A free-to-attend Chinese festival will bring traditional street food, lion dancing and karate sessions to Manchester this month as the local community celebrates the annual Festival of the Moon.
Inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese Moon goddess of immortality, the festival will take place from 9-11 September in Manchester’s Chinatown.
Here, those heading down will find traditional food and drink stalls from local businesses including Wong Wong Bakery, PinWei and Chatime Manchester in the area’s central car park.
Elsewhere, there will be the opportunity to enjoy traditional Chinese lion dancing and take part in on-street kung fu and archery lessons.
It’s also rumoured a mysterious Chinese celebrity will be making an appearance at this year’s event, although details are yet to be confirmed.
Derived from the custom of Chinese emperors worshipping the moon during the Zhou Dynasty, the Chinese Moon festival typically brings families and friends together to thank the Gods as part of the harvest season.
With a history stretching back 2,000 years, it is considered China’s second-most-important festival after the Lunar New Year celebrations.
With roots in both Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, the origins of this age-old festival are steeped in legend.
So the story goes, the world once had ten suns and their heat ravaged the world with a terrible drought. That is, until the great archer Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns, saving life on Earth, at the request of the Emperor of Heaven.
By way of reward, he was given the elixir of immortality, which he hid in his house and planned to share with his beautiful wife, Chang’e.
However, before he returned home, his apprentice snuck in and attempted to steal the elixir. In a bid to keep it from the apprentice, his wife drank the potion alone and ascended to the heavens by herself, where it is said she then took the moon as her eternal home.
To this day, it is said that those who look hard enough can still see her likeness in the moon and the legend still lives on today in China’s Lunar Exploration Programme, which takes its name from the goddess.
A Manc’s guide to: the Heatons, Stockport’s flourishing suburbs
While the likes of Stockport‘s ‘Old Town’ revival has seen the borough slowly brought back to life in recent years, it’s easy to forget that it includes a number of attractive suburbs that have become increasingly popular destinations to live in Greater Manchester.
Besides the investment in the town centre’s Merseyway shopping district and Redrock opened back in 2017, many people have long been stopping short of places like Didsbury, Chorlton and Manchester city centre in favour of SK’s best-kept secret: the Heatons.
The Four Heatons – comprised of Heaton Chapel, Mersey, Moor and Norris – are a collection of neighbourhoods dotted around Stockport and situated some 30 mins or so from the city centre that many in the region may have never visited before.
With Heaton Chapel your go-to train station and East Didsbury your closest tram stop, it isn’t hard to venture out that way, but what is there to get up to?
Parks a plenty
If those precious green spaces are what you are looking for then you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Ironically, the famous Heaton Park is the only one that isn’t in the Heatons, but all these are.
First up is Heaton Moor Park, a lovely green space that dates back to 1894 and is still wonderfully maintained by local residents to this day. As well as the customary gardens and children’s play area, you can do everything from bird watching and group knitting to family bowling or joining the running club.
Heaton Norris Park has bowling greens, tennis courts and football pitches if you’re looking to stay active, as well as a playground for the youngens; Heaton Mersey Common is a nice little pocket of natural greenspace with serene ponds and wildflower meadows, perfect for walking the dog.
But the fresh air doesn’t stop there: you also have Thornfield Park, Heaton Mersey Park & Bowl, Marbury Road Park in Chapel; Maunders Field, Bowerfold Open Space and, perhaps the most popular of the lot, Mersey Vale Nature Park.
Nestled among the remnants of the old railways and bleach works, Mersey Vale is a 2.5-mile loop that serves as a great place for a picnic, riverside walk or to just to enjoy the wildlife, and the Trans Pennine Trail actually runs right through the centre of the reserve which lies along a serene stretch of the River Mersey.
Historic sites to see and plenty to do
It isn’t all grass and shrubs, of course, the Four Heatons are steeped in history and culture thanks to its Cheshire heritage and evolution under a Greater Manchester postcode.
Undoubtedly the most historic landmark is the iconic Savoy Cinema, which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2023. Having nearly disappeared following a fire back in 1953 and changed hands on multiple occasions down the years, the Savoy in Heaton Moor has remained a proud local institution throughout.
It was shut for a major refurbishment in late 2014 but, thankfully, it opened back up a year later and is still going strong, showing all the latest releases as well as old classics to suit the vintage aesthetic. They offer everything from private hire to dementia-friendly screenings – a real gem.
Another popular location is the Heatons Sports Club. It’s the home of areas local cricket, rugby, tennis and lacrosse clubs, some of which date back to as far as 1879. Whether you want to get involved or just sit back and watch live sport, be it in front of you or on the telly, there’s something to do every day. There’s also the Heaton Moor Gold Club just five minutes down the road if that’s your thing – perfect for birthdays, work events and so on.
Speaking of the Sports Club, you’ve also got Heatons Comedy Evening on the first Sunday of every month, the longest-running of its kind in Stockport. Resident comperes Alun Cochrane and local comedy legend Justin Moorhouse have garnered a loyal following since its conception in 2010.
The best part is, it’s only getting bigger. With the likes of John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Joe Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan and more having already left audiences in stitches, Moorhouse’s comedy night is one of the best places to catch both headline acts and the best upcoming talent.
Let’s talk shop. Home and fashion-wise, you can find nifty little local traders like the Moo Boutique and Bloom and Dots in Heaton Moor, not to mention one of the best-named wine bars in the world, Cork of the North. You’ll be sure to find plenty of bottles to take home with you.
There is also Heaton Hops and The Beer Shop in Mersey too. You won’t be surprised to know they very much do what they say on the tin.
We were sad to hear Bernie’s Grocery Store shut down in June 2022 but, thankfully, their Altrincham site isn’t going anywhere; you also have lots of alternatives and similar general store vibes courtesy of Feed in Heaton Chapel and The Good Life in Heaton Mersey.
Lastly, we can’t mention Heaton stores without giving a shout out to Back’s Deli and beloved Mancunian chain, Martin’s Bakery: two of the best local food staples that always guarantee the warm and friendly reception of an independent business whilst delivering insane quality and consistency.
And that brings us to the lifeblood of any good Manc destination: where to eat and drink.
There’s plenty of food and drink in the Heatons
From wine bars and traditional pubs to a premium fish restaurant hidden behind a local fishmonger’s counter, the Heatons have plenty to offer foodies on the hunt for something new.
Cork of the North
This Heaton Moor wine shop and bar is known for its regular tasting events, which offer guests the chance to sample six delicious wines (three reds and three whites) alongside a selection of complementary nibbles, but you can book a table to sit in, drink and graze any time.
The Easy Fish Co.
This quality fourth-generation fishmonger also has a restaurant tucked behind its counter and serves all your chippy tea favourites, alongside the likes of satay monkfish and roasted turbot, crab croquettes and herb-rolled tuna carpaccio.
Originally a deli, this popular Heaton eaterie has a relaxed European feel with a tapas menu served until 10pm. Throughout the day, you can also tuck into a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes that cater to veggies just as well as meat eaters.
This suburban tapas bar in the middle ofHeaton Moor serves a great selection of Spanish gin, alongside traditional regional tapas and a range of imported wines and beers. From Spanish black pudding (morcilla) to courgette ravioli stuffed with goat’s cheese, there’s a huge choice on offer mixing the typical with the unusual.
This cosy pub boasts a great atmosphere, solid grub and a regular quiz night every Thursday at 7pm that’s proven popular with young professionals in the area. Dog friendly too, it’s known for its burgers and epic Sunday roasts with giant Yorkshire puddings.
That Pizza Place
Widely considered to be the best pizza in Heaton Moor, if you’ve got a hankering for a bit of tomato and cheese then this is the place to be.
If one of the Heatons manages to cast a spell on you and the prospect of a move arises, it’s worth knowing how much you’d be looking at paying.
As for Heaton Chapel, the prices skew slightly lower at around £815.75pcm and Norris is even more affordable at around £755, as per Rentberry stats from July 2022.
Now, if you were looking to buy, four districts is a fairly large search area give but you’re easily looking at north of £300,000 in Heaton Moor and Mersey, but prices often break the £400k mark quite comfortably given its up-and-coming reputation. One local told the MEN that she’s heard the area described as ‘Didsbury for those that really know Manchester’.
Once again, Norris and Chapel offer a cheaper option when it comes to the property market, with terraces being the most popular type of home and going for anywhere between £200,000-280,000. That being said, you could still land your forever home starting from around £270,000-£330,000-ish.
Of course, these prices are based on average estimates but take them with a pinch of salt as you’re always likely to end up paying more, especially in this current climate.
Nevertheless, whether you’re looking for somewhere to settle down or a part of Greater Manchester you still perhaps have given enough time to yet, make the Heatons the next one you cross off your list.
You can check out our Manc’s guide to Chinatown and the Gay Village now and, as always, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more neighbourhood guides soon.
Feature image – Savoy Cinema Facebook / Backs Deli Instagram / Peter Fuller via Geograph.org.uk
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 26 September – 2 October 2022
It’s time to wave goodbye to September, and say hello to October here in Greater Manchester.
Where has the time gone? Now that October is here, and autumn is waiting around the corner, with another new month comes an events calendar that’s filled with lots of different things to be getting up to, so we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2022
Manchester City Centre
Monday 26 September – Sunday 2 October
Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) is celebrating its 25th year in the city – with a special roster of events lined up that brings together some of Manchester’s top chefs as it marks a quarter of a century in the city.
From a host of live fire pit feasts to a dedicated wine and fizz festival at NOMA, there’s some exciting events for this year’s festival.
The main Festival Hub in Cathedral Gardens is where much of the action will be happening, but elsewhere, there’s a packed schedule of event, an artisan market overflowing with local produce, and a wide selection of local street food traders showcasing the best that Manchester has to offer.
Find out more about MFDF’s postponed celebrations here, and read more about what to expect from the full festival lineup here.
Monday 26 September – onwards
Manchester‘s first new park in the heart of the city centre for more than 100 years has officially opened to the public.
It’s been a long journey to get here, but Mayfield Park has become a reality.
Over the last 18 months, the vast and mostly-derelict former industrial site next to Piccadilly Station has been transformed into what project developers are calling a “stunning, accessible, and varied” green space for everyone who visits the city centre to enjoy.
A new photography exhibition that captures life in Stockport during the 1970s has now opened at a local museum.
After a successful run at one of the town’s most prestigious restaurants, Where The Light Gets In, back in June 2021, the exhibition – which is titled The Stockport Collection, and features the work of local photographer Heidi Alexander – has now opened to the public at Stockport Museum, and it’s free for everyone to visit.
The Stockport Collection documents the social history of a particular time, place, and way of life.
The exhibition illustrates the human need for a sense of identity, and of belonging to a working community with a common purpose.
Looking for some new restaurants and bars to try out in Manchester city centre this month?
As ever, a host of exciting new restaurants and bars are opening in Manchester in September.
New arrivals are varied, ranging from a non-profit cafe and bookshop being opened by the charitable arm of a local solicitors firm, to a no-nonsense butty shop where you’ll find established local bakers building hench sandwiches from the bread up.
On top of all this, think a new arrival in the old Northern Quarter Cafe Cafe, a swanky new cocktail bar in a bank vault, a new chicken wing shop, dessert cafe and more.
You can read our round-up to find out where to put on your list this month here.
MCR Student Social 2022
Manchester City Centre
Thursday 29 September
Manchester‘s popular student shopping event is back and “bigger than ever” this week, and there’s dozens of discounts up for grabs.
With a new academic year, comes the return of MCR Student Social.
For just one day only next week, both new and returning students can make the most of a whole host of unmissable offers – with over 120 stores inside Manchester Arndale and across the city centre dishing out discounts.
There’ll also be live entertainment, competitions and games to get involved in, and so much more.
The Manc is absolutely buzzing to announce that we will be collaborating with Skiddle to host this year’s ‘Welcome to Manchester’ Fresher’s closing Party at Hatch.
And the best part is? It’s absolutely free to get tickets.
With the latest batch of freshers having descending on Manchester and set to take over the city for the foreseeable, us lucky lot have the privilege of helping put a bow on their start-of-year party at one of the city’s best-loved hangouts.
The hugely-popular outdoor immersive horror experience is taking on a new life just in time for Halloween, and this time round, it’s set to take over the derelict site of one of the North West’s most iconic theme parks.
Events company Park N Party has announced that its sell-out success Scare City is coming to Camelot with a new walkthrough scare attraction, and it’s already being described as a “blood-soaked ordeal”.
For those who’ve got the guts to enter this year, a trek through “nightmarish zones” awaits.
Jungle Beats: Volume ll at I’m A Celebrity… Jungle Challenge
Friday 30 September & Saturday 1 October
Daredevil students are invited to take on an epic late-night jungle challenge inspired by reality competition show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! this week.
Having returned to Manchester following huge success and demand for tickets earlier this year, I’m a Celebrity… Jungle Challenge has announced that its popular ‘Jungle Beats’ series is back once again this week, and it’s giving students arriving to study at universities across our city-region exclusive access to the Salford-based blockbuster attraction.
Students and those over 18 will take on a series of challenges that are said to put nerves and agility to the ultimate test.
A festival of authentic beers, German food markets, and tributes to some of Manchester‘s most iconic bands will be taking over the city this weekend.
It’s everything we know and love about Oktoberfest – but with a Mancunian twist.
Manctoberfest 2022 is taking over the BEC Arena in Trafford Park from Friday 30 September – Sunday 2 October, and during the three-day Manchester take on the traditional festival, organisers are promising a huge weekend that’s jam-packed with music, food, and “more steins than you can shake a stick at”, with some of the best tribute bands set to perform and celebrate the city’s rich music heritage.
Burger lovers in Manchester should probably get themselves down to the city’s largest street food hub this weekend for a feast like no other.
The Cheetham Hill-based venue’s annual celebration of all things burgers returns for 2022, with traders bringing a special menu inspired by their own take on the humble burger, as well as a whole range of different sides, snacks, and all-American desserts to go along with it.
GRUB Burger Food Fair is taking over the events space next weekend from Friday 30 September – Sunday 2 October, promising to bring “wall to wall burgers” to the hungry masses.
Two-day sustainable fashion event Refashioned is coming to the Trafford Centre this weekend.
The leading shopping and leisure destination will champion circular fashion, environmentally conscious fashion, and new season trends with a selection of pre-loved fashion sales, ticketed live expert talks and spectacular fashion shows.
Aiming to inspire shoppers to reinvent their wardrobe whilst championing brands that are taking more steps to adopt greener practices, Trafford Centre will come alive with spectacular fashion shows and dance fusion performances whilst showcasing key A/W trends from the centre’s vast array of fashion retailers.
The public can also expect pre-loved fashion sales from We Are Second Life, live talks from experts, performances, and more.
Keen to find some of the best things happening in Manchester this September that you can still grab tickets for?
There’s a whole host of brilliant new Manchester gigs, club nights, and events this month.
Whether you’re a die-hard gig goer or a late-night raver, or an all-day festival type, there’s something on this list for you to get excited about.
You can read our round-up of which events to add to your list this month here.
Neighbourhood Festival 2022
Albert Hall Manchester
Saturday 1 October
Neighbourhood Festival (NBHD) is bringing a jam-packed lineup as it makes its long-awaited return to Manchester city centre this weekend.
After a few years away, Manchester’s biggest multi-venue music festival is back once again this year, and is set to take over Manchester city centre on Saturday 1 October – with headline shows by indie titans The Snuts, local heroes Everything Everything, alternative quartet Sundara Karma.
The headliners will also be joined by whole host of emerging talent.
Some of the fast-rising newcomers on the lineup include Alfie Templeman, Baby Queen, Rachel Chinnouriri, Dylan, The Royston Club, Louis Dunford, Lauran Hibberd, and STONE.
Iconic heritage railway service East Lancashire Railway (ELR) has announced that the Thomas the Tank Engine replica train is back by popular demand this weekend, and the Day Out With Thomas experience is said to be “a train ride like no other”.
Families will be able to hop on board the replica of the cult-classic blue train character for a 45-minute trip through the Greater Manchester countryside.
The journey begins at Bury Train Staion, where you’ll be greeted by The Fat Controller, meet Sir Topham Hatt, say hello to Thomas on the platform, and then climb aboard a carriage, all before Thomas makes a final stop at the beautiful Ramsbottom station.