When it’s time to start the Christmas shopping, many will head to the high streets and shopping malls – and online catalogues. But most of the nation’s towns and cities now offer a magical diversion in the form of festive markets.
We look at some of the best Christmas markets in North West England this year.
All markets are free entry unless otherwise stated
The city’s award-winning, world-famous market celebrates its 15th year in style – with more than 300 stalls and chalets spread across nine separate locations throughout the centre. European and local producers offer everything from fine jewellery and handcrafted leather bags to Dutch cheeses, French breads, and Spanish chorizo. So grab a hot chocolate or German beer and soak up the atmosphere of a truly international event with a uniquely Mancunian flavour.
15 Nov – 22 Dec, 10am-7.30pm (bars open later); more info
This could be the best year yet for Chester’s festive shopping experience, with 40 brand new bespoke wooden chalet stalls and a full entertainment programme of live music and street performances. There’ll even be a Champagne Bar for those with a thirst for some sparkle, while those looking to warm themselves can indulge in a traditional hot drink or some of the huge selection of beers, wines and spirits on sale.
21 Nov – 21 Dec, 10am-6pm (8pm Thu-Sat); more info
Adding an extra dimension to Liverpool’s extensive shopping possibilities this Winter – and the perfect retail stop amid the many cultural and entertainment offerings being staged – discover treats and surprises from five different continents, as the world comes to Liverpool in the guise of this uber-international market.
21 Nov – 22 Dec, 10am-8pm; more info
Set against the backdrop of a giant ten-metre Christmas tree and traditional nativity scene, Carlisle invites you to get into the Christmas spirit with a continental twist. You’ll be able to sample traditional food from as far a field as the Seychelles – with such exotic fare sitting alongside the very best local produce and a wide array of hand crafted goods and gifts.
4 – 8 Dec, 9.30am-5pm; more info
The nearby Muncaster Castle estate is staging a real extravaganza in the build-up to Christmas, with the Courtyard Festive Market accompanied by free cookery demonstrations, free children’s crafts, walkabout entertainment, pony rides, a hog roast and Husky dogs offering sled rides around the gardens.
7 – 8 Dec, 11am-4pm, £3 for adults, £1 for kids; more info