The Lanterns are returning to Chester Zoo later this year and it’s ready to bring a much-needed festive feeling to what has been a turbulent year.
Chester Zoo is inviting you to “discover the magic” as its famous lantern festival returns for 2020.
Now in its ninth year, The Lanterns – a popular wintertime celebration which has previously received widespread public acclaim – lets visitors experience the zoo in an after-hours setting on a trail in the dark, taking in illuminated wildlife, colourful lanterns and enchanting costumed characters along the way.
According to the Chester Zoo website, this year’s starlit Christmas is set to be “more enchanting than ever before”.
“Escape to our eleven fantastical worlds, each different from the last, that will take you on an illuminating adventure like no other! Be immersed in this magical and uniquely Chester Zoo evening event that’s inspired by some of our favourite festive family tales, giving you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light.”
“This year’s route will take you on a journey to discover faraway lands that will have your imagination running wild, each filled to the brim with colourful lanterns, spectacular costumed characters and Christmas scenes.”
If you want to be sure you’ll secure your tickets though, you’ll need to book in advance as this year, as is to be expected, demand for tickets to The Lanterns is set to be even higher with visitor numbers having had to be reduced to comply with necessary social distancing measures amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Tickets are currently on sale now.
Jon Turley – Head of Guest Experience at Chester Zoo – said: “Events that help us to bring some additional income into our charity will be absolutely crucial in securing the future of our zoo and our species-saving work.
“That’s why we’re so, so excited to be able to bring The Lanterns back again this year.
“With safety and social distancing firmly at the forefront of our minds, far fewer tickets have been made available for our event this time around, which might just make it an even more magical experience for those who secure a ticket.
“We’re planning to transform the zoo into a spectacular winter wonderland, featuring 11 fantastical worlds. Guests will be welcomed into an exotic world of colour and movement, where larger than life illuminations and animal characters await.
“Making a return this year will be our popular ‘Underwater’ world, which will transport visitors to the bottom of the sea where they’ll discover a giant show-stopping octopus.”
He continued: “We’ve made a few adjustments so that there will be less physical interaction with visitors this time, but we’re sure that our array of never-before-seen features will ensure guests will make memories that last a lifetime.
“We can’t wait to welcome people back to The Lanterns, see lots of big smiles on faces and, at the same time, raise valuable funds so we can continue our mission of preventing extinction as a wildlife conservation charity.”
As a charity zoo, all tickets purchased for The Lanterns are “vital” to Chester Zoo’s survival.
Tickets are now on sale for selected dates from Friday 13th November – Wednesday 23rd December. Children’s tickets start from £13.50, adult tickets start from £16 and you can book online via the Chester Zoo website here.
You can find more information about The Lanterns at Chester Zoo here.
Strictly Come Dancing the Live Tour 2023 at Manchester AO Arena – tickets, celebrity dancers, stage times and more
The glitz and glamour of the Strictly Come Dancing will come shimmying into Manchester this weekend when the hit show’s live tour returns to the AO Arena.
With four shows lined up at the venue over the course of the next two days, it’s one of the biggest events in this year’s cultural calendar.
The massive Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2023 spans 32 shows across the UK, with recent celebrity contestants paired up with the BBC show’s professional dancers.
The Strictly judges, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, and Anton Du Beke, will be on hand with their pantomime villain-esque take on the performances.
Speaking about the upcoming tour, Fleur East said: “As a huge Strictly fan, being part of the TV competition has been an unbelievable experience and I’m absolutely over the moon to have the chance to get back into those fabulous sequinned outfits for the live tour!”
Helen Skelton said: “Strictly has been the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so happy that it will continue on the live tour. I’m really looking forward to seeing the fans across the country and performing my favourite dances from the series. I can’t wait!”
When is Strictly Come Dancing Live at the AO Arena?
There are four Strictly shows lined up in Manchester at the AO Arena, making it one of the biggest stops on the tour.
Strictly Come Dancing the Live Tour will be on both Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2023.
The shows will take place at 1pm and 6pm on Saturday, and 12pm and 5pm on Sunday.
What’s the show’s format?
Directed again by Craig Revel Horwood, the Strictly Live Tour showcases all the choreography, live music and sparkle of the much-loved TV series.
Seven celebrity contestants and their professional dance partners will twirl and shimmy their way across the AO Arena ballroom floor, ready for the tour judges to provide their wisdom and scores.
But it’s the audience who ultimately call the shots, voting for their favourites via text from within the arena, with a champion crowned at the end of every show.
Which celebrities are taking part?
This year’s Strictly champions Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal are on the line-up, along with runners-up Helen Skelton and Kai Widdrington, Fleur East and Vito Coppola, and Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu.
Also hoping to lift the Strictly Live Tour glitterball trophy are Will Mellor and Nancy Xu, Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin, and Tyler West and Dianne Buswell.
Ready for the huge professional numbers there’ll be six more professional dancers heading out on tour – Amy Dowden, Neil Jones, Robbie Kmetoni, Jake Leigh, Luba Mushtuk and Michelle Tsiakkas.
Can I still buy tickets?
You can, actually! There’s limited availability for the afternoon performances but still a fair few tickets for the evening shows.
Those remaining tickets are priced between £42.50 to £64.95.
A Valentine’s Day event where you can sculpt clay penises and vaginas is coming to Manchester
Manc lovebirds will be able to get crafty together for Valentine’s Day this year – but in a very sexy way.
A new workshop will take over Ducie Street Warehouse, with couples invited to come along and create clay sculptures of each other.
But rather than crafting a ceramic likeness of each other’s faces, the Sexy Sculpt’n workshop will take things below the belt.
Ticket-holders will be tasked with building each other’s private parts – yep, we mean penises and vaginas – out of clay.
The event comes from Cork & Clay and promises to be a body-positive, ‘unforgettable ceramic experience’.
The ticket price (£25 for early bird or £30 for general admission) includes all the materials you need – air dry clay, rolling pins, tools, aprons and clay slips – as well a box to carry home your sexy piece of clay.
Set to take place on both the 14 February and the 15 February, it’s part of Ducie Street Warehouses’s special Valentine’s Day event programming.