With just over 2 weeks to go until the opening of the iconic Manchester Christmas Markets, the weather is decidedly more early September than late October. It is a great time to be working in the city as the buzz of anticipation gradually begins to build. Already the largest Christmas Markets in Europe, more stalls are set to open up on Market Street and Cathedral Gardens this year.
Spreading festive glad tidings from the 14th November to the 21st December, this year’s 16th season, ever increasing in size, showcases just how far Manchester has come in those intervening years. Last year, influential travel website, christmasmarkets.com voted the Manchester Markets into number 1 position, beating established favourites, such as Dusseldorf, Krakow and Basle.
At the beginning, the markets opened in 1988 to a muted response. The weather was unseasonably warm, and only a small number of stalls opened in St Ann’s square.
How things have changed, and now, Manchester is now Europe’s 22nd largest commercial city area, but holds the largest Christmas market. This year 300 stalls will showcasing their festive products from 9 separate areas, all within a short walk from each other within the city.
Christmas Fayre includes the famous continental beers and sausages to handmade jewellery and home ware. This year, the organisers are expecting these records to be beaten as the new Manchester tram network opens up bringing in people into the centre.
Last year’s market saw over nine million visitors, 100,000 of those visiting during the opening 2 days and in turn generating over £90 million pounds for the local economy. This was swelled by many international visitors.
The rise of Manchester as a city to relocate to increases in popularity year on year. Manchester is certainly not shy about self promoting itself as a destination for tourism and business. This is backed up by the rise in numbers of individuals and businesses wishing to relocate to Manchester.
Who knows how things will develop over the coming years, but whispers of another 70 stalls on new site on Piccadilly Gardens for next year would not surprise.