My paternal grandparents hailed from Manchester and while they died when I was very young I've always been curious about their city of origin and so when we had an opportunity to housesit in Manchester we seized it with both fists!
I doubt either grandparent would recognise Manchester today with its modern high rises and tram system that links the outskirts with the city centre, but I suspect they'd be impressed by the changes. One building they might recognise is the Town Hall. Situated in Albert Square it was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in the Neo-Gothic style and completed in 1877. The interior is as grand as the exterior.
Albert Square is currently home to the Manchester's Christmas Market and with 300 stalls it is dubbed as the largest in the UK and draws many visitors each year.
The sights, sounds and aromas as one wanders from one booth to another is heavenly.
There are ample gift suggestions for everyone young to old, including fresh food and drink items that make the shopping experience all the more memorable. Fancy a hot chocolate? Beer? Coffee with Baileys or even mulled wine? They're all available, as is every imaginable culinary delight from fudge to chestnuts, cheese cake, Belgian crepes, roasted pulled pork, etc. John opted for some garlic stuffed Italian olives - delicious!
We strolled row upon row of booths offering stuffed toys and festive items for the home.
These included natural products for birders and gardeners.
And some Christmas themed stuffed animals as well.
The market is spread throughout the city centre so that wherever we walked there was always a pedestrian only street lined with Christmas vendors. No need to be on the look out for cars and trucks zipping by. This particular gathering of booths is very close to Manchester Cathedral (shown in the header and below right).
This church was damaged during WWII and a 1992 IRA bombing so the majority of stained glass windows are new, but absolutely lovely.
A short service was in progress while we were there and if you look closely through the arches you'll see the minister leading the prayers.
It's no secret how much we enjoy housesitting and this latest sit has enhanced our lives and provided lovely memories of Manchester we would otherwise never had. A special thank you to Barb and Sally for making it happen and making us feel like long lost friends rather than certifiable nomads! We felt very much at home during our stay...
We enjoyed strolling around the neighbourhood...
And most importantly had a wonderful time with Bella and Barney.
But we're not leaving just yet. There is so much to see and do in Manchester that it will require another post so stay tuned. Cheers!
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