Why you should check out Manchester’s Christmas markets

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Christmas is a magical time of year where communities come together in the name of sharing and make their local area a truly wonderful place to be. The city of Manchester is no different, as its festive hubs enjoyed over 1.8 million visitors in 2013, which amounts to a lot of mulled wine, bratwurst and pretzels, but also a lot of expensive petrol top-ups, parking fees and carbon output.

We wanted to see how much all of those people could have saved using Liftshare , so we worked out that the average cost of lift-sharing to Manchester is £5.79, then worked out that if each of those people split their petrol costs with just one passenger, total savings would hit around £10,422,000.

That’s a big figure in what is undoubtedly an expensive time of year for many of us, and it really puts in to perspective just how expensive road travel can be at this time of the year. But enough about us, it’s time to look at why you need to check out the Manchester Christmas markets before the season is through, and what you can expect while there.

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A city-wide celebration

This year’s Manchester markets are spread across several locations: Albert Square, Brazennose Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, The Corn Exchange and Corporation Street. That amounts to over 300 markets stalls brimming with arts, crafts and other goods.

As you can see from this massive list of vendors, the stalls are home to many local creators and independent stores, which adds to the market’s community spirit. There’s also a range of European vendors selling handmade goods.

Stalls include leather craft, candy, jewellery, beaded goods, toys, beauty products and even Bonsai trees. If you’re one of those last-minute shoppers – or you’re a naughty person who has forgotten to buy something for a loved one, you’ll likely find something ideal here.

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Foodies rejoice!

As we mentioned earlier, Manchester’s markets are home to several food stalls that can help keep you warm as you peruse the many wares on offer. It’s nice to see the organisers taking a green approach to waste and adopting a reusable mug and glass scheme, instead of providing paper cups. We’re all about green here at Liftshare, so this one makes us very happy indeed.

The market menu is packed with Bavarian classics like Bratwurst and various grills, along with sweet French crepes, gourmet coffee blends and gut-busting pancake stacks. We sure hope you like meat, because there seems to be an absolute ton of it on offer this year.

That said, you can always work off your feast at the Spinningfields Ice Rink, but don’t do any twirls. You might make yourself sick.

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Events galore

Markets aside, the city’s festive slate is full of events for all ages. You can find a full schedule on the Visit Manchester site, including that timeless classic – the Christmas panto. This year you can choose from Aladdin at Oldham Coliseum Theatre or Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Lowry.

If you want something musical, then look no further than the Christmas concerts at Tatton Park, which cover a broad range of genres including classic festive tunes. There’s also Christmas Carols and afternoon tea at Cloud 23 for those who want to scoff scones as they listen to a live choir perform.

This isn’t even half of what’s on in Manchester this Christmas. Be sure to check out the official homepage for full lists of everything on offer.

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