As a new-found lover of the sun, I am finding the sudden drop in temperature pretty hard to deal with. I sit in the front room with the fire roaring, dog curled up next to me for extra warmth. I wear at least three layers to bed – I can assure you, pyjama bottoms tucked into socks is not a good look but its oh, so comfy! I spent yesterday afternoon meeting up for drinks with old work colleagues in The Briton’s Protection (excellent pub situated behind The Bridgewater Hall – well worth a visit for an afternoon pint) and sat myself next to the fire – I couldn’t bear to move away from it.
“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”
J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.
This cold snap is showing no sign of easing off and you might be seeking refuge in the comfort of your home, adamant that you won’t be heading out anytime soon. I hear you. All I want to do at the moment is hide underneath a duvet with a mug of hot chocolate and the remote control. But winter brings with it all sorts of festive goodness that we really don’t want to miss out on.
Now, if you’re going to brave the low temperature and the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers, you won’t find a better reason than the annual Manchester Christmas Markets.
Here are six reasons why you can’t miss out on this year’s festivities.
- Food, glorious food.
Originally billed as the German Markets and offering fare such as delicious Bratwurst, schnitzel and tasty fried potatoes, the Christmas Markets have expanded their menu over the years to include lots of tasty treats from all over the world. Whatever tickles your taste buds, from Northern delicacies such as huge, tasty pies and delicious hotpots, to roast pork baps, Dutch pancakes smothered in Nutella, waffles sprinkled with icing sugar, paella or thick, hearty soups; there’s something yummy for everyone. Not to mention all the colourful bars of fudge, nougat, toffees, chocolate covered fruit on skewers, and my personal favourite, warm coconut macaroons. Yum!
- Drink up!
What better way to banish the winter blues than a steaming cup of mulled wine? The market rebrands their mugs every year and you can take these as keepsakes. When you first order a mulled wine you are asked to put a £2 deposit down so you don’t scarper with the mug or accidently put it down somewhere or smash it, but you can forfeit your couple of quid and take home your very own Manchester Christmas Market Mug. They are excellent for hot chocolate! Like something a little stronger? Add a shot of amaretto or rum to your wine – the amaretto makes it taste like liquid marzipan! Prefer a pint? There’s plenty of good beer on tap in the many wooden bars dotted around – you can even get a glass of prosecco if you’re feeling a little fancier! Not a drinker? There is hot chocolate and excellent coffee sold at most vendors. My personal favourite is the Bailey’s Hot chocolate – luxurious.
- Festive Cheer
There’s something in the air at the Christmas Markets, particularly on a Friday afternoon when everyone has finished work and headed for mulled wine and bratwursts. Everyone is huddled together, wrapped in scarves and cosy hats, sipping drinks clasped in gloved hands. Despite how busy, and sometimes (weekends, especially) overcrowded, the place is, it maintains a wholly jolly atmosphere, particularly the closer to Christmas it gets!
- Something for Everyone
If your idea of a great purchase isn’t a wooden nutcracker, bag of sugary sweet treats or a giant Christmas wreath, then you might think the Christmas Market has zilch to offer. But over the years the market has spread its festive tentacles across the various roads and streets of the city centre, all the way to Spinningfields where a sort of arts, crafts and food market has popped up. Offering handmade cards, photographs, paintings, soaps, candles, hampers and a whole host of goodies from local businesses, there’s bound to be a stocking filler for everyone.
- The Singing Reindeer Bar
Or Moose. I don’t quite know which one it is but I am going with reindeer since its Christmas and all! The Singing Reindeer bar is a highlight of the market for me. I love hearing it sing Christmas tunes and move around. Obviously it’s not a real reindeer, that would be weird, rather it’s one of those animatronic things that are a teeny tiny bit creepy. I love him, however. I like to go to that particular bar to get my mulled wine just so I can stand underneath it and hear him sing the song of his Christmas people.
- Big Santa
You know it’s the Christmas season as soon as Big Santa gets popped on top of the Town Hall in all it shiny, festive glory. It’s such an icon in Manchester and we wait for him to arrive every year. I defy anyone not to be in the Christmas Spirit in the presence of an enormous sparkly Santa Claus.
Have you ever paid a visit to Manchester Christmas Markets? What do you think? What’s your favourite part of the market? Are you as in love with the singing reindeer as I am?
Thanks for reading this post and welcome back to my new #itsnotgrimupnorth series! Expect photos, tips and tales!
I’d really love to know what you think about the city and my posts, and if you’ve got any tips for hidden parts of the Christmas Markets in Manchester
Remember you can get in touch Twitter @EmmaYatesBadley, Facebook, or drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just look right for details.