Manchester Christmas Markets
Ahh the Manchester Christmas Markets. The cosy, photogenic, inviting atmosphere of a Christmas market is always a highlight of the run up to Christmas. I was lucky enough to be able to visit on a weekday and this meant that I actually got to browse and enjoy myself without feeling like I was going to suffocate and run away from the crowds of people like I did last year on a weekend.
The Manchester Christmas Markets are quite spread out and offer a wide range of the usual things you would expect from markets at Christmas time. The air smells of delicious food and the general buzzing around of people, even on a really rainy day like we had, makes even the Grinchiest (yes, that’s a term now) of people festive and jingly on the inside.
When and where?
You can find out lots about the logistics and travel to the markets on the Visit Manchester website . Here are the locations and opening times:
Albert Square – Friday 8 November to Sunday 22 December, 10am to 9pm.
Cathedral Gardens – Friday 8 November to Sunday 5 January, 10am to 9pm
Piccadilly Gardens – Friday 8 November to Sunday 22 December, 10am to 9pm
Market Street – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 9pm
Exchange Square – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 9pm
New Cathedral Street – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 9pm
King Street – Friday 8 December to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 9pm
St Ann’s Square – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 9pm
Getting to the markets is relatively easy whether you’re driving in or travelling via train. We chose to drive in and parking was available not far from the market sites. We managed to find it for £5 for the full day which is pretty good going for city centre parking to be honest. There were many car parks even closer than where we parked but I didn’t see anything cheaper than ours on our visit.
Having sat in horrendous traffic on the way out, and we left before rush hour traffic, I would advise anyone who can to just take the train!
What’s on offer? Christmas presents in all shapes and sizes!
There were may stalls offering personalised items such as slate decorations, chopping boards/ platter boards, baubles, plaques, plates etc. These were all lovely. Some were engraved, some were wooden letters stuck on to plaques and most were pretty reasonably priced as far as personalised items go. There was an abundance of cheese, pickles, jams and chutneys to taste and buy. I did incredibly well not buying a block in every flavour of cheese to be honest! Plenty of places for food and drink and lots of trinkets. You can find the usual stalls of Christmas wreaths and plants too. All in all, everything that we have come to expect of markets at Christmas time. The great thing is that if you don’t find what you’re quite looking for, then you are surrounded by high street stores which can meet your needs in walking distance too.
We had some Dutch pancakes, which we couldn’t decide on a topping for so we went for half Nutella and half Biscoff. Indecisiveness has never tasted SO delicious.
The rain was non-stop when we visited and it really didn’t dampen our mood or ruin the feel of the markets for us at all. The cosy hustle and bustle of the markets was lovely. There was also some Police presence which we would expect due to recent horrendous events and also for how busy the markets can get. It didn’t affect the mood on our visit at all. If anything, it just made me feel safer and reassured that it was there.
The service from everyone who we interacted with was wonderful. Everyone was helpful, jolly and we have no complaints about anyone being grumpy despite being pretty cold and wet!
I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to the Markets if you’ve been to them! If you have an amazing Christmas Market near you which you would recommend, get in touch!