Filling the days during half term and the long summer holidays with interesting a varied things to do can be a bit of a hassle. It’s nice to punctuate our afternoons at home and visits to the local park with some proper trips out. The Printworks in Manchester invited the small boy and a friend to spend some time there this half term, taking in a movie, going for lunch together and generally hanging out and having fun.
We were at the 10.10am showing of Thomas & Friends: The Great Race and the cinema was largely empty, we sat in the premier seats which were red leather and very comfortable. Lots of leg room and space to stretch out if you need to. Off-peak tickets are a reasonable £4.50 for adults and £4 for children, so it’s not quite as bank breaking as my local cinema.
We’d booked in at the Odeon cinema to see Thomas & Friends: The Great Race. The boys are both big Thomas fans and we (Tobi’s mum Sarah and I) were a little worried that it might be a bit young for them, but this was perfectly pitched. Both boys sat beautifully throughout the film, quietly munching through little bags of popcorn and this gentle story of those really useful engines kept them very happily entertained. They both gave Thomas & Friends: The Great Race the double thumbs up at the end!
Thomas & Friends: The Great Race is a must if you’re a little Thomas fan, full of excitement and adventure, the film tells the story of the preparations on Sodor for The Great Race and how our plucky hero Thomas saves the day in more ways than one. The film introduced a whole raft of international engines including a charming Indian tank engine called Ashima. There might have been something in my eye at the end. I’m such a sap!
After the film we spotted that The Printworks had set up a number of giant games to play with, so with a bit of time to kill before we went for lunch, we got stuck in. Ben was immediately drawn to the giant Lego bricks and eventually had to be forcibly parted from them. Tobi went in and played Connect 4, Snakes & Ladders and finished off with an epic game of Draughts. The giant games were brilliant, both boys loved them and it burnt off a little bit of energy before lunch.
There are so many family friendly restaurants to choose from at The Printworks, but we opted to try the all you can eat world buffet at Peachy Keens. The Monday-Friday lunchtime price is very reasonable at £8.99 per adult and £4.49 per child plus drinks.
Peachy Keens is up some stairs near the Hard Rock end of the building, climb the stairs or go up in the lift and you find a very unpromising looking grey door at the top, I did have to look around to check I was going the right way. Beyond the door opens up into an all you can eat paradise with food from all over the world to choose from.
We were shown to a table and ordered drinks and we set the boys up with their starter snacks. There were lots of colourful and fresh salad dishes to choose from as well as spring rolls, samosas, chicken, ribs and other nibbles. We loaded up our plates and got stuck in. The food was fresh and hot, and lots to choose from, so however fussy you or your kids are they’re bound to find something tasty for them.
Moving onto the main course you could choose from Chinese, Indian, Thai, English food, Italian pasta and pizza. There are several stations set up where you can have a meal prepared to your specifications made in front of you, and there are row after row of ready prepared meals to help yourself to as well as a fresh bread station (try the garlic naan, you won’t be sorry).
I headed to the pasta station with Ben and watched as the chef made him a fresh dish of penne with pesto and cream for his lunch. I fancied something a little spicier so I opted for noodles with a vegetable Thai green curry which was delicious. It had a kick but it didn’t blow my head off, something I appreciated and I’d definitely have this again. I liked the fact that all the food was labelled so you knew what you were having and all the veggie options were clearly labelled too.
Tobi went for pizza with a side of veg and Sarah had a selection of the Chinese dishes available on the day. We all enjoyed our lunch mains and it was time for pudding. Being lactose intolerant pudding is an increasingly depressing thing for me, but there were a few options open to me so I managed a sweet nibble and that was enough.
The boys went for ice cream with sauce and sweets with marshmallows smothered in chocolate from the chocolate fountain. Sarah chose a small selection of the little puds and declared the passion-fruit mousse delicious.
I liked Peachy Keens, the staff were helpful and very chatty with the boys, it was as clean as a whistle and I liked the really big range of foods available, even on a fairly quiet Tuesday lunchtime, though it had filled up by the time we came to leave.
We’d all thoroughly enjoyed our day out at The Printworks. The cinema was a real treat and the boys were brilliant, they loved the games although that was a one off, and the all you can eat meal at Peachy Keens was a lot of fun and excellent family for money, especially on family days out. It’s definitely a day out we’ll be repeating again. Dinner and a movie, you can’t beat it!
We were treated to our day at The Printworks in return for this review. All images and opinions are our own.