We’re on Christmas countdown already – as more details about the Manchester Christmas Markets have been revealed including a new location for the 2019 festive extravaganza.
The hugely popular festive event will once again spread out across the city centre from November 8th, and for the first time this year gift and food and drink stalls will be installed all around Piccadilly Gardens.
Council bosses have confirmed that Piccadilly Gardens will be home to a host of new foodie and crafts stalls, along with a new bar area for the first time as festive cheer is brought to the much-maligned public space.
The Christmas Market hub in Albert Square will return for a final year before the Manchester Town Hall transformation – including the refurbishment of the square – means the location will be out of action in the short-term.
The Albert Square old favourites, including the Moose House and Windmill House bar, will be back in all their yuletide glory but the layout will be a little different from previous years, with more than 100 stalls in front of the iconic town hall.
And market sites will once again spread across the city centre squares, including the festival family areas in Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, Market Street, St Ann’s Square and King Street – welcoming more than 300 traders to the city.
Here’s what we know so far about what’s new and what will return to the Christmas Markets in 2019.
Details are still being finalised, but one thing we know is that there will be a NEW Santa dominating Albert Square this year. Yep, it’s bye bye Zippy Santa, who has been retired by the council in favour of a new festive model for 2019.
The council say a newly-designed Santa will be unveiled as part of the launch of the Christmas Markets on 8th November. They’ve teased it will be a “new giant Santa” so watch this space.
Food and drink
There will be a host of new food and drink treats to try this year – including from a host of popular local independents.
Fried chicken fans will already be well acquainted with landmark NQ eatery, Yard and Coop who are excited to bring their mouth-watering fry out to the festive masses on Albert Square, including their signature dish of buttermilk fried chicken in a waffle lashings of maple syrup.
New Cathedral Street will welcome NQ favourite EatNewYork with its gourmet bagels and their famous salt beef fillings.
Meanwhile the “Charlotte and the Chocolate Factory” cookie dough chalet will return on Albert Square, bigger and better than before.
The new Piccadilly Gardens stalls will be furnished with authentic Greek grills from the flamers over at Eat Greek and something visitors may not have tried before: bunzels from the Hot Stuff Bread Company – think stuffed pretzel dough with amazing gourmet fillings and our new stall.
No need to leave Piccadilly Gardens if you have a sweet tooth, as American favourites from “Campfire S’mores and More” who have the burners at the ready to toast massive marshmallows covered in fresh hot cookies, biscuit sauce and hot chocolate.
Not to be outdone, King Street will have a brand new stall dedicated to authentic arancini and deep fried calzones. And Bar No3 on New Cathedral Street will be your digestif serving up smoking gins, signature hot chocolates and espresso martinis.
Returning for a second year, the Ice Cavern will be bringing a touch of royalty to Cathedral Gardens with a Mythical Palace theme, all carved by hand from more than 200 tonnes of ice. Look out for Unicorns, giant snails and other fantastical beasts, alongside a frozen fairytale carriage and royal balcony for that unique photo op.
If cool cocktails are more your thing, the Ice Village is the place to be as Manchester plays home to a world first – an exotic stand alone Ice Tiki Bar!
And continuing the ice theme, a brand new covered ice rink will make its home in Cathedral Gardens for those budding Torvill and Deans.
One of the big hits of the 2018 Christmas Markets will return at TWO locations this year – the Birdie Photo Booth vans.
There will be double the chance to get your selfie fix with two Birdie photo vans installed in both St Ann’s Square and Cathedral Gardens.
Visitors can get FREE print outs of their snaps, which will also be automatically shared to Twitter using #MCRChristmas.
Dates, times and locations
The Manchester Christmas Markets 2019 start from Friday November 8th from 10am to 9pm daily and run until Saturday December 21st, except Albert Square which will be open until Sunday December 22nd until 4pm.
ALL OTHER MARKET SITES
(St Ann’s Square; King Street; Exchange Street; Exchange Square; New Cathedral Street; the Corn Exchange; and Market Street)
In November 10am – 8pm November 14th open until 10pm for the light switch on event.
In December 10am – 8pm
ALL BAR AND FOOD AREAS OPEN UNTIL 9pm
Ice Village – open from Friday 8th Nov through until Tuesday 31st December
Skate Manchester Ice Rink – open from Friday 8th Nov until Monday 5th January
Santa’s Grotto – open 20th November until Tuesday 24th December (note the Grotto is not open Mondays and Tuesdays.)