Freight Island returns with its huge winter village in time for Christmas

It’s the most Freightful time of the year...

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 21 September 2023

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An immersive twilight light show, pop-up food stalls and a Santa’s grotto is heading to Freight Island for the return of its hit Winter Island outdoor and indoor festival.

It kicks off on November 9, running right up until Christmas Eve, and will be moving into the next door Mayfield Park this year too.

The immersive Twilight Trail will be constructed to wind through the 6.5 acre park, creating a magical festive atmosphere, before guests head back into Freight Island for mulled wine, hot chocolate and other festive treats.

Jon Drape from The Twilight Trail said: “We are thrilled to bring a new festive experience to Mayfield Park this year. The Twilight Trail’s unique light installations will completely transform this incredible park. 

Cocoa Cabana

“We are very proud to be able to deliver such a wonderful experience at an affordable price this year, whether for the family, groups of friends or a date night and with the opportunity to visit the brand new Winter Island next door we believe Depot Mayfield is set to be an unrivalled Christmas destination in the UK.”

The Visit Santa Experience will happen in the venue’s Plant Room, which will be transformed into an interactive journey to visit Father Christmas and his elves, and comes with gifts included in the ticket price.

Elsewhere, Freight’s mezzanine area will be turned into an alpine lodge, in a collaboration with Grey Goose vodka, there will be a ‘Santa Paws’ dog show, wreath-making classes, DJs and live music.

Food traders at the winter village will be premiering new festive menus, including Cocoa Cabana, who will working on a range of ‘build-your-own’ boozy hot chocolate and other treats, while Parmogeddon, the Teeside parmo peddlers, will be moving over from previous home at Hatch.

Smoking Coal German BBQ will be serving Bavarian-style schweinshaxe – hot ham hock – in a bun, a dedicated Bratwurst menu and a classic hog roast butty. 

Meanwhile, Freight Island’s tap room will host an exclusive Paulaner bar takeover and every Sunday, the newly-minted Seconds carvery will be there with a festive twist.

Regular traders Burgerism, Voodoo Ray’s, Lazy Tony’s Lasagnaria, Patel’s Pies, Payal, Mia’s Arepas, FUKU, Mega Gyros, Oh My Cheesecake and Fry-By will also be in the house, bringing their own festive takes on their usual fare.

For larger groups, there will be a full Christmas menu on offer, featuring starters like grilled sourdough with burnt onion butter and chicken liver and brandy parfait with fig jam, mains like marmalade glazed ham, and roast turkey Ham, and desserts including plum and apple crumble and Christmas pudding ice cream.

Tickets for the Twilight Trail will cost £9 for adults and £7 for kids in November and £10 for adults and £8 for kids in December, with a family package at £28 and £32 respectively. You can pre-order tickets here.

Meanwhile, the 30-minute Santa experience costs £22.50 per child, including a small Lego gift, a Lindt Chocolate and photo opportunity. Tickets (bookable here) are free for grown ups.