Let’s get festive!
The time is almost upon us. Traders from across the North West and Europe are preparing to descend on Albert Square, as Manchester is set to transform into the UK’s Christmas capital on Friday (November 9).
For the 19th year, a host of much-loved foodies and craft traders will return for Manchester’s Christmas Markets, including Porky Pigs, the creators of the life-changing Yorkshire pudding wrap, the Amsterdam Frites stall (boasting 30 different toppings and sauces over their triple cooked fries) and Zouk, a traditional curry house offering two new curries every day with a range of veggie and vegan options.
Sweet-toothed visitors will be spoilt for choice as first time trader Zara Cakes will be making cupcakes the star of the show, while Charlotte and the Chocolate Factory will be loading topping after topping onto fresh, warm brownies at her dessert stall of pure imagination.
Over in St Ann’s Square, a new Bubble Waffle bar will continue the sweet treats along with Ginger Vikings Deserts, who will be keeping things traditional with classic British favourites including Christmas puds and trifles.
Last year, Manchester was the most Instagrammed Christmas Market in Europe and market-goers will have their chance to be part of the celebration as St Ann’s Square will welcome the Birdie photo booth. Visitors will be able to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy picture in the vintage VW Campervan, after which they will get a free printout which will also be automatically shared to Twitter using #MCRChristmas.
New Cathedral Street will be keeping things classy with Bar No3 which will set up shop outside Harvey Nichols. Taking inspiration from modern ski-lodge architecture, the bar staff will be purveyors of all things fancy, including espresso martinis and honey cream infused gin cocktails. While over on King Street, Eat Grk will bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Manchester with warming gyros and halloumi fries.
Another key hub, Exchange Square will also host an eclectic range of food stalls from authentic Italian pizza and arancini to Elsie May’s Brownies and shimmering Rose Gold Prosecco. And of course, the traditional festive favourites – bratwurst and mulled wine – will be available in abundance.
Cathedral Gardens will be home to the market’s family-friendly area, where younger visitors will be able to escape the crowds and enjoy some free activities, including ice skating and Santa’s Grotto. The Gardens will also host the UK’s first Ice Village, complete with ice cavern, ice sculptures and frozen ice bar.
Limited edition Christmas Market mugs will also make a welcome return, featuring a new design (get yours quick, before they run out). And the undisputed king of Christmas in Manchester – the giant Santa – will take up his usual perch in front of the town hall and will be providing his unique insight into the city’s festivities over on Twitter. Follow him @MCRSanta.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said:
“After nearly twenty years our famous Christmas Market, they remain the biggest and most popular in the UK. Little wonder we remain Santa’s favourite city.
“We love exploring the new stalls each year while reminding ourselves of some of the long-running favourites – there’s no better way of getting into the Christmas spirit than a wander through Manchester city centre during the festive season.”