So a few weekends ago, I decided I NEEDED to experience the Manchester Christmas Markets for myself after hearing so many rave reports about it! I would say I’m a rather festive person myself, I mean I did start watching Christmas films at the beginning of November but what’s the harm ey?!
Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year and it’s only right we celebrate properly and get ourselves in the festive mood properly! So that’s what I did!
I’m extremely lucky that my Mam’s good friend lives in Huddersfield which is only a thirty-minute journey to Manchester on the train! We arranged a weekend away with her and headed down a rainy, wintery Friday evening after work. From the North East, the drive to Huddersfield is only around 2 hours which isn’t too bad, and the traffic wasn’t bad at all! We arrived just in time for I’m A Celeb and enjoyed a few proseccos!
The following morning we got up and headed to Huddersfield train station. It was a very crisp, icy and cold morning but I was well wrapped up in multiple stylish layers from PrettyLittleThing, I mean just look at this gorgeous chunky cardie! Not forgetting my cosy Uggs from Jake Shoes. We grabbed the train to Manchester Victoria and it took just under thirty minutes to arrive.
From the minute I stepped off the train in Manchester, the festive joy hit me in the face. There was a live charity choir on in the train station singing traditional Christmas anthems then, as soon as you get out of the station the markets are just over the road.
We started at the side of the corn exchange which was less busy than the main markets and followed the trail of the cute little huts. The stalls are dotted all over really, the markets were launched in 1999 as just a single site in St Ann’s Square but now the markets are now a sprawling and hugely popular festive attraction that attract millions of visitors each year. Here’s a rundown of the where they all are:
– Albert Square which is the European market
– St Ann’s Square which is the German market
– Cathedral Gardens which is a family friendly market
– Kings Street which is the French market
– Exchange Square
– Market Street
– New Cathedral Street
– Brazennose Street
Here’s a map for those planning a trip.
There is an ice rink which is near the back of Cathedral Gardens, near the famous Arndale. It’s all light up so lovely and as you’re skating they blast Christmas songs!
We headed to one of the main bars when we arrived to get amongst the hustle and bustle and for an alcoholic hot chocolate of course. I went for the Orange Hot Chocolate which was rather strong if I do say so my self since it was mixed with Cointreau! It was delightful though! It was so lovely to see so many people turn out for the festivities. I then spotted a stall selling pancakes, now I LOVE crepes and very much have a massive sweet tooth so I couldn’t say no to these mini pancakes saturated in Nutella! These were probably the best things I’ve ever tasted. I advise everyone to give them a try!
I literally walked around all of the stalls and ate, there are so many exciting foodie stalls like cheese farmers where I actually picked up some Port and Red Wine cheese, which was delicious! I also chocolate overdosed with brownies, truffles and chocolate coated fruit. Walking around is hungry work, so it’s totally acceptable! There are so many independent retailers at the markets which are great to see, you could even buy real Christmas trees!
The stalls were reasonably priced and as was the food stalls. It’s no more than you’d pay in McDonald’s and it’s better food! The drinks were a little pricey but I didn’t mind and it is expected for Manchester.
We had such a lovely day in Manchester, I really didn’t want to leave but we managed to see them all. It’s wonderful to see so much energy and Christmas spirit, it’s honestly so magical for Children too.
The main Albert Square market is open from 10am to 9pm daily. All other sites will be open from 10am to 7.30pm in November and from 10am to 8pm in December. All bars and food areas will remain open until 9 pm. You can catch the markets right up until December 20.