Christmas Shopping

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

We love the festive season as much as anyone, however the yearly mission to find ever new and exciting present ideas can quickly become an arduous task. In a time where funds might be tight and more of us are increasingly keen to be more conscientious consumers, it might take a little more effort, but Manchester is full of independent retailers, markets, makers and pop ups that are brimming with gift ideas to make Christmas shopping a joyful task.

At a time where supporting individual sellers is more important than ever, why not check out one of the many markets or pop ups. Levenshulme Market is going strong as ever and with their late Friday night openings you can make an evening of it; shopping, eating and drinking, content in the knowledge that your money is going directly into the community. For something more relaxed check out GRUB’s sustainable Christmas market. Over a slow Sunday you can find responsibly sourced art, clothes, craft and cake to mention just a few of the stalls.

Further into the suburbs the Makers Markets are going strong right into December. These hubs of independent stall holders always have a good community feel about them and can be found in locations ranging from Chorlton to Cheadle, Chester and beyond.

A good book is a present that never disappoints. We heartily recommend supporting your local bookshops rather than throwing your money into Jeff Bezos’ empire of doom. You’ll have a much nicer time exploring the shelves of Anywhere Out of This World, especially as they’ve recently opened a tea room in the shop. For children’s books, Chorlton bookshop never disappoints and they’re always happy to order titles in if you can’t find them in the shop.

For home and lifestyle shops there is something for everyone between the two extremes of Moth on Burton Road and Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter. The former prioritises sleek design and minimal aesthetics combined with comfort and homeliness. Whereas Oklahoma is an explosion of colour and imagination that spreads joy through the use of soft furnishings and unusual gifts for all tastes.

Still in need of further inspiration? Check out our guide to independent shops in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Our top picks

Leeds Corn Exchange

Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Ln, Leeds, LS1 7BR - Visit now

The Christmas Market at Leeds Corn Exchange has arrived, for seven weeks of fun. With additional food outlets, markets, tasting rooms and a bar plus free entry this is looking to be even better than last year.

Leeds Corn Exchange
Leeds Corn Exchange


Oklahoma, 74-76 High Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1ES - Visit now

As Manchester’s biggest independent gift shop, selling everything from fish-shaped plastic pens and vintage dominoes to two-metre folding wood rulers and hand-crafted jewellery, Oklahoma is the place to find those more eclectic stocking-fillers. All their stock is currently available online for those who want to get organised.

Image of Oklahoma shop in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

Food Sorcery Manchester

Food Sorcery Manchester, Deansgate Square, Manchester, M15 4UA - Visit now

Struggling to come up with ideas for a next-level Christmas present this year? Take a seat because we’ve got the ultimate gift: cookery class gift vouchers at the wonderful Food Sorcery Manchester. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is a budding Heston or can’t even slice a sprout, there’s something here for all skill levels.

Food Sorcery

Moth, Didsbury

Moth, Didsbury, 154 Burton Rd, Manchester, M20 1LH - Visit now

Moth is a beacon of taste on Burton Road. With unique collections of homeware, body products and kitchen items, they make gift buying easy.

Moth, independent shopping in Manchester

Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JD - Visit now

Formerly a fish market, the craft and design centre is home to local ceramicists, jewellers and visuals artists. You can be sure to find beautiful, precious and useful objects that will make the perfect gift.


Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now

Afflecks in Manchester, formerly (and still affectionately) known as Affleck’s Palace, is a labyrinth-like hub for independent sellers whose stock is prime-picking for alternative Christmas gifts.

Image of Afflecks Palace in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

Levenshulme Market

Levenshulme Market, Stockport Road (junction with Albert Rd), Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3AB

Levenshulme Market is a cornucopia of local makers, artists, food producers and entrepreneurs. You can find everything from jewellery and visual art, to speciality foods and one-off coffee blends.

Image courtesy of Levenshulme Market

Vinyl Exchange

Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

Any music geeks on your gift list? Satisfy even the most obscure taste for vintage vinyl and rare CDs in one fell swoop at Manchester’s legendary Vinyl Exchange. With collectors items sat side by side with second hand steals.

Vinyl Exchange

Anywhere Out of The World

Anywhere Out of The World, First Floor, 70 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

Climb a staircase on Tib Street to discover the atmospheric and unexpected literary treasure that is, Anywhere Out of This World.

Anywhere Out of This World

Chorlton Bookshop

Chorlton Bookshop, 506 Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 9AW - Visit now

A cosy, independent bookshop in Chorlton with a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Anything they don’t have in, they’ll try and order for the next day – very helpful for last minute Christmas panic! Also stocks a great selection of cards and wrapping.

Chorlton Bookshop

Fred Aldous

Fred Aldous, 37 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1LW - Visit now

Nearly 130 years old and still going strong thanks to its unbeatable reputation for high-quality art, craft and design supplies; a visit to Fred Aldous is guaranteed to make creative friends and family members happy.

© Fred Aldous

Cheese Hamlet

Cheese Hamlet, 706 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Greater Manchester, M20 2DW - Visit now

Christmas is a time for decadence and the Cheese Hamlet does this better than most. Their selection of artisanal cheeses and endless shelves of speciality condiments will brighten up any foodies Christmas day.

Cheese and Win platter by Cheese Hamlet
Image courtesy of Cheese Hamlet


Beermoth, 70 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

Manchester is blessed with so many excellent independent breweries. You’ll find the best bottles from the local scene as well as excellent international imports at Beermoth, making it an excellent place to find presents for the drinkers in your life.

Beermoth shop in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Creative Tourist

Sea Change Wine

Sea Change Wine, The Lodge, Guildford Rd, Effingham, Great Bookham, Leatherhead, KT24 5PE - Visit now

Sold in several on-trade places in Manchester and the North, including The Botanist, you might have sampled Sea Change’s wines before. If you have, you’ll know they hit a little bit different – think big, fresh, memorable flavours. What’s more, for every bottle sold, the company donates to marine conservation charities. Enter Christmas, and the perfect gift for the eco-conscious wine lover in your life.

Sea Change Wine: Provence Rosé
Things to Do in Liverpool
Spotlight on

Things to Do in Liverpool

Our guide to the thriving city of Liverpool, where new creative futures are written against the backdrop of a unique history.

Take me there

Culture Guides


We go all in on festivals, with a round-up of everything from city-spanning giants to grassroots gems you may not know about.


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.