Johnny Vegas is opening his own glamping experience, where accommodation is housed in lovingly-restored and converted vehicles, including a helicopter.
The Lancashire born-comedian and actor has chosen the grounds of stately home Melbourne Hall to be the permanent home of his The Field of Dreams campsite.
Guests will stay in converted vehicles including a German fire truck, Patricia the bus, an American School Bus and a classic Citroen Camper, with three new additions adding to the unique fleet for 2023.
The new options will include a boat, a stylish glamping pied-a-terre beside the lake, and even a helicopter, The Hoot reports.
The news of his new campsite follows the roaring success of the first season of the Channel 4 series, Johnny Vegas: Carry On Glamping, which saw him follow his dream to create a glamping spot with a difference.
This time, the glamping location has changed and we will watch as Jonny navigates the the challenges of expanding the site and developing the business.
The 2021 Yorkshire-based campsite was jam packed with bookings and received rave reviews, however ambitions for a bigger site meant Vegas had to move on from God’s own country (much to our dismay).
The new site will be based at Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire, home of Lord & Lady Kerr.
Johnny Vegas in the helicopter that will be converted. Image: Supplied
The glamping site will officially open in April 2023 with bookings being taken now.
The iconic vehicles will be situated across two sites, both within a short walk from the pool for those wanting to take a dip and admire the breathtaking views.
If you’d like to stay at Johnny’s brand new site, then you can book via the Melbourne Hall website.
Rochdale Town Hall – one of Greater Manchester’s most spectacular buildings is about to reopen after transformation
Rochdale Town Hall is one of Greater Manchester’s most impressive and historic buildings – but until now, large parts of the building have been closed to the public.
All that is about to change this weekend when, following several years of careful restoration, the magnificent Grade I-listed giant throws open its doors.
From Sunday 3 March, people will be able to visit Rochdale Town Hall completely free of charge seven days a week (excluding Bank Holidays), exploring grand halls, historic offices, and impressive sweeping staircases.
The landmark looms over the heart of Rochdale town centre, an easy walk from tram and train stations.
Up until this year, spaces were available to book for events like weddings, and it was used for official business, but has never been properly utilised as a tourist attraction.
It’s taken a 500-strong team of volunteers and teams of conservation specialists thousands of hours to bring it fully back to its former glory – they’ve carefully stripped away years of grime using cotton buds and other equipment to expertly bring life back to the ornate stained glass windows and historic features in almost every room.
So what exactly is it like inside after its multi-million-pound refurb, you ask? Well it’s pretty damn impressive.
The most breathtaking space of all is the Great Hall, where 350 hand-painted panels cover the vaulted ceiling, carved wooden angels hold lanterns, stained glass windows tower overhead, an enormous organ stands on the stage, and a huge Magna Carta mural covers one wall.
The incredible hand-painted ceiling panels in the Great HallInside Rochdale Town Hall
It’s a room filled with red and gold patterns, including images of the English lions and Scottish thistle, and you might recognise these colourful walls from a little show called Peaky Blinders…
But before you even reach this point, there are wonders to behold.
The Grand Staircase sweeps its way up from the ground floor – look up and you’ll see enormous stained glass windows documenting Rochdale’s place on the global stage.
The Exchange will be used as the town hall’s main entrance, where different shades of granite and marble were used to make candy-striped ceilings, and craftsmen carved various flora and fauna into the stone pillars.
The Great Staircase at Rochdale Town HallThe Exchange will be used as the main entrance for Rochdale Town Hall
Off here there’s a brand-new exhibition space, known as the Welcome Gallery, which tracks the timeline of the landmark, including the fire that destroyed its original clock tower (it was later re-designed by the legendary Alfred Waterhouse).
There are also historic spaces, where the walls are covered not with wallpaper but with hand-painted patterns. These intricate designs have also been restored.
In one room, you can see the history of the cotton industry in the paintings, from the Ancient Egyptians all the way up to the industrial era that Rochdale played such a huge part in.
And as well as celebrating the historical features of Rochdale Town Hall, there are also new artworks that have been created with local community groups and schools, celebrating present day Rochdale.
Rooms which were formerly used by council staff and councillors have been turned into usable spaces for the public, like the new Bright Hall, which has double-height ceilings, angels along the walls, and a window overlooking the Great Hall from up high. The Bright Hall will now be available for community use and events.
Hundreds of volunteers and specialists have worked on Rochdale Town Hall’s refurbishmentAnother grand space in Rochdale Town Hall
When it officially reopens on Sunday 3 March, there’ll be bookable tours, longer opening hours, and new exhibition spaces for locals and visitors to explore.
And in a few months’ time, a brand new restaurant – The Martlet – will open, under the steer of executive chef Darren Parkinson who has honed his craft at some of the country’s best gastropubs.
The whole building has been made fully accessible for the first time, and there are new heating systems and a sturdier roof in place to future-proof Rochdale Town Hall for decades to come.
Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s been a long wait for our residents and I’m delighted that they will finally get to see their beautiful town hall, fully restored in all its glory.
“Not only will they see the town hall they know and love, looking as good as it would have when it first opened in 1871, but they will see brand new features, like the Welcome Gallery, which makes it an even better space than it was before. We can’t wait to welcome people back in.”
One of many beautiful stained glass windows inside Rochdale Town HallThe huge organ in Great Hall
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member with responsibility for Rochdale Town Hall, said: “Sunday 3 March will be a wonderful celebration, but it’s really just the beginning for our brand new town hall. Our new offer means that residents will be able to see it and enjoy it seven days a week.
“We will soon be offering guided tours, alongside a full activity, events and education programme, which will be revealed soon.
“We anticipate the opening day being very busy, so people who would prefer a quieter experience may wish to come along another day. This beautiful building certainly isn’t going anywhere and our new extended opening hours offer many opportunities to enjoy this special place.”
The huge project was made possible with funding support to the tune of an £8.9m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
For its launch weekend, there’ll be activities at Rochdale Town Hall like rug tufting workshops, the roving Bombay Raja brass band, and a special puppet show by Fool’s Paradise.
Pre-booking is now full but walk-ups are available, so, if you don’t mind a wait, you can head to Rochdale Town Hall between 10am and 4pm this Sunday to see the incredible spaces for yourself.
For more information about the town hall, including opening times and upcoming events and activities, go to rochdaletownhall.co.uk.
Tram upgrades and track replacements to take place across Greater Manchester this summer
Upgrades to trams and several track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer.
It comes after it was announced last week that an extra £21.4 million investment funding is being ploughed into the Metrolink network over the next 12 months in a bid to “improve” it and ensure that services remain as “safe and reliable” as possible for years to come, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The improvement works were approved by the Bee Network committee last Thursday (22 February).
According to TfGM, the work is part of a planned £147 million package to “maintain, upgrade, and improve” the network throughout the region up to 2027.
Immediate priorities for this summer include track replacement in several parts of the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens and London Road, and on parts of the Altrincham, and Bury Lines too – which transport bosses claim will mean “quicker, smoother, and more reliable” journeys for passengers using these services.
Plans also include a programme of modifications to the trams themselves, and the installing of state-of-the-art safety systems – including sensors in the middle of double trams, and speed warning devices.
Tram upgrades and track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer / Credit: TfGM
New electrical substations are being added along parts of the Bury Line too to additional power so that more doubles trams run in future.
Metrolink is also replacing much of the communications network that’s said to be “critical” to the operation of its signalling and control systems, and is also looking into the replacement of overhead lines on some of the older parts of the network too.
Although the long-term benefits of the works to passengers are expected to be significant, TfGM has conceded that the improvement works set to take place this summer will mean some short-term disruption – but says this is planned to “minimise inconvenience to passengers”.
Vital information about service changes and replacement bus services will be available well in advance of the work, it has been confirmed.
Works are part of a planned £147m improvement package for the Metrolink network / Credit: Mangopear Creative (via Unsplash)
“Metrolink is an integral part of the Bee Network,” explained Danny Vaughan, who is TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, as the plans were announced last week, “And it’s really important that we invest in it so that we can continue to provide a safe, reliable, and positive experience for the thousands of people who travel with us every day.
“This is a coordinated package of planned works to maintain, renew, and improve the network and help to keep Greater Manchester moving.
“While we understand any disruption can be frustrating, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep it to a minimum, and we will make sure passengers know what’s happening well in advance, so I’d ask people to please bear with us while the works are carried out, as the benefits will be there to be enjoyed for years to come.”
For full details of all tram improvement works planned for this year, you’ll want to head to TfGM and the Bee Network website here.