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Travel advice for Manchester Christmas Market visitors

Manchester's famous Christmas Markets are back, with a host of festive treats available for everyone. Transport for Greater Manchester has issued some travel advice for those planning a trip.

After being cancelled last year due to coronavirus restrictions, the annual festive markets have now made their long-awaited return and will be running to Wednesday 22 December.

The markets feature a host of new attractions and are now spread out across seven locations in Manchester city centre – with a main hub in Piccadilly Gardens featuring a new family-friendly Winter Gardens attraction. Other locations packed with wooden huts and food and drink stalls include St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street, Market Street and Cathedral Gardens.

And the Christmas spirit will continue through Christmas, with both the Winter Gardens and Cathedral Gardens sites remaining open until 2 January.

Transport bosses are urging anyone heading to the markets to enjoy a day or night out with friends or family to make the most of their trip and plan their travel ahead of time.

They say Metrolink services and city centre stops (including Piccadilly Gardens, Market Street and St Peter's Square) may be busy but will provide the best option to get you to and from the markets to avoid the Christmas traffic. 

TfGM is also encouraging visitors to the Christmas Markets to consider leaving the car at home and taking the tram, bus or train instead, with the roads around the city centre busier than normal - particularly in the evenings from 5pm in the run up to Christmas. 

TfGM’s Head of Customer Experience, Sean Dyball, said: “With the return of the Christmas markets and events such as Lightopia, we would encourage people to always check before making a journey.

“We are constantly updating the customer information available on our website and across our social media channels to help people make informed journey choices; to save them time and avoid disruption to their journey.

“It’s also important that we continue to look after each other, particularly vulnerable passengers, so if you’re using public transport, please remember to use a face covering, clean your hands and keep the windows open while you are travelling.”

People travelling by tram are being encouraged to use contactless payments, by touching in and touching out on the smart readers at the start and end of each journey. 

People are also reminded they must continue to wear face coverings on trams and in bus stations and interchanges - and are expected to wear them on trains and buses to help keep each other safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Ahead of the season where more people traditionally succumb to cold and flu viruses, passengers can also help by keeping windows open on board services to maintain ventilation, using hand gels and sanitisers to keep hands clean and avoiding travelling when unwell.

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