Manchester Christmas Markets are finally open for another year of festive fun.
Last year’s Winter Gardens attraction at Piccadilly Gardens proved somewhat of a surprise hit, replacing Albert Square as one of the key locations due to ongoing renovation work on the latter. And the Winter Gardens are back this year for more food, drink and fun as the popular ski chalet set up returns - this time with new tipi tents too.
As well as Piccadilly Gardens, the 2022 Christmas Markets are also be spread over Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange, and King Street. And Big Santa - the huge illuminated Father Christmas above Central Library - will return when he is lit up once more on 15 November.
With over 220 stalls across nine sites throughout the city centre, you may need a map of Manchester Christmas Markets to get around - here’s one below showing where all the key locations are.
The Christmas markets opened on Thursday 10 November and will close on Thursday 22 December. Stalls open at 10am and while food and drink stalls close by 9pm, others selling crafts and gifts and other items will shut at 8pm.
How to get to Manchester Christmas Markets - nearest tram stops
The nearest Metrolink tram stop to the Winter Gardens is Piccadilly Gardens. However, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) says it expects “additional crowding at this stop” during peak times at the markets - so you may wish to jump off at another stop within walking distance such as Market Street if you find it very busy. Winter Gardens is also an easy 5-10 minute walk from Piccadilly Railway Station is you are arriving from outwith the city centre.
For other Christmas Market locations, you can get a tram to the Exchange Square stop for attractions nearby, or the St Peter’s Square stop to catch Big Santa outside the Central Library. The Victoria and Shudehill Metrolink stops will get you close to the Cathedral Gardens attractions, including the ice rink.
TfGM has also reminded visitors that from Tuesday 22 to Tuesday 29 November, work will take place to repair tracks and no trams will operate from Piccadilly station to St Peter’s Square between these dates.
Here’s a handy Metrolink tram map below, and for latest updates on public transport, see TfGM’s website here.
Manchester Xmas Markets 2022 - where are the nearest toilets?
There are a series of public toilets the council recommends you can use if you are caught short while enjoying the Christmas fayre (subject to opening hours on the day of your visit.)
They are: at the Winter Gardens in Piccadilly Gardens; Cathedral Gardens next to the windmill and in the National Football Museum; the Arndale shopping centre (off Market Street); Marks and Spencer on Market Street; and McDonalds or the Royal Exchange Theatre in St Ann’s Square.
Disability access at Manchester Christmas Markets
The council says extra measures have been put in place this year to ensure there are fully accessible toilets, along with changing facilities, throughout the city centre across the route of the markets.
Winter Gardens include a fully accessible toilet and changing facility via radar keys, and a shower with a track hoist and tail lift. People will need to bring their own fitted sling. There will also be a dedicated priority seating for people with disabilities in the Winter Gardens, in front of Bar Humbug.
The public toilets on Mount Street also offer a fully accessible toilet and changing facilities. Disabled toilets can also be found in McDonald’s in St Ann’s Square, Royal Exchange Theatre, Marks and Spencer, National Football Museum, Arndale Shopping Centre at the Market Street entrance, Cathedral Gardens - next to the Windmill and in Central Library and toilets will next to the Globe Bar.
And finally the ice rink at Cathedral Gardens (Skate MCR) is fully accessible to wheelchair users every day on and off the rink.
Coun Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesman said: “Manchester’s Christmas magic is for everyone, which is why making sure all our festive fun is accessible is so important to us. We want to make sure no-one is excluded from any of this and that everyone can enjoy what’s on offer right across the city and not just in one location.”
For more information, see the city council’s website here.