Eat, Drink and Shop in Manchester this Christmas

Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market - Credit: Archant

This festive season we’re exploring the hidden corners of Manchester to find you the best independent places to eat, drink and shop.

The Manchester Craft and Design Centre

The Manchester Craft and Design Centre - Credit: Archant

We do love shopping local in our towns and villages. However, sometimes the urge to cheat on our bustling high streets with a big city is too strong, and Manchester certainly has that effect. Despite the many dominating retail chains, there are plenty of independent stores and restaurants for you to spend your hard earned cash in this Christmas without feeling too guilty – including the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Housed in Manchester’s old Victorian fish, the centre has been a venue for all things craft since 1982. Featuring two floors of contemporary craft studios, there are at least 20 permanent artists selling a range of items from jewellery and ceramics to wall art and glass. You’re sure to find an interesting gift or two, and over Christmas they also run a series of events and exhibitions.

Between November 19 and December 24, ‘mini-makers’ are invited get creative with Christmas crafts, and adults can marvel at Kaper’s (a studio based at the centre) hand sculptured paper portrayal of the 12 Days of Christmas, which will be suspended from the ceiling in five giant gold rings. During Saturdays in December, festive live music will also be played between 2-5pm, so grab a hot spiced cider and mince pie from the Oak Street Café-Bar and enjoy.

El Gato Negro, King Street, Manchester

El Gato Negro, King Street, Manchester - Credit: Photo by Joby Catto / www.anti-l


El Gato Negro

Winner of the Lancashire Life City Restaurant of the Year 2016, this Spanish restaurant will transport you from chilly Manchester to the balmy streets of Madrid in a matter of a few tapas dishes curated by founder and chef patron, Simon Shaw.

52 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LY

Cafe Beermoth

Cafe Beermoth - Credit: Archant

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Northern Soul Grilled Cheese

Taking things firmly back up north is this award-winning gourmet grilled cheese restaurant - which is also the UK’s first. Who could resist an awfully indulgent (and possibly heart attack inducing) oozy cheese sandwich on a winter’s day? It’s comfort food at its finest.

Church Street Market, Manchester, M4 1PN

A store inside Afflecks (credit: John Clarke)

A store inside Afflecks (credit: John Clarke) - Credit: Archant


Café Beermoth

Due to the success of their Tib Street bottle shop and tasting room (a great place for Christimas gifts), in December 2015 Beermoth expanded to include Café Beermoth, which has established itself as a go-to destination for quality beer from around the world. With 10 keg and 7 cask lines, you’re bound to find something you like while on a break from all that Christmas shopping.

40a Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 1DA


Don’t be deceived by the exterior. It may look like a laundrette from the outside but once you enter through the tumble dryer you’ll find a quirky cocktail venue. It’s certainly not your average bar, so definitely worth a visit on a day out in the city - if you can find it. Visit their social media for clues on where it’s located and booking is essential.

North Tea Power

If it’s caffeine that you need to power up your day out in Manchester, well the city is not short of independent coffee shops and cafes. However, North Tea Power in the Northern Quarter is well known for its delicious triple hand crafted fine coffee and wide range of loose-leaf tea, not to mention their homemade cakes.

36 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LA


Piccadilly Records

Piccadilly Records has been in Manchester for nearly forty years. If you’re a music lover or are looking for a gift for someone who is, you’ll find every genre of music here on vinyl and CD. For an original Christmas present, why not buy a vinyl and get the sleeve framed for some cool wall art?

53 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JR

Fred Aldous

Fancy getting hands on with your presents this year? Then a trip to Fred Aldous is a must. This mecca for all things craft has been in the city since 1886 and has everything you need (there’s 25,000 products, to be exact) to make your own Christmas cards and cute gifts.

37 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1LW

Afflecks Palace

This icon on Manchester’s shopping scene needs no introduction. A self named emporium of eclecticism and a totem of indie commerce; you will find everything and anything within Afflecks Palace. From vintage clothing and homewares to vegan toiletries and even a shop dedicated to fudge, you’re bound to be surprised with what you can find.

52 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PW


Manchester Christmas Market

November 10 – December 20

A huge draw for locals and tourists alike, the Manchester Christmas Market attracts 1000s of people to its festive wonderland. Based in Albert Square and nine other sites around the city centre, the market has over 350 stalls and chalets offering treats from around the world. It’s not hard to find, just look out for the giant sparkling Father Christmas.

For more information and times visit:

The top five things to do at Manchester Christmas Markets

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