We all know all-too-well that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to properly switch off – even when we’re on holiday.
With the constant pings and buzzes and flashes of digital technology begging for our attention every minute of the day, it’s not easy to properly step away and unwind.
Which is why the Unplugged countryside cabins were invented – and its first north west location has just opened.
Each of these stunning tiny homes includes a lock box, which guests are encouraged to lock their mobile phones in.
Over the course of each three-night stay, Unplugged guests are instead given other items to keep them entertained.
The Unplugged cabins include board games, books, and cassette players, as well as an instant camera with film so you can still capture your break – without the pressure to immediately shout about it on Instagram.
You’re also handed a classic Nokia phone (yes complete with Snake) in case you need to contact anyone, and a map and a compass.
They are also kitted out with a compact but fully equipped kitchen for cooking up a storm, a log burner and an outdoor fire pit, and comfy beds with luxury Piglet bedding.
There are several of these countryside retreats dotted around the south of England, and there’s now an Unplugged property here in the North West, just outside Greater Manchester in Cheshire.
The ‘Luna’ cabin has a huge panoramic window overlooking the countryside, and its location just off the Sandstone Trail.
The cabin is even pet-friendly.
You’ll find inside the compact wooden-clad space a powerful hot shower and toiletries, while outside are wellies and umbrellas to brace you for the great outdoors.
Unplugged was launched by two friends – Hector Hughes and Ben Elliot – who at the time both worked at a tech start-up and were teetering on the edge of burnout.
So after one of them took a two-week silent retreat in the Himalayas, they decided to try and create a few pockets of total, switch-off zen here in the UK.
They say: “Humans have always escaped to nature as an antidote to hectic city life. The issue is that now so many of us just wouldn’t know where to start.
“We’re glued to our phones, inundated with push notifications and respond to emails at all times of the day. We’re on a mission to help you unplug from your devices so that you can recharge.
“So we decided to build beautiful off-grid cabins just outside of city life that take less than an hour or two to get to.
“We also remove any of the woo-woo and stigma that might come with meditation and Buddhist retreats by creating beautiful cabins in nature for you to use the space and time to switch off how you want to.
“When we launched our first cabin, Koya in July 2020 we’d check in and out every guest, lock their phones away and take the key back with us to London. Now we have a lot more cabins, guests check themselves in and are encouraged to lock their phones away to benefit from 3 nights offline.
“We of course practice what we preach and all of the Unplugged team go for a digital detox at least once per year to help us switch off and recharge.”
You can book Luna, the Unplugged cabin in Cheshire, here.
Featured image: Pasco Photography
Things To Do
The top nerdy places in Manchester to get your geek on
There are so many different types of nerds. From comic and manga readers, to the tabletop players, to lovers of video and arcade games.
So even if you’re DC or Marvel, in Manchester there’s a bit of something for everyone.
We’ve rounded up everything from board game cafes to comic book shops to arcade bars.
Whether you’re looking to buy or play, here are some of the nerdiest places you NEED to check out in Manchester.
This place is like the Big Tescos for nerds. It’s your one-stop shop for everything geeky.
Upstairs has everything like pop funks, figurines, collectables and fun merch from your favourite shows and games.
Downstairs is where the magic happens, and if you’re looking to get into comics or manga, this is the place to be. It’s got all the classics you’d expect with, of course, the brand-new comic releases.
This Dale Street shop is like the previous but with a smaller, independent feel and is always a lovely shop to browse in.
It’s our personal favourite and it’s got all you need including comics, manga and loads of tabletop games to browse and purchase.
Looking for people to play board games with? This is the place to go. It was voted the UK’s favourite board game store in 2019.
You can join D&D and Warhammer games or just nip in for a browse, just try not to end up spending copious amounts of money on a new Warhammer army.
This gigantic shopping emporium is the home of all things alt, but there are also plenty of shops inside to get your geek on.
Here are just a few standouts. There’s Card Empire specialising in Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon Cards. The Animaid Cafe for lovers of all things kawaii. And we couldn’t forget Star Wars Man on the third floor with his huge collection of nostalgic TV and film collectables.
Now if you’re looking to play instead of buy, the next three will be right up your street. Starting with NQ64, specifically the massive new site in the Northern Quarter.
They’ve got loads of classic arcade machines, themed cocktails and grub for when you get the mid-gaming munchies. We highly recommend playing Ice Cold Beer and beating our high score of 7 (trust us it’s hard).
Fancy something less retro and more modern? Try Pixel Bar, which is open past midnight every day.
If you want to grab some mates and have a couple of drinks while you crush them on games like Smash, Fifa or Tony Hawk, this is the place to be.
Bury Arcade Club
This place is the Mecca of all things arcade. It’s a multi-level video arcade featuring classic and modern games.
The best thing about it is you pay one standard fee (under £20) and you get to play everything inside for free and as much as you want.
The downside is Bury is a bit of a trek from the city centre and you’ll probably have to drive to get there.
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 2 – 8 October
We’ve finally waved goodbye to September and welcomed October with open arms.
Not only is it the first week of a new month, but we’ve now also officially ushered in a new season, but while summer may have passed us by in the blink of an eye, that doesn’t mean the fun’s stopped now autumn is here, as there’s still loads of events happening in Greater Manchester to make the most of.
If you’re finding it a bit tricky to choose, 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.
Halloween Lakeside Light Trail
Partridge Lakeside Fishery
Monday 2 – Tuesday 31 October
A magical new Halloween lakeside light trail is opening this week, and it’s set to transform the popular Partridge Lakes Fishery in Warrington into what’s being described as “an enchanting Halloween attraction”.
Organisers say the hour-long immersive experience is like “stepping into a living Halloween storybook”.
You’ll be able to see the “mesmerising world of Halloween wonder” come to life as you stroll along a winding path around the lake’s edge that leads that takes you on a magical journey through woodland decorated by eerie and captivating lights.
You’ve only go two more days left to make the most of Oktoberfest 2023 in Manchester.
Albert’s Schloss in the heart of the city centre has been at the helm of the iconic celebration of German heritage in Manchester for the seventh year running, with all the fun of the festival having well and truly kicked off in style with the tapping of the first keg, and now only a couple of days left to get stuck into all the action.
There’s biers, bratwurts, the sound of Albert’s Oompah band, and plenty of the usual Albert’s Schloss debauchery.
There’s a ‘rock opera’ musical stage show about the life and times of former Prime Minister Tony Blair coming to The Lowry this week.
TONY! The Tony Blair Rock Opera is a show for “Tony lovers, haters, and everyone in between”, and tells the story of how one man went from “a peace-loving, long-haired hippy, and would-be pop star” to a “warmongering multimillionaire” in just a couple of decades – with a stellar cast of larger-than-life characters setting the scene.
Co-written by comedians Harry Hill and Steve Brown, the musical is taking to The Lowry stage from Monday 2 – Saturday 7 October.
Luna’s Legendary Creature Halloween Trail gives visitors the chance to get up close to five of Chester Zoo’s most magical species.
Kicking off this Sunday 1 October, and running right up until Halloween itself, the rhinoceros hornbill, Sulawesi-crested macaque, and huge Sunda gharial crocodile are just some of the species you’ll get to learn all about as you make your way around the 90-minute interactive trail.
You’ll be tasked with helping Luna the witch discover a legendary creature living deep inside the zoo’s Monsoon Forest habitat.
Did you know you can get a pass to visit loads of National Trust sites across the UK for FREE this autumn?
Autumn in Greater Manchester is a wonderful thing, and and our region is filled with places to appreciate the beauty of this much-loved season – but if you were looking for a reason to travel a little further afield to experience everything nature has to offer and see the leaves change colour, then it doesn’t get much better than this.
This is why the National Trust wants to give people the chance to “experience the awe of the season” at no extra cost.
The pass allows free entry for two adults and up to three children, one adult and up to four children, or just two adults on their own.
Find out more about how to claim the limited-time offer here.
Richard Kelly: A Time and Place
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel
Monday 2 October – late October
Some rarely-seen photos of Amy Winehouse have just gone on display in Manchester to mark the late singer’s 40th birthday.
The exclusive images of the legendary vocalist are forming part of an exhibition showcasing work by critically-acclaimed music photographer Richard Kelly that’s currently happening down at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in the city centre.
Following its unprecedented popularity, the exhibition‘s stay in our city has been extended, and will now be running until the end of October.
Greater Manchester’s new and returning students can get themselves fixed-up with some amazing deals and discounts at the Trafford Centre this week.
All Saints, schuh, and Michael Kors are just some of the brands inside the shopping centre offering big discounts for one night only on Tuesday 3rd October from 6pm-10pm – with live entertainment, experimental brand activation, and so much more also on the lineup.
Fancy trying out some new bars, and restaurants that have opened in Greater Manchester this month?
October is set to be a big month for new restaurant openings in Manchester.
Some of the most high-anticipated launches of the year are taking place this month, with everything from Sexy Fish, that hugely glitzy London establishment that’s moving into Spinningfields at long last, to Louisiana fried chicken legends Popeyes.
Leeds’ favourite ramen house House of Fu is also opening, and there’s a Broadway Diner, where wait staff sing musical numbers at you while you eat.
You’ll also find new restaurants to check out right across Greater Manchester too.
Museum After Hours is a unique opportunity to unleash your inner child and explore everything on offer inside the Science and Industry Museum… without all the actual kids running around.
Kicking off from 6pm this Thursday, tickets to the one-off event include evening passes to the museum’s showstopping special exhibitions ‘Power Up’ and ‘Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You’, as well as access to the popular Revolution Manchester, Textiles Gallery, Experiment areas, and so much more.
There’ll also be a bar on site serving up a wide range of both alcoholic and soft drinks, so you can wet your whistle while you’re wandering around.
The north’s biggest beer festival is back in Manchester this weekend.
The beloved Indy Man Beer Con (IMBC) is returning to its home at Victoria Baths from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 October, welcoming some of the finest brewers from the UK and across the globe for four days of tastings, talks, and special beer collaborations.