On a good day, weather wise, you can walk into Bury Market from Burrs Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, with the biblical rain we’ve had since we landed in Bury we decide to drive into town. Parking is plentiful and cheap, a small mortgage is required back home for parking, here, a couple of pounds gives you the afternoon. Armed with bags for life, I’m on a mission. I want to enjoy a market the way we enjoyed markets in years gone by.
The indoor Market Hall and fish and meat hall are open from Monday to Saturday, while the outdoor market is open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Accessible for wheelchairs and prams, with possibly the best market public toilets I’ve ever used.
Go prepared to have all your senses challenged. This is an old fashioned market, with stall holders shouting their offers. Tasters of cheeses, sausages, black puddings and cakes top stalls with magnificent displays. Different food smells are around every corner. Fabrics hang just waiting to be felt with every colour imaginable on display. The scent of warm food cooking combined with the scents of vape and cigarette smoke fill the air.
It’s the strangeness of being able to sit inside or outside, a cafe with a Greek sounding name, eating Bury Black Pudding on your full English, to the more hippy style stalls smelling of incense, whilst across the way people queue to buy old fashioned sweets in a paper bag, sold now in grams rather than quarters. We just had to buy some, purely for the trip down memory lane of course. My choice of childhood sweets, Coltsfoot Rock and Cinder Toffee, The Boss chose Pear Drops.
The food stalls are my favourite. Every, cheese, fish, bread, cake and cut of meat you could want. The fish stalls always interested me as a child. Full fish complete with eyeballs staring blankly at you. I’m sure that’s probably what put me off fish.
The characters you see are something to behold. It’s no longer flat caps and whippets, we’ve progressed since then. Eyes closed, listening to the banter around you it’s almost like standing in a Peter Kay Sketch. ‘Rabbit!.. Rabbit and Garlic! Really! You’re ‘avin’ a laugh!’ Older couples, bundled up against the elements dragging shopping bags on wheels. Babies in prams scream, fed up of being confined in their prams whilst mum shops for bargains.
It’s nearly Christmas, in the corner of the market local school children belt out ‘Little Donkey’ as one of the teachers tries to encourage them to smile whilst singing and stop the little boy at the front from picking his nose, in the rain, under a dripping gazebo. Proud parents stand taking photos of their little angels, whilst battling the elements with prams and brollies.
Stalls boast local delicacies, such as Manchester Tart and Bury’s famous Black Pudding. The Bury Black Pudding has people travelling miles to sample and buy. There are Black Puddings for everyone. The traditional type, Chilli flavour, a festive one and even a vegetarian option. Not quite sure how that one is made when the main ingredient is pig’s blood.
The diversity of the market caters for everyone in every aspect. Everything from screws to soap and intricately carved wooden Asian elephants to hi-viz jackets and oysters. All at prices that amazed me. If you are fed up of markets that only seem to sell mobile phone cases and batteries, or reminisce back to the markets of your 60s and 70s childhood, then a trip to Bury Market is well worth a few hours of your time.
Other linked blogs Northern Delicacies