On Sunday we went into Manchester for a family day out, a tradition for us just before Christmas. We’d got tickets for a concert at the Bridgewater Hall for the evening, but went in early afternoon, visiting the Manchester City Art Gallery then taking in the Christmas market that is spread out across the city centre.
Christmas markets have been held in Northern Europe, especially Germany, since the late Middle Ages and are a major tradition over there. They’re relatively new over here, but have become very popular. Manchester’s market was one of the first, the first one being held in 1999. It has really grown over the years and now spreads out over much of the city centre from Albert Square, down Brazenosse Street, King Street, St Anne’s Square, New Cathedral Street and around the Corn Exchange, in front of Selfridge’s.
There are stalls selling sweets, cheese, other food and drink, toys, Christmas decorations, candles, gifts and all sorts of other produce with traders from overseas as well as local companies. Particularly popular are the stalls selling take away food, German hot dogs and all sorts of Continental specialities, plus Glühwein, beer, Irish coffee and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
It was VERY busy, especially in Albert Square, but we managed to make our way through the crowds and bought a few things,
After we’d had a bite to eat in Wagamamas just off Deansgate, we still had a couple of hours before the concert was due to start so we had another look around the market, which was open until 9 o’clock. It was dark by now and it was particularly festive and atmospheric with the stalls and decorations all lit up.