Last weekend Mark and I packed the kids off to spend the weekend with their Grandparents and we headed north to Manchester, to visit the Christmas markets. The journey took about 3.5 hours and fortunately the traffic was relatively kind to us, with the exception of the very annoying 50 mph roadworks!
We stayed in a Travelodge near the city centre. There’s not much to tell you about a Travelodge other than it was clean, but very basic. I didn’t take any photos of our room because it was a standard Travelodge room, with a bed, tv, desk and chair and not much else! The best thing about it was the fact it was walking distance to the shopping area and the markets.
I wanted to experience the markets once it was dark, as I knew they would look pretty all lit up, so we spent the earlier part of the afternoon making a dent in the Christmas shopping in the Arndale Centre. We dropped the bags back to the hotel and walked in to see the markets. It was very busy and I was glad the children weren’t with us as I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much.
The markets are huge and spread over several streets, but there are lots of guides on hand to give you maps and show you where to go. We spoke to a lovely guide who not only showed us the best route to take, but also pointed out other things of interest and recommended a restaurant for dinner too. I have to say, the people in Manchester were so friendly. Everybody we spoke to, from people in the hotel to sales assistants in the shops, they were all lovely.
Albert Square was the largest part of the Christmas markets and was packed with stalls selling food items, Christmas decorations, jewellery and gifts. I really liked the French area – the smell of all the food cooking was mouthwatering!
The markets were so pretty with all their twinkling lights and the Christmas music combined with the laughter of everyone having a good time really got us ready for Christmas and left us feeling very festive.