Manchester's Alternative Christmas Markets 2021

There's plenty more Christmas Markets in the city than just the 'official' ones...

By Manchester's Finest | December 7th '21

Winter Island at Escape to Freight Island
Until Friday 31st December
Freight Island has been transformed into ‘Winter Island’ this Christmas – the UK’s largest fully outdoor and heater winter markets. As you walk in through a Christmas Tree Forest, you’ll come face-to-face with a host of new festive traders and stalls, including Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, Great North Pie Co., a Bratwurst Grill, Traditional Hog Roast, a Mulled Wine & Hot Cider Hut, Local Chocolatier, Artisanal Cheese Stall and more. Oh, and there’s even a proper Ice Rink (in the sky) to get to grips with!

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Indie Winter Markets at KAMPUS
Saturday 4th December & Saturday 11th December (10am – 4pm)
Bread Flower will host two winter markets at Kampus alongside some brilliant independent traders. There will be festive food and drink provided by the Bread Flower cafe, plus festive fun, food and gifts. The market will be open from 10am to 4pm on both days and is free to enter.

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The Christmas Winter Village at Ramona & Firehouse
Until Friday 31st December
Ramona and Firehouse have been transformed into a festive ‘village’ with cosy Colorado-style log cabins, each with its own fire and chimney, alongside teepees with open-log fires. They’ve also welcomed pop-up stalls from independent traders in its own scaled-down Christmas market.

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An 80s Christmas @ Hatch
Until Friday 31st December
Hatch is already rather close to a Christmas Market most of the time, except now they’ve added some lovely 80s-style decorations, and welcomed a load of Christmas food and drink specials. Oh, and don’t forget the retail units offering up the perfect gifts for all of your loved ones. There’s some great specials from Grandad’s Sausages, Parmogeddon and Herbivorous, plus new additions in the form of Reddish favourite I Knead Pizza, and Wing Dash from the people behind Burgerism.

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The Miniature Christmas Village @ One Central
Until Friday 31st December
Altrincham’s shipping container village – One Central – has transformed into a miniature Christmas Village complete mulled wine, boozy hot chocolates, Christmas themed cocktails, German beers & Bratwurst, along with a weekly hog roast, daytime DJs & Live Music on Sundays. Oh, and they’ve even made ‘Carol’oke Huts’ where you can take part in a sing-along with your mates all night!

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The Refuge Christmas Fair
Sunday 5th & Sunday 12th December
A host of sellers and makers will be taking over the terrace at The Refuge – meaning you can grab all of those much-needed Christmas presents in one fell swoop. Top of the Town Vintage will be selling clobber, HollieGraphik will be flogging music-inspired prints and contemporary homewares and accessories will come courtesy of the Deadstock General Store pop-up. There’ll also be appearances from Northern On The Run with a selection of handmade homewares and jewellery, accessories from Mariel Osborn and beers from Manchester Union Lager.

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‘Taps Not Tat’ An Alternative Christmas Market
Saturday 4th, Saturday 11th & Saturday 18th December (12pm – 6pm)
Two of the city’s breweries have come together to host alternative markets outside their gaff every Saturday in the run up to the big day. They’ll boast a huge variety of food, drink and assortments, from worldwide foods, clothing, make up, and ceramics, the new markets will showcase the best of creative culture from the city.

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Italian Christmas Markets @ Deansgate Square
Until Wednesday 22nd December
Salvi’s and Deansgate Square have come together to host an Italian Christmas Market, running every day until Wednesday 22nd December. There’s a two-tipi hub, four festive huts and a cosy fire-pit with complimentary blankets, along with DJs, live music, live entertainment, Christmas gifts, hampers, panettone and tiramisu making workshops, kids events, and seasonal extras aplenty. Don’t forget to visit the Aperol & Campari Bar either!

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Christmas at the Mill @ Islington Mill
Friday 3rd (4pm – 9pm) & Saturday 4th (11am – 4pm) December
Home to over 140 artists, designers and makers, Islington Mill is the perfect setting for a Christmas Market event – allowing those there to sell their wares in person. Christmas at the Mill is a long standing Islington Mill tradition, and all of the stall holders are Islington Mill tenants, with many of the products being developed and created on site in Salford. Creatives involved this year include The Neighbourhood Threat, Partington’s Pots, Art with Heart, Wonderhaus, James Unsworth, Fernandes Makes, Manchester Street Poem, Alena Ruth Tufting, Jon Turner, Daniel Satchell, Crackpots and Luke Passey.

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Ancoats Pop-Up Christmas Markets
MODA Angel Gardens: Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th December (11am – 4pm)
Cutting Room Square: Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th December (11am – 4pm)
Cutting Room Square: Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th December (11am – 4pm)
The excellent Ancoats Pop-up will be hosting three weekends of Christmas Markets throughout December, kicking things off with a visit to MODA Angel Gardens on the 4th & 5th. It’ll be back to Cutting Room Square for the next two, with a diverse offering of makers, artists and food and drink vendors – perfect for gifts and everything else in-between.

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Independent Pop-Up Store at NAM
Sunday 5th December (11am – 5pm)
NAM Audiophile Bar & Restaurant will transform its basement into an independent pop-up store for one-day-only, between 11am and 5pm on Sunday 5th December. A selection of Manchester brands will takeover the space to showcase their beautiful collections and artwork. There’ll be ethical lifestyle and clothing label Io e te, conscious and delicious wine from Le Social, vintage and antique homewares from OneOhSix, illustrations by Zandra Rai Arts Co. and Depop dealer Chris Henderson will be bringing the finest vintage garms. Borderless Grooves will be taking over NAM’s superior audiophile system, curating the soundtrack for the day.

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Melanin Markets Manchester at Contact Theatre
Sunday 5th December (12pm – 5pm)
Melanin Markets at Contact Theatre will be a day to encourage, promote and celebrate Manchester’s Black businesses and community. The day encourages ALL communities to replace their Christmas purchases with products from Black-led businesses, with the hope that spending Black will become a normalised practise throughout the year. The event is FREE to attend and inclusive to EVERYONE – no need to book, just turn up!

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Independent Label Market @ Royal Exchange Theatre
Sunday 5th December
Independent Label Market takes to the road for its first ever market in Manchester on Sunday 5th December as part of Tim Burgess’ Vinyl Adventures Record Fair: a citywide record fair featuring events, live podcasts, gigs and happening with stallholders including Tim Burgess, The Lovely Eggs, We Are Scientists, Badly Drawn Boy, Gail Myerscough, Peter Doherty, LIINES, Clint Boon, Microdot Creative, James Walsh, Keel Her & more.

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Northern Quarter Makers Market
Sunday 12th December (11am – 5pm)
The Makers Market will be heading into the heart of the Northern Quarter on Sunday 12th December, with passionate creatives eager to share and inspire visitors with award winning food and drink and exhibiting awesome art, modern craft and vintage.

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Christmas at Levenshulme Market
Saturday 4th & Saturday 11th (10am – 4pm), Friday 17th December (5pm – 9pm)
Levenshulme Market is running three special festive markets this December in the run-up to Christmas, with a range of special stalls and events to look forward to. Each market will feature a different choir, including Levenshulme Community Choir and the Manchester University Opera Society, plus mulled wine and hot cider from the Levenshulme Market Bar, and 50 stalls of handmade, unique Christmas presents.

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Winter Festival @ Stretford Public Hall
Saturday 11th December (12pm – 5pm)
Head on down to Stretford Public Hall’s Christmas Festival for a day of exciting seasonal attractions, including hot food and drink stalls, mulled wine, arts and crafts, Christmas wreath making, Santa’s Grotto and plenty more!

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The Frost Fair at The Whitworth
Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th December (11am – 7pm)
The Whitworth returns with its bi-annual event, The Frost Fair on Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th December, 11am till 7pm. There’s an epic programme of music, entertainment, workshops plus an outdoor cinema, huge dancefloor, craft markets and street food. The Sculpture Terrace located at the front entrance of the gallery will be transformed into an entertainment square, home to the main stage and the largest outdoor dancefloor in the city, plus Mr Scruff, Me Gusta, MC Kwasi, P-RO, PINS, DJ Paulette and A Certain Ratio.

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Box on The Docks & Festive Makers Markets at MediaCity
Every weekend until Sunday 19th December
Taking place on the Quayside – the bit in front of The Lowry – the Festive Maker Markets will feature a range of local makers, bakers and artisans, tempting visitors with a seasonal pick of festive food and drink, art and design, plus vintage and modern crafts. In addition, just across the water, is Box on the Docks, whose winter season combines festive cocktails, street food and a cosy tipi alongside its art-adorned sheds and greenhouses.

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