Which Manchester crimbo market will you head for this year?
Remember, remember the fifth of November, Christmas trees, hog roast, and shots.
Ok, so that’s not exactly how the rhyme goes, but we’re hoping that it’ll help you to remember when Escape to Freight Island’s Winter Island finally opens for business (5 November if you didn’t get that).
A family-friendly drum 'n bass remix of Jingle Bells or midnight showing of a 1940’s chrimbo classic definitely wouldn’t go amiss this year.
Hosted by one of Manchester’s most popular indoor, outdoor, sit-wherever-you-like venues, Freight's "Winter Island" reckons it's the UK’s largest outdoor heated market - with a side order of foodie fun and a whole forest of Christmas trees.
While the heated depot strives to make sure that your mulled wine doesn’t turn to spiced rosé in the Mancunian winter, the markets play host to some cracking local traders and high-quality food and booze.
The Island’s crammed calendar throughout November and December also means that you can pack in as much Christmas Joy™ (and hot cider, let's face it, that's the main draw) as you can stomach. It's a bit like a two-month-long Boxing Day.
Take THAT Piccadilly Gardens.
A cooler Xmas market for Manchester
Keeping it broadly local, the traders and stalls at this year’s Winter Island include the Great North Pie Co. (one of our fave pies delivered in Manchester) a bratwurst grill, traditional hog roast, mulled wine hut, artisanal cheese stall, and local chocolatier, meaning there isn’t a miniature waffle, tinned hotdog, or overpriced chocolate strawberry in sight - hopefully.
Winter Island might just be the ideal spot for a Christmas escape without the salopettes and creepy fake Santa. A suitable setting for both a tipsy Christmas do and a wholesome family get-together, although not at the same time.
Ditch the beeswax candles, personalised baubles and cattle-market queues for family raves, DJ sets, cabaret performances, live karaoke, and comedy and film nights, with the odd carefully chosen stall thrown in here and there for good measure.
Seeing as though last Christmas all ended in tiers, a family-friendly drum 'n bass remix of Jingle Bells or midnight showing of a 1940’s chrimbo classic definitely wouldn’t go amiss this year.
More Xmas events than you can shake a stocking at
In amongst Freight Island's hectic Xmas schedule of workshops, comedy nights and Christmas carol funk numbers, Winter Island is asking you to save the date for events such as a live karaoke "Masseoke" on 20 November and 18 December, Craig Charles on 28 November and 12 December; and other merriment from the likes of Guilty Pleasures, Family Gorgeous, Playhouse Project, Teachrex, Fun DMC and Born to be Wild Child. More regular slots will be filled by the likes of The Untold Orchestra, who are showcasing Christmas specials every Wednesday, and bottomless champagne brunch with live music every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-1pm.
Open until the end of the year, this Christmas-on-steroids celebration will take place in the usual spot at Depot Mayfield in Manchester. The market’s opening night will launch with a city-centre firework display on Friday 5 November.
Bookings (including group bookings and private hires up to 2000 guests) are now open via the Escape to Freight Island website. Just select a date from 5 November – 31 December under the "general bookings" tab, then choose "outdoor".
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