By Shannon Holden | @shaywhophotography @Shay_Who_Photos
Sub-edited by: Philippa Strachan | @philippastrac and Zahida Khan, Lifestyle Editor
With the countdown to Christmas started and sales everywhere you go, many people are looking forward to shopping for those perfect gifts for both themselves and others. Shopping is changing with high street shops disappearing every year. This decreases the city’s economy and takes away the traditional shopping experience we’re all used to. Analysts from HSBC confirmed this with a statement to The Telegraph, “[…] the structural shift away from high fixed cost bricks and mortar retailing.” So why not put your phones away and venture to Manchester for a Christmas experience suitable for anyone and everyone.
The City of Manchester has a range of tourist destinations to explore. During the winter there is the ice skating rink to become the inner figure skater you secretly wish to be. Or watch the fountains at Jubilee park where they change colour with the lights at night. If culture is more your thing then visit the Manchester Chinatown and get a photo under the arch. Or enjoy the art gallery or The Lowry, a modern art centre. But at Christmas time the Christmas market is definitely a go-to destination.
Travel into the depths of the Christmas market finding your way with the downloadable app. Walk along each branch of the trails or be directed by the strong aromas of the food area. That’s where you can find a range of food from hot dogs to Indian and chocolate truffles to sweets. Or maybe you need a warm drink to ease the cold breeze: with both non-alcoholic and alcoholic hot chocolate and coffees, there are plenty to try. Whilst enjoying the food and drink you can shop the stalls for all the Christmas presents needed for beloved friends or family. With local sellers and handmade gifts, there is a wide range of items that can not be found in the shops, which makes the market a must-go place for shopping. Even if you’re low on budget, the market still has a buzzing atmosphere with beautiful lights all around the stalls. Perfect for a nighttime walk.
However, if Christmas markets don’t have what you’re looking for then there are two major shopping centres that may suit you. There is one walking distance from the market called The Arndale Centre. Within this stylish shopping centre, there is a range of high brand shops such as Hollister, Urban Outfitters and Adidas. With two Victoria Secret stores, a range of makeup shops and clothing stores to fill any wardrobe it is a dream come true for any girl who wishes to upgrade her outfits this Christmas. Or maybe the Game store and the CEX would entertain the gamer in the family. There is even a Mankind store full of gadgets and games perfect for the guys that seem impossible to buy for. After all the shopping there is also a food court with sushi, Chinese and takeaways galore to have a full stomach to regain your strength. But remember to hydrate with the juice bars, smoothie bar, milkshake bar and even a tango ice blast store. Whatever tickles your taste buds there is something for everyone. If staying in the town centre is not possible then visit the Trafford Centre which is a larger shopping centre right near the stadium. Go and watch a game at the stadium then enjoy the rest of the day at the shopping centre to have a fun-packed day out. If shopping centres are keeping you inside too long them visit Deansgate. The longest road in Manchester is known for its shops and bars that line the full stretch of the road. Even the Manchester Cathedral is on this road. The famous road where Usain Bolt set the record for the 150m sprint in 2009 is a must go place to soak up all the celebratory atmosphere.
So why buy online? This city has everything needed for a perfect Christmas yet we still opt to play the online guessing game. The office for national statistics released in 2017 statistics showing the differences between online sales and retail sales. “Online-only sales increased at a rapid rate by 5.9% in comparison with the growth of 2.3% in sales within stores from the previous year.” So maybe this year we can all make a pledge to buy at least half of our Christmas list from actual shops or at least visit the cities to soak up the atmosphere.