The world-famous festive attraction – Manchester Christmas Markets – comes to an end on Wednesday 20 December. The Christmas Market hub on Albert Square will remain open until 6pm on Thursday 21 December.
This year’s market season has been one of the busiest on record. Traders are reporting a bumper year as locals and visitors flock to the annual attraction.
In past years more than nine million people have visited the Christmas Markets. This year looks on track to break all records.
This year’s markets have also used its popularity to give a helping hand to homeless people in Manchester. Collections for the Big Change homeless fund were set up for the first time.
The Big Change campaign is a central fund for more than 20 charities. It has helped hundreds of people move their lives forward and begin building an independent life away from the streets.
More than £3,000 has already been donated by generous visitors to the markets with the final weekend still to go. The fund will help hundreds of people build an independent life away from the streets
Inspired by the hugely popular Christmas animation, Christmas cards in packs of six are selling for £6.00. They feature the now iconic Manchester bee and the hapless Manchester Santa. They can be found at Central Library and Manchester Art Gallery. And 25 per cent of all profit will also go to the Big Change Fund.
The best market in the UK – Officially!
Manchester was officially named the best market in the UK – and 13th best across the continent. It beat off stiff competition from iconic festive destinations, such as Dresden and Cologne in a public vote. The vote was through influential travel website European Best Destinations.
Futuristic tech gave the Christmas Markets a digital upgrade this year as an augmented reality app has been available to download for the first time.
The app is still available from your app store (search for buzzin, by Sparta Digital) and allows users to explore the markets in a new, interactive way.
By scanning the much-loved Christmas Market mugs a special festive character appears, or by using the phone’s camera to look at the markets, useful pointers appear on the screen from toilets and cash machines, to various market stalls or the ice rink.
The Rink at Cathedral Gardens will remain open until Sunday 7 January.