All the locations where wooden huts and hives of festive activity will be popping up across the city centre in just a few weeks time have been revealed.
As the nights draw in, the air gets nippier, and we all fully start to embrace everything the upcoming colder season has to offer, it won’t be long now before Manchester‘s flagship festive event returns to spread some cheer right across the city centre.
The iconic annual event is an absolute staple in Manchester’s festive events calendar, and always draws in thousands of visitors from all across the globe each year.
And now, with only three weeks left to go before the fun arrives, Manchester City Council has confirmed all the locations across the city centre where wooden huts will be lining the streets and visitors will be able to tuck into a wide range of festive foods and drinks, and shop for Christmas gifts from countless independent traders.
More than 225 stalls will be popping up across nine sites throughout the city centre, the Council has confirmed.
This year’s Christmas Markets will see the iconic ski chalet-style market stalls take over Piccadilly Gardens – which is, once again, set to be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’ – as well as Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange, and King Street.
Here’s all the locations and a brief rundown of what you can expect to find at them this year.
Piccadilly Gardens will again be transformed into the magical ‘Winter Gardens’.
You can expect a mix of craft and gift stalls, alongside food and drink, as well as the return of the fabulous Scandi-style tipi festooned with lights and traditional log fires, and of course, this is the home of the iconic Manchester Christmas Windmill too.
St Ann’s Square and Exchange Street
Did you know that St Ann’s Square is the oldest Christmas market site in Manchester, and was home to the city’s first seasonal stalls 25 years ago? Here you can expect continental cheeses, fresh authentic paella, bratwurst, salt and pepper chicken, festive hot drinks, and… alien sculptures?
Sounds like there’s something for everyone then.
Market Street will be home to an exclusive craft and gift area, with over 40 stalls full of extraordinary gift ideas – from tweed hats, spiced rum, Christmas decorations, and candles, to jewellery, gift sets of cheese truckles and much more.
King Street is set to be a must-visit for foodies and shoppers alike this year.
Authentic Italian deli, Ballaro, will be serving up fresh cannelloni and arancini, while El Gato Negro will bring some Mediterranean menu flavours, and you can also expect a range of crafts too – including the always-popular French soap stall, personalised tree decorations, handmade wooden furniture, and beautifully-illustrated bottles from local distillery, Salford Rum.
New Cathedral Street
New Cathedral will be your go-to spot for high end gifts and foodie favourites.
Head here if you’re looking for handmade candles, ceramics, local spirits, and thoughtful keepsakes, all before you savour a cold beer and currywurst from The Witch House, a hearty burrito from Mango Rays, or a cheesy ‘Parmo’ from local legends, Parmageddon.
This will be one of the largest of the city centre Christmas market sites this year, and is the place to grab a Mancunian mulled wine, try the much-loved legendary Yorkshire pudding wrap from Porky Pig, as well as everything from birria bowls and hot curries, to mini pancakes and fresh fudge.
You’ll also find clothing, soaps, boutique babywear, local crafts, and handmade gifts too.
The Corn Exchange
Set between Corn Exchange and Shambles Square is where you’ll find some of the most unique gifts available this year, so expect handmade pies, Nepalese woollen jumpers, handmade jewellery, Christmas decorations made from recycled wood, and so much more.
Cathedral Gardens will be at the heart of the family festive fun this year, as this is where you’ll find Skate Manchester’s huge covered ice rink, and free live entertainment hosted every Thursday to Sunday all the way up to New Year’s Eve.
You can also warm up with authentic crepes, gourmet hotdogs, and hot chocolate too.
Manchester United issue response after banning Manchester Evening News and select journalists from press conference
The Manchester Evening News (MEN) along with a number of sports journalists have reportedly been banned from attending a Manchester United press conference after publishing a story on an apparent rift at the club, claiming that manager Erik ten Hag has ‘lost the dressing room’.
Citing the reason behind the ban as being due to Chief Man United Writer and well-known sports reporter, Samuel Luckhurst’s recent story, which claimed that ten Hag is “losing the confidence” of his players, he and at least three other journalists won’t be in attendance after Sky Sports went so far as to suggest as much as “50%” of the dressing room.
It is thought that Sky‘s chief reporter Kaveh Solekhol, David McDonnell of The Mirror and ESPN‘s Rob Dawson are among the other individuals to have been barred from joining this afternoon’s presser as per instruction from United‘s Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, Andrew Ward.
Issuing a statement to The Manc and journalists across the country, the club said: “We’re taking action against a number of news organisations today, not for publishing stories we don’t like, but for doing so without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise.
“We believe this is an important principle to defend and we hope it can lead to a re-set in the way we work together.” It is unclear how long the suspension is set to be upheld but it is likely they will only serve a one-match ban — pardon the pun.
The MEN reiterated that the initial story was “multiply-sourced”, adding that they had not been banned as a result of previous stories that were largely seen as critical of the Man United head coach and/or his squad, including prior claims players were starting to “doubt” his tactics and managerial style.
Furthermore, the outlet goes on to state that several other journalists have claimed they were prevented from asking questions in press conferences by Ward in the past “over perceived negative coverage”, adding that the club have expressed their “regret” over having to issue the ban. The move has been welcomed by many fans, with several saying it is reminiscent of Sir Alex Ferguson’s hardline approach to the media.
Man United have made one of their worst starts to a campaign in decades and, despite winning their first trophy in six years under the Dutchman with an EFL Cup win last season, have unfortunately been breaking all manner of unwanted records of late.
ten Hag’s team suffered another disappointing loss against Newcastle at the end of November and now face another tricky task as they prepare to face a Chelsea side who are starting to gather some semblance of form.
Countless Reds and neutrals alike will no doubt now be tuning in for his pre-match press conference at 1:30pm ahead of the mid-week Premier League fixture against the West Londoners on Wednesday night (8:15pm kick-off).
The former Ajax manager has made no secret of the troubles he faced when he first arrived at Old Trafford but is clearly keen to avoid others from airing any of their rumoured dirty laundry.
Featured Images — The Manc Group/Manchester United
Adult film star and LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson dies aged 36
Adult film star and much-loved LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson has sadly died aged just 36, as confirmed by colleague, influencer and friend Rebecca More.
The recognisable UK porn star and internet personality, best known for being one-half of the viral online duo ‘C*ck Destroyers’ alongside More, was announced dead on Tuesday, 5 December following reports from numerous media outlets before being confirmed by her former co-star.
Sharing the news on social media, Rebecca wrote: “I’m devastated hearing the awful news of Sophie’s passing. We shared some amazing times together and that’s how I’m going to remember her.
She signed off by adding, “This is so tragic but I know you are now at peace. I will always, always love you and hold a special place in my heart”.
Her heartfelt sentiment was echoed online as countless people on social media have paid tribute to the viral sensation who was an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and all things queer culture, as well as sex positivity in general.
As mentioned, it was only on 17 November that her ex-partner Spedding himself passed away, but the former footballer was also disturbingly found to be the one behind previous claims she had died that turned out to be a hoax earlier this year.
Regardless, the news unfortunately appears to be genuine this time and it’s clear from the reaction online how saddened so many people from all walks of life are to learn of her passing.