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Manchester is getting the UK’s biggest outdoor heated winter market this Christmas

Christmas is saved!

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Escape to Freight Island

The sad but inevitable news that the Manchester Christmas Markets have officially been cancelled was announced today.

While some people will be absolutely gutted about this, fear not, there is still some hope for the festive season in Manchester this year.

Escape To Freight Island has announced the next stage of its evolution at Depot Mayfield this week, revealing that the new Winter Island markets will join The Ticket Hall.

You can expect family-friendly enchantment and festive food, drink and entertainment this Christmas, when Winter Island opens its doors on Thursday November 12th.

Escape to Freight Island

When it opens, Winter Island will become the UK’s largest fully outdoor, heated winter market, with a 45ft Christmas tree and a massive 1500sqft garden tent full of festive traders and stalls to get you in the Christmas spirit.

The likes of Great North Pie, a bratwurst grill, traditional hog roast, a mulled wine and hot cider hut, local chocolatier and artisanal cheese stall will be in attendance, to keep you fed and watered.

This is just some of what you can expect at Winter Island:

  • Traditional Hog Roast
  • A Mulled Wine and Hot Cider Hut
  • A Local Chocolatier
  • An Artisan Cheese Stall
  • Winter Ice Curling Rink
  • Hot Chip and Alfos
  • Just The Tonic Comedy Nights
  • A Festival No.6 Take Over
  • A Big Brass Band
  • Disney Singalong
  • A Stunning Installation Feature By Lightopia
  • A Huge 45ft Christmas Tree

Escape to Freight Island recently confirmed the first part of its new development over at Depot Mayfield, following a hugely successful launch and summer, revealing The Ticket Hall – which opens on October 30th and will see the venue double in capacity.

This next chapter at Platform 15 will see a whole host of new food vendors arrive at the venue, taking over the industrial indoor area, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy top scran from some of your favourite local eateries down at Freight Island.

Escape to Freight Island

Taking over the original structure within Depot Mayfield, there will be a fully heated area with table seating, a wine shop, bars, a bike cloakroom, as well as a new stage and top entertainment lineup.

Joining the amazing Baratxuri, Voodoo Rays, Patty Queen and Madre, there will be some of Manchester’s favourite food and drink vendors, including:

  • Sugo Pasta Kitchen – The famous pasta restaurant based in Ancoats bringing stunning Italian food will be setting up shop.
  • Mi & Pho – An award-winning family-run restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese dishes.
  • Plant Grill – From Dan Hope of Fire Bird Hope and Krum fame, Plant Grill will be a vegan offering of modern cuisine.
  • El Boleto – A San Sebastian-style Deli serving up delicious small plates and freshest
    produce to enjoy at home or on-site.
  • The Jane Eyre – Classic drinks with a twist.

There will also be two taprooms in The Ticket Hall from Camden Town and Pomona, alongside Forever Changes – an independent wine shop.

The site will continue to operate under the world leading ‘Safe + Social Manifesto’, meaning Escape to Freight Island is committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone.

This means it’s: “A space where you are able to socialise safely with your party, maintaining social distance from others and remaining alert to the risks of coronavirus, while being part of the overall urban festival atmosphere of Freight Island”.

You can get booked in for the Ticket Hall and Winter Island here.

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What's On

A sausage dog cafe with hundreds of cute dachshund puppies is coming to Manchester

How cute!

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Pup Up Cafe

An adorable sausage dog ‘pup-up’ cafe is returning to Manchester city centre due to popular demand.

The cafe is especially for dachshund puppies and will invite hundreds of the tiny cuties to get together and have a ‘pawty’ in Parsonage Gardens, Piccadilly, on May 14th. The little fellas and lasses can come along with their owners and enjoy free ‘puppuccinos’ and unlimited dog treats throughout the session.

Photographers will also be on hand to capture the cute moments whilst your pet pooch mingles with —around 50 — other fur babies. The photos and video will be available on the event’s social media pages with competitions going on throughout the sessions. 

Pup Up Cafe

As well as all that, the room will be filled with ball-pits, tunnels, toys and other fun things for the pint-sized pets to enjoy — with dachshund related trade stands on site for you to buy goodies for your little angel.

The Facebook event reads: “Get ready for a super special day with all of the usual Pup-Up Cafe fun, plus some extra photo ops for ’23! 

“We have the whole of the amazing Revolution Parsonage Gardens venue all to ourselves for pups to mingle in a safe, secure space! Better be quick with tickets on this one as Manchester is always a sell out event!”

Pup Up Cafe

The space will be safe and securely staffed so the doggos can enjoy some ‘off lead time’. The event will be taking place at Manchester’s Revolution at Parsonage Gardens on Sunday May 14th.

Tickets cost £9.50 for sausage dog owners, and £15 for those who simply want to mingle with a load of long boys for an hour or so. Dogs and children under the age of eight get to party for free.

Space is available on a first come first served basis – get booked in here.

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What's On

Elmer the elephant art trail coming to Blackpool with 30 sculptures to find

‘Elmer was yellow and orange and red and pink and purple and blue and green and black and white’

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Wild in Art

Blackpool is to play host to an Elmer the Patchwork Elephant art trail, inspired by author David McKee’s popular children’s book character.

The epic trail, happening next spring, will see 30 patchwork elephant sculptures as part an event from Wild in Art. The elephant sculptures are expected to attract thousands of visitors in a bid to raise funds to support a children’s hospice

Each large sculpture will be uniquely decorated by established and up and coming artists, creating a parade through the northern seaside town that will be enjoyed by visitors and locals for its eight-week stay.

A herd of smaller Elmers will accompany the trail, decorated by local children and young people through schools and youth organisations. The smaller elephant sculptures will be displayed inside some of the town’s tourist, cultural and leisure locations.

Brian House

Brian House — the Fylde coast’s only children’s hospice — has announced Blackpool’s first major public art trail in partnership with Wild in Art and Andersen Press. They’ll be sponsored by businesses and organisations and be placed around key landmarks, streets, and open spaces across Blackpool, with visitors encouraged to visit as many as possible.

After the trail, the sculptures will go up for auction to raise vital funds to support Brian House’s specialist care to patients and their families. The Elmer trail arrives for spring 2024 — but there’s already a lot of excitement about the anticipated event.

Much-loved by children across the world, Elmer books have sold more than 10 million and been translated into more than 50 languages since the elephant’s first appearance in 1989. Linzi Warburton, head of fundraising at Brian House, said: “We have kept this a secret for a long time and now we are so excited to share this news with everyone.

Wild in Art

“Elmer is a much-loved character and represents kindness, differences, acceptance, and friendship. There’s no other beloved character like him which celebrates the differences that make our children so very special.

“Elmer’s Big Blackpool Parade is the largest event we have ever organised, and we are delighted to be partnering with Wild in Art and Andersen Press with their expertise and advice.

“We hope people from Blackpool and beyond are as excited as we are and join us in celebrating this incredible character and how he represents the children we are privileged to care for. Not only will this art trail do great things for our community, but it will raise vital funds and awareness for our incredible children’s hospice which is a lifeline for local families.”

Wild in Art

Charlie Langhorne, managing director and co-founder of Wild in Art, said: “Elmer will bring colour and creativity to Blackpool next year and we are thrilled to be teaming up with Brian House and Andersen Press on this exciting art trail.

“Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area and we hope that, through the trail, we can inspire businesses, the creative sector and the wider community to come together to create something very special which will have significant impact.”

Paul Black, PR and brand director at Andersen Press, said: “Everyone at Andersen Press is delighted to be working with Brian House and Wild in Art to bring Elmer to the seaside. These events are hugely special, community-driven spectaculars which can bring people together with something fun and engaging for everyone.

“I look forward to seeing the creativity of Blackpool come to life with the help of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant next year.”

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The Black Friar hosting HUGE Easter egg hunt to raise money for kid’s cancer charity

This looks eggcellent!

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Manchester's Finest Group & The Black Friar

The Black Friar is hosting an Easter ‘Eggstravaganza’ family-fun day with plenty of child friendly activities and a spring menu for all to enjoy.

The Black Friar pub in Salford will be holding an Easter ‘Eggstravaganza’ family-fun day next month in their award-winning spring garden.

The jam-packed, fun-filled day will take place on Saturday April 8th between 10am and 2pm, with two time slots available to book at the historic landmark, located on the corner of Blackfriars Road.

The day will be in support of Kidscan, a local children’s cancer research charity, also based in Salford. Kidscan invests in research dedicated to either improving existing treatments for childhood cancers, developing new drug delivery systems, or finding the next generation of targeted treatments. 

The Black Friar

The Black Friar wrote: “We’re extremely grateful and excited to be working with this wonderful charity – we hope your support will aid and raise more awareness of their work.”

The event will include a chocolate Easter egg hunt, kids’ DJ, charity tombola, bubble blowing, arts and crafts table, face painting and more, all aimed to keep your little ones entertained while you enjoy the (hopefully) sunny weather in the Black Friar’s lovely spring garden. 

The outdoor kitchen and bar will be open serving freshly made flatbreads, breakfast rolls, juices and coffee as well as alcoholic beverages — in case you feel like treating yourself to a little tipple over the long weekend.

The Black Friar

Bookings are also available for lunch if you want to make a day of it and enjoy the spring a la carte menu.

Dishes on the seasonal menu will include crispy pork belly with pineapple, slaw and commit fat chips,  braised octopus, black eyed bean and chorizo feijoada and pimiento, and spinach and seitan cannelloni with salsa verde, and a pine nut, lemon and herb crumb – plus its famous pies.

There’s also a ‘little tuckers’ kids’ menu with favourites like mac and cheese, chipolatas, nachos and chocolatey desserts. The Black Friar wrote: “Bring your bunnies down for a hopping good time at our jam-packed family-fun day!”

Book your tickets here.

Date: Saturday 8 April

Venue: The Black Friar Salford

Times: Either 10am-12pm or 12pm-2pm

Price: £3 adults, £2 kids

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