The Christmas Markets may have been cancelled – but Manchester will be still be getting festive food, drink and entertainment when Winter Island opens next month.
Escape to Freight Island’s favourite traders – Voodoo Ray’s, Patty Queen, Baratxuri, Madre and Krum – will move into The Ticket Hall on Friday 30th October, and on Thursday 12th November Winter Island will take over the outdoor space of Platform 15 where more than 80,000 people have visited safely since it opened in July.
Winter Island will be the UK’s largest fully outdoor, heated winter seated market with the installation of its new 1500 sqft heated garden tent sat underneath a 45ft Christmas tree.
New festive traders and stalls will include Great North Pie Co, a bratwurst grill, traditional hog roast, a mulled wine and hot cider hut, local chocolatier and artisanal cheese stall – everything you could wish for as the winter nights draw in and the Christmas season begins.
The Ticket Hall will also welcome Grace Dent’s favourite Belzan Pasta Kitchen, and The Jane Eyre cocktail bar – bringing classic and signature cocktails, set up high in the heart of the Ticket Hall and offering a view from above in a small cosy bar serving the best mixed drinks in town.
There is Plant Grill, Forever Changes wine bar, shop and continental deli and the Rapha partnered bike cloakroom all alongside a huge entertainment stage.
The entertainment programme includes headline acts such as Hot Chip, Rhys from The Horrors and Huey Morgan DJ sets.
There are festival collaborations from the likes of We Out Here festival with line-ups that include ALFOS, Dave Haslam and PRB Street Gang.
Amuse Bouche will continue with its Sunday Drag spectacular with special guests Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon. Festive entertainment from Thursday’s cabaret shows encompassing big band motown and jazz performances to songs around the campfire curated by Ríognach Connolly.
There will be a weekly Christmas cabaret from The Untold Orchestra performing David Bowie and Stevie Wonder favourites, and for the kids there will be a big brass band Disney sing-along and some events from The Playhouse Project and Born to be Wild Child.
A comedy night called ‘Just the Tonic’ will also join the line- up, plus local talent takeovers by Reform Radio and The Golden Lion.
The Ticket Hall has undergone a massive transformation, as the cavernous industrial space has been filled with buzzing bars and restaurants.
And for the festive season, a 45ft Christmas tree will be installed as well as a Christmas light projection in the Circle area of Winter Island and a very special installation feature by Lightopia, the stunning light festival from Heaton Park, will extend into Escape To Freight Island for a one off collaboration.
Also, with an additional seasonal spectacular, The Ticket Hall will also become home the city’s first winter ice curling rink.
Alongside the Safe & Social manifesto that has helped make Escape to Freight Island such a success during these times, the ever-changing situation will be continually monitored by the team at Escape to Freight Island, and the manifesto will be amended as announcements that affect them are made.
As it stands, six members of the same household will be allowed to book and attend within the indoor space of The Ticket Hall, and a maximum of six people from different households will be able to book for the outdoor seated areas at Winter Island.
Winter Island opens on Thursday 12th November at Escape to Freight Island, Depot Mayfield. Bookings must be made online.