Manchester Christmas Markets
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Manchester Christmas Markets Reviews
Manchester Christmas Markets Nov 19, 2011
Manchester puts a lot of effort into its Christmas markets. They are, according to the locals at least, one of the largest Christmas markets outside Germany and Austria, and aim for a similar sort of feel. And the markets are huge, with different parts of the city specialising in slightly different areas. Albert Square is the European Market, and home to the best burgers. King Street is French, Brazenose world goods and fair trade, St Ann’s Square German and Exchange Square is general. There is also an icerink in Spinningfields.
The markets are gorgeous, housed in little wooden sheds and decked in fairy lights. The goods on offer vary from tacky little decorations, through felted goods and wooly hats, sheepskin gloves, top quality jewellery by local designers, and art. There are also stalls full of salamis and cheeses. It’s a great place to finish off your Christmas shopping with interesting things. But the main point of the market, at least for most people I know, is a social one. In the gathering dark of winter, half the population of Manchester seems to visit for mulled wine with friends, snack foods (everything from goulash, gourmet burgers and racklette to crepes and chocolate dipped strawberries), and to wander about and get in each other’s way. There are lots of lovely things to drink – hot chocolate with Baileys in it, mulled wine, beer, and lots of options if you aren’t drinking. There is a lot of security, including private bouncers and the police, but I would guard my purse carefully in the crowds anyway.
The markets can get extremely crowded on Saturdays (worth bearing in mind if you hate crowds, have mobility problems or are likely to be pushing a pushchair). I saw some very frightened looking children in the markets, crying whilst their mothers used their little push chairs as ploughs through the crowds, forgetting that their little angels’ faces were at about bag height – please don’t do that!
Entrance is free.
All in all, a visit to the Christmas Markets is a wonderful part of the run up to Christmas, and well worth doing if you can’t get to Germany this year. They open towards the end of November and stay open until Christmas. Most markets stay open until at least 7pm, 9pm for the main one on Albert Square, and some of the wine stalls stay open until 9pm even if the rest of the market shuts.
Part of the 2011 - UK Hometowns travel blog
Part of the list Manchester and the North West
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Variety in stalls and weather Dec 08, 2011
I was somewhat chary of doing anything on the Christmas Markets in Manchester because markets are often considered more a woman's thing and my friend Sarah Elaine has done such a comprehensive review already. However my photos are generally different from hers and may give a fuller picture of the variety to be found in the markets now appearing in several newspapers as among Britain's best.
The Christmas Markets cosiderably post-date my 20 years teaching in Manchester and this year (2011) is the first time I have been. Needless to say it was a woman friend who steered me round. I am not in the least addicted to Gluhwein but otherwise I did find the food and drink among the most interesting. For me it was only rivalled by one spectacularly good photo stall, which the owner forbade me to photo; I don't blame her.
It would be easily possible to go through hundreds of pounds without touching any of the tourist tat that inevitably plays a part but I managed to only buy 100 grams of a wonderful ewesmilk cheese from the Basque Country. It was only yesterday but needless to say there is none of it left!
It should have been a chance for some really good photography had it not been that there was generally only time to point and snap before the next cloudburst.
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3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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