to get Mancunians embracing the winter months.
And they’ve achieved it with the return of the city’s very own ice rink. It’s plonked right in the middle of the green of the square and allows up to 200 skaters to test their balance at one time.
It’s a great laugh whether you’re a seasoned pro performing Torvill and Dean’s Balero or just look like that classic scene when Bambi ventures on to ice for the first time.
The rink’s available from 10am until 10.45pm seven days a week with an earlier session at 9am for brave mums and their toddlers.
Tickets are £8.50 while there are discounts for students, the elderly and children.
This is a hefty part of your £10 but arguably the most fun you can have in Manchester for that much dough.
If skating’s just not your kind of thing though, don’t panic, stick around and enjoy the sheer entertainment of watching uncomfortable middle-aged men struggle to keep their balance as their child clings on to their hand for dear life.
For you unadventurous folk who enjoy mocking others, I think it’s only fair that you treat your much braver friends to a drink.
There’s no place better than The Moose Bar which is next to the ice rink.
It’s a wood-panneled spacious bar with rustic tables and a bar that caters for all with some interesting concoctions and tasty food to boot.
I recommend the Moose Mulled Wine for your classic mix of red wine, oranges and cinnamon heated to just the right temperature to warm your cockles.
Or go for something a little different and try the Lumberjack Oakheart Punch which teams spiced rum with apple for a truly wintery brew.
I’m relying on you having a mate with you obviously and if one of you’s taken to the ice and the other’s got the drinks in then you should be able to put your change together to get one of the most exciting food treats I’ve ever come across.
The Manchester Egg.
It is unbelievably phenomenonal. A pickled egg wrapped in spiced sausage just like a scotch egg, served with a choice of chutneys. Only £4 and perfect to share.
There we are, some brilliant ways to spend a tenner this weekend, whether you’ve the balance of a gymnast or the drinking habit of a true Northerner.