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Things to do in Manchester: Easter 2017

I was checking my diary this morning and realised with a slight sense of panic that my son breaks up from school this Friday. Easter is a few short weeks away and between now and then I have two weeks of school holiday to fill. I do enjoy having the boy wonder at home, but now the weather is a bit better I feel we ought to get out and do stuff.

We have plans for a couple of days in Blackpool to see the sights and hopefully get on the beach, but it’s good to have a few things closer to home to do. I’ve picked out a few things to do around Manchester over the Easter 2017 holidays.

Things to do in Manchester: Easter 2017

 Whitworth Art Gallery

Last week I visited the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester for the first time ever. I’m slightly ashamed that in the 40 years I’ve been alive and living in Manchester I’ve never visited before. The (closing soon) Andy Warhol exhibition drew me in, but I was impressed and in awe of virtually everything I clapped eyes on. 

I already knew they had an impressive and inclusive arts programme for families. When I spied the Art Hampers on my visit, I knew we’d be back to put them to the test.

Just pick up an Art Hamper, they’re free and available any time during gallery opening hours. The Art Hampers are filled with materials for you to get inspired and make, draw and build anywhere in the gallery. Let your imagination and creativity run wild, but don;t forget to return your hamper at the end of your visit.

For more information about the Art Hampers, or the other family events during Easter 2017 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, visit their website.

SHIFT / Cheshire East

SHIFT is a vibrant and interactive programme celebrating all things digital in Cheshire East. From exhibitions and workshops to talks and hands on making – SHIFT is full of inspiring and creative events for all ages and abilities. During Easter 2017, SHIFT have a range of digital activities for tech savvy families. 

On Saturday 8th April at Sandbach Library learn about Interactive LED Art (BBC Micro: bit). Ideal for ages 7+. Get your LEDs flashing and learn to program the Micro:bit LED display to create interactive bitmap art that responds to movement and button presses. The possibilities are endless. Places are free but advance booking is advisable via the library: 01270 375355.

On Monday 10th April at Handforth Library, learn about Animations in Minecraft (ages 5+). Go along to combine coding, making and tech to create 8-bit animations in Minecraft using physical punchcards, powered by PatternCraft. In this free and interactive workshop you’ll learn basic computing and code, and have fun! Places are free but advance booking is advisable via the library: 01625 378272.

For more information about SHIFT and the other events they’re running over Easter, visit their website

The Museum of Science and Industry

Experience the amazing power of steam, water and electricity at MSI, Manchester. Activities run from April 1st to April 17th. Admission to the museum is free, there may be a small charge for some activities

The Museum of Science and Industry is powering up for Easter 2017. Whether it’s the power of water, steam or electricity – experience the sights, thundering sounds and astonishing power of the museum’s machines, muscles and contraptions as they burst into life through a series of hands-on demonstrations, workshops and shows for everyone.

For more information about what’s on at MSI over Easter, visit their website

Waterside Arts Centre

The Waterside Arts Centre in Sale have lots going on over Easter, but this show caught my eye, Mush Ado About Puffin on Saturday 29 April 2017. 

Things to do in Manchester: Easter 2017

Join Open Attic as they sail the stormy seas to bring you this funny tale about a man all alone; a friendly puffin, and a whole lot of fuss over nothing. Much Ado About Puffin is about old habits, new friendships, and stepping out into the unknown! Suitable for ages 4+. 

Merlin attractions in Manchester

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Manchester has just re-opened after a huge refurb and has a brand new LEGO Ninjago City Adventure play feature with a Ninjago Training Camp, Ninjago Build Table, Ninja Skill training, Interactive Adventure playground and a Rotating Climbing Wall, Sounds pretty awesome, especially for Ninjago fans!

At Manchester’s SEALIFE Centre, on 1st and 2nd April visit the Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s The Snail and The Whale event at SEA LIFE. Experience this beloved children’s book as you follow the story around the centre through an amazing underwater world.

Don’t forget to decorate your very own ‘Snail Rock’ with a ‘Save The Whale’ message to display at the centre and support marine wildlife conservation. This is a ticket only event which you can book here.

SEA LIFE Blackpool

Open Day – Helly Hansen Watersports Centre, Salford Quays

If you are interested in trying out watersports this Easter, Salford Leisure are hosting a family Open Day at the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre at Salford Quayson 16th April 2017.

The event is FREE and includes face painting, arts and crafts, a climbing wall, a bouncy castle and various stalls. Plus the Easter bunny will be paying a visit to Salford Quays and hiding eggs for a special Easter Egg Hunt.

For a small fee of £4, adults and children aged 8+ can book hour-long taster sessions in sailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, powerboating, polo training and so much more.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy, so bring the whole family for a fun day out. Just don’t forget your towel!

The event opens at 11am until 5pm at the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre, Salford Quay. You can find more information here.Things to do in Manchester: Easter 2017

There’s always so much to do in and around Manchester during Easter 2017. If you’ve got any suggestions please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned!

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party

As the mother of a 5 year old child it’s fair to say that most of his weekends (and consequently our weekends) are taken up with various birthday parties. These days class protocol dictates you find one or two children with birthdays in the same month and throw a joint party. This cuts down party costs for the families of the birthday boy or girl and means that guests only need to buy one present (which will be divided up between the birthday children).

Last year parties tended to be whole class affairs, but this year the boys and the girls have largely split up into smaller friendship groups. Soft play is still very popular, trampoline parks are on the rise, but for the boys in Ben’s class, the big dream is a Legoland Manchester birthday party. 

Having a Legoland Manchester birthday party is what most of the boys in his class want. A few weekends ago we went along to a party to celebrate a couple of his classmates turning 5.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

Each child who attends gets to take an accompanying adult, so it is in many ways like a normal visit to Legoland. You go in and the group has their photo taken and you head up to the “factory tour” which is always entertaining. Once you’re through that it’s onto the Kingdom Quest ride (my favourite bit) and then on into the discovery centre itself. 

When we went, all the kids raced through Miniland (past Blackpool Tower and other attractions made from Lego) and straight through to building the Lego racers. The parents grabbed a coffee (party entry came with a voucher – a godsend!) whilst all the boys got stuck in. After around 45 minutes we were summoned to the party room where the kids tucked into a lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and juice.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

It was time for some party games. There were two hosts from Legoland who were really engaging and professional. They kept the party flowing nicely, an eye out for any health and safety issues the parents might have missed and they were great at getting all the kids up and involved in the party games. Think musical bumps, musical statues that kind of thing – great fun and the boys all had a great time.

Then the cake came out. Legoland provided the cake, though I guess you could bring your own if you wanted. It was one of those rainbow cakes, different coloured layers sandwiched together with buttercream. It was really, really pretty (I now want to bake one) and it was a good cake; light and moist. I liked it a lot, almost as much as the kids.

Legoland Manchester birthday party

After we’d all eaten our colourful cake, everyone queued up to go on the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and then it was time for everyone to say goodbye.

It’s worth noting that once the party is over you can stay for as long as you’d like afterwards. We stayed for a little while, enjoyed the Fire Academy (soft play area), headed to the brand new Lego City Builder area for a while and then for an obligatory turn around the shop (I might have bought MYSELF some Lego).

Legoland Manchester birthday party

As something of a kids party veteran I can say that I thought the Legoland Manchester birthday party was well run, efficient and the boys had lots of fun. I think it is a nice touch to offer parents a coffee and leftover cake and sandwiches. I like the fact that once you’re in you can stay for as long as you want afterwards too. The food was good, the cake was great and there is very little organisation and input required for the parents throwing the party. 

Prices per child are £17.50/£22.50 depending on when you go. Whilst this is not cheap, I do think that is does represent good value for money, especially as you can stay until it closes if you want and enjoy all of the attractions in Legoland Manchester.

Packages for a Legoland Manchester birthday party currently start from £17.50 per person (£22.50 at weekends) and more details can be found on their website.

Note: We were attending a party of a classmate and I thought I’d write up the party experience. 

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?

Days Out: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Last weekend we got the chance to give our new family pass for LEGOLAND its first outing. We took the small boy and my nephew to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre for the afternoon. We were keen to catch a showing of The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure and explore all that was on offer.

The boys were raring to get in and explore; we started with the Factory Tour, which is quite short and interactive, it involves lots of jumping up and down and being given their own souvenir LEGO brick to keep. They queued calmly for the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, which I’m sure us adults enjoyed more than the kids – we are a competitive bunch!

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Whilst the grown ups enjoyed checking out Miniland – where the great attractions of the UK are recreated in LEGO form; the boys raced off to the LEGO Racers Build & Test track. I’m convinced they would have stayed there all day if they could. After a quick pit stop in the cafe for refreshments, the boys were keen to race their police cars on the LEGO City Forest Pursuit track. There was a bit of a queue for this, but both of the boys didn’t mind waiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Once the race was over it was time for a sit down, so we settled down to watch The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure. I was not hopeful that the small boy would enjoy it as he hates the dark and noise of cinemas, but he sat beautifully throughout and was captivated by the story, giggling in all the right places and he even enjoyed being showered with bubbles. The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure is well worth going to see if you’re visiting.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Knowing how much the boys love LEGO City, we went to explore and build, they honestly could have spent hours playing in this area and I think next time we might head straight there so they can spend a bit more time there.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

On the way out we had a quick go on the Ninjago Laser Training Camp, followed by a whirlwind look around the shop. 

We’d planned to spend about 3 or 4 hours there and it wasn’t enough to explore everything in one go. We’ll have to go again at least twice to have a proper play with everything.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

I’m excited to be able to tell you that we are now blogger ambassadors for both LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and Sealife at the Trafford Centre in Manchester, so do keep an eye out for more LEGOLAND and Sealife news and reviews throughout 2016.

Easter at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre & SEA LIFE Manchester

If you’re looking for some Easter fun for all the family this coming half term, families can have the ultimate fun day in Manchester at not one, but two fantastic attractions this Easter! LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and SEA LIFE Manchester have a fun-filled week planned, with lots of exciting activities and a taste of some brand new additions at the attractions to show off.

LEGO fans will soon get a fresh fix of their favourite heroes as this Easter “The LEGO Movie 4D, A New Adventure”, a brand new 4D attraction, re-unites the characters from the original movie at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester from Saturday 12th March.

The riotous, action-packed plot sees Emmet, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, Benny and MetalBeard receive a mysterious invitation leading them to a new theme park, bearing a suspicious resemblance to LEGOLAND. But all is not as it seems as the heroes are once again thrust into the middle of an evil secret plot masterminded by a totally new character, the scheming Risky Business. The larger-than-life experience will sweep the audience right into the action as the gang hurtle through a fast paced adventure featuring some very special theme park attractions, from Unikitty’s cute and colourful ‘Wainbow Wubble World’ to Wyldstyle’s ‘Super Cycle Mega Ride’ and MetalBeard’s ‘Pirate Plunder Danger Cave’. It’s up to Emmet and Wyldstyle, enlisting the Master Builder skills of the audience, to try and save the day.

Easter at Legoland Manchester

Fans will love the chance to immerse themselves in The LEGO Movie world in a totally new way with 4D elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects bringing the story to life.

Enjoy the most amazing city in the world, the brand new play area, City Builder. Visitors can create cities and buildings in the most unique city that can be imagined. From the creativity of countless budding architects will flourish the most beautiful and imaginative buildings and stories. Girls and boys can meet the heroes of City and the girlfriends of Heart Lake City, and they’ll see everything from huge skyscrapers to cosy family houses all made from LEGO.

Visitors can also lose themselves in 1.5 million LEGO bricks and explore the wonders of MINILAND, have an adventurous ride in LEGO City Forest Pursuit, try dodging the lasers in LEGO Ninjago Laser Training Camp, play in the soft play area at the LEGO Construction Site and much more.

If that wasn’t enough, visitors should prepare to be amazed by the brand new exhibition Octopus Hideout just next door at SEA LIFE Manchester, which gives guests a unique opportunity to come face to sucker with one of the oceans most intelligent creatures.

Meet the star of Octopus Hideout, Hank, the Giant Pacific Octopus that has eight arms, blue blood, three hearts and can grow up to a jaw-dropping five metres in length and weigh up to 50 kilograms! One of the biggest octopus species in the world, Giant Pacific Octopuses can solve mazes, blend into their environment and even open jars.

Easter at Legoland Manchester

Families will also not want to miss the jet-propelled, gas-fuelled prehistoric nautilus, a primitive octopus in a spiral shell, the cuttlefish, a captivating type of mollusc which can change colour to give itself the perfect camouflage against any background, or the teeny tiny Atlantic Long Arm Octopus, a small sea creature with arms longer than its 90 millimetre body! 

SEA LIFE Manchester is also home to an incredible array of sea creatures from all over the planet, including family favourite Ernie, the Giant Green Sea Turtle, captivating seahorses, colourful clownfish, Black Tip Reef Sharks, rays and more.

You can make great savings by purchasing a Combi ticket for entry into both of these fantastic attractions. For more information, visit www.legolanddiscoverycentre.co.uk/manchester or www2.visitsealife.com/manchester.