This weekend, we were among the record breaking 200,000 people who descended on Manchester city centre for the opening of the Christmas Markets. With Ella being at university there, we parked up outside her halls of residence and walked into town. The weather was perfect and we felt very festive as we approached the beautifully adorned, wooden stalls each selling their wares from around Europe.
The smell of mulled wine and various foods was enticing and we simply had to sample the Garlic Mushrooms and Garlic Potatoes from Provence, which were cooked in huge pans on the street and smelled so good. It was nice to find some vegetarian friendly food among all the German sausages on offer, and the potatoes and mushrooms were absolutely delicious - so, so tasty!
The children had their first ever macaroons, hand made by the French people running the stall. Freddy loved them but at £9 a bag they will only ever be an occasional treat! He also had a white chocolate covered apple, which we bought from a very happy Bavarian man selling various fruits on sticks that had been dipped in chocolate and decorated. They looked really pretty.
The markets have a real international flavour and a vibrant atmosphere. There were so many cool things on display from jewellery to wooden ornaments to traditional nutcrackers to Christmas decorations alongside all the food stalls and pop up bars. It was so busy and positively bustling, which is always good to see. Ella's boyfriend is working on one of the stalls at the markets selling Lemax Christmas Collectables. We popped across to say hello. They were doing a roaring trade and selling their stuff off much cheaper than I've seen it in the garden centres. Nice to see some well priced stalls at the markets! It was also good to see that the pop-up bars had a returnable deposit policy on their mugs, glasses and cups, as part of an environmentally friendly initiative.
With a visit to the Arndale Centre included in our day out, we really enjoyed spending the day in Manchester. Freddy coped really well with the crowds and the long walk around all the sites. My little boy is definitely growing up and getting more able to deal with situations outside of his comfort zone, which is really pleasing.
Afterwards we popped in to see Megan, who couldn't join us at the markets because she'd had friends rounds after a big night out. We bought some vegan take out food from Eighth Day to make up for her missing the garlic potatoes! I love being able to visit my grown up kids and having two living in the same city is such a bonus.
The Manchester Christmas Markets are open everyday until December 21st.