This is one of my favourite blogmas posts so far, as I think that it is so festive and such a fantastic way to get me into the Christmas spirit. A few weeks ago we went to the annual Manchester Christmas market, and it was the first time I have been despite them being so famous. Now I am in Manchester a lot (because my boyfriend lives there for university) I was so excited to go and experience it for myself. It is one of the biggest in the UK with 10 locations dotted around the city, and after going I would definitely recommend it. A perfect festive evening in the city!
We went at around 5pm, which I think is the perfect time to go as it is just getting dark and all the lights are turned on. It looks so pretty and sparkly! I think that it is so much better than during the day as it is such a crisp evening and felt so wintery, although to be fair we were very fortunate with the weather. I honestly love it as the whole atmosphere was so festive and christmassy. We also went midweek and I think that is one of my biggest tips, as on a weekend it is so busy and this means that it is hard to see everything that you want to without having to queue 80% of the time that you are there. When we went it wasn’t too busy and it meant that we could see everything that we wanted without it being too overwhelming and crowded (as that just gets too stressful and I end up just coming home). I know not everyone can go midweek due to other commitments but worth trying to plan a day that you can go during the week, as I think it is just a much better experience from start to finish.
Now onto the actual market itself. They are made up of over 300 traditional wooden huts dotted around the city filled with both shops and food retailers. It is the perfect place to go for little unique stocking fillers for your family and friends. There are so many things that I would pick up for people’s presents and cute items that you wouldn’t find anything else. The majority of the shops for Christmas presents were located in Albert Square, which is the main location for the Christmas market and also the location of the famous (and giant) light up Santa!
One of the main things about the market is the many choices of food and so many stalls with food that you can try. I noticed that the majority of the food was located outside of the Arndale centre and Selfridges at the corn exchange, so definitely head there first if you are needing some snacks on your Manchester day out. There are so many stalls with both sweet and savoury choices, so something for everyone to enjoy. There are plenty of traditional German food to try, but there is many other international food choices as well as some British essentials. Talking of British essentials, I really wanted to try the Yorkshire pudding wrap but the queue was too long, but thats definitely something I want to try and I think it would be worth queuing for if I had more time! There were so many different sweet stalls as well, from fudge to truffles and giant muffins. You could spend so much money! It is definitely worth going there hungry as you will definitely be leaving full.
One of my favourite things about the Christmas market this year is the official Christmas mugs. You put down a £3 deposit on any hot drink, and you receive a mug to enjoy it in. You can walk around the market with the mug filled with a festive drink and it makes it feel so christmassy, and its such a nice touch to the market. Plus you can take the mug home, or go back to the stall and get your £3 back at the end of the night. We ended up taking ours home because its a nice memory of the night and a good mug as well! We had hot chocolate but I really wanted to try the baileys hot chocolate as that sounds amazing. There were so many different festive drinks you could have, from hot chocolate to mulled wine.
The ice cavern was one of the things that we were most excited about for the evening but when we went to book it all of the tickets were already sold out, which was very disappointing. I wasn’t going to mention this because it seemed a bit pointless considering we didn’t go, but I thought to include it because if you wanted to go then I would definitely recommend booking it in advance. I want to go so badly though so if I can’t get there before the markets end in a few weeks, I am 100% going to make an effort to go next year. Will feature in next years blogmas perhaps? Planning already! I can’t stand ice skating but the ice rink was huge and if you enjoy that kind of thing then I would definitely recommend it. You can skate under so many twinkly lights and it would be such a magical place to go… if you like ice skating of course! We spent a while just watching people skate under the fairy lights, which was fun, and I tried to get some ‘artsy’ photos with my camera but that completely failed!!
So that was my evening spent at the markets, which I loved. It was much bigger than I expected and pretty overwhelming but equally so much fun and the atmosphere really put me into the festive spirit. It would make a perfect date night location in December! I think that this is one of my favourite blogmas posts so far, purely because I love how Christmassy all of the photos are and this time of year makes me so happy. The markets are still running and will be until Saturday 22nd (and Albert square is open an extra day, so you still have time to go if you are in the Manchester area. Let me know if you do as I would love to see some photos!