Santa comes to the city as the Christmas Markets open for business

By Sarah Whalley

Magical, festive and tasty, Manchester’s Christmas Markets opened last night to a mass of visitors ready to sample the treats Europe has to offer.

The stalls sprawl the City Centre, taking you on a journey through Germany, France, Switzerland and Holland to name but a few.

Albert Square is the epicentre, offering a huge range of products, food and bars. Brazennose Street tails off the busy main arena, and is a much quieter alternative.

There are still plenty of stalls and bars but seating is plentiful, which is great for larger groups. The compromise is the atmosphere somewhat, as Albert Square is positively buzzing with festive spirit, compared to its quieter counterparts.

King’s Street has all thing French, and a lovely little cafe culture, with woven chairs with tiny round tables, perfect for a hot chocolate.

St Ann’s Square leading onto Exchange Square offers arts and crafts, with sweet little figurines and delicate Christmas toys on offer. Walking through, there are also two hot roasted chestnut stands, which, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying before, you are missing out. Peel off the shell to reveal a potato-like, warm and moreish inside – delicious!

 Food certainly features heavily and the smell and sizzles pulled me in as soon as I got close.

DELICIOUS: German sausages are on offer at the Christmas markets

Pancakes, waffles, Frankfurters and schnitzel, there is a huge array of food to please any hungry Mancunian or tourist alike.

I tried a number of strudels from the Bavarian stall and although no hot-custard-covered-fruit-filled-strudel disappointed, I would recommend keeping it classic and going for the apple and cinnamon.

The same applies to the hot gluhweins available, my favourite was the apple one, but the specials definitely have a kick.

Deciding what to eat and drink is the toughest decision to make, and will make you want to return until you have ticked everything off your list.

BIRDS EYE VIEW: Chance to see the markets from up high on the Wheel

Other favourites you have to include are taking home some chorizo and Bavarian cheese, some chocolate covered strawberries and some crunchy cashews, make sure you try something you haven’t tried before.

There are gifts for everyone, with stalls such as leather goods, jewellery, and winter attire, and for some rather novel gifts, try the bonsai tree stall.

You can also deck you house with boughs of holly, with Christmas trees, wreaths and decorations galore.

You will be hard pushed to leave without buying anything but a wander through the sparkling chalets will instantly put you in a jolly mood. 

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