The History of The Christmas Markets

Since Manchester have been listed in the top three picturesque Christmas Markets in Europe, we thought we’d dive into the history to discover where the festive tradition originated.

Our Manchester Christmas markets were first launched in 1999, as a single site in St Ann’s Square. Ever since then, stalls have spread across the city, becoming increasingly popular each year. The sweet smell of mulled wine, our beautiful Christmas lights and the delicious tastes of cheeses, chestnuts, and chocolates from across the world attracts millions of visitors each year nationally and internationally.

The Christmas markets date back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking areas of Europe. The open-air winter markets filled the streets of Germany, with the first Christkindlmarkt taking place in 1384. The markets originally started with just selling meat but eventually evolved to selling seasonal treats, decorations, and crafts- all accompanied by singing and dancing.

Today, Christmas markets are celebrated across the globe, with every country preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. One of the most popular Christmas markets takes place in Austria. Known as the “Christmas Dream”, this Christkindlmarkt brings in over three million visitors each year, including the famous tree of Hearts and foods such as hot mulled wine, potato pancakes and sweet pretzels.

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Less than a 5-minute walk away from the Christmas Markets, Hotel Indigo welcomes you in the run-up to Christmas. There are over 220 stalls to explore so the choices are endless. Cosy up at Market Street with a hot chocolate or spiced rum, head down to St Ann’s Square to try one of our foodie favourites Yard and Coop or try one of Porky Pig’s famous Yorkshire pudding wraps.

Our markets are also famous for the wide range of gifts made by crafters and producers, including Christmas decorations, candles, and beautiful jewellery.

Go to Porky Pig Carvery’s Instagram

Recently opened on the 21st of October 2022, Manchester’s only outdoor ice rink has opened at Cathedral Gardens, a two-minute walk from Hotel Indigo Victoria. With a new skating path which allows you to skate around a beautiful Christmas tree, this is perfect for you and your loved ones to get into the Christmas Spirit before exploring the markets.

Go to Official Ice Rink Website .

Newcomers Who Will be Joining the Festive Cheer

This year, Piccadilly Gardens will be transformed into the Winter Gardens and newcomers Parmageddon will be serving churros, cookie dough and vegan bratwursts. Something for everyone! A brand-new Nordic-themed tipi bar will also be opening in the Winter Gardens. Fully heated, with a fire pit and seating, the tipi will be ideal for visitors seeking a cosy Christmas atmosphere filled with laughter.

That’s not all. Middle Eastern restaurant Habas will be joining us on King Street, perfect for those wanting to try a little bit of everything!

We promise it’s something you don’t want to miss. So come and join us, to celebrate Christmas 2022.