Cheshire’s vibrant market which attracts visitors from across the UK

A vibrant Cheshire Market attracts visitors from across the UK. Treacle Market is a bustling but friendly affair held on the cobblestones of the Old Market and surrounding streets of Macclesfield.

If you stroll downtown on the last Sunday of the month throughout the year, you’ll find up to 145 vendors selling a range of unique food and drink, crafts and vintage items. Macclesfield is known as “Treacle Town”, which refers to a centuries-old accident when a horse-drawn wagon overturned, spilling its cargo of molasses onto the cobbles.

The name of the market is inspired by this and allows visitors to find unusual objects in the streets of the city. The market was established in 2010 and sees Market Place, Exchange Street, Mill Street, Castle Street, The Butter Market, St Michael’s Churchyard, Unicorn Way, Chestergate and High Street packed with visitors and independent traders once a month.

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Last August, Becky and Andy Thompson took over the reins and began to organize and coordinate the molasses market. As the husband and wife duo headed to their ninth market this Sunday, April 24, Becky spoke to CheshireLive about the challenges of hosting a massive monthly event.

Visitors fill the streets of Macclesfield.

Becky and Andy run the market on their own, with help from volunteers who help set up stalls and close roads. Becky says the pair haven’t made any “radical changes” to the market, but two new streets have been added and they’ve been working on rebuilding after previous Covid restrictions.

She said: “I can’t believe we’re on our ninth market already, it’ll be a whole year before we know it. We’ve been able to run the market every month since we took it on.

“We took him on at a time when we were able to start rebuilding him in terms of size and we’ve been lucky in that regard. It’s been fantastic so far.

“We haven’t made any drastic changes since we took it over, we’ve just been in a position where we’ve been able to grow as restrictions have been lifted. We’ve opened up a few new streets, one that’s all new to the market and eight traders have joined.

“Another street closed for renovation for a long time has reopened and this is where the street traders are based. The new street is called Unicorn Gateway which is near the NatWest bank.

The new street food space at Treacle Market.
The new street food space at Treacle Market.

“The other is on Castle Street, which underwent a major refurbishment last year, with the added benches and bins it’s a perfect location for food traders.”

The 46-year-old said she was amazed that people travel to the market from different parts of the country by coaches. She revealed they had visits from people from Cumbria, Yorkshire and Wales.

“It’s a really nice day, there’s a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Everyone is very friendly and we just try to keep it as friendly and welcoming as possible,” she said.

A stall selling unique handicrafts at the market.
A stall selling unique handicrafts at the market.

“We have a lot of traffic, but it’s a huge mix of local people and from further afield. We also run coach tours and it amazes me how far people travel.

“People come from Wakefield, Cumbria and Prestatyn. These people spend hours on the coach to get here and then spend the whole day driving around the market.

“What I love the most is that it brings new people to Macclesfield who may have never seen the town before. My husband and I are really passionate about the fact that the molasses market needs to benefit the city.

The bustling market takes place on the last Sunday of each month.
The bustling market takes place on the last Sunday of each month.

“We often support local businesses and encourage our visitors to visit places in town as well as the market. Sometimes you hear accents and wonder how far people have travelled, it’s really nice to see.”

The Treacle Market is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. this Sunday for their fourth event of the year. Becky revealed there will be the usual mix of traders, with bands playing on the stage outside the town hall.

The Molasses Market is a dog-friendly event.
The Molasses Market is a dog-friendly event.

She said: “We have our usual mix of crafts, vintage, food and drink, fresh produce, arts and live music.

“We have a stage where the bands play in front of the town hall. It’s a really nice backdrop for them and there’s also a licensed bar next to the main stage.”

Becky told Cheshire Live that since taking over last year she has “loved” organizing the monthly market, despite the difficult task of organizing such a big day.

The molasses market returns this Sunday.
The molasses market returns this Sunday.

“I love it. I come from an event and hospitality background and although I’ve never run a market before, the parallels between running an event and the market are there,” he said. she stated.

“It’s hard work sometimes and there’s a lot to organise, there’s a lot of people to coordinate. We have 145 traders, plus community groups, live music and close collaboration with local councils, who are excellent when it comes to assisting and granting road closures.

“A big part of the job is not just putting on an event, but building relationships with people and nurturing them. We really love doing that and it’s great to get to know everyone.”

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