Tinsel, tequila, and tipsy ice skating – what could go wrong?
Although the usual Albert Square markets have been replaced by scaffolding and traffic cones (not very Christmassy we know) Manchester’s fomo means that it’s crammed a Christmas market on just about every other corner and crevice of the city.
Not to be left out like Kev from Home Alone, the burbs are also bringing some market-fuelled Christmas magic this winter with their town hall stalls and garden marquees. If you’re after a handmade stocking filler, or simply need your fix of mulled wine and bratwurst, these stands, markets and fairs have got you covered from now til the big day.
Read on for a round-up of Greater Manchester’s Christmas markets 2021.
Kings Street and Deansgate Square|The Pop-Up Club Christmas Markets|1 November – 24 December
Gracing King Street with all things merry and bright, The Pop-Up Club is back with a festive Christmas pop-up shop that stocks everything from cards to kids prints. Some of the brands on offer include 71 MANC and Bobbins Broider, both of which are bossing the indie business game with their creative gifts and garms.
The Pop-Up Club’s ‘Meet the Maker’ workshops also allow you to get your Christmas craft on and chat with fellow creatives, with the option to take part by yourself or work together as a team of little helpers to make your Xmas shopping that bit more homemade. If a market is more your style, then these will also be held at Deansgate Square every weekend from 27 November – 12 December.
King Street and Deansgate Square
Ramona & The Firehouse|Winter Village|4 November – 31 December
Sack Lapland and The North Pole, Ancoats is the real hub for Christmas magic this season as Ramona & The Firehouse bring us a village filled with pine trees, campfires, and tequila slammers. Like the Christmas gift that keeps on giving, Ramona is also serving up its signature Detroit pizza menu, a dance floor and winter terrace, and a whole load of cosy festoon lighting. Bookings are now open, but winter walk-ins are available too.
Ramona, 40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG
Hatch|Sustainable Christmas Market|6 November
If all that wrapping paper and disposable packaging make your sustainable skin crawl, Hatch and Stretford Market are bringing you a leaner and greener Xmas market collab filled with diverse food and ethical artisans. As every business involved focuses on the environmental ethos of their craft, Hatch is providing us with a one-stop shop to stock our Christmas cupboards with microgreens, hot sauce, sourdough and homemade cakes – take that big Tesco. The market is an all-dayer running from 11 til 6pm.
Hatch, 103 Oxford Road, Manchester M1 7ED
Various City Centre Locations|Manchester Christmas Markets|12 November – 22 December
As traditional as pigs in blankets and a nap after The Queen’s Speech, the classic Christmas market is back this year despite Albert Square’s current glow-up project. Across the big six (Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street and Market Street) you can expect the usual rows of huts, hot toddies and hanging lanterns throughout November and December. Porky Pig is set to return with its yorkie pudding wraps and the usual gyros, fried chicken and hot cookie dough are also lined up for some artery-clogging celebrations. A full list of traders is to be announced soon.
Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street and Market Street
The Refuge|A Refuge Christmas Carol|Every Fri, Sat and Sun from 12 November – 22 December
Christmas trees on a terrace is just SO The Refuge, I mean, they’ve got an atrium and an international menu darling. Filling your weekends with alternative market fun, The Refuge has covered and heated its terrace area and collabed with Grandad's Sausages, Manchester Union Lager and Long Bois Bakehouse to bring us sausages, sweet treats and the chance to get sloshed. There’s also a ‘stellar DJ line-up’ (that hopefully includes Shakin’ Stevens).
The Refuge in Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
Escape to Freight Island|Escape to Winter Island|12 November – 31 December
Putting their decs up early this year, Depot Mayfield’s Escape to Freight Island is offering up an ice rink, endless boozy bevvies, and a whole forest of Christmas trees. With local food and drinks traders including the Great North Pie Co. and a traditional hog roast, this fully heated outdoor market is also making Christmas dinner a little bit classy. Like a Top of the Pops Christmas special, the Island has some A-List guests lined-up including Craig Charles, Fun DMC and The Untold Orchestra. A full list of events and goings-on can be found on the Freight Island website, but we suggest you get your ice-skates on and make a booking asap.
Escape to Freight Island at Mayfield Depot, 11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ
Piccadilly Gardens|Winter Gardens|12 November – 3 January
Fear not, the giant inflatable Albert Square Santa has not been chucked in a storage unit, instead he’s going rogue and making his way to Piccadilly Gardens. Like the Grinch after his festive epiphany, Piccadilly Gardens is swooping in and saving Christmas with its brewed ales, crafty market stalls and live music right up until the New Year. As Councillor Pat Karney assures that the Winter Gardens this year are “making up for lost time” we suggest you have an extra mug of hot cider and show Piccadilly Gardens what you’re made of, tinsel and twerking style.
Platt Fields Market Garden|The Winter Garden Markets|13 November – 19 December (every Saturday and Sunday)
Although the current climate doesn’t exactly scream ‘outdoor fun’, there’s nowt better than shoving on your big-coat and supporting a local biz. Running every Saturday and Sunday from 12 til 7 throughout advent, Platt Fields Market are playing host to local makers, workshops, live music, and family-friendly activities all under one cosy heated marquee. With a bar serving boozy hot choc and a winter trail, this garden is almost as magical and enchanted as Piccadilly’s. If you’re a local maker yourself, you can still apply for a stall or workshop.
Platt Fields Market Garden in Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6LT
Castle Armoury Drill Hall|Christmas Market|27 – 28 November
Giving Bury’s usual famous market a run for its money, this year’s Christmas Market at the Castle Armoury Drill Hall is promising a whole load of clothes, gin, cheese, and artisan chocolate – sounds a bit like our Christmas list. With comfy seating across the hall and a real-life (almost) Santa for the kids to butter-up to, this weekend affair is well worth the tram ride. If you fancy feeling like you’re in Love Actually this Xmas, then a live choir and Saturday night session from Roach Valley Radio will have you dancing like Hugh Grant in no time.
Castle Armoury Drill Hall, Castle Street, Bury BL9 0LB
Stockport Town Hall|Christmas Market|3 December
Just like Jennifer Hudson, Stockport Town Hall has got one night only to wow us with their Christmas markets and all the usual foods, crafts, and Christmas tat (of the highest quality). Set in the very fancy world heritage site hall and decked out with baubles, wreaths and twinkly lights, this market is a small and intimate affair that beats the cold and attracts young and old.
Stockport Town Hall, Edward Street, Stockport SK1 3XE
Victoria Baths|Festive Winter Fair|13 – 14 December
The ‘#vbfestivefair’ is back with over 50 stalls and vendors selling everything from jewellery and ceramics to mulled wine and mince pies. The usual tearoom and gift shop are also open for fair-goers, and the option to add in a bonus tour of the building's ‘off limits’ areas means a trip to Vicky Baths = a full day of festive fun. Tickets for the makers’ market and various tours are only a fiver each, so for 10 quid you can cop a ceramic tree decoration and a trip around the boiler room – priceless.
Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 OFE
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