Manchester Christmas Markets – Shopping Tips and 2015 Highlights

With over three hundred stalls and a truly international feel, the Christmas markets have an irresistible draw for countless visitors planning winter mini breaks in Manchester. Taking place over a wide area and open conveniently late as the evenings draw in, this hive of activity, just a short walk from our doors at the Pendulum Hotel, is a shopper’s paradise.


Image: Mark Waugh
Indeed, with so many unique traders offering food, drink, crafts and so much more, it’s hardly surprising that these markets are a mainstay of Christmas shopping in Manchester. This year is no different as the city welcomes a treasure trove of stallholders, from local artisans to those from every corner of Europe. Indeed, you would have to go a long way to find a bigger or better selection of stalls and goods anywhere in the EU,

Manchester Christmas Market opening times and sites

Dates: Saturday 14 November and Monday 21 December

The Main Event: The biggest market site in the city is undoubtedly  Albert Square (M2 4JW), which is where you’ll find a huge concentration of stalls of all kinds, but especially good for street food and drink. Open from 10:00-21:00 daily, this is also ideal for a late bite to eat or last minute purchase!

Other Sites: are dotted all around the city centre, within handy walking distance, including all of the following:  Brazennose Street, King Street, St. Ann’s Square, Exchange Street, Market Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square,  Corn Exchange, Cathedral Gardens.
All of these sites are open from 10:00-19:30, or till 20:00 in December.

Market Highlights & Shopping Tips

Street Eats

Fancy authentic Spanish paella, German bratwurst or Belgian waffles? Then you are in the right place. It is almost impossible to walk straight through the Festive Markets in Manchester with an empty belly! Those with a taste for continental food to take home or give to friends will also be impressed by the variety, whether you want to find a fine Chorizo sausage or a cracking Lancashire black pudding.
Tip: Although it’s tempting to buy the first treat that catches your eyes or nose, do have a good look around first because there may well be things you have never tried before. Groups and couples can also share dishes, enabling them to try several food types in one visit.

 

Things to do in Oldham

While central Manchester is rich in activities and places to eat, shop or explore, there is so much more to the city than the most popular spots. Oldham, for example, is a great place to hop on a tram and explore some of the wider city, with plenty to see and do. Ok, so there may be fewer blockbuster attractions; but what you will find are good value days out with a particular emphasis on families. Here some of the best places to visit in Oldham for an enjoyable day out:
Gallery Oldham (Greaves Street, OL1 1AL)
Along with Oldham’s library, this free entry attraction has so much more waiting within. In particular, there is a great balance of old and new within the collections and a regularly changing schedule of exhibitions. Visitors can expect everything and anything from pre-Raphaelite art to natural history gems, while there is always something engaging for younger visitors too, along with a café. An unsung Oldham gem, we think. www.galleryoldham.org.uk

Manchester Pride and Big Weekend Events 2015

With a riot of colours, costumes, music, food and fun, Manchester Pride is now a huge event for Manchester. Join the huge weekender or any one of the many happenings and there is a magical atmosphere of celebration.

However, you only have to look back a few years to see how far the event has progressed. It was back in 1989 when the Northwest Society for Gay and Lesbian Equality took the bold step of organising the slightly wordily titled “Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Diversity”. Previous fund and awareness raising events had been jumble sales; gatherings where you were probably more likely to see a pair of rainbow coloured socks than a giant Pride banner.
25 years on however, and Manchester Pride is no longer a fringe fundraiser but a huge, celebratory feast for the senses. Big music acts, street food and the arts all feature, besides one of the biggest and most colourful diversity parades in the whole of the UK. So where should you head this August in Manchester? Here is our lowdown of highlights and ways you can join the fun:

Live Music and DJS at Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend:  For many revellers this year, the centrepiece will be the ticketed arenas, where Texas, DJ Fresh and Danni Minogue lead an impressive line-up of musical acts to get you into the party spirit. Meanwhile, there will also be special broadcasts from Gaydio and a mixture of edgier, alternative acts at the Sackville Street Boutique Stage including Heather Peace, Shelter and Jess Vincent.
For full ticket details, see the official site: bigweekend.manchesterpride.com

Great Ales and Craft Beer Breweries in Manchester

While the craft beer revolution might be a recent phenomenon, Manchester’s love of great beers is a centuries old affair. Exactly how you view the good stuff probably depends on which prism you look through (and perhaps how much you’ve drunk). Through the ages, drinkers have been both castigated and encouraged in the city. Purtianical types once damned drink of all kinds as the curse of the working classes, but progressive groups such as the Quakers viewed an honest pint of ale or two as a good way to keep workers off lethally cheap gin.

These days the craft beer scene in Manchester and the UK as a whole is a vital, celebratory and innovative movement. No longer is beer seen as a poor relation to wine- and it is not only hipsters who have cottoned on to the fact that we live in a golden age for the good stuff. New world beers appear alongside old brews, while new ideas ferment and yesterday’s clapped out tap houses become chic bars (see our previous blog on great Manchester bars for some great starting points!).

Five Manchester Breweries & Craft Ales to Try

If beer brewing in England was once a stranglehold of giant breweries and often uniform products, today’s scene is hugely varied, independent and original, with new establishments springing up almost on a daily basis. Manchester microbreweries are a point in case; scattered all over the city, each has its own ethos and ideas on what makes a great beer. Here are five of the current crop, along with some of the best Manchester ales to try next time you’re in town:

SEVEN BROTHERS BREWERY
No shortage of variety or innovation for this enterprising, rising star of British brewing. A small but sumptuous range of beers includes a great IPA, EPA and a cracking porter. Find them at various craft markets and indie bars around Manchester.