This article is part of a series which researches the top cities for Christmas Markets in Europe. In this series, Manchester was recognised as the 3rd most coveted Christmas Market from a list of over 500 European cities.
About Manchester Christmas Markets
If you’re looking for some festive cheer, Manchester plays host to one of the biggest and best Christmas Sehenswürdigkeiten outside of Germany, with more than 300 wooden chalets spread across 10 different locations throughout the city.
Originally introduced to the city in 1999, the Christmas markets have grown bigger and better each year, attracting Europe’s finest street food vendors and crafters. It’s a great place to buy Yuletide gifts, such as fine jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and artisan soaps. Your taste buds will also be tantalised with so many wide ranging food options on offer, including things like German bratwurst, hog roast, Spanish paella and Dutch pancakes. Yum!
Thought Christmas markets were just for December? This year the Christmas Markets will run from Friday 9th November to Saturday 22nd/23rd December in Manchester city centre, so there’s plenty of time to don your best Christmas jumper, drink mulled wine and chow down on pretzels.
-12% / Promo Code: XMAS18
Since Manchester’s Christmas Markets (or Manchester Sehenswürdigkeiten) are scattered all over the city, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you plan your visit:
Dates: November 9 – December 22 (December 23 for Albert Square)
Opening hours: the Albert Square Market usually runs from 10am until 9pm. Check the following website for opening hours of other markets.
Locations: Cathedral Gardens, Market Street, Exchange Square, Corn Exchange, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, King Street, St. Ann’s Square, Brazennose Street
Manchester Christmas Markets 2018
Watched over by a giant illuminated Santa Claus, the market in Albert Square is the main place to eat, drink and be merry, with the largest bars and two rows of stalls. To get the best view, grab a beer on the second floor of the two-storey Windmill Bar, which has a nice little terrace where you can watch all the action below. If you’re popping out for a quick lunchtime break from work or an after work catch-up with friends, this is the place to go.
Up by Manchester Cathedral, Cathedral Gardens usually plays host to an ice rink and funfair, and is the most family-friendly area at the Christmas Markets. The atmosphere here is more relaxed than Albert Square but still has some great food and drink options, including mulled gin and prosecco for the adults.
Being the city’s major shopping thoroughfare, Market Street is definitely worth a visit if you need to shop from high-street stores. The pedestrian street is also lined with several chalets selling gifts, should you wish to stop and buy something a bit more unique.
Corn Exchange & Exchange Square
The Corn Exchange is the oldest grade II listed building in Manchester and was originally used as a corn exchange, hence the name. The area outside the front of the building by Selfridges and the Arndale Centre is a popular Christmas Market spot, with a range of arts and craft stalls selling gifts such as scarves, hats and Christmas baubles. This area is also easily accessible as it’s right by Exchange Square tram stop.
-12% / Promo Code: XMAS18
St. Ann’s Square
In St Ann’s Square you’ll find the market’s oldest gluhwein stall, Manke Markets, as well as a bunch of other street food vendors selling cheeses, gingerbread, chocolate fruits, salamis and other artisanal products. There’s a good mixture of food and gift options, plus permanent seating where you can sit down with the family and enjoy a snack from one of the stalls.
Soak up the atmosphere at Manchester’s most upmarket shopping street, King Street, is lined with stalls selling a mixture of Italian and French produce. Food lovers can purchase things like Italian cheeses, panettone, cured meats, macaroons, crêpes and French saucisson.
If you’re feeling peckish and Albert Square is a little too busy for you, head down nearby Brazennose street, which has an array of interesting food stalls selling everything from fish and chips to pick ‘n’ mix and Christmas pudding gin. Expect plenty of traditional foods too, including goulash, schnitzel and bratwurst.
Exchange Street and New Cathedral Street
Situated between Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, Exchange Street has a stretch of chalets selling Christmas gifts such as soaps, jewellery and toffee vodka. New Cathedral Street nearby has more of the same, so it’s an ideal spot for anyone looking to buy presents. Here you’ll also find the Witch House, which serves bratwurst and hot toddies to hungry shoppers.
-12% / Promo Code: XMAS18
Our top tips
Remember your deposit – you’ll have to pay a deposit for your mulled wine glass, so don’t forget to give it back before you leave, unless you want to keep it as a souvenir of course!
Bring cash – While some of the vendors take credit/debit cards, many still only take cash, so make sure you get some cash before you arrive. Sometimes the nearest ATM can be a bit of a trek from the festival sites, so best to do it on the way.
Visit on a weekday – Albert Square can be really packed on weekends, which makes for a very fun vibe. However, if you don’t want to stand in line for a mulled wine, the best time is on a weekday before people get off work.