Ask me what my favourite aspect of Christmas is and I’ll always answer the markets. Not even because I enjoy spending money I should be saving for gifts on food persuasively brought to my nasal walls by the strong scent of sickly sweet waffles, but because I feel like once the wooden stalls and surrounding festive greenery are fixed up, you can officially get into the spirit. Usually I don’t venture away from my local Leeds German market but this year, as Manchester slowly but surely becomes my second home, I managed to explore the magic in the heart of another city; and not in just one place, as the trail leads through the streets – lined with dainty chalets, embellishments and trimmings and the brightest of starry lights, it’s a definite blink and you’ll miss it kind of experience.
I’d love to say the markets were less busy than Leeds’, but they certainly weren’t. If you’re the type of person who can brave the heaped crowds as you’re bustled up in your best winter gear then you’re absolutely fine, if not the route to take is probably the slow one – move at your own pace and try your very hardest not to kill someone. For me, I think the rowdiness adds to the jubilant atmosphere. There’s nothing better than a sense of community all sharing the same vibe, soaking up the same strike to your senses and enjoying the theme of Yuletide. The photo opportunites were endless (and secretly that’s why I’m such a Christmas market enthusiast, because you can appreciate the beauty in effortless attractions at every angle) but sometimes it’s nice to just forget about the reporting and live and prosper in the passing moment. As a dedicated blogger I went in all guns blazing, camera on side to capture the prettiness but it turns out an image of a thousand heads amongst a cup of mulled wine just doesn’t work. Instead I reached for my iPhone and surprisingly managed to express the ambience through a smaller lens. The amount of photos were minimal to my usual but I’m pretty chuffed with the result none the less.
Food is good. Food at Christmas time is extraordinary. I think once the tubs of Celebrations reach the shelves, then my over indulging starts from there and it’s no different as you’re making your way through the markets with temptation at every corner. Unlike Leeds, Manchester isn’t just limited to German traditions – it’s widespread internationally meaning the selection is mouth-wateringly insane. From hog roast, to bratwurst, to mini dutch pancakes, French breakfast treats, Hungarian and Spanish dishes, an entire dessert filled luxury, and so much more. The array of food and drink ticks all the boxes whether you have a sweet tooth or a desire for alocoholic beverages. Bailey’s hot chocolate? Perfect for those who like the best of both worlds. There’s nothing like bringing your near frozen hands back to life than with a cup of warmed deliciousness.
Manchester markets provide all your Christmas present and decorations essentials and is the ideal place to head if you prefer to discover a unique piece. It’s also a great chance to support those small, independent businesses as they offer their distinct character from behind a cosy hut. The choice is ever growing – from craft to clothes, to bags, to fine jewellery, framed photo prints, handmade homeware, ornaments, toys, soaps and even top quality trees. It’s just another reason why I adore taking a stroll to find those arty items. The warm, affable feeling you gain from everyone else doing the same is just as satisfying. There’s nothing I love more than an authentic market filled with a variety of delicacies, winsome scenic spaces, live music and even the odd jolly greeting. A day spent with friends surrounded by festivities is bound to do wonders for your mood! It certainly did in my eyes.
Have you visited a Christmas market this year?