Manchester Christmas Markets
- Manchester city centre
- Friday 12 November 2021 to Wednesday 22 December 2021
- Impacted area(s)
Manchester city centre
Piccadilly Gardens have taken a star turn this festive season, becoming the hub for Christmas in Manchester until Wednesday 22 December.
Manchester will showcase a new family-friendly Winter Gardens attraction in the heart of the city at Piccadilly Gardens while the markets will also return across another six city centre squares, offering the festive delights that the city is known for.
These will take place at St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street, Market Street and Cathedral Gardens.
If you're heading to the markets, our key advice is:
- During the first weekend of the Christmas markets, the inner ring road was at its busiest on Friday 12 November, reporting a journey time high of 37 minutes and 54 seconds from the hour of 3pm to 4pm in a clockwise direction. Please consider leaving the car at home and taking the tram, bus or train for quicker journeys into the city.
- As expected Metrolink services and city centre stops - such as St. Peter's Square and Deansgate-Castlefield - were busier than normal from 4pm to 7pm. Consider getting off at Shudehill stop which was quieter than other stops over the first weekend. From here it is only a short walk to Piccadilly Gardens.
- Deansgate-Castlefield railway station will be closed to the public from 6pm on Friday and Saturday evenings for the duration of the Christmas markets. During this time, please use Oxford Road to board a service.
Although there are no changes to Metrolink services during the period of the Christmas markets, we expect trams to be busier than normal with those attending the festivities, shoppers and event-goers.
The proximity of the new Winter Gardens to the Metrolink stop at Piccadilly Gardens means that we expect to see additional crowding at this stop.
If you have flexibility on your journey time, please travel during our quieter periods. This can help you avoid busy trams and make your journey more comfortable.
Consider getting off at Shudehill stop which was quieter than other stops over the first weekend. From here it is only a short walk to Piccadilly Gardens.
You should use contactless for payments, it's a quick and easy way to pay. Just remember to touch in and out!
If you're travelling by Metrolink as a family, you can save money with our family travelcard which allows travel for one to three children (aged under 16) accompanied by one or two adults.
Park and Ride
If you do need to drive at any point of your journey, we recommend using one of our Park and Ride sites where you can park for free and then complete your journey on the tram to the city centre.
During the Christmas period Park and Ride sites are expected to get fuller more quickly than normal - especially over the weekend. Based off data from the first weekend car park occupancy at Sale Water Park was 6% above the previous weekend.
In addition to this, car park occupancy was much higher on Friday and Sunday compared to the previous week. So you aren't left without a space, consider travelling outside of the busiest times.
The markets will be spread across the city centre in eight locations.
Bus journey times could be impacted due to the increased levels of traffic, so be sure to plan ahead and allow extra time for your travel.
Last week saw a 9% increase in trips to the city centre (with weekend trips up by 16%) for the opening weekend of the markets. Saturday in particular was very busy with lots of congestion particularly along Great Ancoats Street, Salford Quays and areas adjacent to the Oxford Road corridor.
These extra trips were typically made between 4pm to 7pm. For a quicker journey please consider travelling outside of these hours if you are planning on catching the bus.
The proximity of the new Winter Gardens to the bus stations in Piccadilly Gardens mean that we expect to see additional crowding at these stops.
Services are operating to a normal timetable but for more information consider following your bus operator on twitter.
Deansgate-Castlefield Station will be closed to the public from 6pm on Friday and Saturday evenings for the duration of the Christmas markets.
If you are catching the train into Manchester, all stops are within a short walking distance of the markets.
Following the first weekend of the markets, there was an increase of 7% in crowd levels at Piccadilly station compared to the previous week.
Please remember to plan your journey in advance of any date you intend to travel by checking on the National Rail website.
You can keep up to date on the latest Rail updates by following @nationalrailenq on twitter.