A giant 11-foot wooden puppet that captured the hearts of Manchester last year is returning to the city once again this summer.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-loved free event that is Manchester Day is back for 2022 on Sunday 19 June, and thousands of people are set to flood the city’s streets for what promises to be a bigger and better parade than ever before.
Back for its first outing since 2019, the spotlight for this year’s Manchester Day – which is created by Manchester People, and produced by award-winning local arts organisation Walk the Plank – will be dedicated to the city’s children and young people, who Cllr Pat Karney said “have missed out on so much during the pandemic”.
Organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sure the city centre will be buzzing with plenty of things to see and do all day long.
And what better way to celebrate the children of the city that with a visit from a very special young guest who recently made Manchester her home after an epic 8,000 km journey through Turkey and across Europe from Syria.
Little Amal – the 3.4 metre high puppet of a Syrian girl refugee who arrived in Manchester last summer – will be out and about taking in all the sights and sounds of the unforgettable annual Manchester Day parade as it makes its way through the city streets.
With the spotlight for the return of Manchester Day this year firmly fixed on children and young people as part of the city’s year-long 2022 Our Year campaign, and as Manchester works towards becoming a UNICEF recognised child-friendly city, event organisers are asking the city’s children and young people to look out for Little Amal and be ready to “extend the hand of friendship to her” to show her the true spirit of Manchester and how the city likes to celebrate.
“This year, we’re focusing on the contribution of children and young people to our city, and the future of our planet, so we’re delighted to welcome Little Amal, one of the city’s most famous children, to the celebration,” said Liz Pugh – Creative Producer at Walk The Plank.
“And she will take the spirit of Manchester’s youth with her as she sets off on her next journey at the start of Refugee Week.”
Speaking on the return of Manchester Day for 2022, Cllr Pat Karney – Chair of Manchester Day – said: “Manchester Day is the city’s way of celebrating everything we love about our incredibly diverse city and all its brilliant communities, who together help make Manchester the best place in the world to be, and this time we’re dedicating it specially to all our children and young people who we know had such a rubbish time and missed out on so much during the pandemic.
“We’re honoured also to have Little Amal with us this year.
“She’ll be joining families and children as our iconic Manchester Day Parade makes its way through the city, and can’t wait to show her some Manchester love to hold in her heart and take with her on the next leg of her important journey.”
Featured Image – Bevan Ross (via MIF / The Walk)
ANOTHER bargain variety store has opened in Manchester – and some of the items in Miniso are adorable
There’s another newcomer to the high street in Manchester, and this one’s got some seriously cute items at low prices.
Miniso has taken over a 2,903 sq ft unit in the Manchester Arndale, joining the hugely popular Flying Tiger as new shops spring up across the shopping centre.
The Chinese brand specialises in family lifestyle and design-led products, selling everything from handbags to homeware to cuddly toys.
Its range also includes toys and gadgets, stationery, homeware, fitness and beauty, with a philosophy of ‘simplicity, nature and good quality’.
Miniso is another place shoppers can stock up on all your Christmas stocking fillers without having to cripple yourself financially, with adorable gifts priced from £1.
For just a quid, you can get superhero phone cases, greetings cards, and colouring sets – and even the most expensive products in store won’t cost you much more than £30.
Miniso sells gadgets like Bluetooth headphones, wireless speakers and electronic cleansing face brushes for way less than most other places.
There is an ENTIRE WALL of plushies – soft pale piglets, squishy Minions, cute plush penguins and even cuddly fried chicken.
You can also grab a ‘mystery box’ between £2.50 and £4.
In the accessories section, there are handbags scattered with pink love hearts, purses with whiskers and noses, as well as more simple backpacks and totes.
Water bottles, travel coffee mugs, makeup brushes and tools, yoga mats, gaming gadgets like keyboards and headphones (with cat ears on, naturally) – Miniso’s got it all.
Popular Japaneses snacks like Hello Panda (a biscuit with different flavoured fillings) and Yan Yan (biscuit sticks with different flavour dips) are all sold here too.
Saad Usman, COO at MINISO UK, said: “We’re delighted to announce the launch of our store at Manchester Arndale. We believe that the opening of this store, our first in the North West, is the perfect place for us to continue our expansion in the UK.
“At MINISO UK, we’re committed to getting the retail industry back on its feet, demonstrated not only by the investment into our fantastic new store, but also the creation of 10-15 new jobs in the local market.
“With innovative and exciting products that are high-quality and great value, we look forward to welcoming customers of all ages through our doors on opening day and beyond.”
Bubble CiTea is also opening in the Arndale, selling traditional Taiwanese bubble tea with flavours including Mango Fruit Tea with Rainbow Bubbles and Taro Milk Tea with Crystal Bubbles.
Colin Flinn, spokesperson for Manchester Arndale, said: “We are delighted that Bubble CiTea and MINISO have selected Manchester Arndale as their first locations in the city, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them alongside other recent arrivals such as Gilly Hicks, Clarks, and Jamaica Blue.
“It’s great to see the centre continually attracting both fantastic home-grown brands like Bubble CiTea and big-name international retailers such as MINISO.
“With such exciting leasing activity taking place it is clear retailers have confidence in the long-term future of the centre and its position as a leading retail destination.
“With Manchester Arndale now almost fully let, it will continue to attract millions of visitors from across the North West and beyond, with its dynamic and constantly improving line up of exciting retail, F&B and leisure offers.”
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 28 November – 4 December 2022
December is finally here.
It’s hardly like we’ve been stopping ourselves, but now that we’re waving goodbye to November, we are officially allowed to get excited about Christmas and all the festive-themed events coming up over the next few weeks – especially after Manchester Christmas Markets 2022 kicked-off and are now spreading festive cheer across the city.
The events calendar is, once again, absolutely jam-packed this week, 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.
Monday 28 November – onwards
Lightopia has made a return to Heaton Park this year.
Once again lighting up Manchester and captivating audiences for the fourth year in a row, award-winning illuminations event Lightopia is promising to bring the magic of Christmas back to the grounds of Heaton Park from this Thursday – with a brand-new immersive experience set to take over the park until January.
Through brand-new and unseen audiovisual displays, this year’s festival is a “once-in-a-lifetime adventure” for the all the family to enjoy.
This year, Lightopia will have food and drink traders stationed in front of The Stables under a heated canopy, creating the atmosphere of a mini Christmas market. Festive food and drink on offer will include a pulled pork hog roast and mulled wines, as well as vegan scotch eggs and homemade sausage rolls served out of an Airstream, piled-high pasta dishes, and stone-baked pizzas served from a converted horse box.
Find out more about Lightopia 2022 and grab tickets here.
Manchester Christmas Markets 2022
Manchester City Centre
Monday 28 November – Thursday 22 December
Manchester Christmas Markets 2022 are in full swing.
The iconic annual event – which draws in visitors from all across the globe each year, and has been voted the best Christmas markets in the UK for 2022 – are here once again to spread some cheer right across the city centre.
Open every day until Thursday 22 December, the the main market hubs in will be in Exchange Square, St Ann’s Square, King Street, and Market Street.
Other zones, however, are set to open after Christmas Day and run into the New Year.
You can find out everything you need to know here.
Monday 28 November – onwards
Did you see that Manchester’s newest cinema on the roof of Depot Mayfield has a whole host of Christmas films on the agenda over the next few weeks?
Backyard Cinema brings its immersive movie going experience to the north for the ever first time, and features way more than a cosy purpose-built cinema room, as it comes complete with an Enchanted Forest, two bars, street food trucks, and a live music stage to boot.
Looking for some new restaurants and bars to try out in Manchester city centre before this month is out?
As ever, a host of exciting new restaurants and bars have opened up November.
Not only do we have the return this month of Manchester’s Christmas Markets, which has brought with it a host of exciting and varied food and drink stalls, we also have a host of new wine bars, bakeries, pasta restaurants and food halls to shout about.
You can read our round-up to find out where to put on your list this month here.
FIFA World Cup 2022
Manchester City Centre
Monday 28 November – 18 December
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is well underway, and Mancs are right to be wondering where to watch the World Cup in Manchester.
International tournaments are always a special occasion we eagerly await to come around and while we’re sure you could walk into any old pub and enjoy yourself, there are some seriously good venues showing Qatar 2022 this winter – so, with that in mind, we thought we’d put together a list of the best places to watch in our city.
Escape to Freight Island has brought its highly-popular Winter Island back to Manchester, just in time to get you in the mood for the festive season.
Having landed at Depot Mayfield‘s premier event space and cargo park, this year’s Winter Island is promising visitors everything from DJs, live entertainment, and Massaoke, to Christmas workshops, pop-up markets, and all the festive food you could hope for.
Food and drink to be scoffed from some of the best local and independent traders.
From Manchester favourites like Northern Soul grilled cheese and the award-winning Great North Pie Co. to Ancoats chocolatiers Cocoa Cabana, who will be letting you create your own boozy hot chocolate (the best kind), there’s so much to tickle your festive fancies.
Proper festive fun for all the family, the Christmas with Paddington grotto experience – which is curated by award-winning experiential events company Bakehouse Factory – includes fun photo opportunities for all ages, the chance to travel through snowy festive trees and scenic street scenes, and so much more.
What’s a festive season in the city without Skate Manchester?
Back once again for 2022 with twinkling lights, the smell of gingerbread, and Christmas songs playing on repeat, Skate Manchester’s stunning outdoor ice rink is in the heart of the city at Cathedral Gardens until 2 January 2023.
With covered rink having a roof to allow everyone to enjoy the ice, whatever the weather, this year, there’s also a brand-new ice path allowing you to skate around the beautiful Christmas tree centre.
The highly-anticipated and long-awaited exhibit is currently showcasing 145 iconic Banksy pieces all amassed from private collections across the globe to create the world’s largest touring collection of Banksy artworks.
Visitors will have the chance to experience the infamous artist’s most well-known works alongside those rarely seen by the public, all on loan from private collectors.
Popular après-ski village Bar Hütte is officially back in the city centre.
After what was an undeniably successful run in 2021 and the plenty of years prior, Bar Hütte is better than ever this year, with 15 cosy Alpine cabins dotted across the Great Northern square courtyard to bring a lively, festive, and vibrant atmosphere.
Inspired by some of the coolest après ski bars in Europe, there’s everything from live music and free-flowing festive drinks, to the chance to try out the bar’s legendary ‘shot skis’, as well sing-along to all of your favourite tunes inside a private wooden karaoke cabin that’s festooned with twinkling tights.
Cheshire Oaks’ beloved grotto will look a little different to usual as Santa and his trusty elves are taking to the skies and inviting you on a fantastical festive adventure on the outlet’s all-new Big Wheel.
The Santa in the Sky experience is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas as a family this winter, and make memories to last a lifetime.
Open every weekend throughout December, with 10-minutes flights taking place from 10am-1pm, included in the ticket price is four spaces on the Big Wheel flight with Santa and his elves, and you’ll also get to sip on a mulled wine or hot chocolate and enjoy a festive cookie, as well as get a little gift to take home with you from Santa.