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You can walk with free-roaming monkeys in a forest only an hour from Manchester

This looks so good!

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Trentham Monkey Forest / Instagram

If you want to roam through the wilderness with a load of cute monkeys, but can’t be arsed flying anywhere exotic, then this is the attraction for you.

Trentham Monkey Forest is set to reopen this weekend, and you can wander around the ¾ mile-long woodland trail surrounded by Barbary macaques.

The monkeys originally hail from the mountainous regions of Morocco and Algeria, and are free to wander with no cages or bars, living almost exactly as they would in their natural habitat – minus the weather.

Don’t panic, though, you won’t be left to fend for yourselves in the wilderness, as there’ll also be experts on hand on the paths to answer any questions you might have.

140 Barbary macaques call Trentham home, with over 60 acres of ancient woodland to explore, and it’s the only place in the UK where you can walk freely with them.

Unfortunately, the species aren’t doing too well, with wild Barbary macaque numbers dropping by more than 50% over the last 30 years – they’re currently listed as endangered due to loss of habitat and the illegal pet trade.

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Monkey in the snow! ❄️😍🐵

A post shared by Trentham Monkey Forest (@trentham_monkey_forest) on

While there are only around 8,000 left, Trentham Monkey Forest has seen about 100 births since it opened in 2005.

It’s set to reopen again this Saturday, February 15th, and in even better news they’re doing a 15% discount on online tickets for the opening weekend – using the code 15YEARS – to celebrate the forest’s fifteenth anniversary.

For more info and to grab some tickets head over to their website here.

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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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