Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

The Manchester Christmas Markets will be back in the city centre this winter, filling the streets with wooden huts and festive cheer.

2021’s celebrations are heading back with a bang after last year’s had to be reduced right down to a local marketplace for Manchester-based traders. The city council has confirmed a brand new hub for the festivities, moving the heart of the Christmas Markets to Piccadilly Gardens. : Christmas events in Manchester to book now

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with festive food stalls, bars and market stalls. Giant Santa and the Christmas light trail will be back in some form too, though the details of that haven’t yet been announced. It’s one of the biggest events in Manchester’s cultural calendar and attracts thousands of visitors to the region.

Here’s what we know about 2021’s Manchester Christmas Markets so far.

When are the Manchester Christmas Markets 2021?

The markets this year will be back in the city from Friday November 12, which means we could start to see some wooden huts appearing in the next few weeks. The majority of the Christmas Market sites will wrap up on Wednesday December 22. But the Winter Gardens at Piccadilly Gardens – this year’s festive hub – will run through to January 3.

What are the opening time?

The markets across Manchester will be open daily Monday to Sunday from 10am.

Food and drinks stalls will be open to 9pm each night, while most other stalls close at 8pm. Here are details for specific zones at the Christmas Markets. The Winter Gardens at Piccadilly

  • Open daily 10am to 9pm (craft stalls open until 8pm)

  • Street food stalls open until 6pm / Craft stalls open until 8pm

  • Early 6pm close for final day before Christmas, Wednesday 22 December – all stalls

Holiday opening hours for The Winter Gardens at Piccadilly

  • Christmas Eve 10am – 5pm

  • Christmas Day CLOSED

  • Boxing Day 10am – 5pm

  • 27 December 10am – 7.30pm (Bank Hol)

  • 28 December 10am – 7.30pm (Bank Hol)

  • 29 December 10am – 7.30pm

  • 30 December 10am – 7.30pm

  • 31 December 10am – 5pm

  • 1 January 10am – 5pm (Bank Hol)

  • 2 January 10am – 5pm

Cathedral Gardens

Open daily 10am to 9pm (craft stalls open until 8pm) until Sunday 2 January Festive Hours for Cathedral Gardens Christmas Eve 10am – 5pm

Christmas Day CLOSED Boxing Day 10am – 5pm

27 December 10am – 7.30pm (Bank Hol)

28 December 10am – 7.30pm (Bank Hol)

29 December 10am – 7.30pm

30 December 10am – 7.30pm

31 December 10am – 5pm

1 January 10am – 5pm (Bank Hol)

2 January 10am – 5pm

Can I go ice skating this year?

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

Absolutely – the ice rink at Cathedral Gardens is back, and it’s almost twice the size of previous years. The festive Skate Manchester ice rink is open from November 1 until January 3.

If you can’t wait until then to hit the ice, you can also visit the Halloween-inspired Scare Skate, where ghouls and monsters will join you on the ice.

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

Where are the Manchester Christmas Markets this year?

For the first time, the central hub of the markets will move to Piccadilly Gardens – or Winter Gardens, as it will be known over the festive period. That’s due to the ongoing Town Hall renovation, which has made Albert Square inaccessible for the time being. There are six other sites that will host market stalls and celebrations too.

You’ll find the Christmas Markets at Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, King Street and Market Street.

Which traders are at the Manchester Christmas Markets?

Dozens of traders will have their stalls set up at Manchester’s Christmas Markets this year. You can expect all the usual festive staples, like German sausages and Gluhwein, as well as appearances from local street food traders like Eat New York and Porky Pig with their Yorkshire pudding wrap. There’ll be a new hub for the markets at Piccadilly Gardens, which will be transformed into the Winter Gardens, with Albert Square closed for the Town Hall renovation works.

Other traders include Mexico Joes Ltd, Cheshire Cheese Company, Yard & Coop, Eat Grk, The Salford Rum Company, The Little Gift Hut, The Buddha Beauty Company and Elsie Mays. You can see the full list here.

What is the mug design this year?

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

The Christmas mugs for 2021 will, for the first time in the event’s history, have no date on them. That’s because they were originally designed for the markets that never happened in 2020.

This year’s designs feature a simple ‘Manchester Christmas Markets’ graphic with the words ‘Christmas is what you make it’. There are two sizes – a smaller navy gluhwein mug and a larger white mug for coffees and hot chocolates. Each is plastered in snowmen, baubles, Christmas trees and stars.

There’ll be 80,000 mugs in total in circulation at the Christmas Markets, and as always there’s the option to take yours home as a souvenir. Visitors will pay a GBP3 deposit when ordering a hot drink, or GBP1.50 for beer and wine glasses, which will then be given back to you if you return your mug.

How to get to the Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester Christmas Markets 2021

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 station to Piccadilly Gardens is Manchester Piccadilly, which is around a 10 minute walk away.

If you’re heading straight to the more family-friendly Cathedral Gardens site, where the ice rink is, your nearest station will be Manchester Victoria, which is directly opposite this section of the markets. Deansgate and Oxford Road stations are also close to some sites should take no longer than 15 minutes to walk from. A journey planner, route maps and timetables are available from the National Rail website.

By Metrolink

The closest Metrolink stops to the main hub will either be Piccadilly Gardens or Market Street, which are well-serviced by most Metrolink lines.

The East Didsbury-Rochdale line on the tram network will take you right past the Christmas Markets sites at Exchange Quay and Cathedral Gardens too. If you’re wanting to visit the King Street markets site, it’s around a five minute walk from either the Market Street stop, Exchange Square stop, or St Peter’s Square. A journey planner, route maps and timetables are available from the Metrolink website.

By bus

Manchester’s main bus station, Shudehill Interchange, is about an eight-minute walk from the Winter Gardens, though the Piccadilly Gardens bus station is the closest.

There are dozens of bus routes serving the city centre. 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 three circular routes.

Depending on traffic, it’s not always the quickest way of getting round but it’s worth knowing about.

You can see maps and timetables at the TFGM website.

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