Friday 21 June 2019

Summer Holiday Theatre and Event Round Up for Manchester and the NW UK

As usual there is tons on for families in the North West this Summer, and I've included everything I've been sent here. Theatre, days out, music, workshops and so much more. It's early days yet, so I'll be adding lots more as venues finalise their programmes and event days.

There really is something for everyone, and I've included events that suit families with children of all ages, even when they're taller than you are and have a more impressive beard.

A PHOTO SEPARATES EACH VENUE OR EVENT LISTING (for example Refract at Waterside's programme of theatre, music and stand up is MAHOOSIVE), so scroll to the next image if it's not your thing.

If you have anything you'd like me to add, please email it over with a photo - or beware, I'll use a random one of mine...

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience is now open to children aged 13 and over - as long as you have someone over 18 in your party. An all-weather attraction with 75 minutes full of fun, challenges and laughter based on the 90s TV classic.
Each team is led around the attraction by a charismatic and eccentric Maze Master, who will guide you through the maze's four themed zones: Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic. Collect the crystals for extra time in the iconic dome, and then try to bag enough golden tickets for a place on the leaderboard and a great story to tell your mates.

All visits must be booked in advance by visiting The Crystal Maze website

X-Gen VR 

Now Open
X-Gen Virtual Reality Centre is brand new and shiny and we will be visiting to review once my children finally break up from school! Pay for 15, 30 or 60 minutes in theVR Arcade or 60 minutes in one of the Luxury VR Rooms. It's a treat experience, but open to anyone age 7 or over, and children often aren't allowed to try VR, which is why I've included it in the round up. They also provide something to keep the under 7’s happy if a family books a VR room. The centre is light and comfortable for those not playing and they promise staff are always friendly, engaging and attentive to all customers.

Mon-Fri 12:00 - 20:30 / Sat 10:00 - 20:30 / Sun 10:00 - 18:00
School Holiday opening: Mon - Sat 10:00 - 20:30 Sun 10:00 - 18:00

Find out more on the X-Gen VR website

Air Unlimited
Liverpool / Burnley

Burnley's only inflatable playground has 20 air-mazing features inc a climbing wall, half pipe ninja wall, turbine tunnel and Gladiator podium, while the Liverpool venue is brand new and sparkly. Both offer 2 hours for £10 and that'll be more than enough for most! Find out more on the Air Unlimited website or read Karen's review.

Manchester International Festival (MIF)
Festival Square, Manchester

Friday 5 to Sunday 21 July. (This event has now ended - see below for upcoming food and drinks events in Manchester, including the Festa Italiana).

Manchester International Festival ran from 4-21 July. For more information:

Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Twelfth Night 5 July – 24 August
“If music be the food of love, play on..” Unrequited love, mistaken identities, cross-dressing, a shipwreck and unforgettable characters – Shakespeare’s most outrageous romantic comedy Twelfth Night. Approximately 3hours including interval.

Henry V 26 July – 25 August
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..” During his quest to win the French crown, warrior King Henry and his band of brothers triumph at the Battle of Agincourt. An exploration of Britain’s relationship with its European neighbours – has there ever been a more relevant time to tell this story?
Approximately 2hours and 40minutes including interval

The Borrowers 13 July-25 August
Once again, Arietty, Pod and Homily Clock will leave their home beneath the
floorboards to bravely explore the giant world above. This summer,  will premiere a brand-new version of The Borrowers by the awardwinning playwright Bryony Lavery. Spread out your picnic blanket and pop open a bottle of fizzy stuff.
Approximately 2hours including interval

Tickets are around £35 per person. Find out more and book on the Grosvenor Open Air Theatre website. 

The Lost Words Family Trail
Lyme / Dunham Massey

Lyme, now until 1 September 2019
Dunham Massey, 7 September-3 April 2020
Join the hunt for lost words through the house and grounds of the Lyme estate. Your quest at this mansion house dating from the 16th century will be to search for ‘dandelion’, ‘fern’ and other words that are too quickly disappearing from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

See the National Trust website for more details. 

Jodrell Bank

The 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landings is a bumper year for visitors to Jodrell Bank. The observatory played a unique role in this momentous occasion, capturing the moment when the Eagle lander, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, touched down on the surface of the Moon in 1969. No wonder UNESCO is considering listing Jodrell Bank as a World Heritage Site, a decision due to be announced in July. Dip into the packed programme of special events at the family friendly Discovery Centre for budding astronauts, large and small.

Find out more on the Jodrell Bank website

Moonlight Flicks
Roman Gardens, Chester

5 July-26 August 2019
Enjoy the silver screen by the light of the silvery moon at Chester’s Moonlight Flicks. The popular summertime open-air cinema, set amid the crumbling columns, bathhouse mosaics and cypress trees in the Roman Gardens, will feature Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-winning classic 2001: A Space Odyssey in this lunar-tastic year.
Find out more on the website:

Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers
The Old Library, Northgate Street, Chester

7 June-8 September
Chester Visual Arts is bringing the Victoria and Albert Museum’s hit retrospective of digital art to Chester’s Old Library for its first showing outside London. Embark on this cleverly curated journey through the themes of ‘chance and control’ in the creation of digital art. You’ll discover how computers have been used to make prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and digital artworks for more than 50 years.
Find out more on the website:

Explore The legacy of Peterloo
Various locations across Manchester

To mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, a whole programme of activities is taking place, with lots for families to discover and get involved in.  Peterloo 2019 is a project led by Manchester Histories and supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Glorious Phantoms:  Saturday 13 July until Sunday 29 September 
Dunham Massey and Quarry Bank
Films created by artist family Grace Surman and Gary Winters and their children Hope and Merrick.

Hope: Monday 15 July Onward
People’s History Museum (PHM)
Hope is a life sized suffragette made entirely from LEGO by UK Parliament. Taking residence in the kitchen of fellow suffragette Hannah Mitchell.

Make Your Mark: Every Wednesday 24 July to 28 August, 1.00pm to 3.00pm
People’s History Museum
A series of workshops to introduce different print techniques, giving an opportunity to inspire ideas for peaceful protest.  The  workshops are drop in events that feature recycled print, screen-print, collagraphy print, sun print and more.

Peterloo Liberty Cap Workshop: Saturday 27 July
Manchester Central Library.
Families are invited to join artists Paul Fitzgerald and Eva Schlunke to create traditional liberty caps, an iconic symbol of freedom and democracy associated with Peterloo. This is a free workshop, with booking recommended.

‘We’re Going to St Peter’s Field’: Tuesday 6 August
Manchester Central Library.
A special session of poetry and rhyming for families in a free workshop led by Seven Arches Publishing, an independent publishers based in Stockport.

Rise!: Friday 9 August to Monday 19 August
People’s History Museum
An installation featuring masses of illustrated hands created by school children from across Greater Manchester, with each carrying the messages that matter to them.   takes place from . A free drop in workshop for families to create their own artworks to be added to the installation will be held at Manchester Central Library on Monday 12 August (1.00pm – 4.00pm).

Peterloo Picnic: Friday 16 August
Featuring food, music, screenings and a line up of performances on the Manchester Histories Soapbox, this will be an occasion for all the family.

For further information on the full programme of activities taking place as part of Peterloo 2019 visit and

Summer Events
intu Trafford Centre

Summer Hub 11am – 7pm Every Day
This summer our outside space will be transformed, offering something for everyone.
The Pop Up Gin Garden will come complete with garden games, outdoor seating and a dedicated bar - a stretched marquee will provide some shelter if the Summer weather isn't with us.
Little ones can play in the sand with buckets and spades, hop inside a waterwalker (age 5+), bounce around on our bungee trampoline (20-90kg) or even captain their own boat (age 4-10). Height/weight restrictions may also apply.
You'll also find the seaside carousel right in front of The Great Hall

Big Bugs On Tour 2-30 July.
This is your chance to see 12 giant, intricately-designed and extremely lifelike bugs up close as these giant bugs will be placed around the centre for ‘little explorers’ to find!
From honeybees to ladybirds, you’ll have the chance to examine the features of these magnificent creatures without the need for a magnifying glass. Share your pics of our bugs on social media, just make sure to tag #BigBugTour
Author Rachael Hardcastle will be here to sign and read her latest children's book and join Waterstone's for a bugtastic book reading followed by a fun activity at 10am and 11am on the 3, 5, 11, 12, 17 and 19 July and at 2pm on the 22 July. Family club members get 10% off all children books on the day of each activity! See in store for more information.
There will be a Big Bug themed trail around the centre, to collect your trail map and certificate (after completion of course) please visit our customer service desk, where you can also request a hand made balloon bug!
The Upside Down House is nearly here and it's sure to make a big impression on your arrival to the centre! Out at the front of our Great Hall, soon you'll find a house lying on its roof. Walk inside and you'll see that all isn't as it seems...everything is upside down!

The Upside Down House 15 Jul 2019 to 13 Jul 2020
A fantastic optical illusion attraction and a perfect selfie opportunity for all the family (entry prices apply, unsuitable for wheelchairs).

Find out more on the intu Trafford Centre website

Junior Apprentice Competition / Pirates And Mermaids
Sealife, Trafford Centre, Manchester

Junior Apprentice Competition: Deadline for entries was 12.00 on 21st July. The winner will be announced on social media on Monday 29th July by Captain Timbers and Princess Mirlandra themselves. Shiver me timbers! What are you waiting for?

Until 8th September 2019
This Summer, SeaLife are inviting you to take part in the ultimate battle of the Pirates & Mermaids!
Choose your team in a race to be the first to find the hidden treasure. Grab your team train card, find the six hidden treasures in our tanks and write down what you have found! Complete the task and claim your special Pirate or Mermaid reward!
Meet the SEA LIFE Mermaids
See our free diving mermaids swimming in our ocean tank with Cammy & Ernie, our Giant Green Sea Turtles (selected dates)
Learn how to tie ship mate knots like a real Pirate
Learn how to speak Mermaid
Walk the plank
Colour your own Pirate hat or Mermaid crown
Have your photo taken as a Pirate or Mermaid… or both!

This event is included within the standard admission price. Brand new for 2019 - pay for a day, play for a year! Pay our full admission price and come back for the rest of 2019 for free! Exclusion dates apply - see website for full details.

Find out more and book tickets on the Sealife website

LEGO Merlin’s School of Magic and AFOL/Adult night
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Trafford Centre, Manchester

Until 4th September 2019
This summer, be amazed by a world of bricks ‘n’ tricks as all children are invited to . Choose your House (are you an owl or a frog?) before setting off on your quest to save the day! You’ll make your own LEGO wand, see live magic shows and even learn a trick or two yourself!
Make your holidays magical with all this to see…
Marvel at our live magic shows performed every day (at timed intervals between 12 and 4pm)
See close up magic with our roaming master magic makers.
Meet our brand new LEGO® character.
See magical LEGO® Builds – including our life-sized enchanted carriage for the perfect photo opportunity.
Choose a team to start your quest to save us from the curse, and receive an exclusive pop badge when you complete it!
Build your own wand to help you on your journey.
Create your own LEGO mythical creature to join you on your trail, for the chance to win an enchanted prize.
Explore the hexed realm of MINILAND
Learn your very own LEGO tricks to continue the magic at home.
Graduate with flying colours and take home your own certificate of wizardry.
Plus, there’s many more tricks and surprizes up our sleeve!

This event is included within in the standard admission price. Pre-booking is strongly advised and much cheaper. During our busy periods you may be issued with a time limited wristband. Brand new for 2019 - pay for a day, play for a year! Pay our full admission price and come back for the rest of 2019 for free! Exclusion dates apply - see website for full details.

7th August 7pm-9pm
AFOL (Adult) Night is excellent and we really love it as a great night off. We've been a few times, here's our latest AFOL Night review visit. Strictly 18+, adults only, all abilities welcome - it's an incredibly friendly and safe evening.

Find out more and book tickets on the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre website. 

Ultimate Brick Safari
Knowsley Safari, Prescot, Merseyside

From 20th July
This summer the Ultimate Brick Safari is coming to Knowsley Safari with 80 lifesize LEGO sculptures hiding on our Foot Safari! Search amongst our real meerkats, bushdogs, giraffe and more to find these LEGO brick creations, marking them off on your map as you go! Animals to find include a life-sized Bengal tiger, elephant, gorillas, lions and kangaroos, plus much more!

Continue your family adventure with the real animals on the Amur Tiger Trail, the Bird of Prey Display and the 5-mile Safari Drive.

Find out more and book online on the Knowsley Safari website. We'll be visiting later in Summer and I'll add a link to our review here. 

Space Odyssey
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery

15 June-21 September 
Did you know, Warrington has played an important role in European space missions for nearly 50 years? Find out more at this summer’s special exhibition, ‘Space Odyssey’, a special exhibition featuring parts of rockets built right here in the town by ESR Technology, including the solar array deployment arm of the Hubble.

Big Summer Festival
Eureka Museum, Halifax

20th July to 1st September
A packed programme of different activities every day: Outdoor activities, drum machine workshops, special guest performers, tech tinkering, Memory Collectors, Strange Twig Theatre Co presents ‘A Boy and His Dragon’ and lots more - including our favourite Professor Pumpernickel's Explosive Science Show! (as seen in photo above performing at Just So Festival). Annual membership is a free upgrade on your day ticket.

Find out more on the Eureka Museum website

Red House Farm
Summer Fun

Jul 20th - Sept 4th 10am-6pm (last entry 5pm) 
This year they have created a giant sandpit (or is it a beach?). There are also jumping pillows, a 7 metre climbing wall for children to climb up and challenge, and the barrel train for rides around the fields. They've added to the fleet of pedal carts with 2 person pedal trikes (great for parents and little children) and the big straw bales are back to climb and scramble over. The party barn will be open during the week (and weekends - party schedule permitting).
There are lots of animals to look at in the small animal section and the 3 Kune Kune pigs, lambs and hens are all enjoying life in their corner of the field courtyard
The refreshment hut will be open everyday serving hot and cold drinks, snacks and the wood fired pizza will be running over the summer. (Some activities weather permitting).

There is no charge for adults with children. Entry fee £5 - 1-2 yrs, £10 - 3 yrs+, Adults go free. Cash and card accepted. You can also choose Summer Pass 2019 (valid every day from Saturday July 20th – Wednesday 4th September plus weekends 6th, 7th & 14th, 15th September).

** Please be aware that due to the maze field desperately requiring a fallow year, there is no maize maze for summer 2019. **

Find out more on the Red House Farm website

Refract:19 Event Programme - see things differently
Waterside, Sale

Thursday 18 July to Saturday 27 July - Ten days of experiential performance, music and events that challenge you to see things differently. Some events are street events or held at nearby venues - check location before you book or turn up!

Thu 18 Jul 19:00
Lumo Company presents WIREDO £12 / £10 Age 14+
Thu 18 & Fri 19 Jul 20:30

Thu 18 Jul 18:00 – 21:00
Re:flect is an interactive experience created and curated by Chloe Knights and Ella Boston.
In the Lauriston Gallery

Thu 18 Jul 22:00
Fri 19 Jul 20:00
Sat 20 Jul 10:00 – 12:00
FAMILY ART CLUB: REFRACT SPECIAL £2.50 | £1 Family Club Age 4+ / Drop in
To mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landings.
Sat 20 Jul 12:00 & 14:00
Kapow Dance presents ADRIFT Free
Sat 20 Jul 19:00
RBM Comedy presents FRISKY & MANNISH: POPLAB (Preview) £12 / £10. Age 16+
Sun 21 Jul 11:00
MINIFEST £5 / £3 Family Club All ages | 45 mins
Sun 21 Jul 11:30 – 17:00
Art with Heart presents THE GOLDEN YEARS CARAVAN Free
Sun 21 Jul 19:00
Claire Gaydon presents SEE THROUGH £10 Age 14+
Sun 21 Jul 20:30 and Mon 22 Jul 19.00
Ransack presents CATCHING COMETS £10 / £8 / Book 2 Making Waves shows on the same night for £14
Sun 21 Jul 22:00
Mon 22 Jul 20:30
The Roaring Girls present BEACH BODY READY £10 / £8 / Book two Making Waves shows on the same night for £14
Tue 23 Jul 19:00
Lewis Doherty presents BOAR £10 / £8 Age 14+ | 60 mins
Tue 23 Jul Doors 19:00

Wed 24 Jul AND Fri 26 Jul AND Sat 27 Jul 10:30, 13:00 & 15:00 Each day
The Herd Theatre presents SLIME £5 Age 2 – 5 years | 45 mins + 15 mins of free play
Slug and Caterpillar are starving, and the only leaf left in the garden is just out of reach. Slug thinks they should work together.
Presented in partnership with Trafford Libraries.This show is part of a library tour, including dates at Altrincham Library, Sale Waterside and Limelight Old Trafford.

Wed 24 Jul 11:30 & 14:00
Fully Booked Theatre: SPACE REBEL PRINCESS £5 / £3 Family Club Age 5 – 9 | 30 mins
Wed 24 Jul 12:00 & 13:00
Wed 24 Jul 19:00
Wed 24 Jul 20:30
MAKING WAVES COMMISSION £10 / £8 / Book two Making Waves shows on the same night for £14
Wed 24 Jul 22:00
Thu 25 Jul 10:15, 11:45, 13:15, 14:45
Mimika Theatre presents LANDSCAPES £7 / £6 / Family Club £4.50 Age 4 – 11 years | 45 mins
Thu 25 Jul 19:00
Nathaniel Hall and Dibby Theatre present FIRST TIME £10/£8 / Book two Making Waves shows on the same night for £14 Age 14+ | 65 mins
Thu 25 Jul 20:30
MAKING WAVES COMMISSION £10 / £8  / Book two Making Waves shows on the same night for £14
Thu 25 Jul Doors 19:30
ANNABEL ALLUM + KARIMA FRANCIS £10 Advance / £13 On the door

Fri 26 Jul 13:00
Our Kids Social present SILENT DISGLO £6.50 / £5 Family Club Age 4+ | 90 mins
Enjoy the legendary OKS Silent DisGlo experience, with a magical neon dance floor wonderland under the UV lights and a special blend of neon arts and crafts.

Fri 26 Jul 19:00
Grace Petrie’s unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered. A frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show

Fri 26 Jul Doors 20:30
Influenced by such acts as Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Beach House and MBV, Altergaze is the new project of singer-songwriter, Karima Francis. A programme of soulful music inspired by the albums Garlands (Cocteau Twins) and Disintegration (The Cure).

Sat 27 Jul 16:00 & 20:00
Motionhouse presents CAPTIVE Free All ages | 30 mins
Four dancers perform this exciting blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work inside a large cage.  This extraordinary outdoor show explores notions of captivity. On Waterside Plaza

Sat 27 Jul 18:30
Sarah-Clare Conlon, David Gaffney, Rosie Garland, Valerie O’Riordan, Fat Roland and Nicholas Royle have created six brand-new short stories focusing on old technologies – cassette tapes, floppy discs, videos, 35mm slides, overhead projectors, Ansaphones, games consoles, View-Masters, faxes, Dictaphones, reel to reel, Ceefax…

Sat 27 Jul 21:00
Formed in early 2018, Mama Racho are an enigmatic sextet originating from the city’s squat party scene, their sound blends cumbia rhythms with psychedelic rock and electronica.

Thu 18 Jul – Sat 7 Sep
An interactive experience created and curated by Chloe Knights and Ella Boston, which provides an escapism for audiences, focusing on being present and connected to the senses and to others.

Find out more about Refract19 on the Waterside website. 

Hale Barns Carnival
Hale Barns

Saturday 20 July and Sunday 21 July
With plenty of activities for all ages and more than 100 attractions including a traditional fun fair, falconry displays, supercars, sports, arts and crafts, artisan market, and food village – complemented by an all-star live concert each evening.
Enjoy the daytime carnival atmosphere free of charge between 12pm and 5pm on both days thanks to the support of event sponsors B&M, Manchester Airport, and Benchmark Security Group.
The weekend’s programme will open at 12pm on the Saturday with a special performance from the Manchester Survivors Choir.

Find out more and book online at or phone 0844 8889991(Subject to per ticket booking fee)

Bolton Central Library & Museum
The Great Pirate Adventure

22nd - 25th July
Join us for The Great Pirate Adventure! Come to our pirate training school and learn how to look, talk and act like a pirate. Sing a pirate song, make a pirate craft and dig for treasure. But watch out – you don’t want to end up walking the plank!
The pirate training school will be in session at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm from Monday to Saturday. Please book a place for all children and adults in your party.
Developed in partnership with the Octagon Theatre who will be presenting a new adaptation of 'Treasure Island' over the festive period. FREE EVENT, booking for everyone in your group essential.

Find out more and book tickets on the Eventbrite page.

Summer Outdoor Theatre Programme
Ordsall Hall, Salford

Outdoor theatre at one of the most beautiful historic venues in Manchester. Gates open at 6pm for 7pm performances. Please feel free to bring your own chair(s), on-site bar available. You can also pre-order a picnic for collection on the day/night. Adult Picnic Bag £8.95, Children’s Picnic Bag £4.95, Drinks And Nibbles Package £5.95

Three Inch Fools present Macbeth - we reviewed this performance of Macbeth with The Three Inch Fools.
Friday 21 June 2019, 7.00 – 9.00pm

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sunday 21 July 2019, 2.00 – 3.30pm

Gangsta Granny
Wednesday 31 July & Tuesday 27 August 2019, 1.00 – 3.00pm
Heartbreak Productions invites you share in this outdoor production of David Walliam’s bestselling tale.Meet Ben, an 11 year old fed up with spending his Friday nights at Granny’s. All she wants to do is play Scrabble and eat cabbage. Hungry and bored Ben goes searching for something more edible in the kitchen and stumbles upon an old biscuit tin. The tin holds more than just digestives, however; it contains Granny’s biggest secret…
£16 Adult| £10 Child | Under 5’s FREE, booking required

The Tempest
Saturday 3 August 2019, 6.30 – 9.00pm
Join their all-female troupe for a bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ like none other. In usual Handlebards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter. And what’s the play about? Well – a shipwreck washes the court of Milan up onto a mysterious desert island, inhabited by magicians, sprites and monsters, where nothing is as it seems. There’s magic, musicality and mystery a plenty!
£16 Adult | £12 Early Bird Adult | £10 Child | Under 10’s FREE, booking required

Much Ado About Nothing
Sunday 11 August 2019, 6.30 – 9.00pm
The Handlebards return in August for another evening of chaos and laughter in their all-male adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. What’s the play about? Well – a group of soldiers return from the war to a household in Messina, causing the kindling of new love interests and the re-kindling of old rivalries. The parallel love stories of Beatrice, Benedick, Claudio and Hero become entangled with plotting, frivolity and melodrama in Shakespeare’s famous comedy.
£16 Adult | £12 Early Bird Adult | £10 Child | Under 10’s FREE, booking required

Wuthering Heights
Thursday 15 August 2019, 6.30 – 9.00pm
Join Heartbreak Productions for this outdoor adaptation of Emily Bronte’s haunting tale of two restless souls as wild and untamed as the bleak Yorkshire moors.
Prepare for an evening of thrills, chills and ghostly spirits. Heathcliff is an orphan raised among the the Earnshaw family at their home on the moors. He develops an intense and unearthly bond with Mr Earnshaw’s passionate daughter, Cathy.
£16 Adult| £10 Child | Under 5’s FREE, booking required

You can see our review of The Handlebards presenting 12th Night at Ordsall Hall here...

Find out more all about the Hall and gardens, as well as the special events planned for this Summer, on the brand new Ordsall Hall website.

Dracula - The Blood Count of Heaton
Heaton Park, Manchester

24th July – 11th August.
Feelgood celebrate their 25th anniversary year with the show their audiences voted ‘most want to see again’. Dracula is a brilliant, blood-curdling site-specific spectacle, which will surround audiences in an epic adventure of gothic horror and heart-stopping love that transcends time, the elements and even death. Walk amidst abandoned coffins and witness flying vampires and creatures of the night rising from their graves!
This contemporary re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s classic tale is fused with hypnotic music, vibrant dance, magic and illusion specially created by Peter Clifford who works with Derren Brown and David Blaine.…just don’t forget to bring your garlic!" 

Audiences are encouraged to dress up and there will be a prize each night for the best costume. Please wear suitable shoes and clothing (rain does not stop play – no ticket refunds). You will walk approx. ½ mile; end time approx. 10.15 pm. Bring something portable to sit on (blanket, fold up chair) and a torch for going home.

Matinee:   Thurs 8th Aug, 2.30pm  No show: Sun July 28th, Mon 29th July, Mon 5th August.
Suitable for ages 10+  Wheelchair accessible with strong pusher   No babies or dogs. 

Adults £18, Concessions £15, Family Ticket £60 (2 adult 2 conc)

Tickets can be purchased online or in person from Farm Centre Café, Heaton Park. For full information see

Festa Italiana
Cathedral Gardens, Manchester

Friday 26th-Sunday 28th July
The UK’s biggest festival celebrating Italian food, drink and culture.  Manchester city centre’s Cathedral Gardens will be transformed into Little Italy and his year’s event will be expanding to take in a bigger area around the city’s ‘Medieval Quarter’ with even more Italian producers, chefs, food, drink and music than ever. It's all FREE ENTRY.

Bambini Garden - There’ll be a special, FREE child-friendly programme of activities scheduled throughout the Festa weekend from 11am – 6pm, and it will all be centred around the Bambini Garden. Bell tents will house different activities including Venetian mask making, garden games, face painting, jugglers and performers.

Carmella Serano Hayes will be hosting the Bambini Kitchen with FREE fresh pasta
making workshops throughout the weekend. We were treated to a preview pasta-making workshop with Carmella and it was brilliant.
It’s all free, and there’s no need to book, families can just turn up on the day and join in. 

On Friday 26 th July at the Festa Marquee, the festival will be kicking off in true Italian party
Style. There’ll be free aperitivo, and a free cocktail for the first 200 people to arrive on site!
The Festa Marquee will be transformed into a summer party venue inspired by the laid-back outlook of the Italian Riviera and boasting a big central bar and live DJ.  Celebrity stylist Andrew Trott-Barn and his team from byAB will be on hand to get guests party ready.

‘Suburbs Meets City’ Neapolitan Festa banquet will be hosted by food critic, broadcaster and tour guide Jonathan Schofield, on Saturday 27th  July from 7.30pm in the Festa Marquee. Chefs will create two dishes each to create a four-course banquet via a spectacular live cooking extravaganza with live music.  Tickets to the banquet are £50 and are on sale now.

On Saturday 27 th and Sunday 28 th July (11am-5pm) at the Festa Marquee, the Live Cookery Theatre will showcase a host of Italian chefs from Manchester to Italy and beyond. This will include a FREE live cookery demonstration by Gennaro Contaldo on Saturday 27 th  July at 3.00pm in the Festa Marquee.

Italian Street Food Piazza... Open throughout the Festa from 11am – late.
Salvi’s – Family-owned Italian restaurants and deli specialists, will be bringing their Pizza Fritta (fried pizza!) and fresh pasta.
Rosso – Spring Gardens’ glamorous Italian restaurant will be serving Italian smoked meats and deli sandwiches.
Pizza will come from Didsbury pizza aficionados Proove and Magiamo’s fabulous Fiat 500 converted into a Woodfired pizza oven.
Cafe Cannoli – Roving Sicilian street food specialists Café Cannoli will be serving up fresh
cannoli in their refrigerated cannoli cart.
Pasta Factory –Antipasti and Fresh Pasta (including vegan and gluten free options) will be
served by Shude Hill’s acclaimed pasta specialists, Pasta Factory.
T’arricrii –Sicilian brothers Riccardo and Romeo will be coming to Festa for the first time
with their popular arancini operation.
Cafe Latino - Real Italian coffee will come from Italian Coffee Roasters Café Latino.
Taste It – The authentic, Italian Gelato producers taking Salford by storm, bringing artisan, traditional gelato and sorbetto to the Festa.
Cabrelli Brothers – serving up saltimbocca and filled pizza bread.
Vive le Crepe – A Festa staple, Crepes with delicious sweet and savoury fillings.
Peroni Italy Bar. Lounge with a fine Italian lager whilst drinking in the Festa from their chic mini beer pavilion.
Aperol will be back for the 3rd year, with hammocks, Vespa Seating and Foosball tables all creating a chic, Italian, Festival-style drinking experience.
Limoncello Di Capri Limoncello Cocktail Bar
Martini Fiero
Zonin Prosecco Cuvee 1821 official Prosecco and Wine Bar (they’ll be hosting regular wine tastings throughout the Festa
Festa Italiana Cocktail Bar
The Salvi’s Pop Up Festa Deli will be bringing their exquisite and expertly sourced produce to the Festa from 11am – 8pm.
Festa Fiero!

Find out more on the Festa Italiana website.

Four-day Summer Sound Clash Festival
Turtle Bay Restaurant, Manchester Oxford Street 

1st – 4th August
Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay will have a Summer Sound Clash Festival at 7 of its restaurants this Summer. The free event will bring authentic reggae vibes to life, with live DJ sessions from a variety of prominent artists. The festival will also feature a selection of sunshine-inspired rum cocktails and some of the best Caribbean cuisine on the block that will be available from brunch through until late.

Over nine weeks of summer (July 1st – September 1st) guests will be able to sample a new, rum-inspired cocktail each week, then vote for their favourite. The most popular one will become a  permanent feature on the menu and keep the summer vibes going long after the season has finished.

For more information about the festival, or to reserve a table, visit the Turtle Bay website

Make My Day! FREE Family Festival
West End Gardens, Morecambe Promenade

Sunday 4th August 12noon-5pm
A joyous celebration of creative fun, Make My Day! is jam-packed with things to make, do and see.
Grab a bundle of recycled wood and a hammer and get building, craft your own mini sock puppet or add your mark to our never-ending drawing. No experience necessary! All activities will be supervised by our friendly team and are suitable for everyone to try.
Pitch up at Putt-by-Numbers - our custom-made artist designed mini golf course built by our very own creative community especially for the day. Join Pif Paf Theatre to create an explosive painting spectacle - using pneumatic cannons on a 12m square canvas! Or take part in Mufti Games’ L_ve Hangman - a life-sized, 3D version of the timeless pen and paper favourite, reimagined as a live action, light-entertainment game show from the ’70s.
With an array of local bands playing at our mellow acoustic stage and NuJazz Arts’ fabulous all day kids rave tent - there’ll be entertainment for all to enjoy.
We’ll be there whatever the weather! Rain will not stop play.

This is a FREE EVENT, no booking or ticket necessary, just turn up on the day! Plenty of free on street parking nearby. Find out more on the website - 

PAW Patrol Brick Trail

23 August to 1 September
PAW Patrol fans will be able to meet their favourite characters this summer in a world first. 21 of your favourite characters and buildings from the hit Nick Jr show will be built by BRICKLIVE and placed around the town centre. The trail, organised by Blackburn Business Improvement District (BID), will also feature a 2m tall Lookout Tower using over 65,000 bricks; and a selfie-zone of Marshall’s Fire Truck using a whopping 160,000 bricks.
Families will be able to explore the town and find all the models using the Brickburn trail map and children will also be able to take part in a number of competitions, free workshops and interactive building activities.

People can keep up with the latest news by searching #Brickburn on Twitter and Instagram, events will also be listed on

Luna Cinema
Tatton Park

23-25 August 
Is there anywhere finer to watch a blockbuster movie than in the glorious grounds of Tatton Park? In August, this historic estate – featuring a medieval hall and neoclassical mansion set amid landscaped grounds, gardens, and a deer park – will play host to a three-night festival of film. On the bill are recent smash hits A Star Is Born, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Bohemian Rhapsody, all shown on a giant screen surrounded by woodland near Tatton’s old stableyard.

Find out more at

Fire Station Open Day

28th August 10am-2pm
Come and find out what it really takes to be a Firefighter, and get some hints on how to stay safe from dangers including fire, flood and drowning.

Later on after Summer: 

Manchester Food And Drink Festival
Cathedral Gardens, Manchester

26th September – 7th October
MFDF is the country’s biggest urban food event and some of the first events have been announced and a few of the more prestigious ticketed events have gone on sale. New for this year a Festival Hub destination will create a more village-like, greenfield-style Festival site and home to the “Dining Dome”.

Thursday 26th September
Bistrotheque Classique 7.30pm @ MFDF Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens
One of Manchester’s most anticipated arrivals of 2019, Bistrotheque is set to come to the city this July. A specialMFDF menu will be created by Chef Director Blaine Duffy and include arrival cocktails, three courses, a quality wine pairing and digestif. £45pp

Friday 27th September
An Evening with Simon Shaw 7.30pm @ The Dining Dome
One of Manchester’s most innovative, exciting and respected chefs will be hosting an intimate evening in the Dining Dome as he brings together a specially curated collection of his most renowned dishes from across his acclaimed restaurant brands El Gato Negro and Canto. Each course will be paired with a specially selected wine and tickets also include a drinks reception. £55pp

Tuesday 1st October
Roots and Future – A Tasting Menu by Francisco Martinez of Fazenda Group in Aid of Action Against Hunger 7.30pm @ The Dining Dome.
Argentinian & Brazilian cuisines.  Paired with exquisite South American wines & cocktails. £50pp

Wednesday 2nd October
Comfort Food ‘Sounds’ Good – A Communal Feast by Adam Reid 7.30pm @ The Dining Dome.
MFDF’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year winner and recent star of BBC’s Great British Menu, Adam Reid is to create the ultimate communal, comfort food, festival feast, all inspired by his Great British Menu Dish ‘Comfort Food ‘Sounds’ Good’ with specially curated cocktails. £35

Thursday 3rd October
An Evening With Paco Perez and Tast 7.30pm @ The Dining Dome Gardens
Catalan cuisine experts Tast present a very special evening in the Dining Dome as they host a three-course dinner designed, cooked and served by Tast’s Head Chef Miquel Villacrosa and the Michelin-starred Spanish cooking giant, Paco Perez. £45

Friday 4th October
The MFDF Curry Collective with Bundobust, Dishoom, Lily’s and Sanskruti 7.30pm @ The Dining Dome
Fancy joining the ultimate curry club for the night? Well MFDF invite you to kick off your weekend with a curry night curated by the most exciting and revered names from Manchester’s excellent South Indian dining scene. £40

Saturday 5th October
The Art of Dining with Aiden Byrne at Manchester Art Gallery 7pm @ Manchester Art Gallery
As the finale to Manchester Art Gallery’s unique series of art-meets-food supper clubs in collaboration with Manchester Food and Drink Festival, Aiden Byrne, owner and executive chef at Restaurant MCR will be teaming up with the art gallery curators to create the ultimate food and art feast. Aiden will be cooking a six-course tasting menu with each dish inspired by a different piece of art displayed in the gallery. £80

26TH Sept – 7TH Oct
Returning for its 4th year at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, the Bookatable Festival Feast is now bigger and better than ever before. There will be double the number of restaurants taking part in this delicious feast, offering limited edition, bespoke dining menus in association with Bookatable, one of its official sponsors. The menus will be on offer throughout the duration of MFDF, so get booking soon!

4th & 5th October
MFDF WINE & FIZZ FESTIVAL @ Manchester Cathedral
Although the wines will be serious, the event is set to be a jolly and light hearted occasion providing a great day or evening out for anyone who loves wine – from the passionate enthusiast to the novice fizz fan. £15pp

7th October
MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards @ Gorton Monastery
The sparkling culmination of MFDF, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Gala Dinner and Awards. The MFDF awards shortlist will be announced in late June, when tickets will go on sale.

Find out more about the entire programme of events, including lots of free events and entertainment, and book tickets, on the Manchester Food And Drink Festival website. 

1 comment:

  1. A fab list of events! I love Manchester is the summer, always so many great activities available for families! Sim x


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