Stretford Mall is now home to a pop-up play centre which gives each family its very own themed pod.
Eight pods have opened up in the cafe, each filled with plenty of toys and activities that families can book out for two hours at a time.
The Play Cafe is also serving up food from Stretford Canteen including picnic platters for children, fresh bread and cakes, pies and cheese platters.
For the parents, you can also grab a beer or gin and tonic as well as a range of locally supplied hot drinks.
The pod’s themes include Lego, messy play, role play and classic games. There’s also a nature pod, small world babe in arms and active pod.
The Play Cafe is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Haylea Osborne who is also behind Placemaker events.
Haylea said: “The Play Cafe is a concept that we have evolved and adapted numerous times to meet the requirements of the current climate.
“Our aim has always been to provide affordable family fun in an environment that is both inspiring to adults and children.
“We are proud to deliver something that is local to the Stretford area and are grateful to Bruntwood Works for their support in helping us trial something different.
“Like many people, COVID-19 has affected me personally and it hasn’t been easy to keep going when myself and my business partner are working full time…I hope us finally opening our doors will be an inspiration to others.
“We think it essential that we work with local suppliers such as Stretford Canteen, The Urban Preserver, Mancoco and Dunky spoons hot choc – keeping our business local is the least we can do to support the local economy.
“We look forward to welcoming the families of Stretford along for some good old fashioned fun!”
You can book The Play Cafe every Saturday for a two hour slot. Guests should also allow for the 30 minute gap between slots designated for cleaning.
Slots available include: 11am, 1:30pm and 4pm – you can find more info here.
All the amazing things happening at Cheshire Oaks this Christmas
From the UK’s tallest Christmas tree to breakfast with Santa, there’s tons on at Cheshire Oaks this Christmas…
The festive season is well and truly upon us and, to get us truly into the Christmas spirit, Cheshire Oaks has pulled out all the stops with a whole selection of activities and attractions.
From a magical drive-in cinema experience, a festive bauble bar and even breakfast with Santa Claus himself, the designer outlet has something for everyone this Christmas.
Here’s what’s on…
The UK’s tallest Christmas tree
Incase you hadn’t already heard, Cheshire Oaks this year boasts the UK’s tallest Christmas tree, standing at 100 feet tall and boasting 100,000 baubles and five miles of sparkling fairy lights.
The baubles, some of which are as large as footballs, are accompanied by 20,000 red bulbs to accompany the fairy lights, not only giving the tree that truly traditional festive look and feel, but putting all of our own Christmas tree efforts to shame.
Thanks to popular demand, Cheshire Oaks has brought back its iconic Winter Village, which comes complete with magical VIP Christmas huts, each of which offers festive food and drink platters for groups of up to six people.
The restaurants and cafes on site have also thrown themselves into the festive spirit with a range of new menus boasting some tasty winter warmers, such as mulled wine, steaming hot chocolates and freshly baked mince pies.
Wreath Making Workshops
These two hour wreath making session will give guests the opportunity to make their very own luxurious festive door wreath using a mix of locally sourced and seasonal foliage.
A variety of wreath making techniques and skills will be taught throughout the duration of the class, as will a personal tuition from a professional florist.
Guests will be able to enjoy an evening of ‘movie magic under the stars’ with the return of Cheshire Oaks’ popular drive-in cinema nights, with a 7pm showing of Elf kicking off the festivities on Tuesday December 7th.
The iconic family favourite Home Alone will then be shown the following evening on Wednesday December 8th at 8pm.
Breakfast with Santa
Families will be able to sit down and enjoy a magical breakfast with the main man himself and his trusty elves this at Cheshire Oaks’ resident restaurant Carluccio’s.
And better yet, children eat for free when two adult breakfasts are ordered from the main breakfast menu.
The famed Bauble Bar has made its glorious comeback this year, and is armed with the usual festive tipples.
Guests will also receive a complimentary personalised bauble when spending over £200 – the perfect addition to your Christmas tree.
For more information and to make a booking, head over to the Cheshire Oaks website.
£2.5bn ‘UK Disneyland’ will go ahead next year, theme park boss confirms
It will be the biggest theme park investment in Europe since Disneyland Paris
The ambitious theme park billed as the ‘UK Disneyland’ will be going ahead next year, the project’s boss has confirmed.
The huge theme park was originally announced in 2012, with hopes to be open to the public in 2019. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, disagreements by locals and wildlife protection laws, the opening date has been repeatedly pushed back.
But now, London Resort boss Py Gerbeau has confirmed that works will indeed be starting at the park next year, with plans to open by 2024.
Gerbeau said, as per Kent Online: “We remain committed to providing the examining authority with the new and updated documents as previously promised.
“We can also confirm, as previously indicated that we will be addressing the full range of issues in relation to time-dependant information being sufficiently current and will, as a matter of normal process in any examination, be supplementing our reports with additional information.”
He added that there will be no ‘material changes’ to the bid for the theme park to be built with ‘subtle’ design changes to protect the lands near the resort.
The 535-acre site, which will be located between Gravesend and Dartford just outside of London, will be the biggest brand new theme park investment in Europe since Disneyland Paris in 1992.
The theme park is reportedly working with BBC Studios, ITV and Paramount to build six different themed lands along with a water park, three hotels and a shopping district.
This includes ‘The Studios’, a warehouse district with blockbuster movie features, fairytale land ‘The Woods’ and King Arthur-themed ‘The Kingdom’. There will also be a futuristic land and a Jungle-themed land, as well as an area dedicated to dinosaurs and pre-historic creatures.
Reports also suggest there will be two rollercoasters at the park, one of which will be the fastest in Europe reaching speeds in excess of 70mph.
Visit the London Resort website for more information.
A Christmas Grotto with immersive performances from Santa and his elves is coming to Manchester
Mancunia is the Christmas fairy tale of our dreams…
Ducie Street Warehouse will be transforming into Mancunia, a magical fairy tale land complete with immersive performances from Santa and his posse of elves.
Following its overwhelming success last year, The NQ Grotto will be making its grand return to give you and your family the perfect festive escape this Christmas with three theatre performances scheduled across the month.
The grotto will give guests the opportunity to dance with the Ice Princess, have a singalong with Mrs Claus, enjoy story time with the Snow Queen, fun time with the brother and sister elves and of course, a chance to meet Santa himself.
The shows are perfect for the whole family, and guests can even grab comfortable floor cushions to sit together and truly immerse themselves in the world of Christmas.
Alongside the Grotto experience, there will also be food stalls in the atrium available with festive food and drink offerings courtesy of Ducie Street Warehouse.
The NQ Grotto will be hosting sixty-minute sessions across three dates this month; Saturday December 11th, Saturday December 18th and Sunday December 19th, all at 10am, 11:45am, 1:30pm, 3:14pm and 5pm.
Tickets are £12 for adults, £10 for children and free for those under the age of two.
Get your tickets here.