An exciting new winter market is arriving at Depot Mayfield next month

Escape to Freight Island

An exciting new COVID-secure winter market is arriving at Manchester’s newest social experience Escape to Freight Island at Depot Mayfield next month.

It follows the sad news that the Manchester Christmas Markets have officially been cancelled this year.

Winter Island adds to the site’s recently-announced Ticket Hall annex, which has been the much-anticipated second phase for the indoor food market and entertainment space and is heralded as a carefully-planned and exciting expansion towards the “true vision” of what is fast becoming the most talked about and innovative venue in the UK.

Winter is indeed coming, but the warmth of Escape to Freight Island remains.

The Island’s favourite independent food and drink traders – Voodoo Ray’s, Patty Queen, Baratxuri, Madre and Krum – will move into The Ticket Hall on Friday 30th October, and then on Thursday 12th November, Winter Island will take over the outdoor space of Platform 15, where more than 80,000 people have visited safely since it opened in July.

Winter Island will be the UK’s largest fully outdoor, heated winter seated market, with the installation of its new 1500 sqft heated Garden Tent sat underneath a picture-perfect festive setting.

It will also welcome a whole host of new festive traders and stalls.

Winter Island at Escape to Freight Island

These include Great North Pie, a Bratwurst Grill, Traditional Hog Roast, a Mulled Wine & Hot Cider Hut, Local Chocolatier and Artisanal cheese stall, and everything else you could wish for as the winter nights draw in and the Christmas season begins.

The Ticket Hall will also welcome Grace Dent’s favourite Belzan Pasta Kitchen and The Jane Eyre cocktail bar, which will bring classic and signature cocktails set up high in the heart of the Ticket Hall, and offering a view from above in a small cosy bar serving the best mixed drinks in town.

There will also be Plant Grill, Forever Changes wine bar, shop and continental deli, and the Rapha-partnered bike cloakroom, all alongside a huge entertainment stage.

The entertainment programme includes headline acts such as Hot Chip, Rhys from The Horrors and Huey Morgan DJ sets, and there are festival collaborations from the likes of We Out Here festival, with line-ups that include ALFOS, Dave Haslam and PRB Street Gang.

Entertainment will continue with its Sunday Drag spectacular with special guests Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon. 

Festive entertainment comes from Thursday’s cabaret shows, featuring everything from big band Motown and
Jazz performances, to Songs around the Campfire curated by Ríognach Connolly. There will also be a weekly Christmas Cabaret from The Untold Orchestra, performing David Bowie and Stevie Wonder favourites.

For the kids, there will be a big brass band Disney sing-along and some events from The Playhouse Project, and Born to be Wild Child.

The Ticket Hall has undergone a massive transformation.

The industrial space we all associate with Depot Mayfield has been filled with buzzing bars and restaurants, and for the festive season, a 45ft Christmas tree will be installed as the centrepiece, there’ll be a Christmas light projection in the circle area of Winter Island, and a very special installation feature by Lightopia – the stunning light festival from Heaton Park – will extend into Escape To Freight Island for a one off collaboration.

Also, with an additional seasonal spectacular, The Ticket Hall will also become home the city’s first Winter Ice Curling Rink.

Winter Island at Escape to Freight Island

The site will continue to operate with the world-leading Safe + Social Manifesto.

The Safe + Social Manifesto means Escape to Freight Island has been designed as a space where you are able to socialise safely with your party, maintain social distance from others, and remain alert to the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19), while being part of the overall urban festival atmosphere.

You can find more information about Winter Island and book your tickets in advance via the Escape to Freight Island website here.

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