The UK’s original Christmas Market is set to return, bringing with it six weeks of festive feasting as it transforms Manchester City Centre for another season for all the family.
Manchester City Council led the Christmas Market boom being the first city to bring a European-style festive market to the UK in 1999, making this the 18th consecutive year!
Not only the first, but also the biggest Christmas Market in the country, Manchester’s award-winning yule tide attraction invites more than 300 traders to the city selling mouth-watering food and drink, and gifts from across the globe.
Traders from across the continent, as well as the North West, will begin selling their wares from Friday, 10 November until Wednesday, 20 December – open from 10am until 9pm daily – while the Christmas Market hub on Albert Square (with the imposing Manchester Town Hall providing the Victorian neo-gothic backdrop) will remain open until 6pm, 21 December
Each year, millions of visitors descend on Manchester eager to absorb the festive spirit and make a dint in that Christmas shopping list.
From traditional European foods – including, of course, the obligatory Bratwurst and Gluhwein – to street food culture conquerors, there is something to satiate every taste, and provide the much needed energy to finish off the Christmas shopping.
Sure to catch the eye, the ingenious Yorkshire Burrito has arrived in Exchange Square, bringing with it a new purpose built chalet by Manchester stalwart Porky Pig. For those who haven’t been following the online craze, the bold creation takes a giant rolled Yorkshire pudding with your favourite filling, and – with a European-twist – melded together using a Panini maker. The result just has to be imagined…
Building on their inaugural year success, Northern Soul are making a triumphant return to their Albert Square spot with much-lauded gourmet grilled cheese. Their Christmas dinner in a sandwich was one of the most popular bites from last year’s market, but this year the cheesy geniuses have doubled down with their own brand of hard shakes!
Also returning for only their second Christmas Market outing, Tikka Kebab Kitchen have signed up with some of the best Indian food in the city – and one of the best vegan curries going!
And for the beverages, Elsie May’s Tea Room in Exchange Square is leading the Prosecco charge with Rose Gold Shimmering Prosecco. Pudding is also a cinch with warm cookie dough and cream - an Elsie May special!
Or visit the Well and Spruce in Cathedral Gardens with their new espresso martinis, traditional hot meads, and superb hot chocolates.
But for the refined pallet it can only be the fine wines brought to Exchange Square by Del Mercato’s – who also do a pretty fine stone baked pizza… - Or real ales in Albert Square by Manchester Winter Ale House.
Albert Square will be overseen, as always, by the six tonne giant Santa who will take his usual perch above the market, lit by 100,000 energy efficient LED lights.
Santa will be back on twitter this year (follow him @McrSanta) providing a sometimes cheeky view of the festive season as Manchester’s largest Christmas character! He will also be the grand judge in a range of festive-themed competitions, so make sure you keep up with his feed!
Manchester's iconic Town Hall building is closing from 15 January 2018 until 2024 to enable a major programme of works to safeguard the Grade I-listed gem for future generations.
Visitors to the markets are being encouraged to take the opportunity to have a look around the much-loved building ahead of its temporary closure.
Regular visitors to Manchester’s Christmas Markets will notice more security measures designed to reassure the thousands of people who visit the attraction each year.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s no secret that we love Christmas in Manchester. The only shame is that our markets only open in November despite our petition to keep them open from summer through until spring.
“This year’s celebration will transform our city centre in to a winter wonderland and it’s a fantastic opportunity to bring the family together, visit the Christmas Markets, and get into the festive spirit!”
Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council’s executive member for schools, culture and leisure, said: “Manchester is a key time of year for retail in the city centre and we love how our markets create a wonderful Christmas atmosphere for visitors to Manchester. The markets are one of the biggest attractions in the country and help to complement the high street retailers, giving shoppers a real choice.”
And stay up to date on twitter with #MCRCHRISTMAS