Category Archives: Theatre & Entertainment

Take part in the 30 Day Music Challenge

Over the last 30 days I’ve been taking part in the #30DayMusicChallenge over on Twitter. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing, it’s made me listen to more music than usual and it’s made me think a bit more about things. The 30 Day Music Challenge is pretty easy, the hard part is remembering to do it each day. 

30 Day Music Challenge

To take part, you will need the list of prompts and each day you tweet a link to the song which fits. Just for my own interest, I’ve kept a record of the songs I’d chosen for my 30 Day Music Challenge. The list in full is below. What songs would you choose?

Day 1. A song you like with a colour in the title – The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Day 2. A song you like with a number in the title – The Wonder Stuff- Room 512 All the news that’s fit to print

Day 3. A song that reminds you of summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

Day 4. A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget about – Nine Inch Nails – Closer

Day 5. A song that needs to be played LOUD – Rage Against The Machine – Wake Up

Day 6. A song that makes you want to dance – The Smiths – This Charming Man

Day 7. A song to drive to – Utah Saints – Something Good

Day 8. A song about drugs or alcohol – Oasis – Cigarettes and Alcohol

Day 9. A song that makes you happy – The Frank & Walters Fashion Crisis Hits New York

Day 10. A song that makes you sad – James – Protect Me

Day 11. A song that you never get tired of – The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored

Day 12. A song from your pre-teen years – Duran Duran – Rio

Day 13. One of your favourite 70’s songs – Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Some You Shouldn’t)

Day 14. A song you’d love played at your wedding – Oasis – Married With Children

Day 15. A song that is a cover by another artist – Codeine – Atmosphere

Day 16. One of your favourite pieces of classical music – Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune

Day 17. A song you’d sing a duet with on karaoke – Islands In The Stream – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton

Day 18. A song from the year you were born – Abba – Dancing Queen

Day 19. A song that makes you think about life – Bastille – Good Grief

Day 20. A song that has many meanings to you – The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Day 21. A favourite song with a person’s name in the title – The Specials – A Message To You Rudy

Day 22. A song that moves you forward – The Wonder Stuff- Room 512 All the news that’s fit to print

Day 23. A song that everyone should listen to – The Baghdadies – Shri

Day 24. A song by a band you wish were still together – Aztec Camera – Good Morning Britain

Day 25. A song by an artist no longer living – Wham! – I’m Your Man

Day 26. A song that makes you want to fall in love – Elbow – Gentle Storm

Day 27. A song that breaks your heart – Johnny Cash – Hurt

Day 28. A song by an artist with a voice you love – Faith No More – King for a Day

Day 29. A song you remember from your childhood – The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Day 30. A song which reminds you of yourself – Echo & The Bunnymen -Nothing Lasts Forever

I’ve created a playlist of my 30 Day Music Challenge if you’d like to have a listen to the songs I chose for this. I realise now I’ve written them down that I have chosen the same Wonder Stuff song twice, but it is one of my favourite songs, so I’m not surprised.

If you like music, then doing the 30 Day Music Challenge is an interesting thing to get involved in. What would you choose?

Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, The Lowry

The wonderful story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is being brought to life at The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays this half term. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is currently on a UK Tour and is stopping off at Salford until 25th February. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my favorite book when I was a child and thankfully it is also a huge favourite of my sons. We couldn’t resist a visit to The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show while it was in town.

Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lowry

The show is based on four of Eric Carle’s wonderful stories; The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. His books are beautifully illustrated. The 75 puppets used in the performance are instantly recognisable as being Eric Carle’s creations.

Appealing to pre-school aged children, my six year old was probably at the top end of the age range in the audience. Nevertheless he was enchanted by it, laughing and delighting at the antics of the puppets and heartily joining in when he could. He particularly enjoyed The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and of course The Very Hungry Caterpillar, especially the bit where (spoiler alert) he turns into a beautiful butterfly. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show runs for a little under an hour. It is just the right length for pre-school children. The audience seemed to really enjoy it, and despite the young audience for the most part almost everyone was transfixed by the performance. There was lots of joining in where the children recognised the story, lots of laughter and a sprinkling of wonder.

Featuring 75 puppets, ably brought to life by puppeteers Adam Ryan, Andrew Cullimore, Sarah Hamilton and Katie Haygarth; The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show faithfully recreates the stories, bringing each one to life with colour, and magic.

Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lowry

It was clear that the colourful performance and instantly recognisable characters had captivated the audience; and it is easy to be captivated by these wonderful stories. I think part of the magic is that these books have a place in the hearts of both adults and the children, and will continue to delight for generations to come.  

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays until Saturday 25 February 2017.  For more information and to buy tickets, visit The Lowry website. Details of the full UK tour can be found here.

Preview: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lowry

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has nibbled its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world. Since it was first published in 1969 it has been translated into 62 languages and sold over 41 million copies, and is one of the top ten bestselling children’s books of all time. Written and illustrated by Eric Carle, this enduring classic is being brought to life at The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays this February half term.

Preview: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lowry Theatre

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will be on at The Lowry from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25 February, prior to starting a run in the West End.

Featuring a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets during a magical 60-minute show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s best loved books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show has been adapted for the stage by director Jonathan Rockefeller. The production sees four master puppeteers weave their way through Eric Carle’s stories, bringing to life 75 magical puppets that faithfully recreate the wonderfully colourful world of Carle’s illustrations.

Preview: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Lowry Theatre

Eric Carle’s books have captivated generations of readers with their iconic hand-painted illustrations and distinctively simple stories, introducing millions of children to a bigger, brighter world, and to their first experience of reading itself. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my favourite book as a child. We wasted no time at all introducing this wonderful story to my son.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is suitable for children aged 2+ and is 55 minutes long with no interval. I will definitely be taking my 6 year old. We are both looking forward to enjoying our favourite book being brought to life.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays from
Wednesday 22 until Saturday 25 February 2017.  For more information and to buy tickets, visit The Lowry website.

Theatre Review: Horrible Christmas at The Lowry

For many families it is something of a Christmas tradition to go and see a panto or a Christmas play. We are no different, but this year we thought we’d go and see something horrible, something very horrible indeed –  Horrible Christmas from the Horrible Histories team.

Running until Sunday 8th January, Horrible Christmas tells the story of Wendy Watson who with the help of detective Shirley Holmes sets out to save Christmas from a very bad Santa – Sydney Claus.

This time travelling romp through history sees Wendy and Shirley chase Sydney and Rudolf through the ages, from Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor times, meeting notable figures from history including Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Charles II and King Henry VIII. 

It’s very funny, it’s fast paced, it’s full of excellent songs, there’s audience participation and a lot of laughs. Plus we all learned a little something about the horrible history of Christmas.

Theatre Review: Horrible Christmas at The Lowry

The songs are catchy and funny, with the rap by King Charles II being something very special indeed. The audience are encouraged to participate in a sing off (with actions) involving stuffing a selection of festive birds into other incrementally larger festive birds. You had to be there, but the boys loved it!

Neal Foster plays the role of “Dad” and a whole host of other historical characters. He was exceptionally funny in each and every incarnation. Chris Gunter is Sidney Claus – the baddest bad Santa of them all. Sidney is a Santa with a large dose of Fagin and an evil twinkle in his eye. His sidekick Rudolph is played to dopey perfection by Ashley Bowden. 

Horrible Histories Christmas is around 2 hours long with an interval. It is suitable for children aged 4+. I took two six year olds and I thought some of it was a little over their heads. They were full of historical facts the next day, so maybe I’m wrong. With tickets starting at £10, this is a furiously funny alternative to the traditional panto.

Horrible Histories – Horrible Christmas The Lowry is on from Wednesday 7 December to Sunday 8 January. For more information or to book tickets visit The Lowry website.

We were invited guests of The Lowry. All opinions are our own.

Preview: Horrible Histories Christmas at The Lowry

Horrible Histories is one of those unique children’s TV programmes which really does have mass appeal. I love watching Horrible Histories, it’s really, genuinely funny, it’s educational and the songs are catchier than the bubonic plague.

Back in April we went to see Horrible Histories – Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders when it was on at The Lowry in Salford Quays. It was a riotous romp through history and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

This Christmas The Lowry is once again playing host to the Horrible Histories crew – from Wednesday 7 December to Sunday 8 January there really will be a Horrible Christmas at The Lowry!

Preview: Horrible Histories Christmas at The Lowry

When Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, it’s up to one young boy to save the day – but can he save Christmas? From Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, join the Horrible Histories gang on an hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as they all join forces to save the festive season!

It’s a celebration of Christmas in the most wonderful, wildly funny and moving way you’ll ever see! We can’t wait, what a brilliant way to kick off the festive season with a bit of Horrible Histories Christmas.

Preview: Horrible Histories Christmas at The Lowry

The show is suitable for children aged 4+. With tickets starting at £10, this is a furiously funny alternative to the traditional panto.

Horrible Histories – Horrible Christmas The Lowry is on from Wednesday 7 December to Sunday 8 January and there is a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 29 December at 2:30pm. For more information or to book tickets visit The Lowry website.

 

Preview: Horrible Histories Christmas at The Lowry

Review: Pride and Prejudice, The Lowry Theatre

I’m not sure what happened at school, I loved reading, I was a vociferous devourer of books, but school managed to take the joy out of every book I ever studied. This regrettably left me with an aversion to both Jane Austin and the works of the Bronte Sisters. It wasn’t until the famous TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth that I began to take more of an interest in the classics.

This week the acclaimed production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is on at The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays (Tue 11 – Sat 15 October 2016). I went along with some good friends to see the production for ourselves.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most universally loved novels. It tells the story of the Bennet family and their five very different, but similarly unmarried daughters. The Bennet family are of humble means and Mrs Bennet sees the perfect opportunity to improve their social standing when the wealthy Mr Bingley and his eligible friend Mr Darcy move to the neighbourhood.

But while Bingley takes a shine to their eldest daughter Jane, the proud and aloof Darcy instantly clashes with feisty Elizabeth Bennet, the most headstrong and wilful of the Bennet’s daughters. 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”

This production was a lively adaptation of the novel, with Mr and Mrs Bennet absolutely stealing the show for me. Mr Bennet is played by Matthew Kelly, the former presenter of Stars in their Eyes, now an award winning actor. And Mrs Bennet is perfectly and hilariously played by Felicity Montagu, perhaps most well known as Alan Partridge’s PA Lynn. Both have exceptional comic timing, glittering stage presence and they are both physically comedic performers and put their skills to fine use.

Pride and Prejudice

Tafline Steen as Elizabeth played the role of the feisty second daughter well, though I found her modern upward intonation a little distracting at times. Benjamin Dilloway as Mr Darcy was as aloof and proper as he should be and made a fine Fitzwilliam Darcy. 

Pride and Prejudice is an excellent ensemble production with standout performances from Steven Meo as the odious and flamboyant Mr Collins, Dona Croll playing a superior Lady Catherine and Hollie Edwin as Elizabeth’s older sister, Jane.

I was particularly taken by the revolving stage, complete with wrought iron framework which worked on several levels, quickly allowing the scenes to change from an intimate drawing room to a grand ball room in no time at all. 

My favourite scenes were when the whole ensemble cast got together for a ball and the glittering glamour of such an occasion nearly leaped off the stage. You really got a sense of the frisson young couples would have felt as being able to dance and flirt a little.

Stage adaptations of Pride and Prejudice can never pack every detail from the novel into the performance. This adaptation has been trimmed down to just 135 minutes, so some aspects of the story are glossed over a little. Nevertheless the key themes remain, and the adaptation is light-hearted and in so many ways played for laughs. Something which delighted the rapt audience at The Lowry.

Pride and Prejudice

Following sell-out performances at London’s Regents Park Open Air Theatre, this delightful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Simon Reade is now on a major UK Tour during 2016-2017.  Pride and Prejudice is a must see for any Jane Austin fan. 

Pride and Prejudice is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays until Saturday 15th October, 2016. Thereafter the production will continue to tour around the UK. For more information and to book tickets visit the website.

Theatre Review: David Walliams Gangsta Granny

This summer the Birmingham Stage Company are touring the UK with their theatre production of the popular David Walliams Gangsta Granny book. We went along to The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays watch it.

We’ve yet to read the book, but we’ve watched TV adaptations of David Walliams’ Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny and we knew to expect silliness, smells and a heartwarming message underneath it all.

The book was originally published in 2011, and went straight to number 1 in the children’s book charts. David Walliams Gangsta Granny was later adapted for TV and was shown on BBC1 in 2013, starring David Walliams and a host of other popular personalities. 

David Walliams Gangsta Granny

David Walliams Gangsta Granny tells the tale of schoolboy Ben who is sent to stay with his Granny every weekend so his parents can go out ballroom dancing. Ben thinks she is the boringest Grandma ever. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble and eat cabbage soup, but what he doesn’t know is that his Granny was once an international jewel thief known as “The Black Cat”. Very soon Friday nights are the highlight of Ben’s week, as together they plan a daring raid on the Crown Jewels.

The two stars of the show, Ben played by Ashley Cousins and Granny played by Gilly Tompkins are fabulous. Granny, although small, stooped and grey steals virtually every scene. Her occasional cabbage trumps have the audience of small children and their parents giggling – all it needs is a cabbage scented scratch and sniff card to complete the effect.

Ben’s parents are meant to be annoying, and they are. His whiny, self-centred mum especially so, though I did enjoy the almost Mr Bean-like performance from Benedict Martin who plays both Ben’s Dad and nosy neighbour Mr Parker.

David Walliams Gangsta Granny

The supporting cast help to keep the pace up, Umar Malik is notable as penny-pinching but wise shopkeeper Raj and slimy dancer Flavio, and Louise Bailey as the Queen who is rather partial to cabbage soup and doesn’t mind the unfortunate side effects.

Gangsta Granny is full of glorious slapstick humour, it’s colourful, glittery, drab, funny, serious, silly and sad in equal measure. I wasn’t quite expecting to come away so affected by the moral of the story – just because someone is old it doesn’t mean they are invisible. 

Loneliness, especially in old age is a terrible thing, and it’s something I’m particularly mindful of. If Gangsta Granny encourages more people to speak to and check up on their elderly relatives and neighbours, then that’s a very excellent thing indeed. You never know, the nice old lady next door might have been an international jewel thief with a million pounds worth of treasure in a biscuit tin in her kitchen!

David Walliams Gangsta Granny

We thoroughly enjoyed Gangsta Granny, there were laugh out loud moments all the way through, lots of slapstick, funny smells and a thought provoking moral to the story – what more could you want?

The Birmingham Stage Company are currently touring David Walliams Gangsta Granny around the UK. You can find the tour dates here.

Preview: Gangsta Granny at The Lowry

The long summer holidays are here and it can be hard to find things to keep my boy entertained. We’ve got a few nice things pencilled in for over the summer break. One thing I’m especially looking forward to is Gangsta Granny by David Walliams at The Lowry in Salford Quays. It’s on from Wednesday 31 August to Sunday 4 September 2016. 

We really enjoy our trips to The Lowry, we make a real event out of it. A tram ride, the theatre, a walk around the Quays, maybe a visit to the Blue Peter garden, a little something to eat somewhere and then home again on the tram. Lots of fun, lots of adventure and usually a really good show. 

This summer the Birmingham Stage Company are touring the UK with their production of the popular David Walliams’ book, Gangsta Granny. 

Gangsta Granny

It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny! She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma…

  1. She was once an international jewel thief.
  2. All her life, she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help.

Soon Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny!

Gangsta Granny

In 2011 David Walliams wrote Gangsta Granny, which was shortlisted for both The Red House Children’s Book Award and for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. During Christmas 2013 a TV version of Gangsta Granny was shown on BBC One with an all-star cast including David Walliams himself. Gangsta Granny went straight to number 1 in the children’s book charts and his books have been translated into no fewer than 30 languages.

Gangsta Granny

We’ll be going on 31st August and we’re looking forward to watching the adventures of Ben and his Gangsta Granny!

Gangsta Granny is on at The Lowry Salford Quays from 31st August – 4th September. Tickets are available online or from the box office. 

My tips for surviving family festivals in the UK

If you’re off on a day out, or you’ve got tickets to a family festival or event, it makes sense to plan ahead and prepare yourself for all eventualities. In the UK “all eventualities” essentially means prepare yourself for the weather, all of the weather.

We live in Manchester, which is not known as the rainy city for nothing (though it doesn’t actually rain as much as you’d think). We try to get out and about as much as we can, which often means standing in a muddy field getting rained on, but still managing to squeeze some fun out of our precious family time together. Here are my tips for surviving and enjoying outdoor events in the UK.

Check the weather forecast. This will give you a vague idea of what the weather is likely to do on the day of the event or festival. Although if it says it’ll be sunny I’d still stick a brolly in the car just in case.

Pack a Picnic. Regardless of whether the event has food on offer or not, I always pack some emergency provisions. At the very least a couple of bottles of water and enough snacks to tide a hungry tum over until a pulled pork burger can be foraged from the nearest street food vendor.

Plan your day. Check out what’s on, what time it’s on and where it is. If there’s something you especially want to see or do, then it helps to know where on the festival site it’s happening and when. It’s often worth printing out a little map of the site and an events listing, or taking a screenshot on your phone to refer to if you need to.

Take something to sit on. Festivals, events and days out can be a loooong day and you can guarantee there won’t be enough seating for everyone. Take something to sit on. A picnic blanket with a waterproof backing is invaluable, but if you don’t want to carry that around, a bin bag for each family member to sit on works just as well and is much lighter and easier to carry. I have a bad back so can’t sit on the floor, so I take a little camping chair to sit on and my son often climbs on my knee for a cuddle. I wouldn’t be without my chair.

Wear suitable clothing. Rain or shine if you get a couple of thousand people in a field you will need to wear wellies or good stout walking boots. If driving rain is predicted and you’re still going to the event, then pack a mac and wear waterproof clothing. Be prepared to get wet and have dry clothes waiting in the car.

surviving family festivals

Take a change of clothes. If you’re going in your car it’s easy to pack a change of clothing and leave that and a cosy blanket in the car. My son always snuggles under a blanket on the way home and we wouldn’t be without it. The thought of being able to change at the car if you need to can get you through an afternoon of dampness.

If you can’t take a change of clothes (including dry socks and shoes) to change into for the drive home, then I’d recommend packing a pair of dry socks sealed in a plastic bag. Dry feet can make the difference between abject misery and a tolerable bus ride home.

Bring a brolly. We keep a big golfing umbrella in the car as well as a small one to slip into my bag. When we arrive at the festival we make the choice which, if any to bring with us. If it’s raining then the golfing umbrella, especially when teamed with my camping chair makes a nice little shelter from the rain, and when it’s very sunny the brolly offers a little shade.

Use sun cream. Even if it’s cloudy in the UK, you can catch the sun by standing in a field all day. Slap on the factor 30 and top up regularly. Wear a sun hat and keep hydrated.

Bring some baby wipes. As a parent I’m never more than 2 metres away from a pack of baby wipes, they are an everyday essential and invaluable at events and festivals. From cleaning sticky fingers before lunch, dealing with the worst of the mud, for toilet times and for making yourself presentable for the journey home. We don’t leave home without them.

Take cash money. Festivals and events can very easily be done on a budget, but once you’re in you’ll have to buy everything you need and it probably comes at a premium. We tend to pack a picnic and then buy some treats like ice cream when we’re there. Just don’t turn up thinking you can pay for everything with your card, cash is king and most events don’t have ATMs on site.

If you’re prepared for the changeable and sometimes really miserable UK weather, you’ve thought about food, transport and you’ve planned your day then hopefully your family day out will go off without a hitch. Maybe I’m a bit odd, but I’ve started to have low expectations of what an event or festival will be like before I get there, that way I’m rarely disappointed and often surprised and enchanted by what happens on the day.

I have a bit of a go with the flow attitude to life and almost everything I do, which does mean that you can sometimes find me dancing in the rain. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you prepare to spend a day in that weather. Come rain or shine you will find us having fun in a field somewhere this summer and I hope you won’t let a little rain stop play either.

Do you have any top tips for surviving family festivals and events?

surviving family festivals

Five things to do in Manchester in May Half Term

It only seems like five minutes since the kids when back to school after Easter and the May half term is just around the corner. It’s often hard to think of things to do to entertain the troops. Playdates and trips to the park always feature heavily, but it’s good to have a few bigger things in the diary too.

I’ve picked a few things to do in (and around) Manchester with the kids this May half term. We’ll definitely be popping along to some of these.

The Lost Carnival

If you’ve ever been to the Just So Festival, A Day at the Lake or event The Lost Carnival last year, you know that Wild Rumpus know how to put on an event. Last year we went to The Lost Carnival which was in Bury, this year you can experience an evening of wonder in Crewe, and trust me, it is an experience to remember for all the best reasons.

This year features a “Battle of the Carnivals” between the rival carnivals, The Ingenues and the Birds. Together they will meet for a thrilling evening of spellbinding theatre and enthralling installations, circus, music, visual trickery and sideshows galore. Last year was so good it gave me goosebumps and this year looks set to be even bigger and better!

The Lost Carnival will take place on May 28/29/30 (4-9.30pm) at Queen’s Park, Crewe, Cheshire CW2 7SE. Early Bird tickets cost £10 per ticket. Under 3s go free. Carnival goers should dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre & SEA LIFE Manchester

Over the May half term, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and SEA LIFE Manchester at the Trafford Centre will have lots to entertain families come rain or shine. better still, guests only have to buy one ticket and will have the freedom to explore two brilliant attractions!

In the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre visit the brand new play area, City Builder. Visitors can create their own buildings and structures in the City Builder zone. The only limit is your imagination!

For movie enthusiasts, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre has another new 4D movie starring the LEGO Nexo Knights. Experience this fantastic new 4D film with all the elements – wind, water and smoke – bringing the battle to life all around the cinema.

May Half Term

Down at SEA LIFE Manchester, families can dive deep to the fascinating world of new exhibition, Octopus Hideout and spot the star of the show, the Giant Pacific Octopus called Hank and his Cephalopod friends. A visit to SEA LIFE is always a fascinating, fun and educational day out.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the LEGOLAND website and the SEA LIFE website

Roald Dahl’s Tremendous Adventures at Tatton Park

From Easter until the end of 2016, Tatton Park is is bringing Roald Dahl’s imagination to life, with a host of children’s trails and events for all the family. Join Danny the Champion of the World in the gardens, Fantastic Mr Fox at the farm and Matilda in the mansion and you’ve got to be careful of The Enormous Crocodile out in the parkland!

We’ve already visited and explored the farm at Tatton Park where we found Fantastic Mr Fox, and we’ll be visiting again over half term to explore some of the other fabulous Roald Dahl goings on. You can read the full preview of the Roald Dahl adventures at Tatton Park here.

May half term

For more information visit tattonpark.org.uk/RoaldDahl.

GeronimO Festival at Tatton Park

The Geronimo Festival is on at Tatton Park (May 29th and 30th) and will feature CBeebies star live shows, a full circus, 3 theatre companies, amazing bands, a full county fair arena including jousting, sheep shearing, motorcycle displays, funfair rides, tortoise encounters, spy school den building and 100 other amazing activities.

This year CBeebies megastar Justin Fletcher will be there, as well as Mr Bloom, presenters Andy Day and Alex Winters and Cook and Line from Swashbuckle. As well as Les Enfants Terrible who present their Imaginary Menagerie. We’ve seen this show before and it is fantastic, so we won’t be missing that particular festival highlight! You can read my preview here.

For more information or to buy tickets visit www.geronimofest.com.

What else?

Manchester is a lively, vibrant city full of museums, art galleries, things to see, do and explore. Just a short drive out fo the city you have a wealth of unspoilt countryside and fresh air to fill your lungs with.  

If the weather is decent then you could visit and explore outdoors at Dunham Massey, Lyme Park, Delemere Forest or Quarry Bank Mill. There’s Manchester Museum to explore; the Museum of Science and Industry, The Police Museum, Manchester Airport Viewing Park, Stockport Hat Museum, the air-raid shelters; as well as Wythenshawe Community Farm and the utterly fantastic Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire.

There’s lots to do this May half term, do you have any interesting ideas for things to do during May half term?