As most Americans are preparing to stuff a turkey and then stuff themselves, we are preparing for a trip back to one of our favorite cities, Manchester, England. We booked a great sale out of Toronto on Air Transat (that we thought may have been a mistake) leaving on Thanksgiving day and putting us into the city on the morning of Black Friday.
Home Away From Home
Kyle and I moved to Manchester just four days after getting married (almost a decade ago) and spent three years living and working in the wonderful northern city. Every time we return for a visit, it feels like coming home. This upcoming trip feels extra special as we are taking a now almost four-year old Lucy on her second visit, however this trip will be just in time to visit Manchester’s extravagant Christmas Markets.
I asked my husband what he was most excited for on this trip and his answer was the same as mine, to share this enchanted winter wonderland with our daughter. She has already asked if the real Santa Claus will be there and if she can buy presents to bring back for all of her cousins. She has no idea what is in store for her.
Lucy doesn’t remember her first trip to Manchester as she was not even 18 months old and this time I expect she will be talking about the magic of the markets well after we have returned home. Even as an adult, it is hard not to get into the “Christmas spirit” as you can feel the merriment and excitement happening all over the city during this time of year.
In addition to the sprawling markets, other local establishments are getting into the festive mood like The House of Fraser department store where you can even have breakfast with Santa Claus, and little Christmas igloos like these that apparently keep popping up all over the city.
It has been almost six years since I have been in Manchester during the holiday season and I can not wait to see how The Christmas Markets have evolved. I am also excited to get back to some of our favorite spots like Pi where you can eat delicious traditional English pies with gravy and mash (and mushy peas if that’s your thing.) The weird and wonderful Afflecks Palace and the new Mackie Mayor will also make the cut.
There will be lots of wandering around, visiting friends and just enjoying being back in our home away from home.
Have you been to Manchester? What other must-see, must-do activities do you recommend?