There are countless fantastic reasons to study English in Manchester, and when it comes to celebrating in style, the city goes all out for Christmas, with its award-winning, annual Christmas Markets.
As if enjoying student life in the city wasn’t great already, now those who decide to enrol at our English Language School over the Christmas period will get to take in the sights, smells and tastes of the famous markets. All while you gaze up at the city’s beloved Zippy, the giant santa.
So, while you study English, you can head on over to the magnificent markets until Saturday 22nd December, and the main section in Albert Square is even staying open for one extra day, until Sunday 23rd December. Before you do though, we wanted to put together some pointers for handling the Christmas Markets this year…
As the giant festive Santa is illuminated by thousands of LED light bulbs, and the hundreds of beautiful stalls and chalets open up across the city centre, it’s easy to soak up the atmosphere and get swept up in the festivities. But remember, you’re a student and you need to budget accordingly.
You’ll see plenty of mouth-watering international food, warming mulled wine, and delicately crafted gifts, crafts, jewellery and more to tempt you. Make sure that you always consider how much you’re spending though, as prices tend to be slightly higher than usual. A mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate for example, can generally cost between £4 and £6.50, and you’ll need to put down a deposit for your Christmas market mug. This can be returned for a refund if you don’t want to keep it as a souvenir.
Remember, you’re also paying for the atmosphere and the fun of enjoying a drink, with a traditional bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella, hog roast or whatever you fancy, while you sit inside a double-storey chalet!
The markets can be mesmerising, but sometimes you may feel a little overwhelmed. There’s plenty to see and enjoy as the markets will be spread over several locations throughout the city, but suddenly the weather can turn to rain, or you might feel swarmed by too many people crowding around you. If this happens it’s always best to have a route planned out so that you can retreat and recuperate.
You might find it tempting to stick to the main site at Albert Square, but this understandably can be the busiest of them all. So, it can be worth having a wander around the sites away from the central hub. Visit each of the market areas before deciding where to settle down for some food and drink. This way, you’ll be happier with your chosen spot and you’ll know where best to move onto if things get a little crowded where you are.
Keep in mind, this year has a brand new ice village at Cathedral Gardens, with an ice rink and some impressive ice sculptures on display.
Visiting the Christmas Markets at the weekend can be risky, especially if you’re not comfortable with crowds. Unfortunately, the weekends will of course be the busiest time, and you may not get to experience all that the markets have to offer because of all the people.
It can be a far more pleasant experience to go to the markets on a weekday. When you get some free time between your studies during the week, head on over and enjoy the atmosphere without the crushing sea of bodies. If the weekend is the only time you can go to the markets, then aim to get there early, when they open, in order to beat the crowds.
The spectacular stalls and chalets will be full of traders who have come from all over Europe, and even further afield, to sell their festive wears and trinkets. There’s no doubt that the people involved in the markets will have fascinating stories to tell.
So, to enrich your whole experience in the markets even more, take some time to have a chat with these people. We know how important communication is when you’re studying English in a new country and city, and having a friendly chat with someone can make things a lot less stressful. The same will apply to the markets, they can be busy and bustling, but remembering that there’s a lovely human in the stalls ready to have an interesting conversation with, can help.
The Christmas Markets are just one of the many things that make Manchester a great place to study English. If you decide to enrol on an English speaking course with us, you’ll get to experience them, and all the other wonderful things that the city has to over.