Christmas Markets branded ‘sh**e’ and ‘rubbish’ after highly anticipated return

Shoppers have described this year’s Manchester’s Christmas Markets as “sh**e” and “rubbish”.

The criticism was made after comedian Jason Manford asked for recommendations on which festive markets to take his kids to.

The Manchester Evening News report that hundreds of people commented on his Facebook post and urged him not to “bother with Manchester”.

Some criticised the layout, with the new Winter Gardens hub now in Piccadilly Gardens due to the ongoing works to the Town Hall in Albert Square, and other stalls spread across various locations including Exchange Square, King Street, St Ann's Square and more.

"Manchester’s aren’t great this year with them not being in Albert Square," said Gemma Peate.

Katrina Alba urged: "Avoid Manchester with kids – it’s chaotic and spread out all over the place as town hall is still all shut off."

Gemma Taylor added: "Manchester ones are sh**e. Just the same few generic stalls over and over again."

Others said they had been at the weekend and came home disappointed by the products on sale and also by how crowded it was.

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The markets were described as “stupidly busy” on Saturday to the point where all food and drink stalls on Exchange Square were told to stop serving any alcohol from 6:30pm – two-and-a-half-hours earlier than their planned closing time.

"Wouldn't recommend Manchester, we went at the weekend and were really disappointed loads of places to buy food to eat but not much else there!!!! Not as good as used to be!" Victoria Louise told the comedian.

Adrian Halliwell said: "I'd avoid Manchester Jason. We were there on Saturday and they closed it early because it was so busy!!!"

Tracy McPeake agreed, saying: "It was hideous at Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday."

Natalie Rahman said: "I did Manchester today… they are not what they were! The thing in Piccadilly Gardens is rubbish… Best bit is outside Harvey nicks and St Ann's Square!

And Louise Newton added: "I agree. Bit random this year and disappointing. We went today. I just expected them to be outside the town hall – but they are very spread out – St Ann’s Square/Piccadilly Gardens and random streets here and there. Nothing very exciting to buy either – except food."

But not everyone was so critical, with Nicola Hughes saying: "The Manchester ones were good yesterday. Good ice-skating rink by the cathedral."

And Emma Gargan said she prefers Manchester to elsewhere: "Just spent [the] weekend in Chester, which was fab, but not a jot on Manchester scale wise.”

Council bosses have also been quick to defend the markets, which pull in millions of visitors a year.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester's Christmas spokesperson, said: "Manchester's Christmas Markets is one of the most anticipated and popular festive attractions in the UK – this year especially, given last year was cancelled. This means some of our sites do get very busy – especially at weekends.

"So, if you prefer a quieter experience, we'd suggest visiting during the week when the crowds are much smaller. And perhaps choose a quieter area, such as Cathedral Gardens – particularly if you have children – where you can also jump on the ice rink and enjoy the entertainment."

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