Two of Manchester’s best craft breweries have teamed up to throw a series of alternative Christmas markets.
Offering an escape from the massive crowds that descend on the city centre every weekend, the new markets champion independent traders and an ethos of ‘taps not tat’.
The markets are a collaborative effort between Manchester Union Brewery and Alphabet Brewing Co, both down on North Western Street not far from Piccadilly station.
They’ll run every Saturday in the run-up to Christmas, filling the respective breweries with everything from food to fashion to ceramics.
Different traders will be taking up pitches each weekend, though you can expect appearances from the likes of Bee Happy (vegan fragrances), Vlysk Colours (hand-painted glass homeware), Last Ember (hand-poured candles) and Talith Walker Designs (embroidery art).
There’ll be a rotation off and drink suppliers too, like Witch King’s Rum, Rise MCR (sourdough pizza), Heaven Bakery and Wallace & Sons (who specialise in bao).
Most traders are local and have been chosen to showcase the city’s creative culture.
The tap rooms on each site will be open too, serving pints of fresh beer brewed just metres away from the bar, along with mulled ciders and snacks.
The Alternative Christmas Markets launched last weekend and will take place between 12pm and 6pm on December 4, 11 and 18.
The line-up of traders is as follows:
December 4: Bee Happy, Plstix, Wallace and sons catering, Foam In Cosmetics, Crystals by Ellie, Last, Ember, Hunt and Peck, Rise, Heaven Bakery, Witch Kings, Elle Est, Mimi’s Kitchen, iNostalgia.
Mrs Brown’s Boys is coming back to Manchester with ‘classic play’
Mrs Brown’s Boys is returning to theatres across the UK this autumn, taking Mrs Brown Rides Again back on tour.
For the first time in 10 years, the ‘much-loved classic play’ written by and starring Brendan O’Carroll will be hitting the live stage.
Mrs Brown Rides Again is based on the hit sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys, which follows loud-mouthed Irish matriarch Agnes Brown (or ‘Mammy’) and her six children.
The play itself follows the dysfunctional family after Agnes learns that her children plan to have her put in a home.
While trying to prove that she has a new lease of life, she’s faced with a psychiatrist trying to put her in her place, a neighbour waiting for a heart bypass, and a family secret that everyone seems to know except her.
A new mini-series of Mrs Brown’s Boys has also been announced, returning to BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
It will be the first mini-series in more than a decade following years of regular Christmas specials, which usually dominate viewing ratings.
Over the years, the sitcom has been awarded five BAFTAs, four National Television Awards, three TV Choice Awards, four IFTA awards, three TV Times Awards as well as RTS, TRIC and National Comedy Awards.
On the new tour, Brendan O Carroll said: “The Pandemic is gone, and Mrs Brown is back. It doesn’t get any better.”
Mrs. Brown Rides Again will be at the Manchester Opera House between 30 August and 2 September this year.
Full tour dates for Mrs Brown’s Boys play, Mrs Brown Rides Again
Fri 25 Aug 23 Glasgow OVO Hydro Sat 26 Aug 23 Glasgow OVO Hydro (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 30 Aug 23 Manchester Opera House Thu 31 Aug 23 Manchester Opera House Fri 01 Sep 23 Manchester Opera House Sat 02 Sep 23 Manchester Opera House (Matinee and Evening show) Thu 07 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse Fri 08 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse Sat 09 Sep 23 Edinburgh Playhouse (Matinee and Evening show) Tue 12 Sep 23 Wolverhampton The Halls Wed 13 Sep 23 Wolverhampton The Halls Fri 15 Sep 23 Cardiff International Arena Sat 16 Sep 23 Cardiff International Arena (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 20 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Thu 21 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Fri 22 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre Sat 23 Sep 23 Liverpool Empire Theatre (Matinee and Evening show) Wed 18 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Thu 19 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Fri 20 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire Sat 21 Oct 23 Sunderland Empire (Matinee and Evening show) Fri 27 Oct 23 Hull Bonus Arena Sat 28 Oct 23 Hull Bonus Arena (Matinee and Evening show) Mon 30 Oct 23 Bournemouth International Centre Tue 31 Oct 23 Bournemouth International Centre Thu 02 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House Fric 03 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House Sat 04 Nov 23 Blackpool Opera House (Matinee and Evening show)
Featured image: BBC
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 20 – 26 March 2023
March has been packed with lots of activity throughout Greater Manchester so far, and this week is absolutely no different.
With not long left before the month is out, and before the Easter school holidays roll around once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits happening across the region this week 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.
Read. Swap. Repeat
Monday 20 March – onwards
Corn Exchange has installed a book vending machine inside its stunning atrium space.
Whether you’re in need a book for your commute into the city, want to update your bookshelf at home, grab a page-turner for your holiday, or simply have a good read over a coffee or glass of something at Corn Exchange, the new vending machine has you covered.
Book lovers are invited to head on down with their old books, grab a token for the machine, and Read. Swap. Repeat.
With the aim to help the environment and reduce waste for book lovers, the machine includes a mix of pre-loved books of all genres, and you’ll just need to simply bring in a pre-loved book and swap it for a token with one of the Corn Exchange hosts to access the machine and choose your next read.
Have you had the chance to visit Manchester Museum yet after it finally reopened to the public after an ambitious £15 million transformation project?
After an 18-month refurbishment, the cultural institution – which is part of the University of Manchester – has expanded into a modern new two-storey extension, with new exhibition spaces and inclusive facilities added into the space.
New spaces inside include a brand new Exhibition Hall, which has opened with the blockbuster exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt, where visitors get an unparalleled access to more than 100 objects and eight mummies in a UK debut, while the new extension also includes the South Asia Gallery, which will be the UK’s first permanent space to explore the lived experience of South Asian diaspora communities.
There’s a new dinosaur in town too, joining the museum’s legendary T-Rex Stan.
The Future Is Ours Festival is back for its third year in Manchester this week.
The festival is part of 42nd Street, an innovative Greater Manchester young people’s mental health charity, and takes place down at The Horsfall in Ancoats – which is one of the only art galleries and creative spaces in the world dedicated to young people aged 13-25
Set to be a celebration of youth creativity, action, and voice, this year’s festival will showcase work created by a wide array of young artists.
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel has made access to their state-of-the-art gym facilities completely free to the general public for the rest of March.
As part of a new initiative by Technogym called ‘Let’s Move for a Better World‘ – which is aiming to get people back exercising in 2023 – the fitness, gym technology, and wellness brand is encouraging gyms across the UK to open up their doors free of charge to local communities.
Running until 31 March, Mancs can get moving and make the most of Technogym equipment for free and join them for a series of fun events – including a 12-hour ‘MOVEathon’, as well as various circuit classes.
Mancs can “unravel the secrets of sound” through experiments, play, and performance at the Science and Industry Museum’s new world-first exhibition.
Fancy getting to march to the beat of your own drum? Turn It Up: The power of music gives visitors the chance to make some noise and get creative with hands-on activities – including the chance to build your own music-makers, create your very-own tunes, and explore the secrets of sound in a new science show led by the museum’s team of expert Explainers.
There’ll be a whole host of interactive activities, special shows, and unique performances all themed around the science of sound to get stuck into.
Manchester‘s new ‘sky park’ on Castlefield Viaduct has now reopened after being closed for maintenance over the winter.
The New York-inspired elevated urban park on the giant Grade II-listed 330-metre steel viaduct opened to the public as part of a pilot project to gauge opinion back in July 2022, but has been closed since December to allow time for the team of National Trust gardeners, volunteers, and community partners to prune, plant, and create new and exciting areas.
On top of the work to add a variety of seasonal planting displays created by, four plots on the viaduct have also been handed over to local community groups and partner organisations to create their own unique gardens for visitors to enjoy.
Manchester’s gaming scene continues to get bigger and bigger every year, and now one of the UK’s biggest VR arcades is opening in the city centre this week.
Promising some of the best and most immersive ‘alternative’ activities you’ll find anywhere in 0161, DNA VR’s arcade is packed out with an impressive library of games, over 100 virtual arcade challenges and even virtual escape rooms.
DNA VR Manchester’s grand opening is taking place this Wednesday, and the best part is, even for those looking to try it from out of town, the new venue is right in the city centre and just a 15-minute walk away from Piccadilly Station.
Fancy catching all the March deals, discounts, and offers in Manchester’s cafes, bars, and restaurants?
Quite a few of the city’s best-loved independents have decided to extend their food deals from January into March, and we’re absolutely chuffed to see it – so while there’s still some great offers to make the most of, we’re going to keep promoting them.
Fortunately for us, there are some awesome set menus, lunch deals, and general discounts going around this month.
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite this week, we’ve rounded up some of the best Manchester March restaurant deals to take advantage of in 2023.
The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival is returning Greater Manchester this weekend with a massive line-up of musicians.
The radio station’s flagship event will include global premieres of new live shows, music debuts, surprise guests, and major collaborations.
Set to take over the O2 Victoria Warehouse, the bill of performers includes Loyle Carner, Christine and the Queens, and Arlo Parks, who’ll also be joined by the likes of Wu-Lu, Lava La Rue and The Big Moon, not to mention DJ sets across the weekend and a warm-up show at Band on the Wall from BBC Music Introducing Live.
Greater Manchester has firmly earned itself a spot as a place for world-renowned touring theatre productions to make a stop off at.
While the past couple of years amid and post-pandemic may have hit the theatre pretty hard, it’s a beloved industry that has now well and truly bounced-back – with the region’s three main theatres, Palace Theatre Manchester, Opera House Manchester, and The Lowry, all having welcomed some absolute show-stopping productions last year.
And 2023 is set to be absolutely no different – with award-winning musicals, family-friendly plays, inventive dance productions, and more on the agenda.
You can read our round-up of the best productions in 2023 here.
Tequila Tasting & Margarita Night
Friday 24 March
GRUB is joining forces with the award-winning El Sueño Tequila for a night of tequila tasting and margarita sipping this weekend.
The cocktail masterclass nights down at Manchester’s largest street food fair are known for always being an enjoyable way to spend time with friends, learn about new drinks, and do something a little different on a Friday evening.
While the tasting itself starts at 7:30pm, street food and drinks will be available from an exciting range of food traders, and the fully-stocked bar opens from 5pm, so you’re welcome get yourself down there early.
Tickets are only £15 per person, and include all tasters and cocktail making ingredients, and you can find out more here.
Blue Run 2023
Saturday 25 March
The Blue Run is back at the Etihad for 2023.
Taking place on Saturday 25 March, the popular run organised by Manchester City and City in the Community (CITC) takes you from the Etihad Stadium to the City Football Academy, while being covered in blue powder along the way, and has two distance options for fans to choose from, so mini blues may enjoy taking on the 2.5km route, but there’s also a 5km option if you want more of a challenge to get stuck into.
It’s your choice to run, walk, or dance your way around the Blue Run route.
All funds raised will go towards sustaining CITC’s work to create healthy people, healthy futures and healthy communities across Greater Manchester.
Didsbury’s very-own cookery school, Food Sorcery, is hosting a special class where you can learn some fun facts and even a little bit of science about coffee.
During this three-hour session that’s suitable for all abilities, you’ll learn the differences in techniques used to make the perfect coffee, find out what’ll work best for you at home and how to use all the kit that you bought and have tucked away in the back of the cupboard.
There’ll be plenty of opportunities to practise your skills and even try a little latte art to impress your friends too.
You can find more information, and book your place here.
Featured Image – Manchester City | DNA VR | National Trust