Sure, the famous Manchester Christmas Markets are the flagship of the festive season here in the city. But if you’re tired of the same old sights after visiting season after season, there’s plenty more to see and do outside of those lined-up timber chalets. From quaint and Christmassy food markets to perfect independent gift stalls, here’s our guide to the best alternative Christmas markets taking place in Manchester this year.
1. Habas Christmas Market
Offering something a little different from the usual seasonal feastings, modern Middle Eastern bar and restaurant Habas is getting into the festive spirit with the launch of its very own Christmas market. Joining traders on King Street, the restaurant is serving a selection of the restaurant’s signature seasonal dishes. Guests popping down to the covered market can choose from one of three savoury dishes – Moroccan Style Chicken Tagine Curry; Moroccan Style Vegetable Tagine Curry; and Chargrilled Lamb Merguez Burger in Pitta- and keeping with tradition, mugs of spiced mulled wine will also be flowing at the pop-up restaurant. Habas Christmas Market, outside El Gato Negro, 52 King St, M2 4LY.
2. Escape to Freight Island
Escape to Freight Island’s ‘Winter Island’ has proven to be a massive hit already, and luckily for us Mancs, it’s sticking around for the whole festive season. Home to a Christmas tree forest, an ‘ice rink in the sky’ and tons of festive food traders, Winter Island is the perfect alternative to the markets for those who prefer the foodie element of the festive season. Think Northern Soul’s beloved Crimbo Dinner grilled cheese, proper bratwurst and so much more. Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, M1 2PZ.
3. Maker’s Market (MediaCityUK and Northern Quarter)
Offering an alternative from the usual festive huts of the city centre, The Maker’s Markets in Manchester and Salford continue throughout the festive season, with a wonderful market taking place this Sunday 11th December in the Northern Quarter and MediaCityUK’s taking place over numerous dates in the lead up to Christmas. Find the Quayside Maker’s Markets at MediaCityUK during these dates: Friday 25th, Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th November; Thursday 1st, Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th December; Friday 9th, Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th December; and Friday 16th, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th December. There, guests will be able to shop unique gifts from local, independent traders, ranging from food, gifts, art and so much more.
If you happen to miss this market, you’ll find it popping up in Chorlton on Saturday 17th, West Didsbury and Sale on Sunday 18th and Stockport on Saturday 10th and 11th December.
Decking out their urban shipping container village with festive neon and glowing lights aplenty, you’ll find a whole host of incredible Christmassy food and drink offerings at Hatch . Plus, there’s a roster of entertainment and workshops, all to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Traders have gone all out for the festive season, too, with festive parmos on offer, sweet treats and plenty of winter-themed tipples to go around. In addition to food, guests can shop at various independent shops while visiting Hatch, too, with vintage clothing, jewellery, vinyl and so much more on offer. Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, M1 7ED.
5. Ducie Street Warehouse
Ducie Street Warehouse is currently hosting a very wholesome roster of events, including lovely alternative Christmas markets every weekend where local indie businesses can set up shop and sell their unique gifts. Accompanied by DJ sets, Disco Brunches, yuletide workshops, and of course, festive food courtesy of the wonderful restaurant, Ducie Street Warehouse is the perfect destination this Christmas for those looking to escape the busy streets of the main market. Ducie Street Warehouse, Ducie St, M1 2TP.
6. Ancoats Pop-Up
Ancoats Pop-Up, well known for its outdoor markets at Cutting Room Square and KAMPUS, is bringing the city of Manchester its biggest indoor Christmas Fair this winter. Taking place from November 19 then every Saturday and Sunday up until the week before Christmas, visitors to Canton House in Manchester’s Chinatown can expect 50 independent traders filling three floors of the building. Plus, there will be a cafe and creative workshops by Manchester Urban Digger (MUD) alongside evening entertainment and cocktails by Witch Kings Rum. This market is also perfect for those who prefer to browse in a quieter environment than the Manchester Christmas Markets. Canton House, 34 Princess Street, M1 4JY.
Plus the Christmas Fair is not all that the Manchester independent pop-up has up its sleeves as they’ll also be hosting alternative Christmas markets at KAMPUS between November 11 and December 18. Taking over The Bungalow, Ancoats Pop-Up will be bringing a little slice of The North Pole and offering a carefully curated selection of handmade crafts and foods for you to buy. There will be hot drinks for you to enjoy whilst checking out the shop and keeping warm on those long winter days. In the evening, the pop-up will be hosting their Craft Club where you can join a local creative in making your own Christmas gifts this year. From wreath shaping to candlestick making they will have a great selection of workshops for you to book onto this year. KAMPUS, Aytoun St, M1 3GL.
GRUB has rounded up an array of Manchester makers and creatives and putting together a gorgeous festive market for Sunday 4th December. This market will have a strong focus on sustainability, supporting local and small independent businesses. As part of the day you can expect over 15 stalls from local small businesses selling a variety of sustainable gifts including art, jewellery, homewares, skincare, food, vintage and more. Plus there will be a wreath making workshop with Blossom Flowers, plant powered street food from Jeyda’s Turkish Kitchen, Marley’s Pizza, Nina’s Taco Truck and Dohlightful, alongside hot drinks, mulled wine and boozy winter warmers from Alchemic Coffee’s garden bar pop-up and more.