Lightopia festival is back for 2020 and tickets are now on general sale!
The award-winning lantern and light spectacular, Lightopia, made its European debut in Manchester last year.
The event features a festival of immersive lights, lanterns and installations. This year there will be a specially curated illuminated trail that ensures everyone can keep a safe distance.
Guests are ensured they will feel safe this year with wider footpaths, three entry points to reduce queuing and direct access to two car parks.
The festival will be lighting up Heaton Park this winter and throughout the festive season.
There will be a brand new Christmas showcase, which uses the Grade I-listed Heaton Hall as its sparkling backdrop, and will feature Santa’s sleigh and glistening snowflakes.
The showcase is complete with a giant interactive walking piano, meaning you and the kids can make up your own festive soundtrack.
There will also be the addition of a new Astronomy display which features a beautiful moon installation and a robotically controlled pad, which when stepped on creates an interactive Zodiac Sign installation.
There will also be an area dedicated to the Manchester Skyline, and an immersive Musical City encouraging visitors to dance their way through the lights.
This year’s festival will see the return of the much-loved Animals attraction and the Woodland Fairytale area.
There will also be the Lakeside water show, which is a visual masterpiece created by state-of-the-art projection.
Ian Xiang, Creative Director of Lightopia, says: “We are excited to bring Lightopia back to Manchester, and have once again created a world in which light, sculpture and art combine with traditional, Chinese lantern-making techniques to create an immersive experience, full of light and stories.
“We want our guests to become part of the Lightopia story, helping to create new forms of art as they interact and engage with the luminescent sculptures that trail through Heaton Park.”
Lightopia opens November 20th and runs until January 3rd, and will be open Wednesday-Sunday (it’ll also open Mondays and Tuesdays in school holidays).
Kids under three go free and child tickets are priced at £13, adults at £20 and family tickets are available for £60.
Tickets are on sale now – and there’s a special limited run of 20% off tickets available at the moment.
Christmas panto Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat is coming to Manchester’s iconic Contact Theatre
Manchester’s ‘proper panto’ is back for the first time in four years…
In its first Christmas in four years, Manchester’s historic Contact Theatre will be hosting a one-of-a-kind rendition of Dick Whittington and His Amazing Cat.
After reopening its doors back in September following a huge £6m building transformation, the iconic Contact Theatre boasts a whole host of exciting new facilities, such as new and improved performance spaces, a purpose-built recording studio for young people’s music projects, new offices for artists and cultural organisations to hire, a new and improved public bar and free work and social spaces.
And, of course, the historic theatre has reopened with a whole host of exciting and contemporary performances on the bill, including the festive Panto residency, Eight-Freestyle’s take on the classic Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat.
This upbeat and modern production of the classic rags-to-riches story tells the tale of young Dick Whittington and his loyal cat Scratch on their exciting quest for fame, fortune, and gold-lined London streets that simply do not exist (sorry, Dick).
Can Dick defeat evil King Rat and his rat hordes? Can he win the love of the beautiful Alice Fitzwarren? Can he survive shipwrecks, magic, pirates, ghosts, sharks and Freda the Cook’s terrible pies? These will be just a few of the many adventures experienced throughout this dynamic take on the traditional pantomime.
The show comes courtesy of local production company Eight-Freestyle, and prides itself on being the city’s ‘proper local panto’ with no ‘wooden reality-TV stars’.
Showings of Contact Theatre’s Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat will begin this Saturday, December 11th, and will run all the way through the festive period until Monday, January 3rd.
There will be a British Sign Language (BSL) performance on Wednesday December 29th at 12pm by interpreter Kate Labno as well as a socially distanced performance on Wednesday December 22nd at 7pm.
For tickets and more information, head over to the Contact Theatre website.
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.