This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Manchester Christmas Markets! And that needs to be celebrated, right? This year, the Markets will open on Friday November 8th and close on Sunday December 22nd. The markets will be open daily from 10 AM till 8 PM. Definitely enough time to visit one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe (ranked number 3 in Europe and number 1 in the UK).
About Manchester’s Christmas Market
Manchester Christmas Market is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) events in Manchester every year. It attracts thousands of people to the city centre each year and continues to grow. If you’re visiting Manchester during November and December, you’ll be able to find 300 stalls selling anything from hot foods, drinks, crafts, clothes and toys. The market covers most of the city centre, including Market Street, King Street, Exchange Square, Albert Square and St Ann’s Square. For the first time ever, Picadilly Gardens is also included in the markets! It’s hard to miss when visiting Manchester 😉
Christmas Light Switch On
Usually, the big Christmas Lights Switch On happens on Albert Square. But due to the current Town Hall renovations, the event has been moved to Deansgate (near the Cathedral). This will take place on Friday November 14th – a week after the opening of the Christmas Markets. Alongside the big light switch on, there will be live music and other entertainment.
Manchester Christmas Market Tips
If you’re planning on visiting the UK’s best Christmas Market this year, here are a few tips to make your trip even better.
1. Avoid the weekends
To maximize your fun at the Christmas Markets, try to avoid visiting on a weekend (Friday-Saturday-Sunday). Weekends attract many people from outside of Manchester for a fun day out at the markets. And believe me, it gets very, very busy. As a local, I tend to stay away from the city centre during weekends in November and December. It’s way too crowded. Instead, try to visit from Monday to Thursday, for a much better experience.
2. Get a mug as a souvenir
Manchester Christmas Market has a special design for their mugs every year. When buying a hot chocolate or mulled wine at one of the many stalls across the market, you can get one yourself. You pay £2.00 as a deposit when buying a drink. If you decide to keep your mug, you just keep it. If you do want your money back, you can return it at the stall again. Because the designs change every year, you can start a fun little collection of the Manchester Christmas Market mugs.
3. Bring Cash
Even though there are some stalls that do accept card, it’s always a good idea to take some cash. Especially the food vendors tend to only accept cash. If you want to avoid having to wait in line in front of an ATM, make sure to bring enough cash with you. Believe me, there aren’t enough cash machines in Manchester to help everybody that’s forgotten to take some notes with them.
4. Watch your valuables
Needless to say, in a place as crowded as the Manchester Christmas Markets you need to keep an eye on your valuables. Unfortunately, there will always be somebody looking for the opportunity to steal a purse, a phone or a credit card… Make sure to keep your valuable belongings out of sight and close to your body.
5. Head to the local pub
A freshly grilled bratwurst and a cup of steaming hot mulled wine definitely add to the Christmas spirit but also add towards an empty wallet. They’re pretty expensive! For the price of a small cup of mulled wine, you can get a full pint in one of the locals. Many local pubs and restaurants also sell mulled wine and cider during the festive season!
Are you planning on visiting Manchester Christmas Market this year?