Manchester’s Christmas Market is the largest in the United Kingdom. Unlike other Christmas Markets Manchester’s is not restricted to German stalls – it showcases products and food from around the world. You will get so much more variety by visiting Manchesters Christmas Market than others throughout Europe. Here is our guide for visiting this year and there are loads of amazing food stalls so make sure you come ready to eat!
This year the markets opened on Friday the 8th November and will be open right through the weekend before Christmas day. There are 8 different areas this year, here are the opening times for each area;
Cathedral Gardens – Friday 8 November to Sunday 5 January, 10am to 8pm
Exchange Square – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 8pm
New Cathedral Street – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 8pm
Market Street – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 8pm
Piccadilly Gardens – Friday 8 November to Sunday 22 December, 10am to 8pm
St Ann’s Square – Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 8pm
King Street – Friday 8 December to Saturday 21 December, 10am to 8pm
Albert Square – Friday 8 November to Sunday 22 December, 10am to 9pm.
We like to start in Exchange Square and work our way towards Albert Square when we’re visiting Manchester Christmas Markets. The nearest train station to here is Victoria Train Station.
If you’re heading to Exchange Square from Victoria Station you will pass through the first area of the market – Cathedral Gardens. In this area you will find the Ice Village which consists of the Ice Cavern with loads of hand carved ice sculptures, an Ice Tiki Bar and Santa’s Grotto. You can also ice skate here. All of the activities in the Ice Village require a ticket which you can buy through their website or in person when you arrive.
We tend to skip the Ice Village when we’re visiting Manchester Christmas Markets so the first place we visit is Exchange Square – where there’s loads of stalls selling gifts, crafts and most importantly food!
We did say that Manchesters Christmas Market is more than just another German market and you will see that straight away in Exchange Square. Here you will find a pizza stall, a fudge stall and a very British stall where you can get a roast dinner wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding.
New Cathedral Street
From Exchange Square head down New Cathedral Street. You can’t get lost at this point, the stalls are set up to almost heard you in that direction.
There are plenty more food stalls on New Cathedral Street. One we hadn’t seen before was Eat New York. They have some tasty street food offerings on a short but varied menu. We chose the Goofie fries which were topped with garlic, cheese and coriander and tasted amazing!
Further along New Cathedral Street after we had finished our Goofie fries we stopped for our first Baileys hot chocolates. You can get theses at any of the market locations across the city. You need to pay £3 deposit for you mug but if you don’t want to keep it you get the £3 back when you return the mug. We usually keep them but we now have so many we gave ours back this year!
Market Street & Piccadilly
New for 2019 the Manchester Christmas Markets have expanded, extending from Market Street into Piccadilly Gardens. It’s here in Piccadilly Gardens that you will find the new Father Christmas.
The new Father Christmas in Piccadilly Gardens is the start of moving the main square of the Christmas Markets from Albert Square. Next year Piccadilly will take over from Albert Square as the main hub of the Christmas Markets while building work is undertaken in Albert Square. The work is expected to last until 2024 so Piccadilly is expected to be the new hub for the next few years!
We were expecting more to be going on in Piccadilly because of this but were left a bit disappointed. There are around 10 stalls here and a snow globe bar, as well as the new Father Christmas but that is it. The regular food market is still running in Piccadilly Gardens but that’s not related to the Christmas events – though it’s worth looking at anyway, you can get a great falafel wrap there.
Head back down Market Street the way you came to get back on the Christmas Market trail.
St Ann’s Square
St Ann’s Square is like a mini hub for Manchesters Christmas Market and it has got more of the typical German feel that you would expect from Christmas Markets across Europe.
In St Ann’s Square you can find one of the salami stalls – we always buy a bag of salami’s from one of these stalls £10 for one of everything they sell and it’s all good quality. You can even try before you buy!
It’s also here in St Ann’s Square that you can find the Hoffbrau bar selling genuine Hoffbrau beer from Munich. You can grab a bratwurst from the same bar as they have a swinging grill there too.
A must stop for us can also be found in St Ann’s Square this year – a crepe stall. We had a Nutella and white chocolate crepe to share. Very sweet and very tasty!
Next to the crepe stall was a stall selling huge deep dish cookies that looked almost like cakes, we hadn’t seen these before. I was tempted to get one to try but after so much food already we couldn’t face it! Let us know if you get one and what it’s like.
Between St Ann’s Square and Albert Square don’t miss walking through King Street. More food stalls are located here as well as another bar and craft stalls.
If you are wanting a more quiet vibe and a higher chance of getting a seat in one of the bars then stop off at the bar on King Street before heading into the main hub of the markets. The Albert Square area is always the busiest of the Manchester Christmas Markets as it is the main hub for the duration of the event.
Albert Square, the main hub of the markets. A must stop for everyone visiting Manchester Christmas Markets and you would be forgiven for thinking that all of the stalls were in this one square – it is huge.
The Windmill bar takes centre stage as usual and it’s as busy as ever but a welcome escape from the rain. If you are not familiar with Manchester then make sure you bring your rain coat, it does tend to be grey and rainy more often than not regardless of the season.
In Albert Square you can find lots of craft stalls, check out Lakeland Artisan who make loads of sauces, soft drinks and liqueurs. There are also many more food stalls if you haven’t had your fill already!
We hope you enjoy visiting Manchester Christmas Markets this year! It is definitely our favourite and a perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.