Nov 18

Manchester Christmas Markets – Family-friendly festive zone


Photo credit: Mark Waugh

Cathedral Gardens has been reimagined as Manchester Christmas Market’s dedicated family area with incredible children’s entertainment and vintage fairground throughout the season.

New to the Christmas Markets last year, the Cathedral Gardens site is surrounded by some of Manchester’s most iconic buildings – from the National Football Museum and the Corn Exchange, to Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s School of Music – but this year the historic site will be transformed for families and young visitors to the city centre.

The space offers a spacious and more open option for families and young people to enjoy the Christmas Markets away from the hubbub of the main market sites.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesman, said: “Cathedral Gardens is where the big kid in you can really reconnect with all the excitement and joy that makes Christmas the most special time of year. We’ve got incredible performers throughout the festive season, as well as the beautiful, traditional fun fair. I suppose the kids might enjoy this area too…

“Our Christmas Markets are incredibly popular and that does mean they can get busy. We understand big crowds don’t always mix well with young children, so our family area will offer more space for everyone to enjoy themselves – big kids and little kids.”

Each weekend, from Thursday through to Sunday, Cathedral Gardens will become a stage for street theatre, live panto and circus performers from the Travelling Light Circus – each ready to amaze audiences of all ages.

And as the sun sets, the Travelling Light Circus will bring magic and a hypnotic LED light show to Cathedral Gardens, helping to make those long, dark evenings absolutely mesmerising. (Full listings in notes to editors)

Throughout the Christmas Market season, a traditional fun-fair will also help break up those festive shopping trips with rides on the beautiful vintage carousel, Ferris wheel and Polar Express ride.

The fairground rides are being provided by the internationally renowned Jan de Koning Fun Fairs, who will be donating 25p of every £1 taken on the rides directly to the Christie Teenage Cancer Unit. The fair will also be providing free rides to Christie patients, staff and their families over the festive period.

This will be in recognition of the fantastic work the unit do, but also a personal thank you from Jan whose 17-year-old daughter was given the all clear after six months of treatment at the centre.

Jan de-Koning, who owns the fun fair, said: “It was very humbling to witness at first hand the treatment of young people suffering from cancer and also the standard of professionalism, care and treatment administered by the doctors, nurses and all staff at the Teenage and Young adult Unit.  My family lives and work in Manchester and we saw this as great opportunity to be able to give something back to the fantastic facility that is The Christie.  Many thanks to the Manchester Markets team who have worked so hard with us to make this happen.”

As well as the fantastic family entertainment, Cathedral Gardens will also feature a mouth-watering selection of food and refreshments all under the shadow of a beautiful hand-made windmill. From cookies and waffles, to bratwurst and mulled wine – the bigger kids will also be well catered for.