It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas……was the feel in the air as we cruised into Manchester. We had come to experience the biggest Christmas Markets in England. Huge crowds from far and wide come to experience the marvellous Manchester Christmas markets. Last year over 9 million visitors came to experience the festive markets!!
But …. first we had to find the perfect car park, and this was it!
We felt like we had just parked under the sewer!!! But there were a lot of expensive cars down in the sewer, so we thought it must be safe to leave everything we own to explore the markets. It was a bit like crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, otherwise we would be travelling home with no luggage.
We were off to a great start. When we reached Manchester Cathedral, Rob had reservations that he didn’t lock the car down in the sewer!!! So I explored the Cathedral without him.
When Rob returned and told the church clerk that we were from Australia, he got all excited!!! They do love Aussies over here!!! He enthusiastically showed us the bishop’s chair that had carved kangaroos, as he had come from Australia.
Then we headed to our first Christmas Market as there were 9 festive markets to explore, with over 350 stall vendors spread out over about 6 kilometres throughout the city. We had done our research we as we had downloaded what stands were where, and we made decisions on which stalls, attractions and markets we really wanted to see. It was like when you prepare to go to the show bag pavilion at the Ekka or Royal Easter Show in Australia back home.
First we hit the Cathedral Gardens as it was a high priority on our list as it had an ice skating ring, but we were there to visit the Magical Ice Village filled with ice sculptures. It cost us 10 pounds each and we scurried to the entrance for the 10ish opening. It was only the second day of the Christmas Market. We were lucky to get in, in the second time slot. We smiled at our early start as the crowds thickened behind us.
Once inside the minus ten ice world we marvelled over these very cool masterpieces.
It was a chilling expedition through the arctic all the way to Santa’s workshop with the mischievous frisky squirrel frozen in time.
I even got to sit in an ice chair. I was a little concerned that I would get frostbite!!! I could see myself stuck to the seat, which wouldn’t have been pretty!
250 tonnes of ice was used to carve all the ice sculptures by hand.
Then it was off the explore the many Christmas markets which was really an international food feast. We could smell the mulled wine in the air.
We couldn’t go past a piece of good old Italian fungi pizza and later on it was German apple strudel that took our eye.
We even got a couple gourmet vegetarian and chicken pies from the Great Northern Pie for dinner.
The crowds got so thick in Albert Square that we couldn’t move.
We also saw Police patrolling with machine guns which is something we hadn’t seen in England before. As the afternoon crowds thickened we decided that, since our bellies were full and we had ticked off our check list, we would head back to the car. Rob took us through the back alleys to avoid the crowds. We were definitely not used to such crowds after spending so much time in rural Scotland, Ireland and England it was a sensory overload. We would have to say that it was the biggest and best Christmas Market we have ever experienced and we have been to quite a few in Europe and England. The spirit of Christmas was definitely alive here in Manchester with a wonderful multicultural feel to it and great crowd. That’s if you like crowds. What a great way to start the festive season!!!