CHRISTMAS is fast approaching – 44 days away to be precise – and there is no surprise that on the same day Manchester’s Christmas Markets launched, so did the winter haven that is London Road’s ‘Winter Gathering’.

London Road was the venue, a former fire station which has been standing since its completion in 1906, was actually a near perfect backdrop to launch the event.

Chipped brickwork throughout the Edwardian building, the scene was set at the entrance walkway where under the towering archway stood Christmas trees, lining the path to the main square of action.

The ice rink which stood front and centre was the major draw to many during the evening but there was far more to the evening than just channeling Bambi on the ice…

Littered with quirky food stalls ranging from barbecued meats to dutch-style pancakes and waffles, there were sufficient options for the varied demographics attending the launch.

While it was mulled wine or cider for some, the ‘Champers Van’ was also never without custom as visitors laughed and joked over ample amounts of prosecco.

It was the magnitude of the venue which took many by surprise; pockets of space were open as the exploration went on and the Quays team soon stumbled upon a photo booth – a necessity for any successful party some may argue.

Everything from a pigeon mask to a snorkel, the company ‘Birdie’ had really crafted a great product as the VW Camper Van used mustered up a vintage, retro feel to the images.

At London Road through until Christmas – but only on a Thursday, Friday and a Saturday – it is one for all the family too enjoy, tucked just behind the Champers Van.

Now, it would have been rude not to put on a pair of skates and take to the ice at some stage during the evening…

Despite limited coordination – and the fact I was in attendance with two much stronger skaters – it was essential and, while small, everyone on the ice was full of Christmas cheer and goodwill helping those less able around.

Options are available for those less confident on the ice with the apt choice of a penguin available as a safety stabiliser.

If you, your friends and family fancy taking to the ice and indulging at London Road then there is a free launch party for the public on Friday (November 11) as well as free entry until 6pm on Saturday.

The air is filled with festive cheer currently and London Road will only add to the Christmas excitement…

By Nathan Salt

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *