• When do Manchester Christmas Markets start and what are the opening hours? Parking, food, traders list, market maps and everything else you need to know about the festive celebration.

    The countdown has begun to the biggest event in Manchester’s festive calendar – the Manchester Christmas Markets.Filling the streets with bratwurst and gluhwein, this will be the 20th instalment of the festive favourite.

    This year’s city-wide event will make its return on Friday November 8, with traders operating seven days a week until Saturday December 21.The hub of the markets will once again return to Albert Square, despite previous concerns that town hall renovations would force it to find a new location.The Albert Square stalls will remain open until 4pm on Sunday December 22.Here’s everything else you need to know about this year’s Christmas Markets in Manchester.

    Manchester Christmas Market 2019 locations

    The Christmas Markets are expanding to a new location this year as stalls fill Piccadilly Gardens for the first time.The gardens will be host to a raft of new food and craft stalls as well as its own bar area, bringing the total number of traders up to 300.Stalls will make their way down the length of Market Street and into the busy city centre public square.

    Albert Square will be at the heart of the markets again, with a slightly reconfigured layout to allow for refurbishment work on the town hall. Stalls there will spill onto the road outside Duttons and The Slug & Lettuce, which will be closed off to traffic for the duration of the event.There will also be market sites at Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street and St Ann’s Square.

    Cathedral Gardens will once again be the hub of the family-friendly festivities with attractions including the Ice Village and a skating rink.Take a look at our interactive map below for the lay of the land at this year’s event.

    Manchester Christmas Markets 2019

    Traders taking part this year

    There are hundreds of traders and stalls taking part in this year’s Christmas markets who will be selling food, drink, gifts and other festive goods.They include Little Spain, who serve Freshly cooked paella, chorizo rolls, cava, Spanish beer and wine, patatas bravas, hot sangria and soft drinks; Lakeland Picnic Company selling homemade beef burgers and sausages; Mango Rays which will sell various burritos; Alexander Interiors which will have candles in presentation boxes; Northern Soul Manchester who will be cooking up grilled cheese sandwiches; and Yard & Coop which will be cooking fried chicken – including chicken in cones.

    Opening times are as follows:

    Albert Square: 10am to 9pm every day (until 4pm on December 22)

    All other market sites: 10am to 8pm for shopping stalls; bar and food areas open until 9pm

    All locations will remain open until 10pm on November 14 to coincide with Manchester’s 

    Christmas lights switch on .

    The family friendly area in Cathedral Gardens will be sticking around for longer than the rest of the markets.The Ice Village will be open until December 31, while the skating rink will remain open until Monday January 5, both excluding Christmas Day.

    Opening times for the rink are: 11am to 9pm daily, with later opening until 10pm on November 14 and December 31.

    Where is the Manchester ice rink?

    The ice rink is returning to Cathedral Gardens and will be covered with a clear roof this year for all-weather skating.It’s part of The Ice Village, a wintry wonderland that includes a cavern full of ice sculptures themed around mythical beasts and royal regalia. The family-friendly area will also be home to Santa’s grotto and a mini ice slide for children.

    There’s also a new Ice Tiki bar this year, serving tropical cocktails in sub-zero temperatures. Brrr.

    How does the mug scheme work?

    Manchester Christmas Market mug design revealed for 2019 (Image: Manchester City Council)

    The Christmas Markets mugs have become a bit of a collectible over the years and there are two new designs for 2019.

    The smaller mulled wine mugs feature a triangular-shaped Santa Claus on a navy background, while the larger hot drinks mug has a triangular polar bear on a white background.Both are covered in a festive pattern of presents, sleighs, candles and, of course, a Manchester bee.

    Visitors will have to pay a £3 deposit for a drink in one of the mugs at the markets, which will be refunded when the mug is returned.You can take it back to any of the bars or drinks stalls to get your money back – or you can take it home as a souvenir.

    How to get to the Manchester Christmas Markets

    Leave the car at home and hop on public transport if you can – driving in the city centre can be stressful, parking is pricey and more importantly it’ll leave you free to enjoy a gluhwein or two.

    Once you’re in the city centre, all the market locations are in walking distance of each other for most people, though there are plenty of transport options to make your journey between each area a little easier.

    By train

    The nearest stations to Albert Square are Oxford Road and Salford Central, which are both half a mile and a 10 minute walk away.

    Deansgate and Victoria stations are also close by and should take no longer than 15 minutes to walk from. Victoria is also the closest station to the Ice Village and skating rink in Cathedral Gardens.

    Piccadilly is a little further, about a mile away, but still only an 18 minute walk – and ideally placed if you’d rather start off at Market Street, which is only a 10 minute stroll.

    A journey planner, route maps and timetables are available from the National Rail website.

    If you’re travelling by train from within Greater Manchester, your rail ticket also includes travel on the Metrolink services within the Manchester City Zone. You can check if your journey is eligible here.

    By Metrolink

    The closest Metrolink stop to Albert Square is St Peter’s Square, which is just the other side of the town hall.

    The Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink tram stop is also convenient for Albert Square, particularly for people travelling from south of the city.

    The Market Street stop drops you off close to the Market Street stalls and is within easy reach of St Ann’s Square and King Street.

    For the Cathedral Gardens, Corn Exchange and Exchange Square sites, the nearest stops are Exchange Square and Manchester Victoria.

    By Bus

    Manchester’s main bus station, Shudehill Interchange, is about a third of a mile and a five minute walk away from Albert Square, and the station at Piccadilly Gardens is half a mile and a 10 minute walk.

    A journey planner, route maps and timetables are available from Transport For Greater Manchester.

    By Manchester’s free bus

    While the market locations are within walking distance of each other for most people, others may want a little help getting around.

    The city centre is served by a free bus service which passes many of the market locations on two circular routes. Depending on traffic, it’s not always the quickest way of getting round but it’s worth knowing about.

    Route 1 (pink)

    Stops at: Piccadilly Rail Station via Station Approach, Piccadilly, Portland Street, Charlotte Street, King Street, Cross Street, Market Street, St Mary’s Gate, Deansgate, Peter Street, Mount Street, Albert Square, Cross Street, King Street, York Street, New York Street, Portland Street, Chorlton Street, Aytoun Street, Auburn Street, to Piccadilly Approach

    Get off at: Piccadilly for Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street; King Street or Cross Street for King Street and St Ann’s Square; Deansgate for St Ann’s Square; Market Street for Market Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square and Cathedral Gardens.

    In operation: Monday to Friday: 7am to 10pm, every ten minutes (every 15 minutes after 6.30pm); Saturday: 8.30am to 10pm, every ten minutes (every 15 minutes after 6.30pm); Sunday and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day): 9.30am to 6pm, every twelve minutes.

    Route 2 (blue line)

    Stops at: Piccadilly Rail Station via Station Approach, London Road, Fairfield Street, Whitworth Street, Whitworth Street West, Deansgate – (Peak time only: Quay Street, New Quay Street, Irwell Street, Trinity Way, Chapel Street, New Bailey Street, Bridge Street) – Deansgate, Victoria Bridge Street, Chapel Street, Victoria Street, Hunts Bank, Victoria Station Approach, Todd Street, Corporation Street, Withy Grove, Shudehill, Thomas Street, High Street, Church Street, Dale Street, Ducie Street, to Piccadilly Approach.

    Get off at: Victoria Station, Todd Street or Withy Grove for Exchange Square and Cathedral Gardens; or Deansgate for St Ann’s Square and King Street.

    In operation: Monday to Friday: 6.30am to 10pm, every ten minutes (every 15 minutes after 6.30pm); Saturday: 8.30am to 10pm, every ten minutes (every 15 minutes after 6.30pm); Sunday and public holidays (excluding Christmas Day): 9.30am to 6pm, every twelve minutes.

    The peak-only section of the route operates from Monday to Friday, 6.20am to 9.10am and 4pm to 6.30pm.

    Parking near the Christmas markets

    The markets are spread out across the city centre with the main hub in and around Albert Square.The easiest way of getting to Manchester Christmas Markets would be by public transport where you can spend as long as you like taking in the festive atmosphere for just the one ticket price.

    But if you are planning on driving instead, there are a few parking options close to all the action, shown on the map below.

    Thanks to The Manchester Evening News for the post:- https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/manchester-christmas-markets-2019-dates-16740057