BIG Christmas news: Lightopia is coming back to Manchester, and it’s going to be bigger and brighter than ever before.
Okay, I’m well aware that it’s only September and we still have at least a couple of days of sunshine left to enjoy… But, after last year’s dismal, socially-distanced festive period I have decided that it is never too early for Christmas announcements.
For the last two years, Manchester’s Heaton Park has been graced with Lightopia, a festival of immersive lights, lanterns and mesmerising installations and, low and behold, it’s coming back for its third event.
The never-before-seen illuminated trail will feature magical and multi-sensory interactive lights, lanterns and installations, illustrating a story of an imaginative and fantasy festive world.
Lightopia 2021 will feature a fantastical ‘Magic Circus’ display, complete with illusional installations and interactive entertainment.
There will also be the ‘Fantasy Forest’, an area home to the most extraordinary and mystical animals to uncover. Guests will be able to walk through the enchanted forest and meet mythical creatures hidden in the woodland, including a nine tailed fox and unicorns.
Other attractions will include the ‘Fantasy Universe’ with a supernova display and bioluminescence plants; ‘Dragon’s Land’ featuring two huge 40m dragons and fabled fairies; ‘Candy Land’, a sweet-inspired illuminated dreamland; ‘Fantasy Bees’, the trademark Manchester’s bee brought to life in a fantasy world; and the ‘Wonders of the World’.
As for the finer details – Lightopia will be open to the public from November 18th 2021 until January 3rd 2022. The event will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during school holidays, as well as Christmas Day.
To stay posted with any updates, make sure to follow Lightopia Festival on Instagram.
To get your own tickets, visit the Lightopia Festival website here.
Kids can become pilots at Manchester Airport’s immersive Flight Academy
Kids will be able to to sit in the cockpit and even ‘take control’ of the flight deck
Manchester Airport will be giving children a taste of what life as a pilot is like with the return of its immersive Flight Academy.
The unique programme, which has been popular among families for several years, is now accepting bookings for a number of dates across the February half-term, with ninety minute-long sessions been split into two age groups – one for children aged four to seven years and another for those aged eight to twelve.
In these sessions, children will be able to learn about all the different jobs that help to keep Manchester Airport running and in action throughout the year.
The first part of the session takes place aboard a retired DC10 airliner, where youngsters will get the chance to sit in the cockpit, learn about roles such as cabin crew and ground operators, and even ‘take control’ of the flight deck.
Then, the budding pilots can head outside to take a look at Manchester Airport’s runways, watch a variety of aircraft as they take off and land, and witness some of the jobs they’ve learned about in action.
Once the session has ended, visiting families will be able to enjoy the Runway Visitor Park’s acclaimed facilities, which includes stunning views over the airfield.
Sights to see include watching aircraft such as the giant A380 coming and going at close quarters, taking in a tour of the Park’s retired airliners including the iconic Concorde, and making use of a sizeable play area and on-site café. Attractions cater to everyone from casual visitors to aviation enthusiasts.
Robert Hassard, Runway Visitor Park Manager, said: “The Flight Academy programme has been running for many years now and is back by popular demand this February half-term.
“This is a unique family experience that has inspired many youngsters to consider a career in aviation. The RVP offers a great value day out for visitors of all ages.”
Also on the bill at the airport during the half-term is the ‘Midweek Madness’ short tours of the famous Concorde; this twenty minute-long tour will allow visitors to sit where royalty and celebrities once sat, whilst also discovering the history of the innovative aircraft. These tours will be available on Wednesday February 16th and Thursday February 24th.
Flight Academy tickets for one adult and one child cost just £10, with parking available to those taking part for the full day at the reduced rate of £5.
The Flight Academy dates are as follows:
- Wednesday February 16th
- Friday February 18th
- Sunday February 20th
- Wednesday February 23rd
- Thursday February 24th
- Friday February 25th
For more information and get booked in, visit the Runway Visitor Park website.
A huge cheese and wine crawl is happening across Manchester
Pub crawls are out, cheese crawls are in
While the humble pub crawl may be one of the UK’s most beloved and sacred traditions, a new type of day-time activity has rolled into town…
The cheese crawl.
It’s exactly what it sounds like; the finest cheeses Manchester has to offer are being wrapped up in a massive two-hour-long crawl across the city.
The festivities kick off at the Richard Cobden Statue on St Anns Square, where avid ‘cheeseaholics’ will be treated to a cheesy quiz and a glass of wine.
Then, they’ll be on their way to to some of Manchester’s most prestigious cheese establishments, where they can also learn all the secrets of fine cheese making.
Cheese crawlers will also be introduced to some of the city’s best cheese mongers, as well as a selection of speciality shops you just ‘camembert’ to stay away from… Sorry.
Manchester’s cheese crawl has had glowing reviews from satisfied cheese lovers so far, with one person noting the experience as “a really nice way to spend a couple of hours… Friendly and fun guide with lots of cheese knowledge and jokes.”
Another person wrote: “Really fun and interesting, would recommend this to anyone who loves cheese.”
If you’re interested in taking part on the cheesiest pub crawl of your life, tickets are £25pp and include a fromage amount of cheese samples – some of which might not be suitable for vegetarians – bread, crackers and wine.
You’ll have a choice between 12.00pm or 3.00pm for start times, and the event is running most weekends until the end of the year.
For tickets and more information, click here.
New images show plans for Manchester’s ‘first city centre park’ featuring see-through slide over River Medlock
Mayfield Play Park will feature eight slides, elevated rope bridges and a number of crawl tunnels
Dazzling new images have revealed the vision for Manchester’s ‘first city centre public park’ currently under construction at Mayfield.
The images, shared with the Manchester Evening News by developer The Mayfield Partnership, show how the park’s unique design will be formed around six dramatic towers, all of which will reach ten metres in height and will be shaped like chimneys in tribute to Manchester’s industrial past.
The park, named ‘Mayfield Play Yard’, will cater to children of all ages and abilities with crawl tunnels, elevated rope bridges, eight slides and wheelchair accessible play equipment, and will span more than 6.5-acres in size, making it the largest public playground in the city.
There will also be an 18m-long see-through slide crossing over the newly-restored River Medlock, featuring clear polycarbonate windows.
Mayfield Play Park comes as part of the £1.4billion regeneration project at Mayfield, which includes the construction of thousands of new homes, offices and leisure attractions. The project has been brought to life by The Mayfield Partnership, a public private joint venture partnership between LCR, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and regeneration specialist U+I.
A statement on the Mayfield website reads: “Together, we have a vision for a bustling, buzzing, inclusive world-class urban neighbourhood that’s like nowhere else in the city. We want to create an area with soul that’s a magnet for families, businesses and visitors.
“The long-term plan for Mayfield is to create an iconic, £1bn mixed-use community over the next 10 years, including a 6.5-acre public park, outstanding office space, and unique shopping and leisure experiences.
“Rest assured, as partners we’ve got the skills, experience, intelligence, imagination and audacity to turn the Mayfield vision into a brilliant reality that everyone in Manchester can be proud of.”
Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig added: “Mayfield is one of the key developments creating new opportunities, and crucially significant new public green space for Manchester people to enjoy, in the coming years. The opening of the new park later this year will be a big moment.
“It’s incredibly well-connected, close to Piccadilly Station and will help enhance links with Ardwick, Ancoats and New Islington.
“It’s another vibrant symbol of ongoing confidence in the city’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic and I’m glad we’ve had the opportunity to showcase it to a senior government figure.”
Mayfield Play Park is set for completion this autumn. For more information and updates, visit the Mayfield website.