Festive sparkle: Rochdale ready for a magical Christmas

Date published: 03 December 2019

A busy programme of festive events and activities is taking place in Rochdale over the next few weeks.

The Christmas lights switch on at the town hall last month signalled the start of five 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 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.

Small Business Saturday returns on Saturday 7 December, 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.

Also on Saturday 7 December 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 30 November at Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre.  


There’s a Christmas Concert in the stunning surroundings of the town hall with Rochdale Music Service performing


There’s a Christmas Concert in the stunning surroundings of the town hall on Thursday 5 December from 7pm, with Rochdale Music Service performing all the festive classics.

On 5 and 19 December, 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 6 to 12 December.

On 14 and 21 December Father Christmas will be at Touchstones and each 45 minute session includes a meeting with Santa as well as a festive craft activity.


Festive events and activities are taking place in Rochdale over the next few weeks


A Victorian themed festive Royal Christmas Ball will be staged at the town hall on 20 and 21 December with delicious food and entertainment in the most festive of atmosphere.

Between 2 – 20 December Rochdale Clock Tower Dining Room are serving a two or three course Christmas lunch every afternoon.

Acclaimed organist Jonathan Scott is holding a Christmas concert at the town hall on Wednesday 18 December 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 21 December 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 2 to 31 December and Aladdin at Heywood Civic Centre from 20 to 30 December.  Both professional productions feature great songs, dance routines, special effects and beautiful costumes.

The guide includes details of festive events and live music at town centre venues as well as ideas for some of the best places to enjoy Christmas drinks and food in the town centre. 

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 three 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.”

The festive guide is available online now at:

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.

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