The complete Manchester Christmas Markets guide including dates, times, stalls and food and drink prices
Christmas initially kicks off in Manchester with the arrival of the brilliant markets across the city.
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The most wonderful time of the year is here - and that of course means the return of Manchester's iconic Christmas Markets.
You won’t have to wait until it’s time to crack open the advent calendar to enjoy the markets, which will open on Friday 10 November for their 25th year. As in previous years, the markets will be taking over locations across the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange and King Street. In total, there will be 225 markets stalls.
The festivities extend beyond the markets with the return of Festive Sundays (26 November, 10 December and 17 December) and the Christmas Parade, taking place on 3 December. The city centre will also be decorated with festive lights and the giant Santa will be occupying his usual spot atop the Central Library.
Here is everything you need to know about the Christmas markets and events, including dates, times and locations.
Manchester Christmas Markets locations and what to expect
Each section of the markets is unique in terms of what’s on offer. Here is a breakdown of what to find in each location.
AKA Piccadilly Gardens. This is the main hub of the markets, having taken over from Albert Square a few years ago due to the ongoing renovation work. The Scandi style tipi is making a comeback, complete with log fire and live entertainment every night. This is where you will also find the four-metre Manchester Christmas Windmill, as well as snacks and refreshments from around the world, including churros, Korean corndogs, and Greek gyros.
St Ann’s Square and Exchange Street
This was where the first Christmas Market stalls set up in their inaugural season back in 1998. Here you will find stalls like the Manchester Shop, continental cheeses, and alien sculptures, and food offerings such as paella, bratwurst, or salt and pepper chicken from Yard and Coop.
This row of 40 stalls will be selling a variety of different crafts and gifts, perfect for last-minute gift ideas, like tweed hats, spiced rum, Christmas decorations and candles, to jewellery, gift sets of cheese truckles and much more. There will also be a stall selling Manchester coconut macaroons fresh from the oven.
Europe will be well represented on King Street, thanks to Italian deli Ballaro, which will be serving up cannelloni and arancini and popular tapas restaurant El Gato Negro, which will have a designated seating area outside its stall. There will also be a French soap stall, personalised tree decorations, handmade wooden furniture and the Salford Rum Company.
New Cathedral Street
The traders in this area of the markets will be selling high-end items such as handmade candles, ceramics, local spirits, and thoughtful keepsakes. You will also find beer and currywurst at The Witch House, burritos from Mango Rays, and ‘Parmo’ from Parmageddon.
This is one of the larger sites for the Christmas Markets and they will be offering. You can head over to The Mill Exchange with their Mancunian mulled wine made on site and enjoy the Manchester artwork on their walls. One of the most popular stall of recent years, Porky Pig, are returning with their famous Yorkshire pudding wrap. There will be other food options, such as birria bowls, hot curries, mini pancakes and fresh fudge, and gift options like clothing, soaps, boutique babywear and local crafts.
The Corn Exchange
There will be even more unique gifts on sale here, including handmade pies, Nepalese woollen jumpers, handmade jewellery, Christmas decorations made from recycled wood, photo frames, artisan chocolates and much more.
This is great area for family fun as this is where you will find the Skate Manchester ice rink. There will also be free live entertainment hosted every Thursday to Sunday all the way up to New Year’s Eve. Food and drink options include authentic crepes, gourmet hotdogs, hot chocolate, and much more.
How much will food and drink cost at Manchester's Christmas Markets?
On opening day, we had a look around Winter Gardens to see how much stuff is going to cost this year. By and large, you're looking at 50p to a £1 more than 12 months ago.
When are Manchester's Christmas Markets open?
The markets will open on Friday 10 November and close on Thursday 21 December.
All stalls will be open daily. The craft stalls will be open from 10am-8pm, and all the bars and food stalls will be open 11am-9 pm. The food and drink stalls at Cathedral Gardens (by the ice rink) will stay open until 31 December.
The giant Santa will only be appearing at St Peter’s Square after Remembrance Sunday in November.
The Skate Manchester ice rink will be open for Christmas-themed skate sessions from 2 November to 2 January, but it will be open from 27-31 October for the Halloween-themed Scare Skate.
What has Manchester City Council said about the markets?
Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: "Christmas is looking even better than ever in Manchester this year, with the opening of our world-famous Christmas markets now only three weeks away and a stocking rammed full of things for all the family to see and enjoy over the festive season, including our magical Manchester Christmas Parade.
"And what a special year for our world-beating markets! Hard to believe it was exactly 25 Christmases ago that Manchester’s first-ever Christmas market took place. A quarter of a century later and the markets bring visitors from quite literally all over the world to fill upon the fantastic festive treats on offer. Everyone knows Manchester is the city that Santa loves best and we just can’t wait to share all the Christmas fun and festivities with everyone."