A farm near Manchester where you can go on hikes with alpacas is planning to add glamping pods to the experience.
Lancashire’s Lowlands Farm hopes to introduce overnight accommodation options to its visits and farm experiences.
At present, families can hang out with the farm’s adorable alpacas on a relaxing walk around the beautiful countryside.
You’re paired with your own animal and take it for a walk over flat grassland – picture taking a dog for a walk but then make it loads bigger and covered in wool.
After the walk, staff at the family-run farm will introduce you to the other animals who live here, including Swiss Valas sheep Harrison and Hendricks, Narla the donkey, and all the horses.
There’s also chickens, ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs and even farm cats to say hello to.
And younger visitors can be stunned by their rarest farm animal – the unicorn. At their unicorn experiences, you can brush the mythical creature’s beautiful colourful manes, paint their hooves, and take them on a treasure hunt around an enchanted paddock.
Lowlands Farm started with only three alpacas back in 2010, but they’ve since grown their herd by dozens and created a range of experiences for brilliant family days out.
The farm in Westby-with-Plumptons has built a solid reputation for animal therapy visits too, aiming to help people with mild to moderate mental health issues, special needs, learning disabilities, or illness.
They now want to build five timber-clad glamping pods, which have artificial grass roofs to fit in with the rural setting.
In their planning application, Lowlands Farm say: “This small family enterprise has a great sense of commitment at their heart and hence has built strong customer relationships. Their dedication and deep genuine understanding of the various users’ needs has resulted in a natural and steady growth of the business. Parents and leads of special needs groups comment that the hosts’ genuine understanding of their children’s needs/behavioural habits allows them to relax more, which in turn calms the children.
“The expansion in uptake of the current activities/experiences has led to enquiries from attendees as to whether overnight stays could be offered. These enquiries have come from parents and leaders, of both the special needs and mainstream groups and families. Many have suggested that extending their stay on site overnight would be extremely beneficial.
“The parents and leaders of the special needs groups advise that such a facility would further enhance the current benefits of the visits, especially the children with autism; the site is small, quiet and calming.
“The parents of mainstream children also state that they would be interested in staying on the site as part of an extension of the package farm experience package currently offered. They believe it would help them encourage their children away from electronic devices and immerse themselves in the natural environment; such benefits have already been noted with the annual ‘family camp’.”
If approved, Lowlands Farm will be able to offer overnight glamping stays in the warmer six months of the year.
In the meantime, you can book an alpaca walk or another experience here.
The Big Night of Musicals is returning to the AO Arena in Manchester – and tickets are FREE
The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals will return to the AO Arena in Manchester early next year, with free tickets.
The huge event will be hosted by local comedian Jason Manford, and will bring together jaw-dropping performances from the biggest West End and touring musicals.
Audiences will be treated to hits from shows including Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, A Chorus Line, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, GREASE, Hadestown, and Guys & Dolls.
The massive glittering event will take place on Monday 22 January, to be aired on BBC One, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds at a later date.
And tickets for The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals are completely free – all you need to do is be a National Lottery player.
The 12,000 free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 1pm today, Thursday 30 November, at bignightofmusicals.com.
The event has been created to thank National Lottery players, who in the past year have helped support over 750 theatre-related projects across the UK.
Jason Manford will be joined by special guest, West End legend and singing sensation, Beverley Knight, who has starred in theatre shows including The Bodyguard, Cats, Memphis, Sylvia, and Sister Act.
The National Lottery has awarded more than £517m to arts projects across the country, with £46m of this going towards theatre related projects.
For The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals, players will be able to reserve up to four tickets for free, plus a £2 booking fee applies per ticket and proof of purchase of a National Lottery product is required.
Comedian, musical theatre performer and host Jason Manford said: “I’m thrilled to be hosting The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals once again.
“We’ve got another amazing line-up of smash hit shows for the Manchester Arena audience to enjoy. And the best thing about this show is that the tickets are free!
“It’s a thank you from The National Lottery to all the people who have supported the performing arts through these crucial years by playing each week.”
Beverley Knight, who also performed in the 2022 launch of The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals, said: “It’s great to be coming back to be part of this incredible show. The support National Lottery players make to the theatre industry is crucial to the performers and myriad of people – at large and small venues – who help make a night at the theatre so special.
“I can’t wait to see this astonishing line up of talent in Manchester belting out musical classics.”
Whether you can believe it or not, it’s actually been two whole decades since the 2003 Christmas cult classic that is Elf was released to the world, and with December literally just a few days away now, there’s no better way to celebrate this special anniversary than seeing the film return to the big screen for a limited time only.
From this week, you can head on down to Vue cinemas in both Manchester Printworks and inside Quayside MediaCity, as well as others throughout the region, to watch the beloved festive flick.
Going on to become a much-loved festive favourite that’s watched by families all over the world every time December rolls around, Elf is a Christmas comedy film that tells the story of a human raised by Santa’s elves.
As Buddy grows older, he eventually learns about his origins, and heads to New York City on a mission to meet his biological father.
Directed by on Favreau and written by David Berenbaum Elf has been hailed by many as a modern classic, and it’s often listed as one of the best Christmas films of all time.
It stars legendary comic actor Will Ferrell as the title character Buddy the Elf, alongside a talented ensemble cast of famous faces such as Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Jon Favreau, Peter Dinklage, and more in supporting roles.
Ferrell’s performance as Buddy was also praised by critics and audiences alike at the time of the film’s release, and many have even called it one of the best performances of his career.
Speaking ahead of Elf’s return to cinemas this Christmas, Mike Anton, who is the General Manager of Vue Manchester Printworks, said: “Christmas is all about spending quality time with friends and family, and creating treasured moments to last a lifetime.
“So we’re glad to be marking the merry occasion with a lineup of some of the most iconic and beloved Christmas classics.”
Tickets to see Elf at Vue Manchester Printworks and Vue Manchester Quayside are now available to get your hands on from just £4.99 when booked online here.
If you also find yourself at a loose end in Manchester city centre over the next couple of weeks, there’s another a little hidden cinema tucked away inside popular hotel King Street Townhouse that’s screening a jam-packed lineup of classic Christmas films throughout December too – including Love Actually, Home Alone, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
You can also sip on festive cocktails, and snack on popcorn and pick n mix while you watch all the festive flicks too.