The UK’s biggest heated winter festival with a magical rooftop ice rink is set to return to Manchester for the festive season.
Throughout November and December, Escape to Freight Island will be transformed into Winter Island, a magical winter wonderland featuring a Christmas tree forest, festive traders and pop-up markets, as well as curated Christmas workshops and the very best entertainment the city has to offer.
Freight Island’s beloved vendors will be on hand across the festival to serve up a selection of tasty plates, including award-winning burgers from Burgerism, roasted meat from Carnival, epic slices from Voodoo Ray’s, and Michelin star kebabs from One Star Döner Bar.
There will also be additional offers from some of Manchester’s most beloved restaurants, including Northern Soul, the Great North Pie Co, and chocolatiers Cocoa Cabana.
On the drinks front, there will be a Mulled Wine Barrell Bar serving all the classic festive beverages, alongside a special Vimto mulled wine.
An Après Bar from Grey Goose will also be available for guests to enjoy, plus a brand-new pub-inspired Freight Tap Room serving draft and craft beers.
And in true Escape to Freight Island fashion, guests will be able to enjoy exclusive entertainment and programming, from DJs to live performances and everything in between
Live performances will see spectacular rosters from Massaoke, Hip Hop Karaoke, The House and Garage Orchestra, AMC Gospel Choir, The Incredible 11 and Finesse.
Over in the outdoor winter market will be Gra-Design, who specialises in handcrafted and minimalistic contemporary homewares and ceramics. There will also be MissPrint for exceptional stationary, gift wraps and cards, Rare Finds Flea Market for vintage and handmade pieces and Zara Cakes for tasty treats.
And for those who want to get creative and create their own masterpieces, Winter Island has teamed up with various workshop organisers including Wonderhaus for craft jewellery, Cork and Canvas for painting workshops and Cork and Clay for art classes.
Families will be able to enjoy a series of fun activities in the Family Zone, which will host the likes of Santa’s Grotto, pop up pantomimes, cinema club and more, as well as hosted events with Teach Rex, Our Kids Social, Circus House.
Winter Island will open on Saturday November 12th, and will operate from Wednesdays to Sundays until Wednesday December 7th. It will then be open seven days a week from then until Friday December 30th.
Opening hours are 4pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 1am Friday, 12pm to 1am Saturday, 12pm to 10pm Sunday.
While walk-ins will be available, bookings are recommended to secure preferred dates and times for a table. Get booked here.
James announce 40th anniversary tour with homecoming gig at Co-op Live
Sit down, we’ve got something to tell you… Co-op Live has announced the artist James will be heading to the huge new music-first arena during its epic opening season next year.
James will be heading to the stage at the £365 million venue as part of their 40th anniversary UK arena tour.
Performing live for their hometown, the ‘Sit Down’ hitmakers will play in Manchester on Friday, June 14th 2024.
James will be joined by popular UK band Razorlight, who’ll be sure to get guests excited for a night of great music and nostalgia for all to enjoy.
The exciting news coincides with the release of James’ 17th studio album in April 2024, the first single of which will be announced in January – with further details to follow soon.
One of Britain’s most enduring success stories, James have released 16 studio albums, selling over 25 million copies with their recent run of Top 5 albums proving to be a golden era for the band.
All The Colours Of You released in 2021 was their most critically acclaimed in years, preceded by Living in Extraordinary Times and Girl at the End of the World which narrowly missed out on the top spot in 2016 to Adele.
Iconic Manchester band James have now entered into a golden era, and will continue to do so in 2024 and for many more years to come.
Band members; Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, Adrian Oxaal, David Baynton-Power, Mark Hunter, Andy Diagram, Chloe Alper, Deborah Knox-Hewson, are all looking forward to coming to the brand-new Co-op Live to perform for fans next year.
Singer Tim Booth says: “Deeply proud to announce that we are touring next year to coincide with the release of a rather wonderful new album that we are mixing this week.
“The new songs sound belting, and will fit this arena tour. Really looking forward to celebrating with you. Expect a mixture of the expected and unexpected – just like life. Nothing but love”.
Jim Glennie, says: “We are delighted to announce our 2024 Arena Tour, supported by the wonderful ‘Razorlight’. Come and share a night of biggies, rarities and a sizeable chunk of our exciting, next NEW album! See you there folks. With love, Jim from James”.
Co-op members will gain first-in-line access to tickets to see James at Co-op Live in Manchester through a designated presale from 9.30am on October 4th, 2023. General sale will then go live from 9.30am on Friday, October 6th.
Download the Co-op App now to become a member and receive some fantastic and exclusive benefits.
To become a member and enjoy access to presale tickets, click HERE.
Sample the world’s ‘most unusual’ wines and spirits at special tasting event
Sounds like my kind of ‘spirit journey’
Tipples invites you to grab a glass and sip away on a variety of wines and spirits at its celebratory event in Manchester.
Tipples are hosting a celebration of the ‘world of drinks’ at Albert Hall on Saturday, November 4th.
The winter showcase will see a wide variety of the ‘most unusual’ and ‘interesting’ wines and spirits across the globe, as well as being the perfect opportunity to purchase Christmas presents for loved ones in the run up to the big day.
The event will be split into two sessions, kicking off at 12.00pm and 5.00pm, featuring some of the newest wines and spirits, along with some of Tipples’ long-time favourites.
Upon arrival guests will be given a tasting glass, a bottle of water, and a floorplan as they go on a ‘spirit journey’.
They can then make their way around the space and approach any of the stands they like the look of and ask for a sample. It will be a great opportunity to learn a little more about the brands, and the brand reps will take care of the rest.
Guests will join the owners of Tipples, Greg and Tom, at their very first showcase to explore their range of some of the finest sips from over 40 brands covering over 300 products from here, there and everywhere.
Local Manchester based brands will also feature at the event including the likes of Manchester Gin and Pod Pea vodka.
And with all that sipping, guests are likely to get a little peckish. You’ll be delighted to know that a hot dog stand provided by Albert’s Schloss will be available for anyone who gets the munchies.
Bottles of fine wines and spirits will be available to purchase at the event, and will make an excellent Christmas present for the wine or spirit connoisseurs in your life.
Tipples is an independent city centre spirits shop and gin specialist stocking a wide range of spirits and liqueurs, including over 75 gins, which they pride themselves on.
They have a wide range of suppliers to ensure that their selection is as broad and comprehensive as possible, with over 500 products for customers to choose from.
Tickets for Tipples of Manchester’s ‘world of drinks’ showcase are £27.07. To find out more or purchase tickets, click HERE.
Chester Zoo launches new ‘mystical’ Halloween trail with ‘enchanted river boat ride’
Mind the hanging bats!
Chester Zoo has announced it is launching a new ‘mystical’ Halloween trail which features an ‘enchanted river boat ride’, just in time for October half term.
Luna’s Legendary Creature Halloween Trail will run throughout the whole of October, including half term and Halloween.
Event organisers say the ‘spellbinding route will see visitors encounter five magical species’ such as the majestic crowned pigeon, the super agile Sulawesi macaque and the strong Sunda gharial crocodile.
The ‘spooktastic’ journey will highlight deforestation and the importance of protecting the rainforest.
Visitors to the trail will go on a quest to collect key words about the unique qualities of each animal before helping Luna the witch discover a legendary creature living deep inside the charity zoo’s Monsoon Forest habitat – the UK’s biggest indoor zoological building.
Guests who unlock the secrets of the rainforest will receive a spooky Halloween treat – no tricks!
Newly added to the trail this year, will see guests able to hop onto Halloween-themed boats and take a ride on the Lazy River Boats where they can see hanging bats, skeletons and pumpkins along the way.
Ellie Trigg, Chester Zoo’s customer development manager, said: “There’s a special mystical quest across South East Asia to discover at the zoo this October. We need visitors to help us find ‘Luna’s Legendary Creature’ which holds the secret to protecting the rainforest.
“This new trail will take guests through our huge Monsoon Forest habitat, where visitors will be challenged with collecting a number of key words from five locations to complete their log book and help us discover Luna’s Legendary Creature.”
She added: “Halloween provides us with a great opportunity to highlight some of the world’s rarest animals, especially those that can sometimes be a little misunderstood or which often fly under the radar.
“This new trail will also show visitors how small actions, such as swapping a few items in their weekly shop to sustainable alternatives, can help the species found on the trail to thrive in the wild.”
The trail is free to all zoo visitors who purchase normal zoo tickets and no time slot booking needed. Visitors of the zoo can go on the trail at any time throughout the day – which takes around 90 minutes to complete.
To book tickets, costing from £22.72 for children and from £29.99 for adults, visit the website by clicking HERE. Children aged two and under go free.