Everyone has their thing – that thing they have to do when they travel somewhere new. For some, it’s checking out churches; for others, walking tours; and others still, museum visits. But for food people like me? It’s market visits. So, when I visited Manchester, England, I bee-lined for the historic food hall Altrincham Market.
Truth be told, I love to visit markets of all sorts. Hopping between gourmet grocers, food halls, bitty boutiques, and greenmarkets acts like a crib sheet to the local culture. A few trips down the aisles provide a snapshot of the food scene as you spot local comfort foods, trendy foods, and, our personal favorite guilty pleasure, sweets. As soon as I started talking food in Manchester, the locals insisted I visit Altrincham (aka Alty).
Here is everything you need to know to visit Altrincham Market:
The Altrincham Market Has a Unique History
Even in England – a country where seemingly everything has a deep backstory – Altrincham Market impresses. The small town of Altrincham is one of the England’s original market towns and gained significance due to its location between the Cheshire farmlands and the commercial center of Manchester.
The market itself goes way back as there has been a market running in the town (previously nearby the current Altrincham Market in the Old Market Place) since the 13<sup>th</sup> century. The current Altrincham Market is housed in an airy Victorian market hall set on land that the Earl of Stamford gave the town back in 1879. After years of neglect, the market was renovated in 1990 as part of the Altrincham Charter celebration, and a few years ago the market was outfitted with local food vendors.
Altrincham Market as it stands today has gotten people’s attention as it was a finalist in the BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards for Best Food Market 2016 and won the Observer Food Monthly Best Market Award.
Know Before You Go To Altrincham
The main thing to know is that Altrincham Market & Market House (aka Alty Market) is really a three-part market.
The crux of it all is the indoor food hall known as the Market House, which is open every day but Monday. Then, you’ll find the New Market Square, which has seating and some food stalls. Just adjacent to the food hall is the outdoor covered market, which houses a mix of artisanal vendors and fresh produce, and is open every day except Monday and Wednesday.
We suggest visiting on Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday because, in addition to the above, there are also produce vendors. Also on Tuesday and Saturday, you’ll find artisans in the covered market selling everything from vintage décor to foods.
Vendors To Visit At Altrincham Market
The Market House is home to several independent local food makers. To get a flavor for the Market House, you need to know the vendors. There are a variety of food and drink options available so you could go for any meal from breakfast through dinner. They are:
- Honest Crust Sourdough Pizza – wood-fired pizza
- Wolfhouse Kitchen – helmed by chefs trained at world-famous Rose Bakery
- Tender Cow – serving up rare breed cattle and some delish scrambles
- Jack In The Box – with tons of local craft beers
- Reserve Wines – wine bar/boutique started by BBC personality Kate Goodman
- Great North Pie Co – award-winning delicious savory pies
- Sam Joseph – on-point handmade chocolates, pastries, and ice creams
- Market House Coffee – flat whites and such made with Atkinsons coffee
Tips For Visiting Altrincham Market
Bring your appetite because there is a lot of great stuff to eat. Oh, and you can order food from any vendor you want — simply snag a spot at one of the communal tables and tell the vendor your table number when you order.
One more thing to keep in mind: the weekends get really busy at Altrincham Market so go early!
How To Get To Altrincham Market
From Manchester’s city center, the easiest way to get to Altrincham Market is by using the Metrolink. Get a pass directly from an automated ticket machine at the tram stop and then take the number 2 line to the Altrincham Interchange (roughly a 30-minute ride). Depending on where you’re staying in Manchester, you’ll want to set aside anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes to get to the market. An off-peak adult return will cost £4.60 (about $6), or you can buy a “saver” ticket and travel anywhere on the Metrolink network all day for £5.40 (about $7).
If you’re short on time, you can visit the Altrincham Market’s sister spot known as Mackie Mayor. Opened in late 2017, the bright and airy spot houses some similar stalls as Altrincham and is located in the just-refurbished Grade II Swan Street building in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
The biggest difference? Mackie Mayor is not as big since it doesn’t have the New Market Square or the covered market like Altrincham. Also, as you walk from the tram station to Altrincham Market there are a few cute boutique décor shops — includingIdaho andHomebird Interiors — that are well worth a visit.
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