Tag Archives: Manchester

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

We’re currently holidaying in Cornwall, and keen to make the most of our Merlin Annual Passes, this week we had a drive down to Gweek to visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary which this year is celebrating 60 years of seal rescue, rehabilitation and release.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is part of the SEA LIFE group of attractions and set in the picturesque Helford Estuary, by the village of Gweek, in Cornwall. It’s probably the most southerly Merlin attraction in the UK; but well worth remembering to pack your passes for if you have them.

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

One of the most exciting reasons to visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary was that I’d spotted on their website that it was dog friendly. It’s harder than you’d think to find attractions which are genuinely dog friendly, so were delighted to get through the door and see so many happy dogs on days out with their families.

The sanctuary is located on the fairly steep side of the Helford Estuary. There is a safari bus to take people from the top to the bottom of the steep hill, but it isn’t by their own admission the most accessible of attractions; though they’ve tried their best and help is always at hand if you need it. Me, being unsteady on my feet took the safari bus option with my son, whilst my husband walked the dog down to the bottom. He beat us there and back both times, but the bus is brilliant for little legs, or unsteady adult ones.

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is the first port of call for local seals who have been injured or who are ill. Each year around 50 seals are taken in by the sanctuary and given the care they need to get better. Most go on to be released back into the sea, but some have life changing injuries or conditions which can be best managed at the sanctuary.

At the sanctuary you can find common seals, grey seals, penguins, otters, sea lions as well as ponies, sheep and goats. There is also a rockpool area to explore and a wildlife walk through the woods. There’s a lot of learning to be had, from conservation work, to things we can do at home to help the plant. We found this very interesting and a great talking point.

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

The self-led tour begins at the seal rescue hospital. We skipped the hospital as there were no seals in there, which is a good thing and carried to the bottom of the hill where there are a number of different pools; the common seals were in a new-ish looking pool next to the nursery pool which held the youngest pups in the sanctuary.

There were various talks and experiences throughout the day. The feeding sessions seemed to be the most popular; watching the resident seals in the convalescent pool get fed their fishy lunch whilst we were given a talk about the seals and what had happened to bring them to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary was especially interesting. The feeding of the penguins was also great fun.

The woodland walk was a really great addition. There’s a 500 metre walk to Otter Creek, but along the way there are lots of signs with facts and activities on. It’s also great for dogs (on leads) to stretch their legs in the cool shade of the woods.

Days Out: The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall

There are both permanent and temporary residents in the seal sanctuary, so the number of animals to visit can vary. However it is really well done, there is always a programme of events and a permanent selection of seals, penguins, sea lions and otters to see and learn about. The wildlife walk was great, very informative and a great place for kids to run off a bit of steam.

We were also really impressed with the cafes on site. They were not wildly expensive and we enjoyed a good lunch, though you can take a picnic if you’d prefer.

We had a really enjoyable and informative visit to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It’s a genuinely dog friendly family attraction in Cornwall which we all really enjoyed visiting.

Find out more about The Cornish Sea Sanctuary by visiting their website.

Normally £50, the free DigiPass enables Premium Passholders to get unlimited action shots of themselves having a blast on awesome attractions; such as the brand new Wicker Man at Alton Towers Resort; Tiger Rock at Chessington World of Adventures Resort; The Walking Dead: The Ride at THORPE PARK Resort and the LEGO NINJAGO Ride at The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. What’s more, existing Merlin Annual Passholders can also get an additional £20 off all Premium Merlin Annual Pass renewals as well as the free DigiPass if they renew before 1st September 2018; so it’s about time everyone was in the frame! Find out more here!

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

Having lived in Manchester all my life, I felt I probably knew most of the hidden gems and worst kept secrets of my city. This week I discovered a Tudor secret, hidden in plain sight, surrounded by modern houses, apartment blocks and industrial buildings – Ordsall Hall is the most stunning Tudor building I’ve ever seen and it’s tucked away near Salford Quays. On Wednesday I took a good friend (an Austen fanatic) to see Pride and Prejudice at Ordsall Hall.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

This summer, Ordsall Hall is hosting a number of outdoor theatre productions and thankfully the weather seems to be behaving itself, so all you need is a folding chair and a cardigan for when the sun goes down. Ordsall Hall provides a wonderful backdrop to productions like Pride and Prejudice. It is incredibly beautiful and it’s worth turning up a little bit early so you can have a look around before the performance begins.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

We arrived a little late due to a confused satnav and a full car park, but we eventually settled down in our camping chairs a few minutes before the performance began. The five actors were mingling and chatting with the audience, which was a nice touch as somehow outdoor theatre seems a little bit more intimate and this made it more so. Heartbreak Productions are experts in outdoor theatre, spending their summer touring up and down the country.

Pride and Prejudice is the incredibly well known tale of the Bennet sisters, a host of charming young bachelors and of course the dashing Mr Darcy. All of the many roles were performed by a troop of just five actors who seamlessly managed to portray this large cast of characters with a simple change in posture or a different hat. It was marvellous, it really was.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

We were gripped by this story, told on a simple stage by very talented actors with the exceptionally lovely backdrop of Ordsall Hall. They had the audience stood up, learning to curtsy and bow, and we learned a simple dance. It was all great fun and I now feel well prepared to enter Georgian polite society.

Experiencing Pride and Prejudice at Ordsall Hall was a wonderful experience. It was a delightful evening of comedy, romance, and some will-they-won’t-they. But we all know they will, eventually.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

Although I’ve seen outdoor plays before, never in such delightful surroundings. There are a number of other plays being performed at Ordsall Hall this summer and they’re well worth taking a look at. There’s something for everyone at Ordsall Hall this summer!

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Ordsall Hall and we were gifted tickets to see Pride and Prejudice in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 – Judging Day

On Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th July Didsbury village is being judged by the RHS North West in Bloom judges. Last year Didsbury won both the Urban Community category and a Gold; so there are high expectations for Didsbury in Bloom 2018.

The road I live on, Ford Lane is one of the areas which is judged. We have a green at the top of the road and flower filled planters all the way down the lane. It looks lovely, but it doesn’t happen by magic; a team of hard-working residents lovingly maintain the planters and keep the lane looking good all year round.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 - Judging Day

In the weeks running up to judging day, more residents do their bit by helping to tidy the green or water the planters outside their homes. I’m slowly trying to make our front garden more attractive, but it’s a slow process, not helped by the lack of rain.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 had the twin themes of Remembrance and they also celebrated the centenary of women winning the right to vote. There has been a team of wonderful volunteers who have been working with schools to plant and maintain a poppy path running from Didsbury Park to School lane. The verges have been cleared and planted with poppy seeds which were harvested from the fields in France, then scattered by school children. In bloom they are a lovely, arresting sight. It’s well worth taking a detour to wander down the lane to see the poppies and remember them.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 - Judging Day

2018 has been a challenging year for gardeners, especially over the last few weeks. Manchester has had an unseasonal amount of not rain, or sunshine as it’s sometimes known. We’ve been enjoying/enduring a heatwave and our usually lush green at the top of the road is now a brown.

We’ve been draining our water butts and recycling our bath water to keep the planters looking healthy, but the grass has had to take one for the team. I hope the judges will take the current weather conditions into consideration and not hold our brown lawns against us.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 - Judging Day

I think despite the challenges, Ford Lane is looking fantastic. It’s a shame the heatwave has taken its toll on the main flower bed on the green; but all of the other planters are beautifully blousy with blooms. I love the Votes for Women bike most of all I think.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 - Judging Day

All of the Didsbury in Bloom volunteers have worked so hard this year, I take my hat off to them. Thank you for making Didsbury extra beautiful all your round!

The Didsbury in Bloom 2018 team won’t know the results of the judging for a little while yet; but we have high hopes of repeating the success of previous years.

Didsbury in Bloom 2018 - Judging Day

Read more about Didsbury – Five fabulous things about Didsbury Village.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

Growing up in Manchester, a regular pudding at school was Manchester Tart. A traditional Manchester Tart is a shortcrust pastry case, topped with a layer of raspberry jam and bananas which is then covered in crème pâtissière and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. This is a slightly tweaked version of a traditional Manchester Tart, I don’t like bananas so I’ve left them out. Other people don’t like the coconut, which can easily be left out too.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

My Grandma was an accomplished pastry chef and school cook. When she died I inherited her cookbook collection. The jewel in the cookbook crown was a large hard-backed book filled with her handwritten recipes which she’d developed over the years. In this book in her best copperplate handwriting was her recipe for Manchester Tart. Over the years, the original tart was probably served to thousands of Mancunian school children.

This delicious tart was a favourite school dinner treat and is based on the similar but fairly ancient Manchester Pudding.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

I’ve not so much reinvented it, but left the bananas out. Feel free to add them back in, or leave out the coconut if you prefer. It’s quite forgiving really, as long as you’ve got a layer of good jam and lots of crème pâtissière you can’t go wrong!

Traditional Manchester Tart

Ingredients:
1 packet of ready-roll shortcrust pastry – or you can make your own
½ jar of raspberry jam
1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut
2 vanilla pods
800ml double cream
5 egg yolks
4 tsp corn flour
100g caster sugar

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 200°.

Grease an 8 inch tart tin and gently press the pastry into it and trim the pastry roughly, you can tidy it up once it has baked. Place some baking paper and baking beads on top of your pastry and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beads and put back into the oven to crisp up for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.

To make the crème pâtissière, split your vanilla pods and scrape out some of the seeds, put the pods and seeds in a pan with 500mls of the double cream. Warm this gently, stirring frequently until it is near boiling point. Remove from the heat and take out the vanilla pods.

Meanwhile whisk your egg yolks, corn flour and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Then slowly (so you don’t scramble the mixture) add some of the heated cream to the bowl, keep adding gradually, whisking all the time until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently, whisking all the time until it is near boiling and thick. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. There are a number of ways you can prevent your crème pâtissière from forming a skin; personally I like to go back to it every five minutes or so and give it a good whisk, this will also help it cool a little quicker. If you don’t want to do this, you can lay a piece of cling film directly on the top of the crème pâtissière.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

You will need to leave it for around an hour to cool properly.

In the meantime, whisk the remaining 300mls of double cream until it is in firm peaks. Once the crème pâtissière is cool you can carefully whisk the two together.

If you’re using the coconut, in a small pan warm the desiccated coconut up. Keep stirring until it is lightly toasted and fragrant.

To construct the tart, trim the edges of the pastry case with a sharp knife so they look neat. In your cooled pastry case generously spread your raspberry jam on the bottom. If you want to add thinly sliced banana to your tart, this is the time to do it.

Carefully fill the pastry case with the crème pâtissière mixture, smoothing it off and sprinkling the top with the toasted desiccated coconut. Put the tart in the fridge to cool overnight.

There are quite a lot of steps to making this tart, which is partly why I cheated and used ready-made pastry. Manchester Tart really is worth making at least once, and crème pâtissière is nothing to be scared of!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try this Cornflake Tart or my lemon and elderflower gin meringue pie.

Recipe: Wonderfully Mancunian Manchester Tart

What’s On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

I love a bit of outdoor theatre. Before we became parents we were regular visitors to theatre productions in our local park. When the sun is shining, there’s nothing quite so special as watching some good theatre in the great outdoors; with a chilled glass of fizz and a nice picnic there’s nothing better. So far, this summer has been a corker and Ordsall Hall in Salford have a full programme of open air theatre productions to enjoy.

Last summers’ outdoor theatre events at Ordsall Hall, Salford’s stunning tudor manor house was a sell out. This summer there are seven more open-air theatre shows booked to perform at Ordsall Hall, including performances for families and theatre fans of all ages.

What’s On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

Pride and Prejudice – 18 July 2018
Performed by outdoor theatre specialists, Heartbreak Productions, join Heartbreak and a host of charming young bachelors (yes, Mr Darcy will be there!) for an evening of comedy, romance and more than one come-uppance plus pop-up gin bar.

Twelfth Night – Thursday 26 July 2018
The world’s first cycling theatre company, The Handlebards return to Ordsall Hall to perform Twelfth Night. The all-male company pedal from venue to venue with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform environmentally sustainable Shakespeare across the globe. In usual HandleBards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

What's On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

Romeo and Juliet – Wednesday 1 August 2018
On 1st August, HandleBards return with their all-female troupe in the beautiful gardens of Ordsall Hall for Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never seen it before! In usual HandleBards style, you can expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

The Princess and The Giant – Thursday 9 August 2018
For families with children, Folksy Theatre returns to the gardens of Ordsall Hall to perform the children’s favourite The Princess and the Giant at two performances at 10.30am and 2.30pm. This family friendly performance will be filled with music, puppetry and wonderful characters. Bring a picnic and enjoy some wonderful family theatre in the sunshine.

The Railway Children – Thursday 16 August 2018
All aboard! Full steam ahead! Find your travel companions and take your seats for Heartbreak Productions’ outdoor adaptation of The Railway Children, the classic children’s tale by Edith Nesbit.

Living by the railway line, the children spend quite a bit of time watching the trains and making some unexpected friendships. Can Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis solve the mystery of what happened to their father?

Pirate Pearl and the Big Blue Monster! – Thursday 23 August 2018
For families with younger children; the Little Blue Monster Company will present their brand new family friendly production; Pirate Pearl and the Big Blue Monster! Pirate Pearl lives aboard the good ship Mirabel with her crusty old shipmate – Grandpa Bert! She’s not a real pirate – but Pearl loves to imagine she’s sailing the seven seas on a swashbuckling pirate adventure. Under 2s go free!

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Sunday 26 August 2018
Folksy Theatre returns to the gardens of Ordsall Hall to perform one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies – Love’s Labour’s Lost. The King of Navarre and his lords swear off food, women and sleep in order to study for three years. No sooner have they made their oath when the Princess of France arrives on business, with her ladies-in-waiting. How will the King and his Lord’s resolve hold up? Whatever happens, expect live music, audience interaction and downright silliness.

For more information about what’s on at Ordsall Hall this summer, or to book tickets, visit their website.

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

When we heard that SEA LIFE Manchester were unveiling a new exhibit, we had to go down and check it out. SEA LIFE Manchester is one of our favourite places to spend a few hours and we were keen to meet the new resident –  a Japanese Spider Crab!

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

Japanese Spider Crabs can measure over 5 metres claw to claw, and can live to up to 100 years old! There are three Japanese Spider Crabs at SEA LIFE Manchester in a huge new tank area. Given they can grow up to the size of a small car, even though they seem huge, they still have plenty of growing to do.

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

The hard shell of the Japanese Spider Crab helps to protect them from larger predators such as octopuses, but giant spider crabs also use camouflage. The crab’s bumpy shell can help them to blend into the rocky ocean floor. They really are incredible creatures. Almost nightmarish in appearance, but apparently they are quite placid creatures. It felt really special to see these deep-sea creatures close up.

SEA LIFE Manchester has been given a bit of a makeover since we were last there just before Christmas. A few things have been moved about or refreshed, with, I’m pleased to say, another jellyfish tank in the building. You can crawl through the fluorescent world of the floating moon jellyfish in their brand new 360-degree doughnut tank. I adore jellyfish and we always spend lots of time watching them swim about. They’re very relaxing to watch.

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

We also stopped by the Jurassic Ranger area to have a look at the fossils. The Ranger expertly told us all about the fossils she had on display and let us touch some. She also gave the kids a sharks tooth each to take home with them as a souvenir. It was really interesting to find out more about sharks and sharks teeth, especially as that’s one of his topics at school this year.

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

SEA LIFE Manchester is one of our favourite places to visit. I’m pleased to see it’s been given a little makeover in parts. The centre is packed full of beautiful, weird and wonderful creatures; it’s well worth a visit for a few hours if you’re wanted a few hours of wonder and awe.

Find out more about what’s on at SEA LIFE Manchester on their website.

Meeting the Japanese Spider Crab at SEA LIFE Manchester

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

Little Sports Coaching – learn new footballing skills

Like most boys born in Manchester, my son has grown up with a football at his feet. He’s not a natural-born striker, but he enjoys having a kick-about in the park and it’s nice to encourage a love of sports at an early age. This month he joined the Little Sports Coaching Mini Soccer programme in Manchester where he hoped to learn a few new skills to show off in the park.

Little Sports Coaching launched in 2006 as a sports coaching organisation.  They work in nurseries and primary schools; run soccer schools, multi sports, dance and gymnastics classes, holiday camps, one to one coaching sessions, children’s parties and even have their own junior football team. 

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

My son has trained with them before at school; so he already knew some of the coaches when he arrived at the Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe, Manchester for his first session. They were really welcoming and gave him his own brightly coloured kit (it’s very bright, so there’s no losing him in a crowd when he wears it).

He got straight in with a warm-up kick about with the other players in his group. There were about 8 children in each group and when the weather isn’t terrible they get to play outside on the astroturf. Some of the kids were amazing and obviously had been attending for several years. Ben got stuck in and made sure he was near the coach, listening and paying attention to what he was told to do.

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

During the Mini Soccer programme players learned a selection of skills including dribbling, passing, shooting, heading and much more; plus each session includes taking part in five-a-side football matches to practice those skills.

The Mini Soccer sessions last for two hours with a short break in the middle. A bottle of water is essential and players are encouraged to bring a snack to eat such as fruit. Although kit is provided, players will need comfortable trainers or football boots if they’re playing outside.

Parents don’t have to stay for the sessions, but you can do if you’d like. I’ll be honest and say we slipped away for half an hour to pick up a few bits from a nearby retail park. He was busy concentrating and probably didn’t even notice we’d gone.

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

At the end of each session the coaches award a player of the week trophy for a player who has shown improvement; or who has tried extra hard, listened well or been a good team player. The trophy is kept for one week and when it’s returned the player gets a certificate to keep. It’s a nice little motivator to do well.

The coaches are engaging, encouraging and professional. You can tell they really enjoy helping to coach these young players. It’s clear from sitting on the sidelines for a few hours that the kids love the sessions too. There’s something special about watching a group of kids form a team and play together; watching them learn new skills and grow in confidence too.

Two hours of football is quite a lot to ask my son to play on a hot June afternoon. He does flag a bit towards the end; but the rest of his team are all still running about and picking up any slack he leaves.

He’s had three training sessions with Little Sports Coaching now and he really enjoys going. When he gets home he’s hungry, thirsty and tired, which is how I think it should be. He’s had a good run around and learned some new football skills. He’s learned quite a lot of other things too; like teamwork, listening skills, he’s concentrated on what he’s doing and what he should be doing and most of all, he’s had a lot of fun doing it. Isn’t that what taking part in sports is really all about?

Little Sports Coaching - learn new footballing skills

Little Sports Coaching offer a wide range of sports coaching including football, dance and multi-sports across Manchester and the North West. Each session of Mini Soccer costs £6 which for two hours worth of coaching is excellent value.

To find out more about Little Sports Coaching, visit their website www.littlesportscoaching.co.uk/mini-soccer.

Disclosure: We were offered four Little Sports Coaching sessions and the kit in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester is one of our nearest Merlin attractions. We like to visit a few times a year, but we’ve not been since they refurbished last year. We’d heard that over Easter they’d launched a new Space Mission area and we were very keen to check it out. Plus there was the relatively new Ninjago area which we still hadn’t seen. Over the Easter break we swung by for an afternoon of Legoland fun!

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

We were pretty impressed with the new layout of Legoland Discovery Centre. The cafe area had been tucked away in a colourful room of its own, most of the old favourites were still there. Mini-land had been improved with the Manchester bit looking more Mancunian than before. I especially liked the new Lego Media City building and the working tram trundling about.

As we rounded the corner to get into the main area, the boy spotted the huge Ninjago area straight away. There are a few Ninja training zones where lively kids can burn off some energy, so he dabbled a bit there, striking Ninja poses and generally getting stuck in. There’s a soft play area/temple and he disappeared in there for ten minutes, returning to us with a big smile on his face. There’s also a moving climbing wall which had quite a long queue, so we might have a go another time.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Obviously apart from the awesome soft play temple, his highlights from that area were the huge Ninjago figures made of Lego and the free building area where he just let his imagination run wild. It’s excellent, really excellent. If you like Ninjago, you’ll love this. It’s perfectly thought out.

Time was ticking and we needed to go and check out the new Space Mission area. It’s a reasonably small space compared to the Ninjago area, but they’ve really packed everything in. You can build and launch your own Lego rocket, or drive remote control buggies and explore the surface of the Lego planet. There’s an animation desk where you can create your own Lego animations and lots more.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

I especially liked the space shuttle which takes off every five minutes. The level of detail is pretty awesome. We spent quite a lot of time looking at everything and exploring the area. The boy really liked the control desk and anything where he can just build Lego is always a hit.

Living half an hour from Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, we really ought to visit a little more often. We’ve got Merlin Annual Passes, so it’s no bother to pop in for a quick hour of Lego fun, or a bit longer if we have the time.

If you’re local we can totally recommend the new Space Mission area and the Ninjago area is fantastic. Everything else has been spruced up for 2018 too.

New Space Mission at Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

For more information about Legoland Discovery Centre and Merlin Annual Passes, visit their website.

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors this year. All images and opinions are our own.

There’s more to The Printworks than meets the eye!

Living and working in Manchester, I am spoilt for choice for places to hang out for an afternoon or evening. The Printworks has long been a place we visit as a family, usually to go to the cinema and then for lunch afterwards. Last week I went along to The Printworks to hang out for the afternoon with some friends and discovered there’s more to The Printworks than meets the eye.

There's more to The Printworks than meets the eye!

My first stop was a sauna and a swim at Nuffield Health at The Printworks. I’d always known there was a gym somewhere inside, but I hadn’t really thought about where it was in the building. You hop in the lift and go up to the first floor and you’re met with a huge, beautiful state of the art gym.

I was given a quick tour of the facilities, then I took myself off for a swim. The pool is a good sized 20 metre long pool with a jacuzzi, sauna and steam. I bashed out 30 lengths (that’s 600 metres fact fans!) and enjoyed the fabulous view across the city centre. I then went for a well earned sauna and a steam, grabbed a shower, got dressed and headed off into The Printworks to see what else was on offer.

The Printworks is mostly known for the wide variety of bars and restaurants it houses. I have a few favourites I always go to when I visit, but it’s always good to expand your horizons.

I went to Waxy O’Connor’s for a post-gym drink. Waxy O’Connor’s is an Irish themed bar and if you walk downstairs there’s a huge bar area with lots of tables. They do food too, and I was tempted, but I stuck to my Black Velvet cocktail and was later joined by my friends. By this time it was 5pm and the bar was starting to fill up with people popping in for an after work drink with their colleagues and friends.

There's more to The Printworks than meets the eye!

We could have picked anywhere in The Printworks to carry on with our evening; but we headed to Wagamama for a steaming bowl of ramen. Then off to Hard Rock Cafe for a few cocktails and a good old gossip.

There’s something for everyone at The Printworks; whether you’re taking the kids to the cinema and for a bite to eat afterwards, painting the town red or if you’re in search of a workout and a pool with a view; The Printworks has it all!

For more information about what’s on at The Printworks visit their website.

I was offered a free swim and a cocktail when I visited The Printworks. I was not asked to write this blog post.

10 February Half Term Things to do in Manchester

The February half term this year is a tricky one, it’s not the same across Greater Manchester, with some schools having half term the week of the 12th and others having the week of the 19th. Whenever your kids are off, here are 10 things to do in Manchester over the February half term.

Elizabeth Gaskell House, 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, M13 9LW

Pay a visit to this beautiful historical house in Manchester and take the opportunity to join visual artist Rose Miller for textile-based craft activities in the Servants’ Hall from 1-3pm on 21st February. The usual admission applies (under 16s free) plus £1 for children taking part in the craft activity. There’s no need to book – just turn up. See the website for more information.

Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester

There’s always so much going on at the Museum of Science and Industry, this February half term is no different – there’s Experitots, Robots, Pi: Building the World, Project Doomsday: The Intelligent Machine Chapter, Space Descent VR with Tim Peake, Changing Places, Creating Spaces, Destination Stations, Circuit City, plus their fabulous permanent collections and daily Explainer shows!

For more information about what’s on and when, visit the MSI website www.msimanchester.org.uk.

10 February Half Term Things to do in Manchester

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ

Hot foot it to The Lowry on Saturday 17th February and take part in their Dance: Sampled Festival. Visitors to the festival will be able to watch some of the biggest names in the dance business and also take part in a variety of free workshops including Hip Hop, Lindy Hop, Tap, Salsa and Flamenco.

Activities are free but visitors will need to book places on the workshops in advance, with a limited amount of tickets available on the day. Tickets are available online now.

Greater Manchester Police Museum, 57A Newton Street, Manchester

A few years ago we visited the GMP Museum and we had a fantastic time. There are two special open days running at the museum over half term. Visit between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Tuesday 20th February and Thursday 22nd February and meet officers. Plus see what equipment they use and take a tour of the museum. It’s a great day out and an excellent chance to visit this fascinating museum.

Z-arts Manchester, 335 Stretford Rd, Manchester

With a family fun day, two fantastic theatre shows and an art and architecture project, Z-arts has a fun-filled half-term week for families to enjoy! Join them for a fabulous Chinese New Year Family Fun Day on Saturday 17 Feb, 10.30am – 1.30pm, admission is free.

10 February Half Term Things to do in Manchester

Z-arts have two shows on over half term – both look well worth a watch. There’s Snow Mouse from Wednesday 21 – Sunday 25 Feb, 10am, 1pm, 3pm, suitable for ages up to 4 years. Tickets are £6 – £9 and are available from the website. There’s also Where’s My Igloo Gone? On Sunday 25 Feb, 11.30am & 2.30pm and suitable for ages 5+. Tickets are also £6-£9 and available on the website.

Manchester Giants Basketball Camp, Astley Sports Village

Sporty kids of all ages have the chance to learn some tricks at the Manchester Giants basketball Camp on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd February. For just £10 per session, kids can get expert coaching and meet some of the Manchester Giants professional players. For more information and to book, visit the Manchester Giants website.

See Concorde at The Runway Visitor Park, Manchester Airport

This February half term, families are in for a real treat at The Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport. The Runway Visitor Park are hosting two days where families can book a tour of one of the most iconic airplanes ever to take to the skies – Concorde!

The viewing park is a great day out anyway, but the chance to tour Concorde is a treat and a half. The 20-minute tours will take place on February 14th and February 21st at various times throughout the day. Tickets can be booked online and cost £5 per person.

Stars of the Sea at SEA LIFE Manchester, intu Trafford Centre

SEA LIFE Manchester is probably one of our favourite places to visit and this February half term they’re pulling out all the stops! There’s a new ‘Stars of the Sea’ experience filled with with hands-on activities, games, displays and fishy facts. The event will showcase SEA LIFE’s superstar creatures; from turtles to octopuses.  Children can also take part in SEA LIFE’s new giant sea discoveries game; navigating through a life-size version of ‘Stars and Ladders’ to solve puzzles with fishy clues to jump ahead and foil their foes to win a ‘Stars of the Sea’ certificate.

Running from 10th to 25th February, all activities are included in the standard admission price, but pre-booking through the SEA LIFE website is advised.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, intu Trafford Centre

Celebrate 60 years of LEGO at Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester. Collect pop badges; learn how to create stop motion animations using Lego Minifigures and bricks and complete a scavenger hunt in Miniland to win a prize. Visitors over half term can join in a Cool Creations competition – what can you build with just 60 bricks?

Running from 10th to 25th February, all activities are included in the standard admission price, but pre-booking through the Legoland Discovery Centre website is advised.

Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Greater Manchester

The Chit Chat Chalk Show is a magical chalky adventure! Kiko is a confused young girl, struggling to understand how she feels about the strange new world she lives in. With her new friends, she embarks upon a quest to discover the mixture of emotions and colours that make her unique. The story dances, draws and giggles its way through from beginning to end. It’s sure to put a smile on faces, young and old!

Suitable for ages 3-8 years, showing on Tuesday 13 February 11.30am and 2pm. More information and tickets are available from watersidearts.org.

10 February Half Term Things to do in Manchester

There’s plenty to keep families busy over the February half term, what will you be doing?