Trafford Centre‘s ‘spooktacular’ Spookfest is back for another year of festive fright and family fun.
The massive shopping centre and leisure centre’s annual Halloween build-up event is one of the biggest anywhere in Greater Manchester and promises more creepy activities than ever.
From seasonal-themed food, drink and face-painting, to special movie screenings, circus shows and live performances, the second half of October will be dedicated to everyone’s favourite horror-filled holiday.
Spooktacular Big Top Circus Returns: 14-30 October
The creepiness kicks off with the return of the beloved Gandeys Circus, which arrives with a brand-new Halloween Spooktacular Big Top show.
The specially selected international cast of skeletons, vampires, jack-o’lanterns and Circus Artistes have been brought together for an action-packed extravaganza.
Just like the circus, the funfair is back and bigger than ever. As well as classics like the ghoulish ghost train and haunted house, new additions include the new Mach 5: an adrenaline-pumping ride that spins speedily at soaring heights of 55m above the ground. That’s more than enough to put the fright in us!
But don’t worry, it’s not all scares; there’s plenty of fun for the little ones as well, with flying elephants, mini-chairs, tea cups, the dedicated Kidzone and much, much more. Spookfest has something for people of all ages.
Entry tickets to the funfair and rides area are priced at just £2.50 per person at an online discounted rate, but they can be purchased on the door if need be.
Costume characters and face painting: 15– 30 October
For even more to keep the little ones entertained, there’ll be a whole host of Halloween heroes appearing on the weekends and throughout half-term at the Trafford Centre.
Performers will be doing shows and greeting visitors between 2-4pm. Face painting will also be available from 1.30pm–5.30pm on 15, 16 and 22–30 October.
Sat 15 Oct: Maleficent and Aurora
Sun 16 Oct: Jack Skellington
Sat 22 Oct: Jack Skellington
Sun 23 Oct: Maleficent and Scooby Doo
Mon 24 Oct: Batman and Maleficent
Tues 25 Oct: Aurora and Maleficent
Weds 26 Oct: Scooby Doo and Maleficent
Thurs 27 Oct: Jack Skellington
Fri 28 Oct: Batman and Maleficent
Sat 29 Oct: Scooby Doo and Maleficent
Sun 30 Oct: Jack Skellington
And for those looking for scarier Halloween vibes, there’ll be plenty more frightening folk walking around the premises throughout Spookfest.
Credit: Trafford Centre
Pumpkin Tower Installation
Last but not least, Spookfest 2022 will christen the Trafford Centre’s striking new Pumpkin Tower feature, the first ever in the North West and one of the collect new additions to the popular annual event.
The Pumpkin Tower will boast 250 pumpkins and jack o’lanterns and reaches a full five metres into the air — two big Christmas trees worth. This is definitely one to get a snap of with the kids.
Stockport is hosting a Town of Culture Weekender with 50+ events – and it’s all FREE
Stockport will be marking its current Town of Culture title later this month, and it’s set to see the town come together for a huge celebration.
In case you missed it, Stockport was named Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2023 back in May of last year, so what better way to celebrate the coveted title than hosting a weekend packed full of cultural festivities for all the family, with access to some of the town’s must-visit venues? We can’t think of one.
And the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is setting out to do just that.
With over 50 events and activities taking place over the weekend of Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March, the Town of Culture Weekender will shine a light on the impressive variety of culture and creativity happening in the Greater Manchester town, as well as the work and projects that’ve been delivered during the duration of the ‘Town of Culture’ year so far.
🎉Get ready to celebrate with Stockport as we host the ultimate cultural extravaganza this month!🎉
Join us for the Stockport Town of Culture Weekender on March 23rd and 24th, where the town centre will be buzzing with over 50 FREE events and activities for all ages!🎨🎶 pic.twitter.com/nSYMdtUNkj
Marking the end of the town’s ‘Town of Culture’ status with a bang, activities will be taking place at 25 locations across the Stockport borough.
Over the two days, visitors will be given the opportunity to explore some exciting new spaces, all while enjoying an event programme packed with live music, art, comedy, and history.
So, what are some of the dozens of free events you can get stuck into over the two days then?
Well, for starters, the newly-opened town centre park – which is the first green space in the UK to be built on top of a transport interchange, in case you didn’t know – will play host to many of the activities across the weekend.
Stockport is hosting a Town of Culture Weekender later this month / Credit: One Stockport (Supplied)
A ‘Carnival of the Animals’ parade, which is curated by carnival arts organisation, Global Grooves, and features giant animal puppets, is one of the stand-out events on the lineup, but some of the other highlights have to include a grandpa comedy duo, live music with Pandemonium Steel Band, Tai Chi and Yoga taster classes, and a Stockport Sculpture Trail too.
Music and dance will be showcased at venues including Merseyway Shopping Centre, AMP, Petersgate Tap, Magnet, Spinning Top and the Market Place, while Stockport Library will be bringing fun to little ones with a Bluey Day full of games and crafts based on the popular animation series.
There’ll be more than 50 FREE events across 25 town centre locations / Credit: One Stockport (Supplied)
A series of Stockport-themed walks, tours, and activities will also take place across the weekend, while The War Memorial Gallery will also be hosting the Stockport Rising Exhibition showcasing the works of five local celebrated artists.
And, for those interested in exploring the town’s many attractions, there’s set to be free entry for all over the weekend – including the newly re-opened Hat Works Musuem, the Stockport Air Raid Shelters, and Stockport Museum.
Stockport Town of Culture Weekender is taking place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 25 March, and you can find more information ahead of the event here.
Featured Image – One Stockport (Supplied)
A pug cafe with a ball pit and themed cakes is opening in Salford today
A cafe where you can hang out with pugs while you tuck into your coffee and cake is opening in Salford today – and this time it’s permanent.
There’ve been plenty of pop-up dog cafes in Greater Manchester over the years, but CuppaPug will be putting down roots on Chapel Street for good.
Inside the bright pink space – described as a pug playground – there’ll be a ball pit and a pug wall, as well as 10 resident pugs.
And on the menu there’ll be smoothies, milkshakes, coffees, teas and cakes all inspired by the adorable squashy-faced pooches.
This Salford cafe will be the second location for CuppaPug, which launched in London in 2022.
The business was launched by owners Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse, with the aim to create a safe and nurturing pug community.
They’ve been working with charities and organisations that rescue and rehome the popular breed, while educating owners. Those charity partners include National Pug Protection Trust, Manchester Pug Thing and Pug Life Rescue, where £1 from each booking is donated towards the rescue and rehoming of pugs.
Aaron is an ex-police officer turned digital media producer, as well as a successful drag queen performer as part of the Beyonce Experience that was seen on Britain’s Got Talent and UK Black Pride.
Guests can hang out with pugs at the new CuppaPug cafe in SalfordThere are pink interiors and 10 resident pugs at the CuppaPug cafe in Salford
Meanwhile Matt is a professional actor known for his roles on Channel 4’s Bleach, plus short film Mild Thing.
And completing the CuppaPug family are the pair’s resident pugs, Gaston, Bruce, Bowser, Beau, Gizmo, Bebe, and Baloo.
Speaking about where the idea of CuppaPug came from, Aaron said: “Our inspiration was to create an environment, a pug playground where the pugs can play and people can safely engage with the pugs.
“We want our customers to have an instant smile on their faces as they enter CuppaPug, we want them to feel the warmth and joy that pugs can bring and feel that spike in pleasure from hugging a pug.
CuppaPug founders Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse. Credit: SuppliedCuppaPug founders Aaron Carty and Matt Pieterse. Credit: Supplied
“We are so excited to be opening in Manchester, it’s a fantastic city. We are so humbled by the families from the North travelling to London for a day trip just to spend an hour with our pugs. We thought we owed it to those pug lovers to open a second site up here.”
Matt said: “CuppaPug’s vision is to firstly amplify the education of owning a dog, the responsibility and commitment it takes, continuing to share our pugs with people to bring them joy, help with mind wellness and mental health and rescue pugs.
“Manchester has an amazing pug community as well as its own non-profit organisation ‘Manchester Pug Thing’ that we wanted to help, not only with regular donations but to amplify the organisation and the work they do.”
The 10 resident dogs for the new Salford pug cafe have been chosen through a six-week application and rehearsal process, with 60 dogs whittled down to the final 10.
CuppaPug opens on Chapel Street in Salford today (Friday 1 March). You can book one-hour slots to visit at £15 per person here.