Showing posts with label Greater Manchester. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greater Manchester. Show all posts

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Dates for your Diary - A Feast of Festive Fabulousness Coming Soon to Waterside, Sale

Sisters are indeed doing it for themselves in Sale this Christmas when the previously unloved and ill-fated Ugly Sisters come to Waterside to sing some songs, write some wrongs and tell it how it is, in this brand new musical play, The Not So Ugly Sisters, inspired by everybody's favourite fairy tale - Cinderella.

Presented by award-winning children's theatre makers, Wrongsemble in a co-production with Leeds Playhouse and Red Ladder, The Not So Ugly Sisters is a funny, fast-paced family show where the action centres around Dolly and Barb in their hairdressing salon on the day of their sister Cindy's wedding to Prince Smarming. Thinking that they have not been invited to the so-called event of the year, the sisters gather to share their story and wash their woes right out of their hair. With the salon phone only ringing for customers to cancel their blow-dry appointments, it is time for the sisters to tell the much-loved story from their perspective. Hell hath no fury like a hairdresser scorned!

Running at just under an hour with no interval and jam-packed with up-tempo original songs, puppetry and many funky moves - Not So Ugly Sisters is the perfect festive treat for small people and their grown ups with a good laugh and a family outing being the perfect way to end a challenging year for all.

Waterside is also delighted to announce a series of other festival treats, kicking off on Sunday 7th November with Ballet Theatre UK's beautiful re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson's classical fairy tale ballet, The Snow Queen. Ballet Theatre UK's renowned company of international dancers, beautiful costumes and glittering stage sets combine to create a magnificent spectacle, all set to a glorious and magical score.

For even littler people, Lyngo Theatre presents Little Red Riding Hood from Monday 13th to Friday 17th December. Recommended for ages 3-7, this is a theatrical gem of a show, complete with a magical wardrobe, a snowy wild wood, animal puppets hiding in trees and lots of catchy songs.

Older kids can hunker down at Waterside for the eerily beautiful retelling of everybody's favourite festive ghost story - A Christmas Carol on Friday 17th December. Aimed at ages 11 and over, this Christmas tale is brought to life while the ghosts of Christmas return from the dead through the magical art of storytelling - presented by The Book of Darkness & Light in association with Little Mighty.

Comedy lovers are in for a treat with not one but three great chances to laugh out loud this Christmas. Waterside's legendary monthly comedy night - Best of Buzz Comedy - brings the talents of Sam Avery, Bobby Murdock and Brummie funny man and compere Ryan Gough together for one night of hilarity for adults on Saturday 4th December. Waterside also presents the much loved ComedySportz improv comedy stalwarts in their annual adult panto which is created completely by scratch and on the spot in front of a live audience on Friday 17th December; whilst on Friday 10th December and Saturday 11th December - younger audiences are invited to come along and help make up their own family friendly version of the improv panto with the ComedySportz teams! Kids can expect quick-witted gags, games, panto dames and lots of silliness whilst the adults get a bawdier version of the same with the addition of rude words and even more innuendo. Oh No It Isn't.... Oh yes it is!

Rounding off Waterside's programme of festive delights is a one off musical gig with Belshazzar's Feast. Made up of Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead and Faustus) and Paul Hutchinson (of Pagoda Project) - together they have become one of the best-loved duos in folk music today and previous BBC Folk Awards Best Duo nominees. Join them on Thursday 16th December as they bring their celebrated Christmas show to Trafford, mixing traditional folk music and seasonal material, stirring in classical, pop and music hall, all topped off with audience participation and lashings of wry humour that has won them many fans across the world. 

Manager of Waterside Darren Adams says "After another challenging year for the arts and artists alike, it is so great to end on a cultural high with so many great shows and companies joining us at Waterside this Christmas. From live ballet to comedy and from theatre to folk - there really is something for all ages and tastes. It was so fantastic to see families and grown ups alike out enjoying the arts together once more this summer at our annual Refract Festival and we cannot wait to welcome more through our doors once again over the festive season."

Elvi Piper, Artistic Director at Wrongsemble comments: "We are thrilled to bring The Not So Ugly Sisters to the brilliant Waterside this festive season. We've been waiting for two years to entertain the good people of Manchester with this ultimate family feel-good festive feast of a show - which has something in it for everyone! Live theatre is well and truly back with a fairytale bang and we can't wait to get started."

The Not So Ugly Sisters runs at Waterside from Wednesday 24th November 2021 - Saturday 1st January 2022. Tickets are on sale now:

For further details on the shows at Waterside this festive season you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website -

Facebook -

Twitter - @watersidearts

Instagram - @watersidearts_

*Disclaimer - This post is written based on a press release. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Dates for your Diary - Mr Popper's Penguins comes to Greater Manchester this Christmas

For the past couple of years my family and I have enjoyed visiting Waterside in Sale over the festive period, to enjoy some fabulous Christmas productions. Our first experience back in 2017 was to see The Bear, which was an absolutely beautiful show, that was brought to the stage by Pins and Needles Productions.

Their return the following year in 2018 delivered a stunning adaptation of Father Christmas, which was based on the well known story book by Raymond Briggs. I can honestly say that this show was one of my favourite theatre experiences with my youngest son, as it felt so magical and special.

We were therefore really excited to hear that this years show is Mr Popper's Penguins which is a Kenny Wax and TC Beech production adapted for the stage by Pins and Needles Productions.

Puppets, penguins, packing crates and pure magic abound in this phenomenally popular and successful production of Mr Popper's Penguins, which returns to Manchester this Christmas. Running from Tuesday 26th November through to the 31st December, acclaimed children's theatre company Pins & Needles bring their award-winning and smash-hit show to Waterside in Sale for frost-filled, festive fun for all the family. Pppppop online as tickets are now on sale!

Painter and Decorator by day, Mr Popper spends his time dreaming of Antarctic Adventures. He is astounded when one day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep - and out of which waddles a penguin...

With original songs and performing penguin puppets to charm audiences of all ages, this delightful and action-packed musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater's book (also made into a Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey as Mr Popper) is the perfect family treat to warm hearts and souls on a cold winter's day.

Darren Adams, Manager of Waterside says: "We are so thrilled to welcome back Pins & Needles to Waterside after two hugely successful and record breaking years which saw unprecedented sales and responses to their stunning and charming productions of Father Christmas and The Bear. This year, we are delighted that their internationally acclaimed Mr Popper's Penguins is making its way back to to the UK after a successful New York run on Broadway and right on to our stage for the first time to thrill and delight our audiences."

Mr Popper's Penguins opens to the public on Tuesday 26th November and runs until the 31st December. Schools performances are also available - for a full breakdown please visit

The show is recommended for children aged between 3 and 11.

Cookies and milk packs are also available to pre-order along with your tickets for just an extra £2.50 each for all shows.

Children (and adults too!) are invited to come in their PJs and bring a favourite bedtime teddy to the 6pm Slumber Shows to make their theatre experience a real bedtime treat!


Listing Details

A Kenny Wax & TC Beech Production adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles Productions: Mr Popper's Penguins
Venue - Waterside Arts Centre, Sale,
Dates - Tuesday 26th November to 31st December
Times - Times vary so please see the Waterside website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - £16.50 / £14.50 / £12.50
Schools - £10 (1 free teacher with every 9 students booked)
Duration - 60 minutes with no interval
In the Robert Bolt Theatre

*This post is written based on a press release provided by Waterside. Images do not feature the Manchester cast.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Our Visit to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall - A Review

On Sunday we were invited along to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, as well as the beautiful Ordsall Hall, so that we could experience two lovely family friendly attractions and have an enjoyable day out together. We have never visited either of these places before, so we were a little unsure as to what to expect, as we set off on the short journey along the motorway. The best thing about both of these attractions is that they are free places to visit (excluding parking/additional activities) and so they are ideal to keep families occupied during the school holidays.

We travelled to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery first, which opens at 11:30am on a Sunday. We thought that it was easy to find and the post code we entered into the sat nav took us straight there with no issues. I did notice that there were also plenty of signs showing the way as we got closer, so we could have also relied on these if we had needed to. 

We arrived shortly before it opened, so parking in the small pay and display car park was no problem, however there are limited spaces, so I would definitely recommend arriving early during peak periods to ensure that you can park. I do believe that there are alternative car parks nearby, though I am unsure of the exact location of these.

On entering the museum, my son decided that he would like to start upstairs first, so we made our way to the galleries. My daughter is a keen artist, so she was looking forward to seeing some modern art, whilst Riley finds really old paintings fascinating and likes to imagine what the people in the portraits were like. It therefore seemed an ideal place to begin and we entered the first hall.

We thought that this was beautifully presented, with a huge selection of art work featured on every wall. There was also a fun activity for children to enjoy, which involved selecting a hat and then trying to find a painting which had the same hat in it. Riley loved this and it really encouraged him to look at the pictures in detail. It would be great if more hats could be added to the collection as I am sure Riley could have spent quite a long time enjoying this activity.

Riley also spotted a large painting behind the Queen Victoria photo opportunity, which he was mesmerised by. He kept looking at it and noticing something different each time, whilst repeatedly calling me over so that he could show me his new discoveries. I had been a little unsure as to whether Riley would enjoy the art gallery initially, but he really loved it and had much more fun that I had expected him too. This gallery was also the perfect setting for an epic game of eye spy and he loved trying to find something really difficult for me to guess.

We then made our way to the next gallery which had a wide range of different art from over the years. My daughter Emma is a very talented artist, so this part of the visit really appealed to her. The art ranged from the beautiful to the peculiar and again Riley enjoyed looking at everything. One thing that I particularly liked about the museum, was that in each area, there would be a hands on activity for children to enjoy, so Riley liked trying these throughout the morning.

The last gallery we visited whilst upstairs was the A-Z exhibit, which featured a great range of items ranging from A to Z. We had fun looking at them all and Riley found some very fun and strange objects whilst we made our way around the room. It was an easy exhibit for children to understand and we really liked the way that everything had been displayed.

After spending a good length of time upstairs, we made our way down to Lark Hill Place, which is a replica Victorian Street. It really is a treat and my children absolutely loved looking through the shop windows and observing all the objects and clothing on display. As you walk up and down the street there is a great range of shops and living rooms all available to view and you could be forgiven for thinking that you had genuinely travelled back in time. 

My son's favourite part however, was getting dressed up in traditional Victorian clothing and visiting the sweet shop, where a lovely lady weighed out some sweets for us. Riley is really inquisitive so he spent some time asking lots of questions and looking at the weights and the choice of sweets available. He chose some white chocolate mice in the end, whilst my daughter selected a mixture of sweets. There is no specific price for the bag of sweets and instead visitors are asked to make a donation instead, which I thought was a lovely idea.

There were also some other hands on activities such as weighing out fruit and vegetables, but on the most part my children just really enjoyed looking around and imagining what life must have been like in the Victorian era. If you are up for a challenge though, then there are also some activity cards at the entrance to Lark Hill Place that give you some tasks to try and they are a great idea to get children interested and involved.

Once we had finished in Lark Hill Place we decided to enjoy some lunch and visit the onsite cafe, which provided some lovely light bite meal options, such as baguettes, sandwiches, toasties and soup. I chose the tuna mayo baguette with a cappuccino which was absolutely delicious. My husband chose the same, but with a slice of Victoria sponge cake too, whilst my children opted for the kids lunch box pack that included a nice variety of items such as a sandwich, biscuit, fruit juice and crisps.

After leaving the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, we made the short journey to Ordsall Hall. Distance wise, this isn't too far away, but due to the one way system in place and the traffic, it took us approximately 10 minutes to get from one site to the other. Initially I thought we were in the wrong place as it looked like we were heading into an industrial estate, but as we continued, I was very surprised to suddenly see the magnificent building and grounds right in the middle.

The car parking was pay and display again, but there were plenty of spaces available so we had no issue with finding a spot to park. It was then just a short walk over to the main entrance, which allowed us to view the exterior of Ordsall Hall on our way.

As we entered the property we were greeted by a lovely lady who asked us whether it was our first time visiting. She then proceeded to show us a map and also advised us on the best route to take and told us a little bit of history about the hall. However, Riley had decided that he wanted to be our tour guide and so the advised route was soon forgotten, as we were taken on a little adventure by our six year old. 

He absolutely loves pretend play, so he was in his element pretending to show us around and tell us some made up history. Fortunately there were plenty of display boards throughout the property so we were able to obtain the correct factual information in between Riley's little talks. It was great to see him enjoying himself and he had the opportunity to get dressed up again whilst in the great hall and enjoy a pretend feast.

We all found the property really interesting and despite it being busy, we were able to make our way around and enjoy the attraction without any issues. We also saw many families taking part in the Easter trail, where you had to search for some Easter bunnies and win a prize at the end, which we thought was a really good idea.

Once we had made our way around Ordsall Hall, we stopped in the small cafe for a drink and snack. My husband and I both enjoyed a caramel shortbread, whilst the kids opted for a muffin and a cookie, along with some cold drinks. Tables are limited indoors, but in the summer months I  would imagine that you could make use of the seating outside and enjoy the lovely surroundings. 

Overall we had a wonderful day out in Salford, especially as we were visiting two attractions that we had never been to, or actually heard of before. Both sites are places that we would definitely visit again in the future and we would most certainly like to return to Ordsall Hall on a warm sunny day with a picnic. I also believe that there are activities held at both venues throughout the year, so it will be great to see what is on offer during the summer holidays. We would recommend a visit to both venues, for a low-cost and interesting family day out.

For further information on the Salford Museum and Art Gallery or Ordsall Hall, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Address - Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Crescent, M5 4WU
Twitter - @SalfordMuseum
Instagram - @salford_museum

Opening days and times vary, so please check the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information prior to visiting.

Ordsall Hall

Address - 322 Ordsall Lane, Salford, M5 3AN
Twitter - @OrdsallHall
Instagram - ordsall_hall

Opening days and times vary, so please check the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information prior to visiting.

*Disclaimer - This is a collaboration post with Salford Leisure. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but information such as admissions, prices, or opening hours are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website prior to visiting in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Father Christmas at Waterside, Sale - A Review

Our visits to Christmas events are well and truly under way and so far we have attended some fantastic family friendly attractions and productions. Whilst entertainment and fun are the main characteristics we usually look for, we also love those that have that special Christmas magic to help create beautiful moments and memories.

Last year we watched a truly captivating show called "The Bear" at Waterside Arts Centre in Sale, which was created by the very talented team at Pins and Needles Productions. It touched every emotion possible and was the perfect introduction to theatre for my youngest son Riley. We were therefore absolutely delighted to hear that the team would be returning this year to bring another of Raymond Briggs' stories to the stage, the lovable Father Christmas!

We were invited to attend the press evening on Thursday and of course we gladly accepted the invitation. Both my husband and I decided to attend with our youngest son only, since he still very much believes in Father Christmas and we always find it nice to give each of the children some time with us on their own so that they get our full attention. We therefore thought that this would make it a lovely special time for us to enjoy together. Riley absolutely loves drama, dancing and music and although he can be quite shy around others, he is always putting on some kind of show or performance at home. This past year he has attended numerous productions and seeing how much he loves the theatre is always a delight to see.

The venue of Waterside, is a lovely arts centre and we have been impressed each time we have visited. We love the little additions that make the theatre so welcoming for children; for example Milk & Cookie packs, along with the option to come in your pyjamas to the slumber shows. This helps to create a really relaxed environment which I think is really beneficial for families of all ages attending the production.

The show itself tells the story of the grumpy but loveable Father Christmas and we followed his activities as he prepared for his busiest day of the year; Christmas Eve. Rather astonishingly this production consists of only three cast members, all of whom are extremely talented and draw you into the show from the very start. 

Mike Aherne stars as the bloomin' marvellous Father Christmas and his portrayal of the character manages to display the loving, warm and friendly side of Father Christmas' personality along with his grouchiness. The opening scene was something that most of us could also relate to, which was when he woke up for work. Riley found this particularly funny as he knows how much our family struggle to get out of bed in a morning! A very funny scene followed shortly after when Santa popped to the loo and it was lovely to hear all the giggles from children sat in the audience.

Our personal highlight of the show was when Father Christmas boarded his sleigh and set off for his Christmas Eve duties, which was so magical and delightful to watch. Led by two puppet reindeers, it looked really spectacular and Riley was absolutely astonished as he sat watching open mouthed.

Another favourite for me was when Father Christmas was amongst the roof tops and needed to navigate his way down the many chimneys. The set and staging looked wonderful and had been really well thought out. Watching him move along the many steps that I hadn't previously noticed, made me realise how much effort had gone into developing such a creative set design.

Richard Booth features as the talented puppeteer and we actually found it quite amazing how you could relate to a puppet and its feelings simply based upon a persons movement. The cat, dog, chicken and reindeer became completely believeable and even Riley commented that the way they moved or reacted seemed really genuine. He also mentioned that he kept forgetting that the puppeteer was there, which meant that he had become focused on the puppets instead of the person controlling them.

Katy Sobey was superb providing not only the music, but all the accompanying sound effects too. It was great to see how the noises were being created and it gave us a great insight into the different roles within the theatre. She would replicate sounds associated with Father Christmas' actions, so for example when he poured his cup of tea, a jug of water would be poured into a glass by the microphone. Riley couldn't believe how she made some of the sounds and his particular favourite was when the cooker hob was lit as he said it sounded so realistic.

Overall we had a wonderful time at Father Christmas and we felt that it was a truly beautiful production. The cast members were all extremely talented and watching the story being told on stage was simply enchanting. Packed full of live music, hints of comedy, wonderful acting and most importantly Christmas magic, it is certainly a show that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to others.

Listing Details

Event: Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Dates: Tuesday 4th December to Monday 31st December
Times: Times vary, so please visit the Waterside website for the most up to date information.
Tickets: Ticket prices vary £16.50/£14.50/£12.50
School tickets available for £10 and 1 teacher free with every 9 students booked.
Running time: 50 minutes with no interval.

*Disclaimer - We were invited to watch Father Christmas as guests of Waterside, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Lowry on the Lookout for Young Dance Talent in the North West

The Lowry has announced important dates for the diaries of the dancers of the future, with a series of free open days which will be running in May and June.

The open days held at The Lowry and other North West venues, will prepare young people to audition for an exciting training opportunity for 11-16 year olds - The Lowry Centre for Advanced Training in Dance (CAT). Attendees will take part in a practical workshop led by a professional dance artist, followed by a creative session and Q&A about the dance opportunities across the region.

The CAT is open to young dancers aged between 11 and 16 who are committed to pursuing a career in dance. The training programme has a highly successful track record, with graduates progressing to study dance at major UK conservatories including: Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, The London School of Contemporary Dance, Central School of Ballet, and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

The CAT is part of a national programme funded by the Department of Education and offers intensive pre-vocational training for young people who wish to pursue a career in dance.

As part of this funding a number of grants are available, allowing the widest possible access across the North West region.

Sally Wyatt, Centre for Advanced Training manager said, "We are looking for young people who demonstrate exceptional commitment and enthusiasm for dance. We are holding auditions this June for places on The Lowry CAT  course starting in September 2018 and we will be looking closely at the potential of each student regardless of their previous dance experience."

Open days are scheduled at various venues across the region in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, and Cumbria. The events are free to attend but places are limited and must be booked in advance - the organisers recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

Pute Chomchan, a current student on the CAT scheme said, "CAT offers amazing opportunities to work alongside professional companies when they come to The Lowry. I remember studying Alvin Ailey Dance Company in high school and the next thing I knew I was having a workshop with one of the company dancers! Thanks to the training I've received at the CAT, I have successfully gained a place at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and look forward to starting a brand new chapter of my training and continuing to pursue a professional career in dance."

Further information can be found on the NorthWestDance website:

Places for most open days can be booked through The Lowry Box Office on 0843 208 6000. All dates are listed below. For more information please visit

About The Lowry CAT

The Lowry Centre for Advanced Training Scheme is a part time, pre-vocational course, providing access to high quality training and nurturing in dance to young people who have a passion for the art form and who wish to progress toward full time training.

The scheme is funded by the Department of Education through the recognised Music and Dance Scheme, and offers intensive training opportunities with professional dance teachers, choreographers and practitioners.

Open Day & Audition Timetable

Open Days

The Lowry CAT Open Day & Cumbria Youth Dance Company Auditions - Saturday 12th May
09:30 - 13:00  - University of Cumbria, Carlisle
14:30 - 18:00 - The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
Age 11-18
Doubles up as a CAT practical workshop + auditions for Cumbria YDC.
*To be booked via

Male Dancers - Sunday 13th May
The Lowry, Salford Quays - Greater Manchester
09:30 - 13:00 (Ages 11-17)

The Lowry CAT - Sunday 13th May
The Lowry, Salford Quays - Greater Manchester
13:30 - 17:00 (Ages 11-16)

The Lowry CAT - Sunday 20th May
The Lowry, Salford Quays - Greater Manchester
09:30 - 13:00 (Ages 11-16)

The Lowry CAT - Sunday 20th May
The University of Chester, Chester
12:30 - 16:30 (Ages 11-16)

The Lowry CAT - Sunday 10th June
The Lowry, Salford Quays - Greater Manchester
09:30 - 13:00 (Ages 11-16)


Sunday 24th June, The Lowry
CAT auditions, 09:30 - 18:00

Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, but would always recommend visiting the companies own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Our Visit to Winter Wonderland at EventCity, Manchester

On Monday, we spent the evening at Winter Wonderland, which is taking place at EventCity in Manchester until the 1st January 2018. We have visited Winter Wonderland for the past three years and it has become one of our favourite events to look forward to throughout the year, as it guarantees us some great family fun together.

EventCity is well signposted, so it is very easy to find and is only a short distance from the motorway. Apart from a few short queues on the way, we had a pleasant journey there and arrived with enough time to enjoy a meal together in the Trafford Centre. We then made our way over to EventCity approximately half an hour before the start time of 7pm and had no issues with parking. The security was excellent and although a sad reflection of current times, it was very reassuring to know that you were in safe hands and that a good security protocol was being followed. In addition to being well staffed at the entrance, there was a visible security presence throughout the event, which was excellent.

Once inside all guests stayed in a large 'holding area' where everyone could gather prior to the curtains to the event opening. We were treated to live entertainment by the fabulous Chloe Rose and the Aim Sky High Dance Group, who were both well received by the audience. In this area there was access to the toilets, cloak room and also a quiet room for anyone that may have found the noise, crowd or lights a bit too much. Just after 7pm the curtains were drawn and families began to make their way through the falling snow, ready to enjoy all the attractions inside.

This is the fifth consecutive year of the event, which sees the 22,000sqm exhibition space transformed into a spectacular wonderland extravaganza, that features over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof. In addition to the rides, there are also a great selection of shows to enjoy, including Daisy & Ollie and Zippy & George from Rainbow, who add lots of magic, mayhem and comedy capers. You can also be marvelled and amazed by the daily performances of the Christmas Circus. There really is so much choice so I would recommend making a note of the time of the shows, so that you know what time to return and don't miss out.

Riley's favourite ride last year was the Flying Elephants, so he had already asked if we could go and find it first. He knows that I don't like heights so he always finds it hilarious to press the pedal which makes the elephants rise really high towards the ceiling. It's also a great place to get a good view of everything else that is on offer. The queues for most rides were literally only a couple of minutes at the most, and we were even able to walk straight on to some. All the rides are included in the price you pay for entry, which means that the ticket price actually offers fantastic value for money.

It was great that I didn't have to worry about ride prices once inside, so instead of limiting how many rides they could go on, they could literally just pick and choose as much as they wanted. There was something for everyone, ranging from slow paced toddler rides, to fast and exciting rides for thrill seekers. My older children aged 9 & 11 enjoyed being able to go on their favourites over and over again and also liked being able to go on the smaller rides with their younger brother who is 4.

Winter Wonderland operates on a session basis, that offers families four hours of fun and entertainment. I personally think this is a great idea as it prevents overcrowding and ensures that families are able to make the most of their session without the queues being too lengthy for the rides. We had a shorter session of three hours on the launch night and didn't manage to fit everything in, so I would recommend having a look on the Winter Wonderland website so you can get an idea of what rides and shows are available, in order to help you plan your visit.

Another firm favourite from last year was the Pip Ahoy beach. Riley could literally sit and play in the sand for hours and often does when we go on beach holidays, however he obviously doesn't get the chance to do this much in the winter. It was therefore lovely for him to be able to build some sandcastles with his siblings, whilst Mr F and I took advantage of the deck chairs for a sit down, around the sand pit. There were plenty of buckets and spades for all the children to play with and it also provides a somewhat quieter zone for little ones, away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger rides.

Both Ben and Emma really enjoyed the huge inflatable assault course that was on offer and went on this several times. Adjacent to this was a crazy fun house, which also provided lots of laughs and challenges as you made your way around. Ben's absolute favourite though was the rodeo bulls, where there are a row of bulls that can each seat three people. You then have to try and stay on as long as possible, whilst the bulls move and twist in an attempt to throw you off. This looked so much fun and again Ben went on this quite a few times.

Santa is also available to meet and greet children over in his grotto, along with a couple of his reindeer, which helps to make the visit even more magical. There is no gift included, but this didn't bother us at all. We also met numerous elves and fairies throughout the night, who were busy giving a friendly wave and a smile to all the children. The whole place was just full of happy families which made it a really nice atmosphere to be in.

In addition to the rides, there are plenty of food stalls and games stands. These are NOT included in the entry price and the costs vary, but of course you don't have to play on the games if you don't want to, or if you would simply like to keep your expenditure low. We tried our luck on the ball throwing game, which only cost a £1 a go. Unfortunately we didn't win, but for £1, I certainly didn't mind letting the kids have a go each.

There is a wide range of food and refreshments available for purchase, that cater for all tastes (including the very popular Yorkshire Pudding Wrap)! Alternatively, you could grab a bite to eat at the Trafford Centre like we did, if you would rather enjoy a sit down meal.

Overall we had an absolutely fantastic time. It was great to be able to have a fabulous evening together as a family and have so much fun. I feel that the entry price offers excellent value for money, which if you consider the average cost of a fairground ride now is around £3 each, you can certainly get your money's worth. There is plenty to see and do for all ages, offering lots of enjoyment for both young and old. Would we go again? Absolutely!

Listing Details

Event - Winter Wonderland Manchester
Venue - EventCity (next to Intu Trafford Centre), Phoenix Way, Off Barton Dock Road, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TB. Free Parking Available.

Ticket Prices - 
Adult £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Child (3-16) £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Family of 4 (2 ad + 2 ch or 1 ad + 3ch) £70 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee per person so total fee of £6)
OAP £15.00 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Under 3's are Free (Ticket not required).
Groups 10% discount (when booking 15+ tickets)
School rate: £9.50 per child (under 12's) with some teachers free from Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th December (morning session only).

All rides and attractions are included in the ticket price (excluding games and food stalls) and each session lasts for 4 hours.

Session Times - 

Tue 12th, Wed 13th & Thurs 14th: 10:30am-2:30pm
Fri 15th: 10:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm
Sat 16th & Sun 17th: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Mon 18th & Tue 19th: 10:30am-2:30pm
Wed 20th: 10:30am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Thurs 21st, Fri 22nd & Sat 23rd: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Tue 26th: 1pm-5pm
Wed 27th, Thurs 28th, Fri 29th & Sat 30th: 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-8:30pm
Sun 31st: 11am-3pm

Mon 1st: 1pm-5pm

To book please visit or alternatively you can make a booking by telephone on 0843 208 1842. For group bookings please call 0843 208 6003.

Disclaimer: Details can be subject to change, so I would always recommend visiting the events own website to obtain the most up to date information. We attended Winter Wonderland as guests for the purpose of writing a review of our experience.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Wizard of Oz at Stockport Plaza - Competition

Get ready to go on a magical adventure over the rainbow with Regal Entertainments and their enchanting summer pantomime production of The Wizard of Oz. The show will be heading to the Stockport Plaza from Monday 7th August to Saturday 12th August and will be sure to delight the audience with a great selection of brilliant songs and show-stopping choreography.

The show features a wonderful cast including Cheryl Fergison (Eastender's Heather Trott) as the Wicked Witch of the West. Cheryl is a multi-talented performer who has starred in many stage and film productions and is a fantastic singer and musician. She is no stranger to pantomime, having previously starred in Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast to name but a few, as well as making audiences boo and hiss with her performance as The Wicked Witch in the 2016 production of The Wizard of Oz.

Stepping into the coveted Ruby Slippers once more is the incredibly talented Charlotte Gallagher who also returns for 2017 to play Dorothy. Charlotte has a wealth of stage experience including pantomime roles at venues across the North West, including performances of Peter Pan, Snow White & Alice in Wonderland.

The Wizard of Oz is a firm family favourite which tells the story of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they embark on a wondrous adventure over the rainbow in the magical land of Oz.

Regal Entertainments' version of this classic family show includes music, dance, an hilariously funny script and dazzling costumes and sets.

Be sure to join Dorothy, Toto and all their new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion as they journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City in search of The Wizard of Oz who can make all their dreams come true.

Wizard of Oz producer, Chantelle Nolan said: "We are very excited to be bringing this production to Stockport. We had an amazing time during the run of the show in St Helens last year, audiences seemed to go mad for it with many families making return visits. We are now delighted to confirm our stellar cast and they cannot wait to entertain families of Stockport!"

Important Information

Regal Entertainments Ltd presents The Wizard of Oz

Venue: Stockport Plaza Theatre, Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP

Dates: Monday 7th August to Saturday 12th August

Times: 1pm & 5pm

Tickets: Available from £13 (Groups 20+ from £12) *subject to booking fee

Box Office: 0161 477 7779

Please visit the website for the most up to date ticket information and availability at:


We have a fabulous competition available for our readers for the chance to win a family ticket to see the show on Monday 7th August at 5pm. Please read the terms and conditions and if you would like to enter, then please do so using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win A Family Ticket to see The Wizard of Oz in Stockport

Terms & Conditions

  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket to the 5pm performance on Monday 7th August 2017 at the Stockport Plaza Theatre, Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP.
  • A family ticket is for 2 adults and 2 children or alternatively 1 adult and 3 children.
  • The winner will be required to collect their family ticket from the box office prior to the show.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • There will be no contribution towards travel.
  • Entry is open to UK residents age 18 years or older.
  • Competition closes on Monday 31st July 2017 at 12 noon and the winner shall be drawn at random on the same day and contacted via email.
  • Due to the time restrictive nature of the prize, the winner shall have 48 hours to reply to the email and confirm acceptance of their prize before another winner from the remaining eligible entrants is drawn.
  • The family ticket is valid for the 5pm performance on Monday 7th August 2017only and cannot be changed to an alternative date or time.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winners contact details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment.