*Exploring Manchester This Christmas

Monday, November 19, 2018
Manchester is one of my favourites cities and it happens to be my home city! For me, Manchester has so many things to offer including numerous museums, highly ranked restaurants, countless independent retailers, beautiful parks, art galleries, victorian era theatres, shopping centres and more, including it's world famous football stadiums. If you are planning on visiting Manchester this christmas, there are so many hotels in Manchester to choose from, many of which are within the city centre and easy walking distance for most of the main attractions.

While Manchester is known for being the home of football and rain…It is so much more than that! It holds so much history within it from the roman and viking invasions to more recent history such as the industrial revolution in which Manchester was at the vanguard. There's something for everyone within the city, from shopping, football and museums to country houses, parks, concerts, festivals and the world famous Christmas markets!

Manchester Christmas Markets 
The Christmas markets this year are based in numerous locations throughout the city centre from Market Street to the Town Hall, Exchange Street to St Ann's Square. They have been an attraction for the city since the 1990's and I think that myself and my family have been going visiting since they first began! The markets seem to become a bigger and bigger attraction every year and for the 2018 markets for there are 300 stalls so you're bound to find something for yourself or a gift for someone else as well as delicious food from around Europe.
On Saturday we travelled down to the city centre to visit the markets as part of today's post as I was very kindly gifted spending money by hotels.com but all views are my own. Usually we avoid the city centre during the weekends as it can be extremely busy and this weekend was no different especially due to the markets as they always draw such a big crowd. The crowd were definitely an issue as you can see but there's still so much to see, buy and enjoy in the city at this time of the year.

One of my favourite things about the market growing up were the chocolate strawberries so naturally I had to get some this time round as well! The prices have definitely gone up this year but it is a once a year treat so it's okay to treat yourself every so often, that's what I'm telling myself anyway. The chocolate strawberries were £5 but they are delicious and there are various options to choose from. I also had to buy a sweet hot chocolate in one of the new and very cutely designed Manchester Christmas markets 2018 mugs – if you buy one of the hot drinks you can pay to keep the mug which is £6 or you can get some of your money back by returning the mug.
There are always so many gorgeous handmade items at the Christmas markets and one of my favourites has been the cute candle houses which are all handmade in Lithuania. I've seen these little houses for a couple of years and I've always wanted one so this time I chose a very cute little house which was £18. I think the Manchester Christmas markets are such a fantastic opportunity to buy very unique, special and handmade gifts for yourself or someone else as they're bound to be surprised and it will be something they probably won't already have.

Lastly for my Christmas market purchases I stumbled across the Harry Potter stall which was just off Market Street, near the Football Museum. The Harry Potter stall is part of Moloko at Afflecks and I purchased one of the cute Harry Potter 9 3/4 notebooks which was £12. I'm so glad that there was a Harry Potter stall and it seems very popular – more Harry Potter please! While we're on the topic of Afflecks, it is such a unique shopping experience and something very specific to the city itself. Afflecks is an indoor shopping centre/market place that is synonymous with Manchester and various celebrities so it is definitely worth a visit; although make sure you don't get lost in it's labyrinth of paths and independent shops. You can see all of my purchases and photos from the markets on my Instagram stories under the autumn highlights (@ofbeautyand).
Manchester Cathedral 
The Christmas markets in Manchester do run for quite a while but that's not the only attraction within the city! Manchester Cathedral is such a beautiful place to visit and it is free, although you can pay donation for the upkeep of the cathedral. I have a few hobbies and one of the most rewarding is definitely my ancestry research and through it I have found that a couple of my ancestors were married within Manchester Cathedral which makes it even more special to me. The building of Manchester Cathedral started in 1421 and it was finished in 1882 - it is one of 15 grade 1 listed buildings within Manchester. With it's gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows and history, it makes such a rich tourist attraction that is very close to the city centre.

Chetham's Library 
Speaking of history, there is an unknown part of Manchester that is very beautiful, historic and free to the public but not many people know about – Chetham's library. I only visited Chetham's library last year despite having lived in Manchester for almost all of my life. Chetham's library is actually a working school of music so you do have to go in with a guide at specific times of the day although it is free for the public to visit.

Chetham's library is the oldest free public library in the UK and construction was started in 1515 but it was opened as a library in 1653 by Humphrey Chetham. In my opinion Manchester is only viewed in terms of it's industrial past and also it's modern sporting history but the history of Manchester go so much further back than that and it's amazing to see these buildings that were built in the 1500's still standing and being used now. The inside of Chathams is incredibly beautiful and very Hogwarts-like so I would definitely recommend a visit! Check out the link above for a little more information about my visit.

Manchester Museums 
There are so many museums to visit within Manchester and I think I visited most of them; however my favourite has to be the Museum of Science and Industry which I've visited countless times with school and independently. The museum is spread throughout numerous buildings including an 1830's railway warehouse which houses so many vehicles, planes and trains. However it isn't just about transport, there is also a section about the history of Manchester with a rather creepy tunnel to walk through as well as Manchester's industrial history. Their exhibits are changing all of the time so check out their website to see what's on!

Another museum I only visited last year is the Greater Manchester Police Museum which is housed inside the 1879 police station! There are various of items and vehicles to see as well as the original charge office, cells and the 1895 magistrates court room. I would definitely recommend a visit and as again it is a free attraction within the city centre.

The final museum I'm going to mention is The Manchester Museum which is part of Manchester University. It contains many artefacts from the natural world and various cultures around the globe such as Egyptian antiquities, fossils and a tyrannosaurus! Again as with most public museums, this one is free to the public and well worth a visit.

Country Houses & Parks
Last but not least is one of my favourite categories, grand country houses and parks. There are so many around greater Manchester and Cheshire, all of which are a short drive away from Manchester City centre such as Dunham Massey. Dunham Massey is a gorgeous Georgian house and an ancient deerpark. The deer are very tame and you can go right up to them! I'm hopefully going to be visiting Dunham Massey later this week so check out my Instagram stories for photos.

Another couple of country houses that I would recommend visiting in and around Greater Manchester include: Lyme Park (Disley), Gawthorpe Hall (Burnley) and Ordsall Hall (Salford). Additionally, if you're looking for day trips outside of Manchester then be sure to visit the beautiful towns of Hebden Bridge and Uppermill which are less than an hour away from Manchester. There are so many more attractions and sites I could mention such as Salford Quays, the Trafford Centre and Old Trafford but where were you choose to visit in Manchester, make sure you visit the famous christmas markets.

Have you visited Manchester or any of the attractions I've mentioned? 

20 comments

  1. Those are some cute purchases! I particularly like the sound of chocolate strawberries! Back in Birmingham we had a Christmas market every year, although I only went once or twice. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, though. It's a shame that we don't really have anything like that down here in Plymouth (at least, not that I know of!). I would really like to go again. Also, your photography is beautiful ��

    Alicia | www.aliciabynature.co.uk

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  2. It looks so wonderful! Really gets you in the mood for Christmas!

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  3. I really need to visit Manchester - it is one of the only big cities in the UK I haven't visited

    www.theemeralddove.co.uk

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  4. I've never been to Manchester but I certainly would be up for going to see the markets. It looks like a great atmosphere there. Glad you enjoyed it. The chocolate strawberries sound right up my street! Love the sound of the Harry Potter stand! Great post!

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  5. I’ve been watching on your Insta stories and Manchester is looking fab right now x

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  6. I would LOVE to visit the Manchester Christmas markets this year x

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  7. I visited Manchester many moons ago but unfortunately didn't see any of these attractions.

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  8. Great pictures, I love Manchester. 💜✨

    With love, Alisha Valerie x

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  9. I've never been to Manchester OR a Christmas market tbh! I'd love to go.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  10. I live near Leeds and I have still never been to Manchester, I can't believe it! It looks so pretty!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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  11. I'd love to go to Manchester for the Christmas markets!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  12. I lived in Manchester for a few years and the christmas markets are always wonderful! x

    Joyce | http://www.joycelauofficial.com/

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  13. I love the Manchester markets so much, great post. X

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  14. I haven't been to Manchester, but my favourite thing would be the markets!

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  15. My brother has recently moved to Manchester! He loves it and I can't wait to visit him over Christmas.

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  16. It sounds fab, I’d love to visit, I bet it’s lovely all lit up

    http://littlemissmelanie.com

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  17. I love the little houses!! I have one and they are SO cute! :D

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  18. I have never been to Manchester before, but I would love to go! I'm not really into my History, so I would definitely be going for the shopping and Christmas markets :) xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.co.uk

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  19. I love Manchester Christmas markets but have had a chance to go up yet this year! xx

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