How to glide into New Year feeling smug and sober: the best things to do this January that aren't the pub

Some of our Dry January tips

By Natalie Rees | Last updated 3 January 2024

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Whether the start of a new year makes you want to don Lycra, hide the booze, learn a skill or try something new, we have some suggestions to get you started. (Fear not if you’re not on this bus, we’ve doing a guide to ‘Wet January’ too)…

Practice self care

Sunday 7 January, 1-4pm

Ease into the New Year and leave the chaos of Christmas behind with a multi-sensory experience at Transcend Studios. The class is a great opportunity to practise self-care through meditation, breath work, sound healing, energy healing and cleansing.

Bridgewater Mill, Legh St, Eccles, Manchester M30 0UT

mcr_sewsocial / Instagram

Learn to sew

Various dates

Learning to sew is a huge life skill, especially when it’s more important than ever to think sustainably. It’s a real asset, so why not make this the year you learn to mend your clothes, instead of buying new ones? There’s plenty of places across Greater Manchester to hone your skills – we love MCR Sew Social, Stitched Up, School of Junk and Ministry of Craft.

Various locations

Create pottery

Various times

Whether you’re making little trinket dishes, decorative gifts for friends or elaborate vases, pottery can be hugely therapeutic as well as an outlet for creativity. There are various courses for all skill-levels in the boroughs. Clay Studio in Hulme offer one-off sessions or extensive courses, as well as opportunities to learn as a family. Seven Limes Pottery has been teaching Manchester the techniques of pottery for over 25 years, so is also a great place to start out.

Various locations


Try padel

Various times

Manchester’s first padel club opened last month at Deansgate Square, and has proved to be very popular. A combination of tennis and squash, Padel is the fastest-growing racket sport in the world. At Club de Padel, you can book courts, with no membership required, or get a one-to-one session with the club’s head coach Alberto Cubero Torregrosa.

Owen Street, Manchester M15 4TQ

Join a running club

First Wednesday of every month

Couch to 5k is all well and good, but if you need some accountability to keep up your running, a club is a good start. There are plenty to choose from in town, but we really like the Track Brewery offering (no guesses why). One Foot Forward starts and finishes at the Taproom, with a social 5K lead by running extraordinaire Tom Reynolds. 

Unit 18, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP

Get in the garden

Firsts Saturday of the month, from 10.30am

Dobbie’s garden centre in Altrincham lead Grow How demonstrations on the first Saturday of every month, offering guests the opportunity to learn new gardening skills from horticultural experts. Sessions cover sustainability, growing your own food and maximising outdoor space.

Green Lane, Timperley, Cheshire, WA15 8QP

Take an art class

Wednesday 10 & Wednesday 17 January, 7pm

Get creative and join Brush n Beats, a paint and sip art class lead by resident artist Yasmin Shima. She will lead you step by step from blank canvas to masterpiece, whilst DJ Benny Blanco selects on the decks!

Sett Art Cafe, 174 Burton Road Manchester M20 1LH

Cookery class

Various classes and times

We don’t know about you, but after a month of eating mainly pigs in blankets and mince pies, we’re ready to try some new flavours. Food Sorcery in Didsbury and the city centre offers cooking classes for all abilities. It’s a great way to learn new skills with a partner or friend, and there are plenty of different cuisines to choose from. You will be the designated dinner party host from now on though, so be warned.

Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 5WZ

Swap the rave for conscious clubbing

Friday 19 January, 6.45pm

Set within the cellars of Victoria Warehouse, get lost in a sober clubbing experience with meditation, yoga and breath work. Music is provided by DJ Wzrdry with live percussion from Hamit Walia, joined by the Temple dancers.

Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, M17 1AB

Take an ice bath

Every Tuesday from Tuesday 16 January, 7am

Take part in these weekly sunrise sessions and start your day with an ice bath on top of ABC Studios. Designed to improve productivity, increase focus and reduce stress – watch the sun come up as you sit in the ice and head to work feeling ready to take on anything.

21-23 Quay Street Manchester M3 4AE

New year, new gym

Various times

Now, we couldn’t really do this without including some sort of gym. If you’re bored of your usual spot, BLOK at Ducie Street Warehouse is offering a trial period for £50, with classes including strength, sculpt, sound and move as well as yoga, barre, pilates and cardio. 

Ducie Street Warehouse, M1 2TP