The world-famous Manchester Christmas Markets have taken a coveted spot on the list of best festive markets in Europe – the only UK city to make the list.
The competition is run each year by influential travel website European Best Destinations and includes some of the top festive cities across the continent, including Strasbourg, Vienna, Dresden and Tallinn.
Manchester has made the list for the past few years, but this year the attraction was the only UK city to receive the honour, beating off competition from other UK cities, such as London, Birmingham and Bath.
More than 188,000 people voted from 124 countries making this year’s competition the most hotly fought yet.
This year’s Manchester Christmas Markets have been some of the busiest since the markets first arrived in the city in 1999. Traders have reported that the mild weather has contributed to bumper crowds throughout the season.
So busy, in fact, that all but a few of the much-loved Christmas mugs have been snapped up by punters looking for a memento of their visit. 170,000 mugs – more than ever before – were made for this year’s event.
The mugs – as well as the reusable glass deposit scheme -were first introduced as a way of increasing the green credentials of the market, but the mugs soon became a much anticipated part of the Manchester Christmas Markets, each year with a new design.
The markets close for the season on Tuesday, 20 December (21 December on Albert Square) so there are only a few days left to indulge in the treats on offer, quaff some warming Gluhwein and put the finishing touches to your shopping list.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It stands to reason that the UK’s capital of Christmas would have the best Christmas Market in the UK. It’s an honour to make the list as we enjoy the final weekend before the traders pack up and return home next week.
“We have had some fantastic wintery days in Manchester that create the perfect atmosphere for a warming Gluhwein while looking for present at the Christmas Markets. So perfect in fact that we are quickly running out of the coveted Christmas Market mugs – so get yours fast!”
Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure, said: “It’s great to see generations of Manchester people come together at this time of year and celebrate the season. The markets transform the city centre and give a real boost to the economy, it will be sad to see them go for another year.”
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