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Travel & Tourism
Manchester’s ‘sky park’ Castlefield Viaduct to become sparkling grotto as night falls
Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester, the lush National Trust site built up on a disused railway viaduct, has announced plans of night time activity this winter.
The beautiful parkin the sky will be inviting visitors to see the urban green space by nightfall.
There’ll be a free Lantern Lates series where the park will transform into a ‘magical, sparkling grotto’.
Visitors can climb up to Castlefield Viaduct, the huge industrial landmark that has views right across Manchester city centre, and savour the winter wonderland created for the coming season.
It’s before the National Trust project closes for a few weeks in the new year for work to refresh the gardens for spring and summer.
The viaduct itself has been abandoned since 1969, until the charity revealed plans to turn it into a sky park similar to New York’s High Line.
The temporary urban garden has attracted thousands of visitors and the National Trust is now fundraising to secure a permanent future for the project, which is currently closing in September 2024.
Along with the Lantern Lates series, Castlefield Viaduct’s other night time events will include a Winter Garden Tour, where guides will explain the stories behind winter plants like holly, ivy and mistletoe.
And at the end of it all there’ll be a Cosy Corner, a relaxing spot with books, boardgames and crafts.
The Cosy Corner will be built at the far end of the Castlefield Viaduct park, where huge windows look across the overgrown and untouched section of the old railway bridge.
Castlefield Viaduct is the ideal spot to escape all the madness of the silly season and non-stop parties going on in the city below.
It’s open all the way through winter until Saturday 2 January (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), with free entry. You can book morning tours on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, or take a wander after 12.30pm on those days or any time on Wednesdays, weekends and bank holidays.
Lantern Lates at Castlefield Viaduct
17 November 2023 – 1 January 2024, 3.30pm – 5pm | Free – Drop-in
As the nights draw in Castlefield Viaduct transforms into a magical, sparkling grotto.
From 3.30pm to 5pm every day, drop in to wander along the light trail and visit the garden in the sky in a different way. It’s the perfect time for a moment of rest above the busy city, take in Greater Manchester’s 21st century skyline and maybe even spot a bat or two.
Get out of the busy city streets and join Castlefield Viaduct for a tour around some festive flora.
Nature has long associations with this time of the year from holly and ivy to mistletoe and chestnuts. Your guide will tell you the stories behind some of the winter plants on the viaduct and introduce the beauty of winter in the garden.
11 December 2023 – 1 January 2024, daily | Free – Drop-in
Warm up and chill out… After a walk through the winter garden take some time out in the Castlefield Viaduct Cosy Corner.
This December the visitor building will be transformed into a relaxing spot with books, board games and easy crafts plus the spectacular views of the wild viaduct and Castlefield below. Take a break from the rush, settle in with a good read or simply watch nature go by.
The viaduct is a temporary project from the National Trust and due to permanently close after summer 2024. To help secure a future for the project and help the garden grow, you can make a donation or give one as a gift? Click here to give direct to Castlefield Viaduct.
Featured image: David Bewick/National Trust
Travel & Tourism
The beautiful Lake District boutique hotel that’s been named one of the UK’s best
A beautiful boutique hotel in the Lake District has just been named one of the top three in the UK – and it’s easy to see why.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, near Windermere, is one of only two properties in the north of the country to make the top 10 in the prestigious list.
The stunning hotel and spa has just 39 rooms, including its staggering spa suites, which are build on top of a natural pond with their own stone-built hot tubs on the decking.
It’s also home to two renowned restaurants – Michelin-star SOURCE, which has Ollie Bridgwater as executive chef, and Gilpin Spice.
And now the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House has landed itself in third place in the Top 50 Boutique Hotels. Quite the accolade.
It’s climbed nine places since last year, and was beaten only by The Newt in Somerset and Lime Wood in Lyndhurst.
The team at the Gilpin says its new ranking in the list is down its ongoing renovations and improvements, which have included a new Spa Space at Gilpin Hotel, a Vertical Farm, more Spa Suites and the appointment of two new chefs.
The hotel is operated by Barney and Zoë Cunliffe, who worked alongside Barney’s parents John and Christine until their deaths in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
The Top 50 Boutique Hotels is curated by and voted on by leading industry experts, hoteliers, travel writers and influencers.
Barney and Zoë said: “We are so very proud to be in this year’s list, and chuffed to bits to be so highly placed.
“We’ve worked together as a family and team for 35 years to create Gilpin, and it has always been our aim to create a luxurious sanctuary – one that is filled with love and laughter, without any pretentiousness.
“We want our guests to feel at home here, to feel loved, and we hope that that is what our guests feel.
“It’s with great sadness that we can’t celebrate this award with Mum and Dad, but we know that they would be absolutely delighted. As always, we would like to say a massive thank you to Team Gilpin, who all work so hard and with incredible passion. Thank you.”
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House executive chef Ollie said: “Being named in a list like this gives credence to everything we have been trying to achieve at SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel over the past year, with the restaurant offering an extra dimension to the wider Gilpin experience.
“People come to Gilpin to get away from everything and when they visit SOURCE they’re looking for a sense of occasion as well as the food and wine, so we hope to live up to that ideal.”
Also featuring on the Top 50 Boutique Hotels list in the north west were Another Place in Ullswater, Moor Hall in Lancashire, Hotel Gotham in Manchester, Rothay Manor in Ambleside, and The Samling Hotel in the Lake District.
The full list from 1 to 50, including special awards for food and drink and best service is available to view here.
You can find out more about Gilpin Hotel & Lake House and book a room here.