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Manchester Christmas Markets

November 22, 2013  •  4 Comments

My first experience of a Christmas Market was at the fairytale setting of Heidelberg when I lived in Germany in the 1980's.   I also endured long very wintery trip in an unheated 2CV  to the huge market at Cologne.    At that time they were a novelty to me. In recent years it seems every town in England has a cheery Christmas market. 

But this is Manchester. Overcast and industrial. Packed solid with visitors. I parked the car under the dark and shadowy Victorian bridges down at the canal basin in Castlefield - the location of a couple of my walks earlier this year.

This is Manchester's tallest contemporary skyscraper - Beecham Towers - looming above the old trading warehouses. 

I noticed many of the old Victorian bridges had been recently painted.

Around the corner I was side-tracked by the Castlefield Market which has moved indoors each Sunday -  the food, craft and vintage market is in one of the old interesting  historic commercial rooms on Deansgate and well worth a visit.   I spotted a lady selling  the most beautiful unique cake stands made from assorted vintage plates and saucers, Emma Poynter at Cool Cake Stands can be found here on Facebook   Nostalgia was in the air -  people talking about tea sets they recognised from their childhood. I think tea tastes the best from a fine china tea cup. 

The markets in Manchester are bigger than ever this year and spread over numerous squares and streets. I found an absolute gem of a stall at Spinningfields ... but more on that next week during my Vintage Fest...

So many stalls. and as always I make a beeline for the French market.  Macaroons...


...and crepes 

and hot chocolate...

Feeling over-stuffed ( why do I overindulge every year?), I headed over to the International market outside the town hall. It was very busy and felt claustrophobic - I don't like crowds.  A huge inflatable santa used to cling high up on the town hall roof but he was constantly being impaled on the elaborate spikes and popping during high winds. Now he's all glistening and tethered down securely amongst the statues.  Just look at the fine architecture - I'll come back here in the new year. 

Over in St Ann's Square I spotted politician Richard Cobden (1804-1865) wedged between Microsoft and the decorations. He was a founder of the Anti-Corn Law League.  I wonder what he would've though of all this?! 

Behind the huge Microsoft screen is St Ann's Church - I think the local red sandstone is being cleaned. The vile IRA bomb attack which devastated  Manchester city centre during a busy Saturday morning back in 1996 blew out the higher windows of this historic beauty- fortunately the organ from 1736 was being restored elsewhere at the time. 

Hidden in a dark corner I spotted these old stones and a piece of tinsel! Such contrast. 

Plenty of stalls selling hats!

Sweets galore...

It was lovely to see Mr Singh entering into the festive spirit with his carved wooden elephants and other fantastic things...

And no market is complete without salami.... and a special festive edition. 

My feet were aching so it was time to head back to the car. I insisted on stopping by the Victorian bridges for a fix of grungy rust. 

Hope you enjoyed a flavour of the Christmas markets in Manchester in spite of my non-festive distractions. I should head to the city more often - my head is always buzzing with new ideas when I get home.

Do you visit Christmas markets?


I'd love to see where you've been out and about with your camera ... join in the linky party below.


Don't forget I'm celebrating Vintage all next week!  Join me on Monday for a Maiden on a Voyage!

My Weekend Walk next week will have a delicious vintage twist!









I read this earlier and just now realized that I never commented. I love those cake plates, and your photo of them is superb. A wonderful grand adventure.
Cathy H.(non-registered)
I must admit I shy away from markets and festivals, I don't do crowds at all! But, your market pictures certainly has me thinking of winter/Christmas. I love the macaroon shot. Wonderful composition with the reflections. I'm looking forward to vintage week!
Viv Halliwell(non-registered)
Now that is what I call a Christmas market Taunton's pales in comparison. I've never been to a big market I should imagine it covers a lot of ground and I certainly would have a hot chocolate. I love the hats I want one for Tom !!!
Kelly McKenzie(non-registered)
So lovely to see the pictures of what is in the markets in your area. We are so very different here in western Canada. The salami which completes yours aren't usually sold here. Loved seeing the colourful hats and yes the French stall with its macaroons. The latter are huge here. While hot food is sold you don't usually get crepes - more along the lines of wraps, pretzels and the Canadian special : Beaver Tails. They are so good - flat in the shap of a Beaver Tail and covered with a sugary sauce. Heaven. Looking forward to your Maiden on a Voyage post!
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