AS THE dark months of winter slowly descend, there’s two things that any Manc venturing into the city centre will be absolutely unable to avoid:
...by night The Winter Gathering will transform into an ‘after hours party’
1. Paying ten times mark-up on supermarket-bought mulled wine during a token shuffle through the exact same Christmas Markets traders as last year.
2. A customary bundle around a pop-up, puddle-strewn ice rink whilst trying not to snap your drinking-wrist or slice off any kiddiewink’s fingers.
And as unavoidable as these two festive rituals may be, at least this year you won’t have to do the latter beside a building site in Spinningfields.
Following a number of successful events at the recently liberated Grade II-listed London Road Fire Station, including last month’s hugely popular Made Here festival, building developer Allied London has teamed up with Manchester Ice Rink, London-based Elemental Events and festival-producers, The Halo Group, to launch The Winter Gathering opposite Piccadilly Station this Christmas.
Taking over London Road’s courtyard everyday (except Monday) from 11 November, the event will see the Edwardian edifice transformed into a ‘magical winter market’ featuring an ice skating rink, bars, street food, stalls and art space.
The annual ice rink usually occupies Hardman Square in Spinningfields, but won't this year due to construction work
Allied London will soon begin work to convert London Road into a hotel, residential, restaurant, bar and events space - read here
Organisers say by day The Winter Gathering will be the perfect place to skate and eat with family and friends, but by night will transform into an ‘after hours party’ with live music and soon-to-be-announced ‘internationally-acclaimed DJs’.
Elemental Events director, Jay Ogugua, said: “London Road is the perfect venue to create a magical experience on the run up to Christmas, the vibe of the place is already very special and we are building on this atmosphere to construct an incredible space for people to come and hang out in where they can eat, drink, skate and dance.
“Manchester is famous for the Christmas markets, with hundreds of thousands of people descending on the City each year. We are offering something new, to compliment this vibrant heritage of the markets, in a building that people have wondered about for many years.”
More info and tickets at elementalevents.com/thewintergathering