Mulled magic: Christmas shopping at Islington Mill

Sian Cummins

For one night only, Salford’s finest artisans bring art-fuelled Christmas shopping to Islington Mill.

This month, Manchester becomes a city filled with winter warmth. The quite possibly world famous Christmas markets spread their mulled magic through its streets and squares and, with so much to eat, drink and buy – and an atmosphere that draws rosy-cheeked crowds from across the region – it might seem impossible to tear yourself away from the city centre. We suggest you do, though – for one evening at least. Be brave and slip across the River Irwell for Christmas at Islington Mill on 28 November, an alternative Christmas fair in neighbouring Salford. 

There are options for the smaller as well as the more sumptuous budget

Islington Mill is a short hop from the centre of Manchester and is famed as the coolest studio, gallery and events venue in Salford. Christmas at Islington Mill sees the creative types who use the studio space put on a unique sale of self-made goodies. It’s a once-a-year opportunity to get one off gifts from some of Salford’s finest imaginations.  Printmaker Mr PS’s bold graphics decorate some of the coolest tea towels we’ve seen, while Tasha Whittle’s scratchy mixed-media characters are just the right amount of cute with a little sprinkle of scary thrown in for good measure. There’s photography from Andrew Brooks, who squeezes into the high-ups and deep-downs of our cities to capture beloved landmarks from rarely seen angles. Salfordian creative collective One69a brings handmade silkscreen prints to the seasonal table. Ceramics, jewellery and fashion pieces are also on the bill, with options for the smaller as well as the more sumptuous budget. This is a great chance to catch some of our most original modern makers in one place and hear a genuine “I love it” when your nearest and dearest unwrap your parcels on the 25th.

Even if you don’t end up buying, the homemade soup, mulled wine and sounds of the BBC Philharmonic performing live promise an unmissably Christmassy atmosphere. Eat, drink and be merry for one night only: Christmas at Islington Mill is a fleeting, five hour affair. It’s worth a look – there’s plenty of time to visit the other markets, after all.

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