As we begin to embark on what’s looking to be a cold, dark Autumn/Winter, our favourite venues are beginning to crack out the fairy lights, bringing the Christmas spirit a little early. And boy, do we need it. Bringing the festive cheer by the bucket load, Escape to Freight Island in Manchester will transform into a magical Winter Island once again, with tons of fun things in store for guests to enjoy throughout the winter.
Opening on Saturday 12th November, the local favourite Depot Mayfield food hall will become one of the city’s biggest winter wonderlands, with a host of new festive traders popping up especially for Christmas – including Great North Pie Co., grilled cheese connoisseurs Northern Soul, a Bratwurst Grill, a traditional Hog Roast, local chocolatiers Cocoa Cabana and an artisanal cheese stall.
In addition to Escape to Freight Island’s existing bars, a Mulled Wine Barrell Bar will serve the classics, as well as a special Vimto mulled wine. An Après Bar from Grey Goose will also be added to the bar line-up, plus a brand-new pub-inspired Freight Tap Room serving the finest draft and craft beers.
Combining the traditional Christmas market-style experience with an epic programme of live entertainment, guests will be able to immersive themselves in a whole host of festive magic, with live music and DJs. So far, Norman Jay MBE, Greg Wilson, Dele Sosimi, DJ Paulette, Crazy P, Krysko, and a special takeover from Flash at Pikes Ibiza have been confirmed for the winter programme.
Live performances will see spectacular rosters from Massaoke, Hip Hop Karaoke, The House and Garage Orchestra, AMC Gospel Choir, The Incredible 11, Finesse. Also happening throughout the season, is the Festival of Football, for those who want to keep up with the World Cup where all England games will be shown on the big screen.
Over at the heated outdoor space, Winter Island will host its very own winter market. Perfect for gifting this season, the winter market will be home to Gra-Design who specialises in handcrafting, minimalistic contemporary homewares and ceramics; MissPrint for exceptional stationary, gift wraps and cards; Rare Finds Flea Market for vintage and handmade pieces; Zara Cakes for tasty treats; and screen printing available for t-shirts, bag printing and more.
For those who want to get creative and create their own masterpieces, Winter Island has teamed up with various workshop organisers. Wonderhaus will craft jewellery, macramé, jesmonite; Cork and Canvas as well as Cork and Clay will offer their signature art classes; Sally Guilford from Salford Makers will host a screen-printing class; plus, wreath and candle making available.
Furthermore, those visiting as a family will enjoy a series of family fun happenings with their own dedicated family zone. Winter Island will host the likes of Santa’s Grotto, pop up pantomimes, cinema club and more, as well as hosted events with Teach Rex, Our Kids Social, Circus House.
Taking place underneath the twinkling Manchester stars, the specially decked-out venue is set to be the perfect place to socialise during the festive season, with a ‘forest’ of Christmas trees surrounding and tons of fantastic food vendors to try out. Plus, there will be a brand new ice rink in the sky to add to all the magic, with details to be announced soon.
Open between November 12th and December 24th, bookings for Winter Island in Manchester are open now, and you can snap up a table before they’re gone here.
Escape to Freight Island can be found at 11 Baring Street, M1 2PZ and opening hours are 4pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 1am Friday, 12pm to 1am Saturday, 12pm to 10pm Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. New Year’s Eve special will be announced soon.
Walk-ins are available day-to-day, however, be sure to book to avoid disappointment.