Christmas In The City

Oh, by gosh, by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly...
Over the course of the next few weeks Manchester plays host to its biggest event in the city's social calendar. The world-famous Manchester Christmas Markets featuring over 400 stalls spread across 10 dedicated sites have returned offering food, drink and gifts from all over Europe.

A bird's eye view of the stalls in Albert Square.  

A bird's eye view of the stalls in Albert Square.  

The market's origins began in 1999 with a solitary site in St Ann’s Square and have grown into what is now considered to be one of Europe's most popular Christmas attractions. Visitors come from across the UK and beyond, with a reported nine million enjoying the festivities in 2014.

The heart of the markets is situated in Albert Square. Dozens of chalet-like stalls are erected in front of the town hall, presided over by a giant Santa, known by many as ‘Zippy’ due to his similarity to 80’s children's Rainbow show puppet.

Manchester's unique, giant Santa

Manchester's unique, giant Santa

There is something for everyone at festive markets, not least photographers as the photo opportunities are extremely inviting. Colourful lights, decked-out stalls packed with Christmas products.

Late afternoon is my preferred time to shoot to get the best from my iPhone. If I leave it too late then there is increased difficulties with lights being over exposed and shadow areas lacking definition. I prefer to shoot during the "magic hours" during and after sunset. The glow of the lights against a darkening sky can be very atmospheric.

The space outside The Great Northern Warehouse complex has been transformed into a funfair and skating rink.

The space outside The Great Northern Warehouse complex has been transformed into a funfair and skating rink.

I don't worry about capturing images that have people included, as I believe that this can add to the 'story' that I am recording. I avoid the busy weekends when the crowds jostle elbow-to-elbow and leave little chance for a pleasing composition.

European traders sell food, drink and gifts.

European traders sell food, drink and gifts.

So what are you waiting for? Don your Santa hat and head for the gluhwein and bratwurst! Cue Noddy Holder...

Manchester Council's website has all the information you need for a great visit.