Manchester Christmas Markets
Open from 10 November – 21 December 2023
You don’t have to walk far in Manchester city centre to find one of the many Christmas markets that pop-up in November and December.
They began life 25 years ago in 1998 with the German Markets in Albert Square and have gradually expanded over the years. In 2023, there are nine sites and over 200 stalls selling everything from churros to candles to Yorkshire pudding wraps.
With Albert Square still out of action due to the Town Hall renovations, the epicentre this year is the Winter Gardens at Piccadilly Gardens – the iconic Christmas windmill is found here. But you’ll also find little wooden huts all along Market Street, King Street, New Cathedral Street, in St Annes Square, Cathedral Gardens, the Corn Exchange and Exchange Square (which is home to the winter ice rink too).
While some take a bah-humbug attitude to the markets (the prices and the busyness are the main irks) you can’t help but enjoy the festive atmosphere they bring during the darkest months of the year.
The air is scented with the smell of mulled wine and spicy sausages, of pancakes, sugar and cinnamon, and on fine days, there are plenty of places to sit outside and enjoy your treats.
Christmas shoppers can find gifts from local and international craftspeople such as amber jewellery, leather bags, Provencal soaps, Italian sweets, and traditional tree decorations. You can spend a good few hours working your way around the twinkly stalls, gathering unique finds for your present list.
The craft stalls are open daily from 10am till 8pm, while food and drink stalls open from 11am till 9pm. A trip to the Christmas markets is a popular night out in Manchester; wrap your hands around a mug of warm cider or hot chocolate and soak up the festive vibes.