Christmas they say, is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. And what better to get you in the festive mood than a trip to the Christmas Markets. Most cities have them, but one of our favourites has to be in Manchester (yes we are biased!). Here are 10 reasons you must visit the Manchester Christmas Markets.
1. They are the largest Christmas Markets in the UK
Manchesters Christmas Markets are huge. The main markets are located by the town hall under the watchful eye of Zippy, the resident Santa. But if you wander away from the square you will find market stalls snaking around the city centre streets. For full details and a map to guide you through click here.
2. The city comes alive at Christmas
It’s not just the markets, Manchester really embraces Christmas. There is an ice rink to get you in the Christmas mood, as well as some really cosy bars ready to shield you from that winter chill. Some of our favourites include Alberts Schloss a German themed bar, and the Oast House. The best thing about Christmas at the Oast House are the two teepees complete with fire pits, fairy lights, and festive drinks.
3. You can find the perfect presents
Explore the stalls at the Manchester Christmas Markets, and you can literally find a gift for everyone. Your best friend who loves candles? Sorted. Visit one of the home made candle stores. That person at work who is always cold? No problem. Head to the stall selling hot water bottles and microwavable bean bags. From Bonsai trees to hedge trimmers, to that Stone Roses clock you never knew you wanted. The market stalls have it all. Plus don’t forget the stalls filled with Christmas decorations and oversized Santas.
4. The Christmas Drinks
I’m not going to lie, my favourite thing about the Christmas Markets is getting to walk around with a mug of mulled wine in hand. There is nothing that gets you in the Christmas mood more! The baa humbugs of the group are also covered as you can order your German Lagers and even glasses of Prosecco. If you head into one of the designated bars you will find a large range of drinks. There are options such as Christmas punch, hot eggnog and of course your Bailey’s hot chocolate to name a few. Just don’t forget to return your mugs to get your deposit back. Or if you are like me you can take the mugs home, and be reminded of the Christmas Markets everyday for the next year.
5. The food, glorious food
You cannot say you have been to the Christmas Markets without feeling like you are in a food coma on the way home. Walking around the markets you literally want to eat everything (or maybe that is just us!). The Manchester markets stock all your traditional German market foods and then some. Highlights include the hot dogs and the hog roast rolls. This year the Yorkshire Pudding Burrito has everyone in the office talking. Just be warned you have to engage in Britain’s favourite past time and queue to get a taste. Another foodie favourite is the schnitzel burger pictured below because who can go to the German markets without eating schnitzel?
6. They can satisfy any sweet tooth
Dave is probably the only person I know with an insatiable sweet tooth. So when he gets to the Christmas Markets, watch out. We always end up walking home with bags stuffed full of chocolate brownies, and little Italian biscuits. This is of course after making our way through the markets eating mini pancakes and fresh macaroons.
7. There is a mixture of cultures
At the Manchester Markets you have a complete mix of cultures. You have the Dutch Cookie Man from Amsterdam in one stall, then the Paella stand. Turn down one of the side streets and you are face to face with the Yorkshire Pudding Burrito. All of this is mixed in with your traditional German Market stalls, to create something truly unique to the Manchester Markets.
8. You can buy so much cheese
My fellow cheese lovers will understand why this has its own bullet point. Seriously the cheese stalls are immense. You can totally get all the right ingredients for your Christmas cheese board here. You have French Cheese and Dutch cheese to choose from, as well, which is a Gouda-thing if you ask me (pardon my cheese humour).
9. It’s busy so the atmosphere is lively
I know sometimes crowds are not a good thing, and yes it can get annoying once your toes have been run over by the 27th pram of the day. BUT this also creates a great atmosphere, especially at the makeshift market bars. Everyone is usually really merry which creates a lovely pre-Christmas mood.
10. They are award winning
If you are still not convinced just remember that the Manchester Christmas Markets are award winning. They are frequently making the best Christmas Markets in Europe’s list. Don’t believe me? Just look at this sign!