7 Questions I Have About the Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester Christmas Markets opened on November 9th and, running until December 22nd, provide the perfect countdown to Christmas. Albert Square is packed with traditional wooden huts selling food, mulled wine and an array of gifts and a visit is a great way to get in the mood for the festive season.

However, an awful visit last weekend left me feeling less than festive. I am in no way trying to bash the markets. I love them and have really enjoyed them over the past few years yet I have a list of questions I simply cannot get my head around.

Why is it so small?

There is simply not enough space for the amount of people who wish to visit it. I found myself unable to enjoy browsing the stalls due to the sheer amount of people. We were packed in like sardines. Add in prams and wheelchairs and it becomes near impossible to navigate the space.

Why is it so expensive?

Charging £15.50 pounds for 2 drinks - including the mugs - is near enough criminal. So many people visit that the vendors are hardly struggling to make a profit. 

Why are there no working cash points nearby?

After learning the vendors didn't accept card payments, I had to walk over a mile from the markets to find a cash machine. None of the surrounding cash machines were working and when we finally found one that did, we had to queue for half an hour. Maybe the vendors could use their ridiculously high profit margins to invest in card machines? If you go, get cash before you get into town!

Why is the German beer garden not bigger?

Probably due to the fact that the space is too small, but the beer garden needs to be far bigger. In Great British style, everybody is going to want to have a pint there so why would they not extend the size of the pub area?

Why are the mugs identical to last year's?

I went with the intent of taking a mug home to add to my collection but it is virtually identical as the year previous, with the small exceptions of the date and a Rudolph nose.

Why is it so busy?

Again, this probably had something to do with the tiny size of them but it genuinely felt like the whole of Manchester had come to the markets on this particular day.

Why is there literally nowhere to sit down?

Across the whole market, the only visible seats were in the beer garden but it was so crowded I couldn't get close. After trudging through the crowds, I would've liked a seat to enjoy my Baileys hot chocolate.

I am very saddened by my experience because I honestly love the Christmas markets. From tree ornaments to handmade fudge and cheese, the stalls sell some beautiful things. I would have loved to have been able to browse more but it was just far too busy.

The space is not at all big enough for the number of people that visit it. I can only hope that when they move the main market hub from Albert Square next year, they choose a bigger site!