“How much?” It’s the same every year.
The Manchester Christmas markets are often bemoaned as too expensive, but trust us – if you know where to look, there are actually quite a few places to grab a bargain.
Some people just can’t help complaining about the cost of food at the Manchester Christmas markets – and to be fair, on some things, we’re absolutely behind them.
That said, we’ve done a good rekkie of the stalls this year and discovered spots to get food and drink for £5 and under located in pretty much every corner of the city.
Keep reading to discover where to grab a bargain at this year’s Manchester Christmas markets – from the biggest (and cheapest) portion of chips to the best-value sausages, vegan food, booze and more.
The new heart of this year’s Manchester Christmas Markets, the Winter Gardens at Piccadilly prove pretty expensive overall – but you can find some bargains if you know where to look.
Vegans can pick up a multicoloured vegan soya burger at Panc (£5) loaded with onion, pickles, ketchup and PANC sauces on brioche, or opt for either their classic or festive brat dawg – also priced at £5 and served in either a spinach or beetroot bun.
There are also fries at Panc from £3, with sweet potato fries setting you back £4.50 and vegan dips from £1 if you’re feeling like more of a snack.
If you’re feeling something a bit more traditional, over at Clowbecks Market Stall you can grab a Lancashire cheese potato scramble (£5).
Black peas, meanwhile, are priced at £3 – a northern delicacy.
Piccadilly is also the home of this year’s most-hyped market food, the Korean potato dog. Whilst you can’t quite get these for under £5, the stall also selis spiral potato twists on a stick (£4.50) which are well worth a try.
Hot mulled drinks meanwhile start at £4.50, with draught beers and wine priced from £5. You can get a piste lager for that price, or a house red or white wine.
We also spied mugs of hot Vimto, if you’re after a little alcohol-free sugar boost.
You can get your go-to bratwurst down on King street, with a choice of cheese sausage (£5) or white sausage (£5) available – and wash it down with a £4 Kronenburg beer.
Ther best deal on King Street, though, has to be the Sicilian street food stall flogging big square sourdough pizza slices from £3, various stuffed balls of arancini from £3.90, and a coppo misto (a selection of fried specialities like arancini, panzerotto, panelle and crostini) for £5.
An absolute bargain.
The first markets to open in Manchester this year due to their proximity to the ice rink, at Cathedral Gardens you can grab loaded mini pancakes and sugar waffles for under £5.
Topping choices are vast and include the likes of caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, apple, strawberry and cherry, as well as more simple classics, like lemon and sugar.
Drinks-wise, those on a budget can also grab a mug of mulled wine or spiced cider, both £5, to wash it all down.
The Corn Exchange
Jammy Dodger-loaded cupcakes, Nutella-topped confections, and more covered with pick and mix sweeties, chocolate Oreos, and golden pretzels can be found at Zara’s Cupcakes market stall, priced at just £3.50 each.
There are also cake jars (£5) and old-school puddings (£4) on sale here – perfect for a mad-dash shopping pick me up.
At the Corn Exchange, you’ll also find pie stall The Crusty Pie Company selling every filling variation you can think of, starting from around £2.50. There’s pork and black pudding, Hunstmans pies, chicken and leek, wild boar and mushroom, turkey and cranberry, chicken and chestnut stuffing pies, broccoli and stilton flavours and loads more.
You’ll also find some great gourmet sausage rolls here (£4), as well as giant pigs in blankets (£3) and bags of traditional pork scratchings (£2).
Get stuck into caramel cider (£5), classic English mulled wine (£5), and non-alcoholic ginger and honey with orange juice and cranberry (£5) to keep you warm over on the markets at Exchange Square.
You can pick up a portion of dutch fries for £5 here, but be warned – toppings like mayo and ketchup will cost you extra.
Sausages sit at the firm £5 mark, whether you’re after a German bratwurst, cheese sausage or a spicy one, whilst loaded sugar waffles with toppings like hazelnut spread, lotus Biscoff or lemon and sugar all come in around £4.50 – and it’s the same for pancakes.
You can also pick up some tasty nibbles to take home, ranging from various nuts and stuffed olives to multiple flavours of Turkish delight, for under £5.
There’s not much to report food-wise here, with the majority of stalls focusing on selling gifts and other trinkets – it is a retail district, after all.
We did spy a massive stall selling pick and mix though, so if you’re looking for a mid-shop sugar boost we’d say you can certainly get your fill here for a fiver (and relive your childhood tuck shop nostalgia).
With a big focus on beer and wine, Exchange street is dominated by bars selling all the usual suspects – plus Baileys, boozy coffees, gin and tonics, and other spirit mixers.
In terms of what you can get for a fiver, though, you’re looking at boozy coffees with brandy or rum (£4) and hot chocolate with whipped cream (£3).
Food wise, Prestwich restaurant Triple B (run by the Eat New York team) has a stall down here, and whilst the – frankly epic – bagels are well over £5, you can treat yourself to french fries with house seasoning for £3.50 or go for the ‘goofie’ fries with garlic and cheese for £5.
There’s also a stall down here selling wax-coated mini wheels of cheese for £5 a pop, and bratwursts again sit at the £5 mark – with a choice of either German or smoked sausages.
St Ann’s Square
Head to St Ann’s Square for square pizza slices and Peroni (£3-5), big portions of Dutch chips with two sauces (£4), and plant-based vegan cakes in flavours like blueberry lemon, espresso almond, and berry and lime from £2.50 per slice.
Wonderwurst is selling extra-large bratwursts down here for £5, in what might be the best value-for-money sausage deal at this year’s markets.
Elsewhere, you’ll find reams of German bratwurst and salami pre-packaged to take home (£3-5); a Spanish kitchen selling tapas and nibbles like serrano ham, pinchos, manchego, Catalan fuet, and Spanish chorizo for under £5, and sweet treats like apple strudel and kaiserschmarrn (scrambled pancakes) down by the church.
In the bars, Gluhwein sits around the £5 mark for flavours like cherry, original and raspberry, and you can also bag a cider for £5 here. Specials, however, cost slightly more.
Oh, and don’t forget the Lotus Biscoff cookie pies (£4) and giant truffles disguised as Christmas puddings (£4) over at Gingerbread House Confections – they can be eaten cold or easily heated up at home in the microwave.
They are easily one of our favourite finds at this year’s markets.
Featured Image – The Manc Group