Brave the crowds at the markets

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by tvordj on November 28, 2012

This year was the first chance I had in my many visits to Manchester to go to the annual Christmas markets. They set up in the city centre around the middle of November and run until Christmas. They're modelled after the markets on the Continent and many of the booths are German or French in theme. They have small wooden huts set up in the main square, Albert Square, in front of the Victorian Town Hall but they also spill over to several other streets and squares in the city centre.

There are over 200 stalls and a scattering of "cafe" style set ups, such as a couple of German beer gardens and a French cafe, that I saw. Many of the stalls are food related with delicacies and goods locally sourced and from other parts of Europe. There are hand made items and crafted items, food, drink and lots of interesting things to look at and to buy.

We started at St. Ann's Square and worked our way towards the Town Hall which is the main site. It happened to be my last day in Manchester or I would have bought a lot more, especially various meats and cheeses to try back at the flat but since I couldn't take them with me on the plane, they had to stay where they were. I did get some flavoured coffees and a scarf and tried some mulled wine from one of the many booths. The hot drink kiosks also gave you the drinks in a souvenir mug. They charge 2 pounds for it and if you bring the mug back, you get the deposit back but you can keep it if you want. I did though the type of mulled wine I chose to try wasn't to my liking unfortunately but there are many other types to try.

We started browsing around noon and by the time we got to the Town Hall square, the crowds there were very thick and it started to feel very claustrophobic. Inside the Town Hall was another market set up for the vendors of the alternative Northern Quarter market Affleck's. Inside the Town Hall where that was, was even more of a bottleneck for people and we lasted long enough to get in and get out.

There's no free parking but there are NCP car park garages scattered around and the busses run down Deansgate. The markets are all accessible. It's a great place to pick up interesting gifts or try a new type of sausage or fudge or find a unique ornament for your Christmas tree.

Locations: Albert Square, Brazenose St, King St, St Ann's Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square

All market sites (except Albert Square*)
Nov: 10am - 7.30pm (bars open until 9pm)
Dec: 10am - 8pm (bars open until 9pm)
Albert Square 10am - 9pm every day
Manchester Christmas Market
Albert Square
Manchester, England

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