Friday, 8 November 2019

What's On this Winter for families in Manchester and the North West UK

Christmas is coming! And so are all of those fabulously festive events, theatre and days out. Here's a rundown of some of what's happening in Manchester and the NorthWest UK over the next couple of months - for families with kids of all ages, including teenagers and students.

If you have anything you'd like me to add, please send it over with a low res photo - try and give us a couple of weeks notice and please do not send me any more events in Bury St Edmunds - that is a far cry from Bury, North Manchester! We like FREE and low cost events and activities best of all.

Manchester animation Festival

Manchester Animation Festival (MAF) Family Day
HOME, Manchester, First Street

Sunday 10th November, 10am-3pm
As part of its brand-new five-day format, MAF Family Day returns, inviting children and families for a day of animated fun:

Lego Stop Motion Workshop 10:30 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 15:30
This two-hour fun, creative and hands-on LEGO stop-motion workshop is the perfect activity to get you to discover and show off your creative talents by creating a stop-motion animation movie.
Tickets: £20 per child
Colour Me MAF 10:00 – 15:00
As well as screenings we’ll have pictures available for colouring throughout the day from all the amazing films that you can see during Family Day!
Free Drop In
Short Films for Children 10:30 – 11:45
A collection of the best in contemporary animated children’s short film from around the world!
Adult Full Price £6/Child & Conc £5
Jacob, Mimmi and The Talking Dogs 12:00 – 13:10
The local park is about to be transformed into new skyscrapers by a greedy businessman, so Jacob and cousin Mimmi decide to stop the development. It turns out that they can only do it with the help of a pack of local dogs that… can talk!
Adult Full Price £6/Child & Conc £5
A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon 13:30 – 15:00
Shaun the Sheep’s second feature-length movie.
Adult Full Price £6/Child & Conc £5

Manchester Animation Festival takes place at HOME on from 10-14 November. Tickets and passes are on sale now, for more details see 

Collage of 4 photos from plays listed below

Little Monsters and drag queens – and everything in-between
Z-Arts, Hulme, Greater Manchester

A World Inside A Book: Gruffalos, Dragons and Other Creatures
Until December 2019
Immersive Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler inspired world to explore
0-8 years old and their families : £6 - £7
Drag Queen Storytime
Saturday 30 November
An arts and crafts session followed by a special storytime for adults and children, as we board The Nightbus
Ages 3+ : £3
The Scarecrows’ Wedding
Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 December
A heart-warming and award-winning adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling book follows Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay, two excellent scarecrows who are planning to get married. That is until devilishly smooth Reginald Rake gets involved…
Ages 3+ : £11
Twinkle Twinkle
Friday 20 – Sunday 22 December
A heart-warming adventure in melody and light, made for especially young
audiences for Christmas.
Ages 1-3 : £6 - £9

Find out more and book tickets on the Z-Arts website

Blue Martini Ice Rink with families skating in large tunnel shaped building

Manchester Ice Rink experience

15th November to 5th January
MediaCity is transforming into a festive world with a wet-weather-proof undercover Ice Rink made from real ice plus Christmas Market and Light Festival. The Ice Rink will feature “The Retreat” -  a winter cabin open to everyone, not just those skating.
The Retreat will offer an array of drinks including hot cider, homemade mulled wine, draft beers, wines, a range of soft drinks, teas and coffees. They’ve not forgotten hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, and, because it’s Salford, there will be hot Vimto on tap too. Happy hour offers from 5pm till 7pm  Monday to Friday

Manchester Ice Rink at MediaCityUK will be open to the public as follows:
Monday – Friday: 3:00pm – Last Skate Session ends 20:45
Saturday and Sunday (and school Christmas holidays): 10:00am – Last Skate Session ends 21:00

Prices for an hour £13 Adults / £11 children / £40 family of four. Students tickets are £10, and only available in person at the rink from Monday to Thursday up to December 21st. ID must be shown.

To book and to find more information on timings and pricing, as well as discounted tickets for a draft beer or mulled wine and an ice skating ticket, see

Christmas round up Waterside Sale

Waterside, Sale
Autumn/Winter Programme for families

16 ComedySportz 4 Tots: 15:00
16 ComedySportz: 18:30
17 Emily Rising: 11:30 & 14:00
26 Nov – 31 Dec Mr Popper’s Penguins (see below).
13 &14 ComedySportz Panto: times vary
14 ComedySportz Panto (Tots): 15:00
19 – 22 Glisten: times vary

Find out more and book tickets at

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
St Helens Theatre Royal

Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 November
Starring Union J's Jaymi Hensley, this adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic biblical story is the longest running touring musical of all time.
Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat features unforgettable hit songs including Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me.
7:30pm Tue – Thu / 8pm Fri & Sat / 2:30pm Wed & Thu Matinee / 2pm Sat Matinee / 5pm Fri & Sat
Tickets from £33 -  concessions available.  Tickets subject to a £0.50 booking fee.

For more information or to book tickets please visit the Theatre Royal Box Office (Mon–Sat 10am–5pm), call 01744 756 000 or log on to:

The Art of the Brick 
Unit 5 Great Northern Warehouse, Deansgate, Manchester

Friday 22nd November - 20th April 2020 (we will be reviewing, I'll add a link once it's live)
Featuring almost 100 pieces of art made from  more than a million iconic LEGO bricks, masterfully positioned with artistic skill by award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya.
The Art of the Brick features 3D sculptures and oversized portraits from Sawaya’s collection. Popular pieces include My Boy, Dinosaur and captivating recreations of iconic art, including the Mona Lisa.

Prices start from £9.50 for children / £14.50 for adults / concessions £12.00 / family of four £42.00.
Sunday – Wednesday: 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)
Thursday: 10am – 8pm (last entry 7pm)
Friday – Saturday:  10am – 7pm (last entry 6pm)

For more information and to book tickets for The Art of the Brick Manchester visit

Winter Family Events
Ordsall Hall, Salford

Funny Looking Kids Comedy Club: I have a family ticket giveaway on my Facebook page
November 24th 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Salford’s first comedy club for kids crashes into Ordsall Hall with its usual jokes, sketches, quizzes and mayhem! From the first sketch to the final joke competition, a rag tag bag of tomfoolery and nonsense. Chaos and cacophony, silliness and stupidity. Comedy for kids with an alternative twist.
Recommended for ages 7 years +. Children £4.50 | Adults £6, booking required.

Father Christmas
December 8th and 15th 1pm - 4pm
Come and spend some time in the Grotto and choose a special gift from the Elves workshop in the Star Chamber. Tickets are to be purchased per child in 15 minute slots from 1pm to the final visiting at 3.30pm. £5 per child, booking required.

To find out more and book tickers, see the Ordsall Hall website

Cockfields Family Farm Christmas Experience

Cockfields Family Farm Christmas Experience

30th Nov to 22nd December (weekends only) and 24th December. (We will be reviewing this - I'll add a link when it's live)
Enjoy the most magical Family Christmas Experience this year at Cockfields Farm Park.
Special Passports, Elf School, Mrs Claus’ Kitchen (gingerbread decorating!), the Elf Village (a drink and a snack), Meet Santa’s reindeer, the Elves Workshop (where you build your very own Teddy Bear to take home), and a visit with Santa in his Magical Grotto before choosing a toy in the North Pole Toy Shop!
Your Journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa’s Stables to see Prancer & Dancer the Real Reindeer and even have a cuddle with some of Santa’s Bunnies & Guinea Pigs while you are there !

Times vary - booking is essential. 30 Nov and 1,7,8,14,15, 21, 22, 24 Dec. See the Cockfields Farm website for more details and to book tickets. 

Mr Poppers Penguins
Waterside, Sale

Tue 26 November –Tue 31 Dec
A Kenny Wax & TC Beech Production adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles Productions.
Puppets, penguins, packing crates and pure magic abound. Painter and Decorator by day, Mr Popper spends his time dreaming of Antarctic Adventures. One day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep – out of which waddles a penguin.
Recommended for children aged between 3 and 11. 60 Minutes, no interval.
Cookies and milk packs are also available to pre-order with tickets £2.50 each.
6pm Slumber Shows pyjamas welcome!

British Sign Language (BSL) performance: Saturday 14 December at 11:00
Relaxed Performance : Saturday 14 December at 11:00
Tickets: £16.50 / £14.50 / £12.50. Schools: £10 (1 free teacher with every 9 students). Discounts available for groups and low income families.

Find out more and book tickets on

Afflecks After Dark
Afflecks Palace, Manchester

28th November 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Manchester’s iconic city centre shopping emporium is opening doors late to the public for the first time. The whole Afflecks family of independent traders are set to bring the space to life after dark with discounts, mulled wine sampling, mini workshops, free gifts, live art and a DJ set from their very own resident DJs.
Afflecks is the perfect place for unique, quirky, hand-made, specially commissioned and bespoke gifts and treats – all brought to you by local and independent businesses.

The event is free to sign up to, just collect your free ticket here and click ‘going’ on the Afflecks After Dark Facebook event so they can keep track of numbers.

Discounts on Sunflowers by the Sea greeting cards and prints
Try Ginger’s Comfort Emporium's festive themed ice cream surprise.
Milner and Son – 10% off all items
Bear Heart Vintage – 10% off all items
Mad 4 Art – 10% off and a free mini print for those that spend over £50
Punk’d Image – 20% off all items
Crystal Henge – £10 for a 15-minute tarot reading and a free crystal
SWALK – Free gift with any purchase on the night
Pop Boutique – 15% off all items

Cinderella at the Epstein Theatre

Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Fri 6 Dec 2019 – Sun 5 Jan 2020
Epstein Entertainments’ debut production features a magical interactive 3D scene, bringing the panto magic to life like never before! Emmerdale’s Sammy Winward will lead this year’s star-studded cast as Cinderella, joined by Benidorm’s Crissy Rock; Brookside’s Sarah White; Shameless’ Warren Donnelly; Andrew Geater; Samantha Palin; and Lewis Devine.
Enchanted pumpkins, glass slippers, a sparkling fairy-tale carriage – Epstein Entertainments’ version of this classic tale has something for the whole family.
Various Times, check listings for details Tickets: From £11, subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy.
To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411 or go online at or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm - 6pm, Monday - Saturday.

Octagon Bolton at the football ground Treasure Island

Treasure Island
Octagon Theatre Bolton
Premier Suite at the University of Bolton Stadium. 

Sun 8 December – Fri 27 December
Following the success of last year’s production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the stadium, the Octagon Theatre are back with their annual festive show, Robert Louis Stevenson's classic seafaring adventure.
A fearsomely talented cast of actor musicians alongside some frighteningly brilliant young people from Bolton will help us set sail on our jolly way in a fun filled family adventure bursting with music, mutiny and talking parrots!
Packed with swashbuckling songs and lashings of laughter, Treasure Island is a fun-packed show for all the family.

The Octagon Theatre building continues to be under redevelopment and will reopen early in 2020. For more information visit

Snow white and the 7 dwarfs liverpool

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The Auditorium at M+S Bank Arena, Liverpool

Friday 13 – Tuesday 24 December
Union J’s JJ Hamblett leads the all-star cast as the Prince; the hilarious Mark Hudson is Dame Dolly; local talent Ellie Turner plays Snow White; the Scouse queen of panto, Radio City’s Leanne Campbell returns to play The Wicked Queen; and comedy star Bippo is also back to play Muddles.
The show is filled with love and laughter, music and comedy, breath-taking sets, astonishing special effects and lots of sparkle!

Find out more and book tickets on the M+S Bank Arena website

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