Manchester’s world famous Christmas Markets – brought to you by Manchester City Council – are soon to return for the 16th year in the UK’s capital of Christmas – and this year they come boasting new sites!
Well known as being the original, biggest and best Christmas Market in the UK, the festive season is one of the most anticipated with the markets being one of the city’s most enduringly popular attractions.
Beginning in 1999 with just a single site on St Ann’s Square, the Manchester Christmas Markets have grown year-on-year to attract thousands of traders to fill more than 300 stalls across nine market sites – including Market Street and Cathedral Gardens for the very first time.
Each of the nine Manchester Market sites are free to enter, as well as fully accessible for wheelchair users, and within close walking proximity to each other.
Traders throughout Europe, from Transylvania and Lapland to Spain and France (and of course Germany), will join local businesses from across the North West – each will be housed in beautiful, hand-crafted wooden chalets.
Manchester is currently undergoing a major transformation to improve transport across the city centre, which means the Christmas Markets have had the opportunity to expand to new, and as yet uncharted sites, while ensuring sites affected by the works – namely Exchange Square – still sparkle with festive spirit.
An expansion to Cathedral Gardens has long been an ambition for the Manchester Christmas Markets and will be the new home of the beautifully crafted, 16m high windmill – and sitting within the beautiful setting beneath the iconic National Football Museum and the medieval cathedral, this new site will be the perfect place to sip a warming Gluhwein.
The new Market Street site will complement the neighbouring high street shops with 28 stalls selling quality arts and crafts, along with superb Christmas gift ideas – marrying the ethos of independent traders with high street favourites beautifully.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s always said that Christmas comes earlier every year, yet every year it doesn’t come early enough in my opinion. The minute the Christmas Markets begin to arrive the city is transformed. A wonderfully festive atmosphere descends on Manchester and a layer of Christmas spirit settles on the streets.
“We love how the markets enhance our high streets, giving shoppers a range of options for their Christmas shopping – and when the city centre transformation is complete, the Manchester Christmas Markets will be bigger and better than ever!”
Regularly named as one of Europe’s best, last year the Christmas Markets attracted more than 9m to the city centre – including 1.5m people to the Albert Square site alone – generating millions of pounds for Manchester’s economy.
Despite the city centre transformation, Exchange Square will remain a busy Christmas Market site with a range of food and drink stalls to help any weary shopper make it through their festive shopping list.
St Ann’s Square – the original market site – is the traditional German heart of Manchester’s Christmas Markets, while the French Market will return to King Street. Both sites have proved popular in past years with market’s nocturnal clientele and embody the open air culture of the continent.
Close by, Exchange Street and New Cathedral Street will welcome back the coffee-house and covered German beer house for a successful third year.
Finally, Albert Square will once again be presided over by the much-loved giant LED lit Santa. Strolling around the market, overlooked by Manchester’s Victorian town hall, shoppers are transported in to Dickensian Britain and into a scene from A Christmas Carol.
And of course, the tweet-happy giant Santa will take his place above Albert Square – so get in touch @MCRsanta
Each market boasts the finest in gift ideas, including jewellery, ceramic, handmade toys, puppets, clocks, glassware, and a market favourite, the limited edition Manchester Christmas Market coffee and Gluhwein mugs.
Food lovers will once again be agog at the range of culinary delights on offer, more than ample to satisfy even the most fervent of festive foodies including several vegetarian options – with a chance to sample traditional delights from across Europe – including Gluhwein, liqueur coffee, macaroons, pancakes and bratwurst amongst many, many others.
Manchester Christmas Markets, Friday 14 November – Sunday 21 December
European Christmas Market, Albert Square
10.00am – 9.00pm daily
Opening times and locations for all other markets
November 10.00am – 7.30pm
December 10.00am – 8.00pm
Christmas Market, Market Street ***NEW FOR 2014***
Christmas Market, Cathedral Gardens ***NEW FOR 2014***
European Christmas Market, Albert Square
Christmas Market, Exchange Square
Arts and Crafts Market, Exchange Street
Christmas Market, New Cathedral Street
French Christmas Market, King Street with rotating weekend stalls.
German Christmas Market, St Ann’s Square
World Christmas Market, Brazennose Street
ALL BAR AND FOOD AREAS OPEN UNTIL 9.00pm