If the region’s events calendar hadn’t already been exciting enough as it is as of late, the school summer holidays brings with it a whole host of things for everyone to be getting involved with – from festivals and family-friendly activities, to foodie feasts, immersive experiences, and so much more.
So once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide this week.
Here’s our top picks.
Monday 17 July – onwards
King Pins is finally bringing a bowling experience for all the family to Greater Manchester from this week.
It’s been a long time coming, but from Monday 17 July, the brand-new King Pins will be open at Trafford Palazzo, and you can expect both state-of-the-art Ten Pin bowling and Duck Pin bowling lanes, as well as ice-free curling, shuffleboards, air hockey, arcades, karaoke booths, and so much more.
A musical version of Roald Dahl’s iconic children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently out on a tour of the UK, and it’s stopping off here in Manchester.
After already proving to be a smash-hit on both the Broadway stage and in the West End, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical – which is based off the 1964 Roald Dahl novel of the same name and the Warner Bros. film – will be at the Manchester Palace Theatre right through until the end of July.
The musical tells “the devilishly delicious tale” of young golden ticket winner Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectionary wizard Willy Wonka.
Backyard Cinema is back in Manchester for the summer, and has created a Miami Beach rooftop experience that’s transporting people back to the 1980s.
The immersive cinema experience – which debuted in the city centre last autumn – has taken over the roof of Depot Mayfield once again – but this time round, the industrial space has been transformed into Miami Beach, using 30 tonnes of sand and signature palm tree cocktails to create the UK’s largest pop-up beach.
A brand-new Coronation Street Experience has opened, and it’s giving fans access to areas they previously haven’t been able to before.
The Coronation Street Tour is known for giving people the chance to discover the hidden world that lies behind the camera at the external sets at MediaCityUK in Salford, and now, the already award-winning experience has got even better as the new exhibition extends the current 90-minute tour and makes it even more “immersive” for fans.
You’ll get the opportunity to see Dierdre’s famous glasses up close, take a seat in Roy’s Rolls, or even stand behind the bar at The Rovers.
A gigantic new music, food, and drink venue has opened at a former Manchester factory.
Diecast comes from the team behind popular Swan Street venues Ramona and The Firehouse, and has opened behind Manchester Piccadilly train station – kicking off with a grand opening as part of the venue’s first phase, ‘The MachineWorks’ AKA ‘Leno Ex Machina’, which has been unveiled after two years of intense anticipation.
Diecast boasts one of the biggest frozen drinks menus in the city, as well as a massive warehouse kitchen serving up pizzas, zesty Italian small plates, wood fired piadino, and Leno burgers.
A huge circus tent has been installed onto the roof of Depot Mayfield in Manchester, as the world-leading cabaret La Clique is in town.
The trailblazing show – which has had its stay in the city extended right through to 29 July – features the best circus and cabaret acts in the world.
Presented by live entertainment company Underbelly, La Clique is wowing audiences with its genre-defining cabaret show, and for its Manchester stint, performers will include tension strap artist LJ Marles, singer Chastity Belt, aerial contortion artist Miranda Menzies, comedy and stunt performer Sam Goodburn, and more.
Trafford Centre’s new “immersive” disco-themed roller rink is officially opening this week for summer.
Popping-up in The Orient food court in front of the Main Stage area, the shopping centre’s new StarWash Roller Disco is described as being a “dazzling disco-themed roller rink” that’s an immersive experience where skaters can “get down both on and off the rink”.
Skaters will be “transported” to a world of “vibrant lights, pulsating beats, and a kaleidoscope of colours”, all while a DJ blasts out a soundtrack of feel-good tunes and disco classics.
Fancy trying out some new bars, and restaurants that have opened in Greater Manchester this month?
With summer now in full swing and al fresco drinking and dining in full flow, it feels right that a new venue boasting Manchester’s biggest beer garden opens this month – with a rum bar boasting a whopping 64 different frozen daiquiri combinations, no less.
There is more to check out at new Malaysian restaurant Kaya providing a melting pot of flavours on Chinatown’s Faulkner Street, and Altrincham food hall Chi Yip providing the Trafford market town with everything from traditional roast meats to bubble teas.
Add to that a new city centre wine shop and bar, a sun trap Northern Quarter bar with even more outdoor seating, and a new restaurant in Prestwich from lockdown sandwich dealers San San.
Find out where to put on your list this July here.
bluedot Festival 2023
Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 July
bluedot Festival is back for 2023 this week.
Cheshire’s multi award-winning celebration of music, science, and cosmic culture will once again be taking over the grounds of the iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory from Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 July – with Grace Jones, Pavement, Roisin Murphy, Max Richter, and Leftfield among the names lined-up to take to the stage.
BBC Concert Orchestra, Young Fathers, and Annie Mac also form part of this year’s lineup over the four-day festival, alongside a series of hands-on science workshops, exhibitions, and so much more.
60 years of legendary TV series Doctor Who will also be celebrated with impressive programme of talks, panels, and performances.
Popular city centre venue Albert’s Schloss has launched its very-own ‘Albert’s Marching Band’.
Exclusive to Manchester, an eight-piece formation of the region’s finest musicians will be marching through the palace doors every Thursday evening throughout July, and you can catch them playing unique arrangements of classic New Orleans beats, family favourites, and big brass versions of ‘klub klassics’.
Further performances and DJ sets will then continue right through to midnight to get the weekend started early.
A brand-new exhibition is set to have its world premiere at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester this week, and it’s giving families the chance to “dive headfirst into the digestive system” and “travel like a poo”.
The new blockbuster exhibition, Operation Ouch!, is based on and will see the award-winning CBBC children’s TV series brought to life.
Visitors can expect interactive experiences, amazing objects from the Science Museum Group’s collection, and appearances from world-renowned doctors who will be on hand to guide audiences through this “lively, interactive, and playful adventure to better understand our brilliant bodies”.
Greater Manchester’s iconic heritage railway is hosting one of the most unique fine dining experiences in the region this summer.
Running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday right through the summer until September, ELR’s Red Rose Diners are described as being “the ultimate first class foodie experience”, as they start with a glass of fizz and stretch over an almost three-hour steam train journey through the Irwell Valley.
The experience includes a four-course dinner with complimentary sparkling wine, followed by tea or coffee and after-dinner chocolates.
Summer Daze is back at the Trafford Centre from this weekend, and it’s set to be better than ever.
Set to open from Saturday 22 July, and run all summer right the way through until early September, Summer Daze will see a massive 600sqm beach ready for sunbathing and sancastles, and not one but two “thrilling splash parks” with loads of water jets, pop up outside the shopping centre.
Not only that, but the much-loved retro funfair will also be making a comeback too with over 20 fairground rides.
You can also expect crafting workshops, face painting, costume characters, live music and entertainment, and so much more.
The incredible work of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is to be celebrated in a new exhibition at The Lowry this summer.
Opening this Saturday 22 July, the free family-friendly exhibition will feature several of Julia Donaldson’s personal writing notebooks that contain her first ideas and creative thinking behind her picture book stories, and these will be shown alongside Axel Scheffler’s artwork to show the process of his illustrations.
Little Mancs will get to be creative themselves at the exhibition, as they are guided to write their own stories, draw pictures, dress up, and play fun games inspired by the books.
Featured Image – Lucas Sinclair | The Manc Eats | Albert’s Schloss
Chatting with DJ Fabio ahead of ‘A History of Jungle, Drum and Bass’ with Grooverider and The Outlook Orchestra
Ahead of their upcoming tour next year, we got the chance to one-half of legendary DJing duo, Fabio and Grooverider, who’ll be coming to Manchester early next year.
‘The Godfathers of Drum and Bass’ were there at the very start of it all and have been able to see how the genre, along with offshoots like jungle, has evolved over the years — so it’s only right that they be the ones to deliver a real education to ravers and newcomers this January.
Bringing their ‘History of Jungle and Drum & Bass’ to the Manchester Academy on Saturday, 13 January, 0161 is just one of three places that have been chosen for the limited run of shows and, as Fabio told us on the call, it because this city has a rich relationship with the genre and pioneering underground music in general.
So you’ve got the tour starting in the New Year and it’s a very limited run of shows — what can you tell us about what you’ve got in store?
What we’ve got in store is the best of live drum and bass and something very unique thing. It’s a great show and honestly, even if I wasn’t involved in this I’d go along and definitely enjoy it.
It’s everything that we expected and with a project like this, it’s not something that’s not really been done before, especially not with an orchestra of this size, anyway.
We want it to sound authentic and that’s what’s happened with the band; The [Outlook] Orchestra’s amazing, the musicians are great and it’s a very entertaining two hours.
How have you found building this as a full production with the Orchestra and fine-tuning everyone’s performances on stage?
Well, over the course of our careers in general, it’s just got a lot tighter and we’ve all got a lot more confident. You’ve got to remember when this all started we’d never done anything like it before, you know — we’re DJs and we were on BBC Radio 1 for 14 years and then Kiss for seven.
Public speaking is a completely different thing than speaking in front of a mic, so that was really daunting at first, I’ve got to say; the first one we did I was really nervous and we still get that sense of anticipation, but where it was a bit around the edge at the start, the audience didn’t know that and now I’d say it’s almost 100% the way we want it.
We’ve been doing it two years now and, yeah, it’s just a process of tweaking those fine margins and getting your timings right — when you’ve got 40 musicians, even if you’re a millisecond off it can kind of throw everything.
Sounds like you’ve really nailed it. The idea of a ‘History of Jungle and Drum & Bass’ — how far back are you going into the genre and how do you think it’s changed over the years?
So we go back to 1992. It’s crazy for us to think that was 31 years ago, but yeah, we’re going right back to the beginning and we literally break up the set into years: ’92-93, 94-96 and so on into the 2000s.
I think it has changed over time and you can certainly hear it when you compare the likes of the first track we do, Johnny L’s ‘Hurt You So’, which is kind of like jungle techno, to the modern-day stuff which gets on the radio now, it’s different. But that’s the great thing about both genres, they move on real quick.
Say if you’re a drum and bass head now and took a year off and then came back, you’d be like, ‘What is this?’ but drum and bass is always like that, every single year.
It’s going through a great time at the moment, probably the best in three decades. It’s bigger now than I think that it’s ever been and I think it’s because it’s been accepted by the public get it; they understand it more and it’s less of a niche.
People have always known about house music but now people actually recognise the big names like Chase and Status, Pendulum and so on. It’s in a very healthy place and I know some of the real purists are a little bit p*ssed and feel it’s gone a bit commercial but the underground scene is still there and I don’t think that will ever die.
Yeah, and I suppose that’s what the beauty of events like these is you can play to both of those crowds. Do you find the audience has that mix?
Well, that’s why we’ve tried to get that fine balance between big tunes that your everyday, casual listener will recognise as well as keep some underground stuff in so the real ‘heads’ can come and dive into it.
It’s been very deliberate and we’ve sat down to really think about how to strike that combination and it’s another thing that’s been done really well.
And, obviously, you guys are London kings but how big a role do you think Manchester has played in the scene and how it’s progressed?
Oh man, it’s always been really important. Going back to A Guy Called Gerald who was one of the first truly big English producers, when people listened to ‘Voodoo Ray’, even the Americans thought was a guy from New York and he’s a bit of an unsung hero really.
He made some of the first jungle tunes as well, so we’ve always felt the influence and link with Manchester, especially over the last 10 to 15 years when it’s been really, really strong here.
You know, you’ve got DRS and, of course, had Marcus Intellect, God bless his soul, who always flew the flag for Manchester, you know what I’m saying? And, um, you know, there’s a really healthy, uh, seed in Manchester.
Strategy, Dogger, Mindstate: a lot of those guys are very important to drum and Bass and a lot of them grew up knowing each other as well, which is cool. We’ve also got Jenna G in the show and not only is she from Manchester but she’s one of the real highlights of the show, she’s absolutely amazing.
Also, it’s really important that we put on a good show because the Manchester crowd know their sh*t as well — you can’t really con them.
Absolutely, and in terms of artists right now, whether they’re from Manchester or elsewhere, who’s really exciting you at the minute?
I mean, the staple is obviously Chase and Status who have helped get [the genre] some radio play to the point where there were four drum and bass tracks in the top 40 just last year. Absolutely insane.
Hedex and all those guys are also helping grow the underground scene but, honestly, there’s too many names to mention that lifting up others so we’re in a real good spot at the minute.
Are there any favourite Manchester venues that come to mind?
Band on the Wall — I LOVE it in there and, of course, Warehouse Project which is basically flying the flag for drum and bass across Britain right now. It’s possibly the hottest venue in the UK so, yeah, Manchester was always a no-brainer and we’re really looking forward to coming there.
Nice, and lastly, if you could describe the upcoming shows in three words what would they be?
Featured Images — Supplied/@matthiggs (via Instagram)
The best Christmas light trails in Greater Manchester and beyond
Greater Manchester has been invaded, with so many light trails taking place this year it feels like you’ve been swarmed by fireflies.
There are light trails in parks, light trails in the city, light trails in zoos and light trails in gardens.
There’s a style to suit every taste too, whether you’re into a colourful, nostalgic Christmas, or ultra-tasteful festivities that take your breath away.
There’s even a light trail that will hit the brief if you’re particularly interested in blending winter light trails with disco music…
So we’ve travelled the length and breadth of the north west to pick out the best light trails that are worth your time and money this Christmas.
Know of one we’ve missed? Reach out to us through our socials.
Christmas at Heaton Park, Manchester
A brand new festive light trail has opened in Manchester this winter, filling Heaton Park with glowing orbs, neon trees, and fairylit tunnels.
The spectacular new festive event loops around the park’s lake, where installations on the water include colourful ships and light beams.
And down in the woods you’ll find a laser garden, a flurry of bubbles, larger-than-life glowing flowers, and twinkling pink trees.
You can stop off at a festive teepee for a mulled wine, toast your marshmallows on an open fire, and whizz around the fairground rides at the end too. Did we mention the whole trail is dog-friendly, too?
Adult standard tickets £18 | Running until 31 December | Tickets here
Manchester’s newest city centre park, Mayfield Park, has been transformed into a festive ‘Twilight Trail’ for the first time ever this Christmas.
This brand-new immersive experience is made up of several spectacular light displays, unique lantern installations, and a captivation sound-scape dotted around the pristine new park – with each circuit estimated to take around half an hour.
And at the end you can dive into Winter Island, Freight Island’s Christmas season, and grab yourself some food and drink, from a build-your-own boozy hot chocolate bar from Cocoa Cabana, to the Smoking Coal German BBQ, serving a whole bratwurst menu, Schweinshaxe in a bun, and a classic hog roast butty.
Adult tickets £10 | Running until 31 December | Tickets here
The Twilight Trail is now open, and running right through until the new year, and you can find out more and grab tickets here.
Put Big Light On Bolton, Bolton
Easily the light trail with the best name in Greater Manchester is Put Big Light On Bolton, which has a range of light installations installed in the town centre.
There’s everything from a giant moon by Luke Jerram to a Dan Archer creation that brings the Northern Lights to our hometown.
There are special events taking place around the light festival too – but most of it wraps up this weekend, so you’ll have to move fast.
The completely free Lightwaves Festival is back at Salford Quays this week for its 10th instalment, this time with 15 artworks – three of which are brand new commissions.
Highlights include a luminescent artwork in the shape of a six-metre-long whale shark, complete with transparent fish scales, and a tunnel of giant mirrored rings across the piazza that people can walk through.
Then there are giant glowing flowers and a fire garden you can roam around too.
7-10 December | Free, no tickets needed
Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester city centre
Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester, the lush National Trust site built up on a disused railway viaduct, is inviting visitors to see the urban green space by nightfall.
There’ll be a free Lantern Lates series where the park will transform into a ‘magical, sparkling grotto’.
Visitors can climb up to Castlefield Viaduct , the huge industrial landmark that has views right across Manchester city centre, and savour the winter wonderland created for the coming season.
It’s before the National Trust project closes for a few weeks in the new year for work to refresh the gardens for spring and summer.
A brand-new immersive experience has opened at Chester Zoo for the festive season this week.
Lanterns and Light gives visitors the chance to explore captivating light installations and be transported into enchanting lands filled with colour and festivity, all while meeting orangutans, lions, dolphins, and woolly mammoths as they make their way along the trail.
There’s also colour changing displays stretching as far as the eye can see, birds and stars adorning the zoo’s winding paths and trees, and a spectacular Winter Cathedral tunnel of lights.
Until 31 December | Adult tickets £22 | Buy tickets here.