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Plans for new £300m leisure complex in Blackpool with three theme parks given go ahead

Blackpool Pleasure Beach bosses have opposed the plans, saying they will ‘threaten the existence’ of the park

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Nikal Ltd

An ambitious £300m leisure complex plan for Blackpool Central has this week been given the go-ahead by the council. 

According to the BBC, councillors have backed plans to create a heritage quarter on Central Drive in Blackpool including three indoor theme parks, an artisan food hall, boutique holiday apartments and an outdoor entertainment space.

Other plans include converting the Grade II-listed former King Edward VII Cinema into a food hall with outdoor dining areas, refurbishing the locally-listed King Edward VII pub and turning the King Edward VII apartment building into a hotel.

Nikal Ltd

A 1,306 space seven-storey car park – which will be the first part of the scheme completed by developers Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment – has also been approved. 

Richard Fee, chief executive of Nikal, said on the ambitious project: “This is a key moment for levelling up Blackpool’s visitor economy post Covid. Blackpool Central will help transform and future-proof the town’s tourism offer, and last night’s approval is an important step forward in our journey.”

However, not everyone is too keen on the idea of more theme parks along Blackpool’s promenade; Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool’s massively popular sea-front theme park, has objected to the plans, saying three new theme parks will ‘undermine’ its tourism offer.

Nick Laister, representing the park, said there would be nothing to stop the developers installing mechanical rides rather than delivering a unique new experience for Blackpool visitors.

He said: “You are being asked to approve another theme park in Blackpool which will directly undermine Blackpool Pleasure Beach which is a major resort core attraction.”

However, committee chairman Councillor David Owen said he doesn’t believe Blackpool Central would ‘be any significant competition’ to the Pleasure Beach, saying, as per the Blackpool Gazette: “I honestly think the Pleasure Beach has always been the major attraction in Blackpool. It always has been since it started, it has always replenished itself.”

The leisure complex is predicted to be fully complete in ten years time, with work starting next year in 2022.

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Here’s how Manchester is celebrating Chinese New Year

Manchester will be welcoming the Year of the Tiger in style…

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@chinesenewyearmcr / Instagram

The Chinese New Year is nearly upon us, and Manchester has a whole week of celebrations planned to mark the occasion.

Chinese New Year – also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival – will fall on Tuesday February 1st this year, starting the year of the Tiger.

According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in a year of the Tiger are predicted to be brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident. However, they will also experience their zodiac birth sign year, benmingnian, in 2022, which is considered bad luck. 

Chinese New Year Manchester

But let’s not worry about that because Manchester has a ton of exciting events and activities lined up to welcome in the Year of the Tiger.

While the annual parade won’t be going ahead due to Covid restrictions, there will be the grand unveiling of a huge tiger art sculpture at St Ann’s Square on February 1st.

Commissioned by Manchester BID, the installation will take on the form of a traditional tiger from wood and recycled corrugated plastic.

While the tiger is a symbol of power, bravery and force in Chinese culture, the origami-esque sculpture will give the illusion of being weak and easily broken when, in fact, it will remain strong and tall for the city to see.

Chinese New Year Manchester

The tiger’s inner structure will also match the stripes and markings of a real-life tiger, which will cast stunning shadows at night with the help from surrounding lights.

And, on February 6th, Manchester’s Chinatown will come to life to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a whole host of family-friendly activities including lion dancing, Chinese dancers, street food stalls and Chinese arts and crafts events.

Thousands of traditional red lanterns will gradually adorn Chinatown and the rest of the city’s streets from today, too. 

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated from February 1st – February 6th. Make sure to follow Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations Instagram page for news and updates.

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A new £1m immersive Peter Rabbit attraction is coming to Blackpool’s seafront

This will make for an exceptionally wholesome day out with the little ‘uns

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Merlin Entertainment

A new £1m attraction based on the beloved Peter Rabbit is set to open on Blackpool’s seafront next month. 

‘Peter Rabbit Explore and Play’, which has been eighteen months in the making, will be opening next door to Madame Tussauds and will join Merlin’s six other attractions, including The Blackpool Tower and Sea Life Blackpool.

In what will be Merlin’s first stand-alone visitor attraction experience based on the cartoon, visitors will be able to fully immerse themselves in the world of Peter Rabbit and ’embark on an adventure across five fluffy-tailed themed zones’.

Merlin Entertainment

Guests will also be able to meet, greet and ‘high-paw’ Peter the Rabbit himself when the attraction opens in February.

Merlin said on the new opening: “Guests will need to think like a rabbit, move like a rabbit and deploy rabbit-like senses with a whole burrow-full of creativity in order to complete the challenges and earn badges – seeing if they have the skills to join the secret treehouse club.”

The regional director Kate Shane added: “We are thrilled to be welcoming such an icon to Blackpool.

“Peter Rabbit is a well-loved household name for young and old and is globally renowned. We are delighted that this new attraction concept will be created here in Blackpool first.

Merlin Entertainment

“We firmly support Blackpool’s overall ambition to be the UK’s number one family seaside resort and with such a family-favourite brand joining our Blackpool Cluster of attractions we can’t wait to ‘hop’ to it and get the experience open.”

An exact opening date is yet to be announced, though it has been confirmed for February 2022.

For news and updates, make sure to follow the official Peter Rabbit: Explore and Play Blackpool Facebook page here.

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A huge sushi festival is coming to Manchester this spring

Calling all sushi fanatics!

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@deram31 / Unsplash & @louishansel / Unsplash

A festival dedicated entirely to the wonderful world of sushi is coming to Manchester this year.

Whether you love a good plate of makizushi, if you’re more of a Nigiri person, or your go-to is a temaki, this event is bound to your cup of tea.

Pencilled in for April 21st – 23rd 2022 at Audacious Church on Trinity Way, the Manchester Sushi Festival will welcome some of the city’s best sushi parlours and chefs, who will give guests the opportunity to sample everything the Japanese cuisine has to offer.

@louishansel / Unsplash

Sushi lovers will be able to sample a whole array of unusual delicacies, such as ‘designer sushi’ and ‘super sushi’ – if you know, you know. 

There will also be a selection of other Japanese specialties on offer, including ramen and tempura.

And vegans and veggies – fear not! There will be plenty of plant-based options for guests to enjoy, too. 

As well as the vast selection of sushi vendors to choose from, there will also be workshops hosted by Food Sorcery that will teach guests how to make their very own sushi from home – though it is worth noting that the workshops run every hour and are on a strictly first come first served basis.

@thomasmarban / Unsplash

There will also be Japanese inspired art classes, fashion pop ups, live music and DJs – as well as plenty of Japanese beer to hand, too. 

The festival will run for four hours each day between the hours of 3pm and 7pm.

For more information and to buy tickets, which are priced at an outrageously reasonable price of £20pp, by the way, click here.

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