The Christmas countdown officially begins on the first day of advent which this year falls on November 28.

We have already rounded up the best places to visit Santa, the best Christmas Markets and now we’re bringing you all the best events in Manchester, Liverpool and Chester for festive fun.

From lantern parades to a Harry Potter experience and Tinsel Town event, here are the best Christmassy events going ahead this winter.

Lightopia Manchester

Lightopia is a festival of hand-sculpted lanterns from around the world. The lanterns adorn a new fantasy themed route that leads through the park.

The route also includes food stalls and licensed bars that offer refreshments along the way.

Where: Heaton Park, Sheepfoot Lane, Manchester M25 0DL

When: November 25 – 28, December 2 – 5, December 9 – 24, December 26 – January 3

How much: Adults from £20, children aged 3-15 from £13, family tickets also available

Book tickets via the website.

Christmas Drive-in cinema 

Christmas is coming to a town near you with this drive-in cinema at a range of locations across the North West. 

Enjoy Home Alone, Elf or The Greatest Showman whilst in the comfort of your car. Guests can also pre-order snacks to pick up refreshments at the event.

Where: Runcorn, Morecombe, Fleetwood and Knutsford 

When: Selected dates from Thursday December 9 to Wednesday December 22

How much: from £35 per car 

Book tickets via the website

Lantern Festival, Chester Zoo

The annual lantern festival is back at Chester Zoo this year and runs most evenings in the run up to Christmas.

The zoo will be transformed into an illuminated wonderland for its 90th birthday.

Where: Chester Zoo

When: Friday November 23 to Sunday December 23 (selected dates)

How much: Adults from £13, children from £11

Book tickets via the website.

12 Days of Christmas Parade

Kick off the festive season in Chester with the fantastic ‘12 Days of Christmas’ parade as it travels through the streets.

Full of music, lights, elves, real snow, and a few surprises this is an event not to be missed!

Where: Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2HJ

When: November 25 at 7pm

How much: Free

Santa's Enchanted Grotto, Grosvenor Shopping Centre

With surprises around every corner, you’ll be immersed in a magical journey through a wintry woodland.

Follow the path to discover Santa’s Grotto where you’ll have an unforgettable visit with the big guy himself.

Where: Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Pepper Street, Chester, CH1 1EA

When:  Dates are available from Friday November 26 - Friday December 24.

SEN / Autism Sessions are being held on:

Friday December  3 10am – 11am

Saturday December 11 10am - 11am

Monday December 20 10am – 11am

How much: Adult tickets are £5, child tickets are £10 and include a present from Santa.

Tickets can be purchased via the website.

Chester Christmas Festival

Bring all the family to this festival weekend packed with live entertainment, a great range of food and drink and an undercover Christmas Market.

Where: Carriage Shed, Chester Train Station, Chester, CH1 3DR

When: November 26 – 28, 10am – 8pm

How much: Free

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience

Follow a trail through a mysterious forest full of interactive moments and mesmerising lights at this Harry Potter event at Arley Hall & Gardens.

Meet the magical creatures from the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts films, such as Hippogriffs, Centaurs and unicorns.

Why not enjoy try a delicious butterbeer, Cornish pasty or fish and chips? There is plenty for everyone to enjoy in the Wizarding World.  

Where: Arley Hall & Gardens, Arley, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6NA

When: Dates throughout November and December

How much: Adults from £24, children from £19, family tickets also available

Book tickets via the website.

Tinsel Town at the Trafford Centre

The Trafford Centre will be transformed into an outdoor Christmas extravaganza complete with a sky-high toboggan slide and big wheel.

There will be a 90-minute live show, ice rink and a Santa’s Grotto where you can meet the man himself and his elves.

Where: Outside The Orient entrance, The Trafford Centre, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 8AA

When: November 13, 2021 until January 3, 2022

How much: Tinsel Town is free to enter, but some of the events are ticketed. Find out more information via the website.

Enchanted: Knowsley Safari Christmas Lights

Visit Knowsley Safari Park for a night-time adventure with enchanted forest Christmas lights, an animal light trail and toasted marshmallows for perfect festive fun.

There is a range of festive food, tasty treats and rides for all the thrill seekers out there.

Where: Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, L34 4AN

When: Selected dates from November 20 – December 30, 4pm – 8pm

How much: Adults from £9, children from £9

Book tickets via the website.

Love Actually in Concert

Christmas wouldn’t be right without everyone’s favourite festive film Love Actually, and now you can see it live in concert.

Watch the iconic film accompanied by a full, live orchestra perform Craig Armstrong’s music.

Where: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BP

When: December 14 7.30pm

How much: from £39.50

Book tickets via the website.

Otterspool Adventure Centre

Get the full Christmas experience at Otterspool this year, with the chance to visit Santa in his grotto, receive a gift from his toy shop and see Jack and the Beanstalk in pantomime.

Where: 37 Otterspool Drive, Liverpool, L17 5AL

When: November 27 & 28, December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 23 & 24

How much: There are two packages, the Christmas Experience and the Ultimate Christmas Experience, adults from £17.95 and children aged 1+ from £29.95

Book tickets via the website.