After being voted into the top 10 best Christmas Markets in Europe for 2014, Manchester is looking to take the top spot this year.
Manchester – which is regularly named one of the best in Europe – was the only UK city to be named in Europe’s top 10 last year and has now been nominated in the short-list for the 2015/16 award.
The award is run by influential travel website, European Best Destinations, which lists some of the most popular places to holiday across the continent.
Comments from visitors from the continent, given when casting their vote, praising last year’s market include:
"In a word: amazing! This Christmas market is both traditional and modern. It is friendly and huge! I come from the Netherlands just to see it and I have never been disappointed about it. It's really amazing."
"The reputation of the Christmas market in Manchester has gone beyond the borders of the United Kingdom for a long time. As to me it is one of the most beautiful ones in Europe and Manchester is a great destination for Christmas, for shopping too!"
"Manchester is a wonderful city to visit in December. People celebrate Christmas around the city and there are beautiful Christmas decorations. Do not miss it!"
Manchester Christmas Market spans 10 sites across the city centre with more than 350 stalls representing countries across the continent.
This year’s markets have introduced a family area in Cathedral Gardens for the first time offering a more open and spacious area for young people to enjoy the festivities away from the hubbub of the main squares.
The fun fair includes a vintage carousel built in 1896, which has many original features and has been owned by the operator for more than 60 years.
And as the sun sets, the Travelling Light Circus 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)
Market Street – after a plea from high street businesses – has expanded this year from a handful of stalls last year to more than 30 craft and gift stalls, showing how the Christmas Markets complement the high street and offer a real choice to shoppers.
And, of course, the icon of Christmas in Manchester, the Giant Santa presiding from his perch overlooking Albert Square returned this year full refurbished.
Having braved some wild winters since becoming a mainstay of the city’s yuletide celebrations since 2007, Santa has this year enjoyed a Christmas makeover, fully refurbishing his 10-metre figure to make his 90,000 LED lights sparkle.
Last year the markets attracted more than nine million people to the city centre, boosting the local economy by £90 million.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester Christmas Spokesperson, said: "We’re a modest lot in Manchester, but when we have something as exceptional as our Christmas Markets we can’t help but be proud and shout about it.
"We are regularly in the Top 10 Christmas Markets in the world and as we keep getting better and better we hope we can better our rating from last year – we’re looking at top spot and we believe the markets deserve it!"
Visitors to Manchester’s award-winning Christmas Markets can vote from Tuesday 1 December and will remain open for 10 days.
Vote for Manchester Christmas Markets: www.europeanbestdestinations.com/christmas-markets/manchester
Follow the Giant Santa and keep up with Christmas in Manchester @MCRsanta