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Alternative guide to Christmas

Halloween is over, the last of the fireworks have erupted in the the cold, quiet November nights and the advertisements have started appearing on the telly. There’s no doubt that Christmas is just around the corner. This means we need to get organised. It’s not just the shopping lists we need to write and who’s having who over on the day itself though. Christmas means party time. Whether it’s with colleagues, friends or families, it’s important to make the most of all that’s going on over the festive period and as you may expect, there is plenty on offer across the Merseyrail network.

As a handy guide to what the bars, shops, clubs, and venues have in store for Crimbo revellers we’ve put together a handy list of the trends we can expect over the next few weeks. So whether you’re a shopper, a party animal, a foodie or a theatre-goer there’s something here for you.

Crazy Quizzes

 XMAS (1)

Quizzes have really captured the imagination in Liverpool this year. It seems every night of the week there is a bar somewhere offering up a sizeable bar tab to the brainiest team willing to put their knowledge to the test. But pub quizzes are no longer the reserve of middle-aged furrowed brows, eggheads and wannabe Chasers, quizzes are now fun! One such event which has brought a more carnivalesque feel to the event is Ya Nan’s Big Quiz which takes place monthly at Camp And Furnace. True to form, Nan is hosting a couple of Christmas specials in December with the usual mad mix of sing-alongs, bin-worthy prizes and Blind Date.

For those who want to put their music knowledge to the test and also donate to some great causes monthly music magazine Bido Lito! will be hosting The Real Quiz at Constellations with proceeds going to The Whitechapel Centre and MIND.

ABBA!

Abba

There is certain music that is guaranteed to get the party started whatever time of year it is and will put a smile on almost anyone. ABBA are one such purveyors of this most sought-after genre. And thankfully, instead of having to ensure Shaking Stevens, Wizard and Slade for the two millionth time, places like The Merchant, 24 Kitchen Street and Camp and Furnace are all dedicating a night each to the one and only Swedish hit machine. The original disco band, ABBA will have tribute nights dedicated to them at all these venues through December.

Pantomime Mania

Pantomime

Like ABBA theme nights, you are also guaranteed to never to be more than 10 yards from a pantomime this festival season in Liverpool. The Echo Arena Auditorium, The Epstein Theatre, The Everyman Theatre, and The Unity Theatre will all be putting on a pantomime run or Christmas play of some kind this year. Elsewhere on the Merseyrail Network, there are plenty of pantos in Southport, Chester and Wirral.

The Everyman’s Rock n Roll Pantomime is always value for money for all ages. This year their regular writers are tackling The Snow Queen with familiar faces acting, singing and playing live music. Over on the Wirral, the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight are hosting Cinderella. Up in Southport, acclaimed writer Rod Campbell’s Dear Santa takes to the stage and Storyhouse in Chester host their own production of The Wizard Of Oz, which looks spectacular.

Marvellous Markets

Christmas Market

Before you make all your purchases via the impersonal and tax-avoiding world of online shopping, take a look at some of the fantastic Christmas markets which will be popping up across Merseyside over December. The matriarch of all markets has to be the Winter Arts Market at Liverpool Cathedral. With over 400 stalls of crafts, food and drink stalls from independent, local sellers it’s the perfect place to pick up truly special gifts.

Putting a different spin on the format, Constellations are hosting their Horrific Christmas Market; an alternative Christmas shopping experience featuring weird wares for horror fans. A little bit more conventional but equally as thrilling, the Handyman pub on Smithdown Road will be organising their own Handmade market for those looking for a unique gift for friends and loved ones.

There is nowhere more Christmassy than the historic city of Chester in December and the Christmas market there, situated outside the town hall and Cathedral is well worth a visit.

Poppin’ Pop-ups

Pop Ups

Following the success of Cain Brewery Village’s Home Alone bar last year, Miracle On Seel Street will be another seasonal pop-up bar which will play host to movie nights, festive cocktails and other grotto greatness. As is tradition, Liverpool One will be providing respite for the thirsty work of Christmas shopping in the form of Bar Hütte, an apres ski-themed pop up bar handily placed at the based of the famous ‘heart tree’. Just a snowball’s throw away from Liverpool One, ACC will also be erecting ASPEN Rocks, an alpine village complete with ski lodge, fairground rides and aerial entertainment, for you to eat, drink and be merry at.

Mulled Madness

Mulled Wine

Above some of the best things about the festive season, better than presents, pigs in blankets, the John Lewis advert and X Factor, has to be mulled wine. And with Liverpool now being a city of cocktail experts there’ll be no shortage of the stuff come December. Kazimier Garden on Seel Street, with its heaters and mulling station, has long been a bastion of all things mulled. You can also expect magnificent mulling from the folks at the Baltic Market, the super cool Prohibition cocktail bar in Chester and the new kid on the Crosby block Frankie’s.

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