It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally been confirmed that RHS Garden Bridgewater is to open its gates to the public in May.
As many Greater Manchester residents will know, the opening of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) newest £44 million garden attraction – which is located off Leigh Road in Worsley – has been delayed on a number of occasions due to ongoing restrictions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but now it’s been revealed that visitors will be welcomed for the first time from Tuesday 18th May.
The 154-acre garden at the former Worsley New Hall estate is the biggest hands-on horticultural project undertaken in Europe since planning permission was granted in 2017, and is set to boast world-class horticultural inspiration and expertise as the first-ever RHS Garden to be located in an urban area.
The RHS is expecting the new attraction to generate around £13.2 million per year to the local economy by 2030, and has created over 100 jobs at the site.
50% of the roles created have been filled by people living within five miles of the garden.
RHS Garden Bridgewater is aiming to be a beacon of gardening inspiration, education and engagement in the heart of the North West, and will feature cutting-edge design by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners, alongside a collection of dedicated community spaces.
Visitors will have the chance to discover areas including the 11-acre Weston Walled Garden – believed to be the largest publicly-accessible working walled garden in the UK – as well as the spectacular Paradise Garden by Tom Stuart-Smith, which showcases exotic planting inspired by Asiatic and Mediterranean gardens, and the nearby Kitchen Garden by award-winning Harris Bugg Studio which boasts a cornucopia of productive growing techniques, and both familiar and more unusual edibles.
The Community Wellbeing Garden, Community Grow area and Peel Learning Garden are just some of the community-focused spaces that can also be found within the Weston Walled Garden.
There’s also the Chinese Streamside Garden – which will be the first authentic Chinese garden in the UK when complete – and the four-acre Woodland Play area to explore, which is designed to encourage children of all ages to engage with nature.
Speaking ahead of the grand opening, Sue Biggs – RHS Director General – said: “RHS Garden Bridgewater is the result of years of hard work by a dream team of designers, gardeners, contractors and many, many others and we are all enormously proud of what we have created.
“Together with our partners and donors, including Salford City Council and The Peel Group, we are thrilled to finally be able to celebrate this monumental achievement on May 18”.
Keen to grab tickets?
Tickets for the highly-anticipated opening on Tuesday 18th May are set to go on sale on Monday 19th April, with the park open Monday to Sunday, from 10am – 6pm.
All visitors will need to pre-book a time slot, with last entry at 5pm.
That’s not all though, as all Salford residents will be able to visit RHS Garden Bridgewater free on Tuesdays only from 25th May for the first year thanks to an arrangement agreed between the RHS and Salford City Council.
Tickets will still need to be booked online, and proof of your Salford address will be required on arrival.
Pretty Woman The Musical at Palace Theatre Manchester – a Hollywood dream come true
“Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream?” goes one of the most iconic lines in Pretty Woman, the musical version of which has just landed in Manchester.
And after the opening night of the theatre production of this beloved film, mine is to relive the experience over and over again.
There are tears, incredible voices, amazing outfits, and just generally the perfect remake of my favourite film.
After a record-breaking run on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical opened at The Palace Theatre in Manchester last night, and my god it was brilliant.
If you don’t know the story line by now… then come on? Set in the 1980s, it begins with Edward (in the film, a suave Richard Gere) asking for directions in Hollywood Boulevard, and finding all the answers from Vivian (played by Julia Roberts in the film). And so the romance begins.
On stage, we kick off in the Blue Banana, and exactly like the film, we meet Vivian, Kit and the homeless man (or Paige Fenlon, Natalie Paris, and Ore Oduba, plus Ben Darcy as Edward). Their CVs include stints on SIX The Musical, Les Miserables, and Strictly Come Dancing.
Their voices will all blow you away, but my favourite on stage has to be Ore, transforming from the homeless man shouting ‘what’s your dream!’ to Mr Thompson in the hotel teaching Vivian to dance, to the conductor at the opera, a shop owner on Rodeo Drive and loads more roles.
He delivers brilliant transitions into every scene.
Ore Oduba in Pretty Woman The Musical, which is at the Manchester Palace Theatre until 16 March.
The theatre show has all the major moments from the film, like the iconic shopping scene, the day trip to a polo match, when he finally ‘sleeps’, and down to the most perfect costume of the red dress and the necklace for the opera. The voices of the opera singers are staggering, too.
With its own soundtrack compared to the film, there’s enough to lure in even those of us who have re-watched the film 100 times and can quote it line-for-line.
But Pretty Woman The Musical does wrap up with the titular song from the classic hit, and there’s something about the finale – the standing ovation, huge cheers and applause – that brings me to tears.
If you don’t have tickets yet, big mistake… HUGE!
Pretty Woman The Musical is on at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until Saturday 16 March, and it’s definitely not one to miss.
New ‘hobby house’ with loads of FREE crafty workshops opens in Manchester city centre
A new ‘hobby house’ with loads of FREE creative and crafty workshops to attend has just opened in Manchester.
Having opened down at Manchester’s growing neighbourhood, NOMA, the innovative new concept is called Altogether Otherwise, and is setting out to provide the Greater Manchester public with a welcome relief from all the demands and fast-paced culture of city centre life that we’ve, sadly, all become so used to.
Dubbed a ‘hobby house’, Altogether Otherwise is a “place to pursue creativity” and a chance to explore and get stuck into some new activities, all while bumping into like-minded people in an ever-changing gathering space.
An exciting lineup of workshops and events that are free to attend have also been announced.
A new ‘hobby house’ with loads of FREE crafty workshops has opened in Manchester city centre / Credit: NOMA (via Instagram)
Altogether Otherwise has seen a former disused printing house on Hanover Street in NOMA be transformed into 6,500 sq ft community space that’s open daily to the public.
Visitors can either step straight off the pavement into a welcoming front-of-house shop, or make their way through into a large workshop that’s apparently meant to offer “endless possibilities for making and meeting”.
On top of this, there’s also be a larger ‘village hall’-style space that’s dedicated to hosting participatory events and activities.
Pottery workshops, woodwork classes, mushroom growing sessions, an evening gardening club, sewing and knitting groups, running teams, and a book club are just some of the exciting interactive events already planned in the calendar for when the new space.
‘Altogether Otherwise’ is the latest venture for creative urbanist Ben Young / Credit: Supplied
‘Altogether Otherwise’ is the latest venture for creative urbanist Ben Young, and is a culmination of a decade of building a participatory neighbourhood down at NOMA.
Ben Young has described the new concept as a place where be people can “simply be”.
“Altogether Otherwise provides an escape from the results-orientated efficiency that has infiltrated every part of our lives,” he commented. “We’re providing a place to simply be, without having to justify or account for ourselves, as the hobbies we encourage are free-wheeling pursuits of aimless pleasure which act as a much-needed salve for a world dominated by achievement.