Manchester’s Magical Christmas Markets

It wouldn’t be Christmas for our family without a visit to our beloved Manchester, a northern city that certainly knows how to put on the sparkle over the festive period.  Christmas markets are to be found all over the city centre and when darkness falls the little wooden huts take on even more of a magical charm with their flickering fairy lights and the aroma of mulled wine and sizzling sausages filling the air.

Manchester Christmas Ice Rink
Winter Gathering Ice Rink Manchester

We commenced our evening at the Winter Gathering, a new venue for this year’s ice rink now located in the courtyard of the historic old London Road Fire Station.  In this cosy setting, the skating rink is surrounded by a small Christmas market and several stalls selling delicious street food.  In one corner, a band played festive tunes, adding some Yuletide cheer.  The ice rink is located behind Piccadilly Railway Station, it’s  entrance being through an arch adorned with Christmas trees.  The rink was scheduled to remain open until 8th January but is closing early most likely because it’s tucked out of the way.  Hopefully when renovations to Piccadilly Gardens are complete, the ice rink will be able to return there next year.

Bar area at Manchester Christmas Market
Bar at Winter Gathering Ice Rink

From here, we headed across town to Albert Square where a large European Christmas market takes places in front of the magnificent Manchester Town Hall.  It was bustling with activity with inviting little wooden stalls offering everything from baubles to Dutch cheese.  A huge illuminated Santa Claus presides over the market and who could resist Bratwurst cooking on the grill accompanied by warming mugs of mulled wine, for us it’s the perfect pre Christmas treat.

Manchester Christmas Market, night time
Festive fun at Albert Square, Manchester

Moving on, we strolled the short distance to the elegant St. Ann’s Square where we found a picturesque German market with its own beer hall and wooden stalls filled with tempting sausages, stollen and lebkuchen.  It’s hard to believe that back in 1999 when the first Christmas Market came to Manchester, it consisted of one single row of huts along here and now it has grown to one of the largest and most popular markets in the country.

German Christmas market stalls, Manchester
German Market, St. Ann’s Square, Manchester.

Around the corner from St. Ann’s Square we were tempted with pain au chocolat in the French Market as well as buying some cheese to take home with us.  Just by strolling from street to street we could taste the flavours of France, Germany and Holland making for a splendid evening out!

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41 thoughts on “Manchester’s Magical Christmas Markets

  1. It would be good to visit a long standing Christmas market. They are only coming into fashion here recently and I have been to one in Vancouver and one in Edmonton, but nothing like the Christmas markets in Europe. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. aballetoflife

    As a girl living in Germany who grew up near Manchester, I am happy to see you enjoying the German markets in Manchester xxx Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We went to the Winter Gathering – our son was skating there with friends and we watched. I loved the ambiance and atmosphere (this was late afternoon), shame it is having to close early but I must admit it was quite a trek to get there!! We walked from the other side of the city.

    Liked by 1 person

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