Tag Archives: Salford Quays

Dining Out: Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

AD/Complimentary Meal. On Friday night I took my boy for a mother and son date night. We took the tram to Media City (Salford Quays) and went for a meal at Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant which is located in the piazza near the BBC building.

Capocci’s is in what appears to be a converted shipping container. It’s under cover, but outdoors; so if you’re dining, please do take your big coat as Manchester is beginning to feel pretty autumnal already.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

From breakfast to dinner, Capocci’s serve a range of traditional Italian recipes and the pop up is proving particularly popular with the locals. Capocci’s was pretty busy when we visited, with lots of people dining in, or ordering takeaway pizzas.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

When we arrived, the boy was famished after a busy day at school, so we ordered our food straight away. He ordered from the kid’s menu, starting with pane all’aglio – caramelised garlic and mozzarella bread, followed by pollo Milanese – breaded chicken and pappardelle pomodoro. I ordered the burrata which came with a salad of grilled vegetables, followed by the pizza margherita classico.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

Unfortunately there was a mix up with the order, so all the food came at once, which took a while to come out of the kitchen and my son was a bit beyond himself with hunger by the time it arrived. The waiter apologised for the mix up and offered us a complimentary dessert, more of which later.

Having so many dishes in front of us at once was quite over facing, and as a result the garlic bread mostly got left behind. It was nice bread, but without the cheese it definitely needed some oil or something to dip into.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

The boy loved his chicken, it was beautifully cooked, with crispy breadcrumbs and lots of lovely fresh pasta. He left the tomatoes, but I snaffled those up. I was impressed to find such a grown up dish on the kid’s menu.

My burrata was absolutely delicious. Beautifully silky mozzarella with some of the loveliest grilled vegetables I’ve ever had. The dish was missing ingredients which were listed on the menu, which was a shame, but it was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in a long time.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

My pizza was good. It had a lovely thin and crispy base and a thick layer of sauce and cheese. It was nicely priced at £7.95 and I can see why the pizzas would be a very popular takeaway option.

As we had been promised compensatory gelato, and gelato was the speciality of the house, we went ahead and ordered some for pudding. He ordered the coppa al cioccolato – chocolate and vanilla ice cream sundae with chocolate and caramel sauce, whipped cream and a chocolate flake. I ordered a scoop each of the raspberry and lemon sorbets. The gelato was very delicious, and well worth stopping by for if you want a sweet treat.

Dining Out: Capocci's Pop Up Restaurant, Media City

As we came to leave, our original waiter had left and not passed on the message about the mix up, so we were billed for our gelato; this rankled a bit as we wouldn’t have ordered it otherwise. I just settled the bill as it was quite late and I needed to get him home to bed.

The service was friendly and attentive; but the mix up over our order meant I had to manage a very grumpy and hungry boy for longer than I would have liked, and the rescinded offer of complimentary gelato wasn’t a great way to end the meal.

The food at Capocci’s was delicious. I would have liked to have seen more proper vegetarian options on the menu; but what I had was excellent and I would eat there again. It’s a really lovely spot to have a pop up restaurant, as the day turns to night, you get to enjoy one of my favourite views of Salford Quays – the lights from The Lowry and the Imperial War Museum glistening on the water. It’s a brilliant spot for a romantic dinner for two, or a family meal with the kids; plus it’s dog friendly!

Capocci’s Pop Up Restaurant is only in Manchester until 22nd September; so if you fancy it, it’s worth getting down to Media City pretty pronto! For more information and to take a look at their menu, visit their website.

We were given a (mostly) complimentary meal in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Days Out: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

AD/Press Trip. One of our favourite places to visit is The Lowry and Salford Quays. There’s so much to do there, from the Imperial War Museum North, The Lowry Outlet, Blue Peter Garden and of course The Lowry itself. There’s always something fun on and it’s worth a visit just for a look around the galleries upstairs, but during the school holidays there’s even more fun on offer.

This week we were invited to visit The Lowry, have lunch at Pier Eight and watch their summer blockbuster – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, followed by an actual bear hunt. With summer holiday boredom seriously kicking in at home, we relished the chance to have an afternoon of bear hunting at The Lowry.

Days Out: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

We began by having lunch at Pier Eight. I’ve eaten there before in the evening and the food has always been excellent. We ordered from the new bar menu, the boy chose pasta from the kids menu, and I chose four of the small plates. There is currently a lunchtime offer where you can get four small plates and two drinks for £18, which is really good value.

Days Out: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

I chose the soup of the day, which was celeriac, one of my favourites. I also ordered the dirty fries, topped with cheese, crispy onions and spicy mayo. There was a dish of falafel and hummus and some delicious broad bean bruschetta. It would have been a very fine lunch for two, but definitely a delicious but too big lunch for one!

Days Out: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

After lunch we made our way to The Quays theatre for the 2pm performance of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The boy is 8 now and I did wonder if he might be a little too old for it, but I needn’t have worried. It was an hour of brilliant fun, we were both laughing our socks off, joining in in all the right places and singing and dancing in our seats. It really is a fabulous show, packed full of memorable songs and funny moments. It’s a treat and a half, and a great way to spend an afternoon.

We’d had such a lot of fun, we decided to do The Lowry Bear Hunt, or as much of it as we could. Around The Lowry and The Lowry Outlet there are lots of big bear benches dotted about, all have a page of bear facts to read. It’s great fun and we loved trying to find them all.

Days Out: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

Upstairs at The Lowry is The Lookout where throughout the summer you can find lots of different and free family activities. On the day we visited there were lots of colouring and craft activities on offer, so we just enjoyed hanging out and doing a bit of colouring together.

We had a brilliant afternoon at The Lowry, there was lots for the boy to do. We both absolutely loved the play and the actual bear hunt was inspired and lots of fun. If you’re stuck in the summer holiday doldrums, an afternoon down Salford Quays is a great way to perk everyone up!

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt runs at The Lowry until 1st September, for more information or to buy tickets, visit the website.

Days Out: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Lowry

We were invited guests of The Lowry and received complimentary tickets and a meal in exchange for our review. 

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Last week I took some time out, met up with some friends and took a tour of Ordsall Hall in Salford. I’d been once before, during the summer to one of their outdoor theatre events. I’d had a very quick look around, but I knew I had to go back and have a proper look. I was not disappointed.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Ordsall Hall is a Grade 1 listed Tudor manor house which was first recorded in 1177. Since then, it has been home to Medieval and Tudor nobility, butchers, farmers, and Earl, an artist, priests, mill workers, cows and even several ghosts! It has an incredibly rich history and as a result is a fascinating family museum. There are rooms laid out as they would have been many hundreds of years ago, a cafe and some absolutely stunning organic gardens.

When you first enter the grounds, you’re greeted with the sight of the stunning Tudor manor house. There are quatrefoils (the white motif which looks like four circles overlapping) covering much of the exterior and lots of ancient carvings in the woodwork. The detail carries on inside.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

From the reception area, you walk into the impressive Great Hall, which is a glorious space. The walls are covered with original wooden paneling, the windows include a stunning oriel window which dates from around 1600. There are also two huge but relatively modern windows which were installed in 1897 by the then owner, Earl Edgerton of Tatton.

From the Great Hall, you can explore the Star Chamber, a bedroom with an intricately carved four poster bed and a ceiling covered in brass stars. The bed itself was the wedding bed of Sir John Radclyffe.  The room is quite lovely and thanks to the guides, we learned that the marks on the fireplace were where previous inhabitants had sharpened their swords.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Upstairs we were led into the Solar Room which would have been where the lady of the house slept and spent her day. As the name suggests, the room is really light and bright. There’s another four poster bed and a wardrobe full of period costume, which visitors are encouraged to try on. This room is very hands on and children especially are encouraged to explore.

Upstairs from the Solar Room what is known as the Coat of Arms Room; this is because there is a huge stone coat of arms above the fireplace. The room was originally where the wet nurse would have slept. Again, it’s a lovely light room which they’ve decorated with wallpaper recreated from a scrap they found when they were renovating the hall. Every room is heaving with history.

Along the corridor from the Solar Room is the Italian Plaster Room. This is not open to the public, but it had a glass door so you can look inside. The room is named for it’s ornate Italian plaster ceiling which dates from around 1380. The impressive geometric plaster ceiling is the work of Venetian artists and it’s incredibly beautiful.

From there we made our way to the kitchens which were constructed in around 1600. The kitchens feature recreations of the cooking implements and the food they would have prepared and eaten. This was an especially interesting part of the building because I’m interested in the history of food.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Climbing the staircase near the kitchens, you make your way to the attic where the servants would have slept. There’s a noticeable change in the temperature and quality of the original construction. There are two large-ish attic spaces, each with a small fireplace in. They most likely slept dormitory style and would have had very little personal space or privacy.

There are a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions on at Ordsall Hall. It’s well worth visiting the The Frederic Shields Gallery upstairs which has a number of interactive exhibits about the hall, its history and the surrounding area.

Outside there are formal gardens which looked neat and tidy in February, but back in the summer they were lush and very beautiful. There’s a small orchard; a WW1 garden and a lovely lush lawn which is where their outdoor theatre shows are performed.

Ordsall Hall have a full progamme of events for all ages, and regularly run guided tours of the house (£3.50 per person). You can explore by yourself, but going on the guided tour gives you so much more information and insight than you would normally. I found out so much more from the tour guides than I ever would have by just mooching around by myself.

I’m a massive fan of small hidden gems like Ordsall Hall. It’s surrounded by modern houses. If you’ve never visited before, the sight of this Tudor manor house in the middle of a fairly normal looking housing estate in Salford takes your breath away.

It’s also incredibly easy to get to on public transport. I got the tram to Exchange Quay and it’s less than five minutes walk from there. The hall and the grounds are free to visit, and it’s a real treasure. They do rely on donations, so I made sure to put some money in the donations box.

I am wowed by Ordsall Hall. I’m going back over half term with my son to take part in some activities and give him the tour. He’s already excited about the prospect of encountering one of the resident ghosts!

For more information about Ordsall Hall, visit their website.

Days Out: Taking a tour of Ordsall Hall, Salford

Disclosure: Ordsall Hall is free to visit. I have not been compensated for this post; I’ve only written about it because it’s an incredible place to visit. I’m a big history lover. If you love history, you need to visit. It’s free.

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Every year The Lowry in Salford Quays puts on a big family show. It’s not always Christmassy, but it’s always a good alternative to the traditional Panto. This year The Lowry are playing host to Doctor Dolittle The Musical and we went along to see if he really could talk to the animals.

Based on the popular 1967 film with Rex Harrison; this spectacular new stage show stars Mark Williams as the eccentric Doctor. In Doctor Dolittle, join him and his human companions and his exotic menagerie of animal friends on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail. With help from the Pushmi-Pullyu and his trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot, the good Doctor teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well!

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Fans of the original film, or the Eddie Murphy re-make will spot a few changes to the original story, but the main characters and the most favourite songs survive. In this production there is more of a focus on Doctor Dolittle’s relationship with the animals rather than him falling in love. Matthew Muggs played by Patrick Sullivan instead falls in love with Emma Fairfax (Mollie Melia-Redgrave).

The production is lush and visually striking, with a versatile paper set designed by Tom Piper. Each scene is brought to life by the animal puppets. There are 39 animal puppets and each one moves authentically and you really start to see some of them as actual animals rather than puppets, especially Jip the dog who is just wonderful. There are two giant puppets – the Giant Pink Sea Snail and the Giant Lunar Moth who are especially well done. At the end the moth flutters over the front few rows holding Doctor Dolittle in its legs, it’s very well done.

Mark Williams as Doctor Dolittle is warm and just crotchety enough. He doesn’t dominate the stage, but gives the animals the space to shine. Matthew Muggs (Patrick Sullivan) is a charming, engaging everyman, whilst Mollie Melia-Redgrave as Emma Fairfax is by far the strongest vocalist in the show and leads us through a procession of songs.

Little Tommy Stubbins; the boy who escapes from the orphanage to go on a grand adventure with Doctor Dolittle; is ably and enthusiastically played by six young boys. I think Thomas Ryan played Tommy on the night we attended and he is someone to watch out for in the future.

Vicky Entwistle voices and is the co-puppeteer for Polynesia the parrot. It’s a large part but I found myself drawn to watching Vicky instead of Polynesia, which was quite distracting. Doctor Dolittle also stars Brian Capron as both Albert Blossom and Straight Arrow. As Albert Blossom (the circus owner) he was brilliantly bawdy and it took a moment for me to recognise him. I really did enjoy the colourful circus scenes which were a real highlight.

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

I feel I must mention the Ensemble cast, who were superb. They really helped to move the story along and were all lively, engaging and great singers and puppeteers.

The production contains 24 songs, some of which you might remember from the films (Talk to the Animals; I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It; and My Friend The Doctor). Doctor Dolittle is two and a half hours long, including a 20 minute interval; there are a couple of parts where the action really slows, which is a shame in an otherwise colourful show.

Doctor Dolittle The Musical is a joyful, colourful, all singing and dancing family show. Fans of the film would really enjoy the musical; and as Albert Blossom would say, you’ve never seen anything like it in your life!

For more information about Doctor Dolittle The Musical, and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Check out our run down of family theatre shows in the region this Christmas.

We were invited guests of The Lowry, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Review: Stick Man at The Lowry Theatre

If there’s one thing we enjoy doing, it’s going to the theatre and seeing a Christmas Show. Anyone who has ever read the Julia Donaldson classic story – Stick Man will know that whilst this tale can be enjoyed at any time of the year, it does have an especially festive ending. Over the weekend we went along to The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays to watch the Scamps Theatre group perform Stick Man.

Review: Stick Man at The Lowry Theatre

Stick Man is a modern classic and is suitable for children aged 3+ and is on at The Lowry from 1st December to 6th January. Fans of the book will enjoy this delightful adaptation where Stick Man finds himself in all kinds of perilous situations. The world outside the family tree is a dangerous place for Stick Man. A dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him and he even ends up on a fire! But will he ever make it back to the family tree?

The show opens with some rousing singing and some giggles from the small cast which leads into the hilarious and heartwarming tale of the adventures of the Stick Man. Mathew Hamper excels as the Stick Man, he really brings the stick to life and his face is so expressive. His side-kick and lady-love played by Lara Cowin plays a diverse range of characters, from a girl, to a swan and a dog.

The dog was my son’s favourite. Robert Wade is essential and absolutely hilarious as the percussionist/musician/set of other characters. I was a little bit transfixed by all of the instruments and other noise making toys Robert had on his table, he adeptly sound-tracked the whole thing and it was a joy to watch.

Stick Man

The stage is simply set out, with a table which doubles up as the family tree and all kinds of other things too. There is a table to one side covered in Robert’s noise making things. In terms of props, umbrellas and inflatables feature quite heavily.

There’s some audience participation to keep you on your toes, some obligatory “he’s behind you!” shouting and a festive snow shower at the end.

It’s a simple production, but one which has a lot of pace. Like the story, there’s a lot of scenes to get through and before you know it, the hour is up and it’s time to head home.

Stick Man is a lovely show. Both me and my son were chuckling away throughout and spent the tram journey home chatting about our favourite and most funny bits. It’s a lively, live-wire show which kids and adults will love in equal measure.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Check out our run down of family theatre shows in the region this Christmas.

Note: We were invited to review Stick Man. All opinions are our own.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Last week it was my birthday and as such a celebratory night out was required. My friend Sarah and I decided to go for dinner somewhere I’ve wanted to try for a while – Pier Eight, the rather nice restaurant at The Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays. 

We arrived just as the evening performance of the popular show The Addams Family was about to start. Pier Eight had a smattering of people having a meal before the show, but also several busy tables of people like us who had just come for dinner. We were seated by the window which gave us a lovely view of the Millennium Bridge over the Ship Canal. Sarah remarked that having the view over the water felt a bit like we were on holiday. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it was lovely.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

We ordered drinks and a good look at the menu. Pier Eight is a beautiful restaurant; with gorgeous light fittings, comfy but stylish chairs and booths, an open kitchen and all the panoramic views of Salford Quays you could ever want. It was so pretty Sarah and I were snapping away at little details and gathering up some interiors inspiration.

To start Sarah ordered the seared scallop with apple tart, black pudding beignet with red wine sauce (£8) and I opted for the summery sounding tomatoes, Lancashire curd, aubergine purée, Kalamata olives and pickled shallots (£6).

Sarah’s scallop was excellent, she said the dish was well balanced and perfectly cooked. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my tomato dish, but it was a treat. Chunky slices of ripe tomato sandwiched in between thin, crispy sheets of filo pastry with little dollops of Lancashire curd cheese. The olives and aubergine both giving a depth of flavour to each mouthful. Put a little bit of everything on your fork and it was very well put together. I was sad to finish it.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

For our main courses I ordered the spinach pancake, Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese, baby beets, onion purée and tomato sauce (£16). Two filled pancakes covered in a rich tomato sauce. It’s quite an old-fashioned dish, but I really liked that. The spinach and cheese filling was well seasoned and tasty and the tomato sauce was about the best I’ve had. The baby beets were a little lost on the plate and seemed more of a garnish than anything else.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Sarah’s lamb rump, hotpot potatoes, carrot purée, broad beans, asparagus, lamb sauce (£21) was a hit. She was thrilled with her perfectly pink lamb (they’ll cook it how you like it if pink is not to your taste). Being a good Northern lass she sung the praises of the hotpot potatoes (always everyone’s favourite part of a hotpot) and the carrot purée was wonderfully vibrant and sweet. She was impressed with the portion size, no mean portions here!

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Despite being fit to burst, this was a birthday celebration so we managed to find room for pudding. It was at this point in the evening where we clashed a little. We couldn’t possibly choose the same pudding and we both have similar tastes. We both agreed that the pudding menu was particularly strong and we both regretted we couldn’t just order everything and work through it tapas style.

Nevertheless a compromise was reached, it was my birthday so I got first dibs. I chose the Turkish delight baked Alaska with rich tea biscuit purée (£7). I know Turkish delight is one of those love/hate things, but if you’re a lover then this is the pud for you.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

It arrived with a birthday candle on top (thanks Pier Eight, a lovely touch). My baked Alaska stood proud at around 4 inches tall; gorgeous crispy meringue around ice cream peppered with Turkish delight chunks. The plate was adorned with rich tea biscuit crumbs and a rather intriguing rich tea biscuit purée. It was a pudding that I’ll remember for a long time and the prefect way to end a meal.

Review: Pier Eight at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Sarah ended up with the pudding I would have otherwise chosen – Rhubarb creme brulee, brandy snap, mascarpone cream and rhubarb crisp (£6). Sat on the table next to my Turkish delight extravaganza it did look a little bit modest, but what it lacked in showstopping pizzazz, it made up for in deliciousness.

The dainty little teacup of rhubarb creme brulee was beautifully creamy with a perfectly crunchy top. A pretty and elegant way to end a meal. 

Pier Eight has a menu which celebrates the best local and seasonal ingredients from across Lancashire and Cheshire; all beautifully cooked and served in elegant but relaxed surroundings. I have to mention the service which was attentive without being in your face, it was relaxed and friendly and not at all pushy.

Our meal at Pier Eight was excellent. It’s a little bit of a hidden gem despite it’s busy location. I’ve only ever had drinks at the bar before, but we will be back. It’s somewhere we will both return to again and soon. 

Find out more about Pier Eight at The Lowry on their website.
Pier Eight, The Lowry, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ Tel: 0161 876 2121

 

We were invited guests of The Lowry. 

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

The UK Tour of Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild is currently in residence at The Lowry, Salford Quays. I went along on the first night of the run to watch the show and discover more about this extraordinary story.

Loosely based on the true story of a girl’s survival of the 2004 Tsunami; Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, is a wonderful and inspiring story, brought to life in this award-winning production. Like War Horse before it, Running Wild centres around spectacular life-size puppets and tells a moving story of love, loss and loyalty.

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

Running Wild tells the story of a girl called Lilly. Following the death of her father, she goes on holiday with her mother to Indonesia. Whilst taking a ride on Oona the elephant Lilly is caught up in the Boxing Day tsunami. Oona, sensing danger suddenly runs from the beach deep into the jungle with Lilly on her back, ultimately saving her life.

The story continues with Lilly’s struggles to find food and survive in the jungle; a confrontation with a beautiful tiger, bonding with a buffoonery (family) of orangutans and a devastating encounter with a group of hunters in the rainforest.

This production of Running Wild is suitable for ages 6+. It’s not always an easy watch and there were times when a tear or two rolled down my cheek. The deaths of both of her parents and the traumatic effects of the tsunami were touched on but thankfully not dwelt upon.

The portrayal of the hunters was unflinching and at times brutal. Running Wild does bang the drum of conservationism and the destruction of rainforests in the pursuit of the production of palm oil. It’s not always subtle, but it is a drum worth banging. If Running Wild helps to raise awareness of the devastation of the rainforests for palm oil, then so much the better.

Review: Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild, The Lowry Theatre

There were some funny and touching moments too. In particular Lilly playing with Frankie the orangutan and bonding with Oona the elephant.

Lilly, confidently played by 13 year old Jemima Bennett is a talent. She is at the heart of the production and pulls off an accomplished and moving performance. Of course the real star of Running Wild is Oona the elephant, expertly handled by four puppeteers. Oona is incredibly life-like, you just want to reach out and stroke her trunk.

All of the puppet creatures; from the tiger, to the crocodile, the wriggling fish and the family of orangutans are beautifully done. The puppeteers are all fantastic, there but not there, so you focus on the creature and not the puppeteer. Amazing work.

Running Wild is a bold production. It’s not always an easy thing to watch, but ultimately the story is compelling and uplifting. Theatre like this makes you want to read about the subject, look at the products in your bathroom cabinet and do your bit for conservation. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

The UK tour of Running Wild supports the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Running Wild has a running time of 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval. It also contains flashing lights and loud bangs.

Running Wild is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays 18 – 22 April 2017. To book tickets call the Box office on 0843 208 6000 or visit The Lowry website.

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays

This spring, catch the UK Tour of Running Wild, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted for stage by Samuel Adamason. Running Wild is coming to The Lowry, Salford Quays from 18-22 April 2017.

Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, is loosely based on the true story of a girls survival of the 2004 Tsunami. This wonderful and inspiring story is brought to life in this award-winning production. Originally produced by Regent’s Park Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre; this epic production comes complete with spectacular life-size puppets and tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays

Running Wild is the story is of a girl called Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride.  During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle.  With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island.  Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans. Eventually her thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest.  And then the hunters come…

Preview: Running Wild at The Lowry, Salford Quays
Michael Morpurgo is the former children’s laureate and the acclaimed author of War Horse. He was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004. When she went on an elephant ride along the beach, the girl noticed the elephant was trying to pull away from the receding sea water.  “He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back.  He saved my life.”

When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the devastation of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.  The production supports the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

This production of Running Wild is suitable for ages 6+ and has a running time of 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval.

Running Wild is on at The Lowry, Salford Quays 18 – 22 April 2017. To book tickets call the Box office on 0843 208 6000 or visit The Lowry website.

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.

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.

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!
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!

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

The February half term is almost upon us (ours is 20-24 Feb 2017). I’m starting to plan some activities to keep me and the small boy busy. In Manchester there is so much to do, but here are five things to do in Manchester over February half term which have tickled my fancy.

Steam, Sweat & Spinners at MSI

Over February half term, experience the sights, smells and sounds of steam with thunderous steam engines demonstrations at the Museum of Science and Industry. Discover the steamy side of Victorian Manchester with Steam, Sweat and Spinners. Find out about the hard work and sweat which went into working in a mill and get hands on with our Goo in the Loo workshop.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Join in with the Cotton Mill Circus story time. Work in a factory by day and circus by night and make your very own stories and tales with the magic lanterns workshop. Strike a pose in the Victorian photo booth or gather round the old Joanna for a good old-fashioned sing-along. Plus ride the 1830 Express find out how Manchester changed the world via an exploding balloon and a flying beach ball. There’s also a Victorian-style funfair in the upper yard – see the world from the top of the Big Wheel, win at Hook-a-Duck, and ride a magical carousel horse.

For more information about what’s on at MSI this half term, visit their website.

The Waterside Arts Centre

The Waterside Arts Centre in Sale (very near the tram stop) is one of my favourite places to visit with the boy. It’s easy for non-driving me to get to, it’s small but perfectly formed and they always have an interesting selection of things going on, from theatre, live music, workshops, films, comedy and much more. It’s all on their website.

Enjoy the timeless tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice on 17th February, brought to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. Or young ones might like Lolly Pops and Circus Props on Sunday 19th February, listen to the exciting stories of Lolly – as she runs away from the circus to embark on new adventures in the big world.

For older kids, who fancy a spot of CSIing this half term. Join experienced and professional forensic scientists in Forensic Science in Action. This is suitable for ages 7-11 and is on Monday 13th February, from 10am to 3pm. You bring the packed lunch and see if you can solve the crime!

Mini movie fans have two great films to choose from on Monday 20th February, with Shaun the Sheep Movie and Flushed Away. Not to mention Puppet Masters Return with Aardman Studios, running until April 1st. This fantastic exhibition is packed full of original props, puppets and production artwork from many of Aardman’s most famous films and characters. Entry is free.

Half term cooking kids club at intu Trafford Centre

The intu Trafford Centre is running daily cookery events for children during February Half Term. With different activities such as crepe stations, banoffee pie making, mocktail classes and gyozo-making sessions taking place at intu Trafford Centre every day, there’s lots to keep the kids occupied.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

With most of the activities taking place from 12-5pm outside Topshop, Upper Regent Crescent – it’s worth checking out the website to see what’s available and when. In addition to the food and craft activities, there are limited places on these free restaurant based cooking classes. Book a place and learn to cook WagamamaTampopo or Coast to Coast

All of the activities are free for all the family and are open to all ages. Visit www.intu.co.uk/TraffordCentre to find details of what’s on and opening hours.

Stockport Hat Museum

One place I’ve been meaning to visit for ages is the Stockport Hat Museum. It’s very much on the agenda this half term. The Hat Museum is an award winning museum with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry.

The museum is home to a recreated hat factory with 20 fully restored working Victorian-style machines. Not to mention a fantastic collection of over 400 hats from around the world. Over February Half Term try your hand at a different craft each day, including felt making, decoupage and easy lino print. Suitable for ages 7+. Booking essential.

For more information about the Stockport Hat Museum, visit their website.

Media City & Salford quays

On a fine day the boy and I love a visit to Media City. It’s easy to get to on the tram and there’s so much to do there. From shopping in the Lowry Outlet, popping over the bridge to the Imperial War Museum North, exploring the Blue Peter Garden, watching a show at The Lowry or going for lunch somewhere.

This February Half Term we will be heading over to Media City for the day, having some lunch, doing a spot of shopping and then going to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show which will be on from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25 February.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Media City and Salford Quays is a great place to visit. It’s largely traffic free so there’s plenty of space for the kids to run about and burn off some energy. There are more places to eat than I can count, and there are lots of interesting places to visit and things to do. My two favourites are The Lowry and IWM North, check them out, you won’t regret it.

What are you plans for this February Half Term?