The Christmas Markets started in 1998 and spreads over nine central locations to transform the city into a winter wonderland, although the market has many traits with the traditional German Market including plenty of German beer available, the German Markets sells the best of the rest of Europe as well.
Annually, usually from around mid-November to late December
Christmas 2013: From November 15 to December 22.
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
What to buy: With over 300 decorated wooden houses shoppers are spilt for choice by a great selection of goods from both European and local producers selling everything from Dutch mini pancakes, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella, French profiteroles, German or Spanish beer, French wine, Dutch cheeses, French breads, and Spanish chorizo as well as other products like fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags, bonsai trees, toys, and arts and crafts.
What to pay: Various
Cheetham Hill Road is just on the outskirts of Manchester just a 10-15 minute walk from the Manchester Arena. Cheetham Hill is a multi cultural area of Manchester and is lined with various Asian, Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish shops.
What to buy: There are many Asian clothing shops but it is a great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at really cheap prices. There are also many take aways that sell halal foods. You can also buy Kosher and Halal deserts and cakes from this area.
This listed Victorian arcade was built in 1871 by Corbett, Raby and Sawyer with its original iron and glass structure and tiled floor. The arcade houses independent and expensive boutiques but I noted a couple of cute independent coffee shops.
You can access from St Ann's Square (via its cast-iron and glass curtain!) and Deansqate. The arcade has three tiers of balconies in its original style and please do note the glass octagon dome roofs.
What to buy: Designer and expensive goods.
What to pay: Expensive
Manchester hosts its famous Christmas Market every year during November and December. The markets are dotted around the city centre including Albert Square, St Ann's Square, Brazennose Street, Exchange Street & The Triangle, and New Cathedral Street.
The markets offer a variety of Continental goodies whether it is gifts or food and drink to consume. I especially love the hot chocolate with either Baileys or Cognac; the Gluhwein, the hog roast sandwiches and the continental chocolate.
The markets are very popular! I, however, suffer with claustrophobia and find it a challenge to browse around in comfort. Still, I do highly recommend a visit to the markets whether its to enjoy the food or buy a unique gift for a loved one at Christmas.
2012 dates are yet to be confirmed. There is likely to be an Christmas Markets VT Meet which
Gillybob organises annually (Check the Meets page)
What to buy: Home made gifts (rather on the expensive side though!)
Continental produce including cheese, sausage or condiments
I do recommend enjoying a hog roast sandwich with either a hot chocolate with Baileys or a Gluhwein!
What to pay: It's rather on the expensive side and food and I find the prices inflated for food and drink for consumption.
Over the last few years Manchester has hosted Christmas Markets consisting of Stalls set out in various locations around the city. Now widely considered to be amongst the best in Europe they are a great place to get in the festive mood. Take in the aroma of Roasting Chestnuts, Sample some Mulled Wine. You can browse the handcrafted wares from jewellery to wooden toys and some weird and wonderful gift ideas.
If you’re hungry grab a warm Glüwein and continental sausage maybe paella or try some Turkish food, Hot dog or burgers there will be a great range of delicious festive food.
We are just about to have the 5th annual Christmas Markets Meet, organised by VTer Gillybob on November 26 2011.
It's always a really really great day of not only shopping but some drinking and eating as well. (and some more drinking).
The Rock in Bury has recently undergone a massive make over and is now a very trendy place to shop. As well as shops the rock is also home to a Vue Cinema, Bowling, and restaurants such as Nando's (my favourite), Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny's etc.
The Rock is situated on an outdoor square with "lanes" coming off from each end. Each lane has several shops and it is easy to walk around without having to go back on your self.
It is also within walking distance to Bury Market, Bury Arndale as well as PC world, Matalan, TK Max and Argos.
What to buy: Prices range depending on the shop. The Rock's shops include: Primark, River Island, Superdry, Next, Debenhams, Jewellery shops, crafts shops and many more.
There is a multi - story car park which you do have to pay for. However, the parking at The Rock is miles cheaper than parking at Manchester Arndale. The rock car park is free of charge after 6pm.
What to pay: Depends on which shop you go to. Primark tends to be the cheapest for clothes.
There are quite a few markets in the area, some only set up for special occasions, such as the Christmas Market in St. Anne's Square. Some are permanent retail markets and there is a large market and Sunday car boot sale east of Manchester at Smithfield Wholesale Market. Some of the special ones include ones for Christmas, Dutch, French, Fashion, Flower, Food and Drink, German and Irish. The Fairly Traded market is held first Saturday of the month in Piccadilly Gardens
What to buy: Regular markets:
The Fairly Traded and Organic markets: held first Saturday of the month in Piccadilly Gardens
Farmers Market: Twice Monthly, second and fourth weekend, fountain side of Piccadilly Gardens
Fashion: Every Saturday on Tib Street by Debenham's in the city centre.
Flower: Thurs-Sat, Piccadilly Gardens
Special markets (all dates 2006):
Christmas: St. Ann's Square, Mid November to just before Christmas
Irish: Albert Square in front of the town hall, Mid march
German: Albert Square, first 3 weeks in June
French: St. Ann's Square, early September
Food and Drink: St. Ann's Square, 2006 dates undetermined yet
Fine Foods: New this year, St. Ann's Square, April, Early July, First two weeks of October
Dutch: St. Ann's Square, last two weeks of May
Retail Market in the Arndale Market Hall every day except Sunday.
New Smithfield Wholesale Market Monday - Saturday early mornings. Sunday has the car boot sale. Ashton Old Road in Openshaw.
How ace is it that Manchester airport has a Spar at both terminal 1 and 2 and is open 24 hours a day. I was made up to get my shopping done within minutes of getting of the plane.
Not only is it possible to get some goodies from the shop If you have been craving pies and pasties while you were away well you can quench that craving at the handily placed Gregg’s where you can load up on your favourite pastry filled delicacies.
The Lowry shopping Centre is situated right on the waterside at the Salford Quays area of Manchester, just a 20 minute tram ride away. It is a fantastic place to shop, you'll find many of the high street and designer shops here, all selling their goods at discount prices. After a hard days shopping, there are plenty of places to stop for a coffee or a bite to eat. We caught the tram here but I have learned that there is ample car parking which is free as long as you've made a purchase in one of the shops here.
Hang Won Hong is just one of the many Chinese supermarkets in Manchester's Chinatown, situated on the corner of George Street and Nicholas Street. The supermarket is probably the largest, and certainly the most well stocked, with a wide range of both fresh and frozen vegetables and meats, sauces, curry pastes, rice etc and also a large range of cookware.
There is usually a small stand by the entrance with free samples of various foods for you to try.
What to pay: Hang Won Hong is pretty reasonable for prices. A tub of curry paste is around £1.30, a pack of Roast Pork Buns, which are delicious, is £2.20 for about 6. I also recently purchased some Taiwanese Sake biscuits which are delicious for £1.20.
Barton Arcade was was erected by Corbett, Raby and Sawyer in 1874 it houses shops and upper storey offices.
The arcade was the first building to be erected on the newly widened Deansgate. IThe cast iron and glass used to build it were produced at the Macfarlane Saracen Glass Factory in Glasgow, unfortunatly many of it's original shop fronts have disappeared as have the original decorative tiled floors.
The founding members of the Catenian organisation held their first meeting there in 1908.
Model Zone on Deansgate is certainly the best Model shop around, People will come for miles to look aroundnbrowsing through the vast range of models, everything from Soldiers to Battle Tanks . Trains planes and boats.
What to buy: You name it and you can buy a model of it
What to pay: anything from £1 to £650 +
For something other than the generic chainstores in the Arndale and Trafford centres, head to the Northern Quarter. As well as various types of record shops (Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange etc), there are some fantastically quirky little places such as Oklahoma (cafe and wonderfully kitsch stuff) and the Northern Quarter Craft & Design Centre, home to many local artists and craftspeople who have both shops and workshops here. For vintage shopping, as well as the oft-mentioned Afflecks Palace (for vintage, head to the Attic), there are many great shops on Oldham St & Tib St - Rags to ***es, Junk, Retro Rehab, Pop Boutique, American Graffiti and many more! Tib St is also home to the Fashion Market on Saturdays - well worth a visit for reasonable prices and local designers.
Stitches specialise in fast, good quality clothing alterations and repairs. They have been open about a year and in that time have got so busy they had to move down the road to a bigger shop.
The reason they are so successful is that they do a good quality job at a reasonable price and you can collect the same day if you need to - even in 1 hour. Some of the top designer shops in Manchester use them for their customer alterations too.
There are changing rooms if you need to put something on to be pinned or you can just drop them off already pinned. Staff are brisk and efficient and there are drop off and pick up points to save waiting time.
Very useful to have a place like this in the city centre!
What to pay: £8 for a pair of trousers shortened.
The 'Hidden Urban Project' is a new addition to the alternative shopping market. Usually housed inside bars, the project provides a relaxed atmosphere that shoppers can enjoy. A pint whilst you shop? I'm recommending it because this could be the future of shopping?? A pint whist you shop? It's just not what you'd expect to find in a bar, but it's a nice surprise & a gem to find.
***SATURDAYS ONLY 12-6PM***
What to buy: Handmade, Vintage, Customised, Imported, clothing, footwear, jewellery, Art, Carvings and all sorts!
What to pay: nowhere near as much as the high street.