For many of us, the 1st of December is the start of Christmas. The temperature continues to drop, Christmas adverts fill the media and Mariah Carey is back in the charts. Throughout the month, families, couples, and friends attend festive events and attractions. At UTP we have our three offices Reading, Hastings, and Manchester. For our staff and customers in or around each area, here are some free Christmas activity ideas.
Free things to do in Reading this Christmas
Reading’s Winter Wonderland
Since 2014, Reading’s Winter Wonderland has been the largest event in Berkshire. This year, Winter Wonderland will return to Hill’s Meadow car park until the first week of January. Entry to this event is free, but you will have to buy tickets for rides and activities.
If you plan on visiting the park to go on the wide variety of rides, the ‘Unlimited Ride Wristband’ could save you money. This wristband is £22 and gives you unlimited use of all the rides for four hours. There are 15 rides, including a Ferris wheel, penguin bumper cars and carousels. The park also has an ice-skating rink and Santa’s Grotto for younger visitors.
To stop you from getting too cold, there are many hot food and drink stalls. One of the most sought-after food huts is the German Sausage stall. To quench your thirst, Reading’s Winter Wonderland also has an array of hot and cold drink huts. From luxury hot chocolate to spiced mulled wine, you will never be too far away from a sweet treat.
Reading Town Hall Christmas Market
On the 16th of December, Reading’s town hall will hold a free Christmas Market. For those who want to support the local area and buy some thoughtful Christmas gifts, this is ideal. The Christmas market will sell upcycled furniture, pamper boxes, personalised gifts and more. If you have younger children, there will be a Father Christmas grotto.
Free things to do in Hastings this Christmas
Christmas on the coast
This year, St Michael’s Hospice is holding a Christmas event for families. As a way of saying thank you to the community, St Michael’s Hospice is holding a free event on Saturday the 9th of December. The event will take place at The Stade in Hastings and will include visits from Santa, reindeer food making and gingerbread decorating. Donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated throughout the day, with all the money going to St Michael’s Hospice.
Observer Building Grand Christmas Market
On the 9th and 10th of December, the Observer Building is holding an indoor market. The Observer Building is a modern and stylish venue, only recently opened to the public. The market will hold over 45 stalls from small and local businesses. From crystals to skincare, and cakes to face painting, there’s something for everyone. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know and support small businesses in your community.
If you get peckish or thirsty, the Observer Building has a café. Well known for its tasty cakes, the café will have an array of festive treats and drinks. The Observer Building is also holding a ‘warming up the homeless’ raffle. All the money donated will go towards helping the homeless population in Hastings.
Free things to do in Manchester this Christmas
For those interested in art, or who want a more subtle festive activity, we have just the place.
For the 10th year in a row, Lightwaves Salford is holding a light and sound exhibition. The installations take place along the waterfront at Salford Quays and MediaCity. You can expect to see a wide variety of art from both local and international artists. Lightwaves Salford is free for the public to view at any time, yet nighttime is deemed the most magical. There are also free guided tours, for those who would like to learn more about the artist and their journey.
Manchester’s Christmas markets
Manchester’s Christmas markets are bringing magic and joy to the city centre for the 25th year in a row. The UK’s biggest Christmas market is going bigger than ever this year, with over 225 stalls.
You can expect to find delicious fresh food and unique handmade gifts at every turn. This is a great time to buy from local and independent businesses and help put with your community.
Market Street will host a craft and gift area once again this year, with over 40 stalls of unique gift ideas. From tweed clothing to handmade jewellery and candles, you will be spoilt for choice.
King Street is the go-to spot for all the foodies. Traditional style stalls will serve authentic Italian and Mediterranean dishes. For those with a sweet tooth, freshly baked crepes and churros are also on offer. And if after that you still aren’t full, luxury hot chocolate stalls can be found throughout the markets.
If you are a small business who currently sells, or is looking to sell at markets, why not check out our mobile card machines and save yourself 30% on transaction fees.