Manchester’s iconic Victoria Baths has announced it will be reopening its doors for the first time in over six months as it welcomes visitors to its Festive Winter Fair.
If you’re looking to get a spot of Christmas shopping done early, there couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity.
Taking place over two weekends next month, there’ll be up to 30 stalls at the Festive Winter Fair – handpicked by Victoria Baths’ Events Team – selling a variety of art, jewellery, ceramics, homewares and festive decorations, with shoppers being able purchase items from some of the highest-quality makers in the Manchester area.
Victoria Baths will also have its very own stall, with everything from stocking fillers, to fine art, which are all inspired by the building and its history.
And of course, the vast spaces of this Grade II listed building make it perfect for a winter fair 2020-style.
The Festive Winter Fair gives everyone the chance to “shop local” and support independent creative traders at the end of what has been a very tough year for small businesses, and for added festive cheer, mulled wine and mince pies will be amongst the treats on offer in the Tea Room, where visitors will enjoy a warm welcome from the Baths’ team of award-winning volunteers.
It also comes just in time for those finalising their Christmas lists too.
In order to ensure the event is as COVID-secure as it can possibly be, timed entry tickets, capped visitor numbers, signposted one-way routes, hand sanitiser stations, friendly volunteer ushers and more, will all be in place to ensure a relaxed and safe visitor experience.
Speaking on the COVID-secure measures in place, Victoria Baths said: “The safety of visitors, staff and volunteers is our top priority and we’ll be keeping up with and following all government and local guidelines. We’ve spread the Fair over two weekends and released a very limited number of tickets for each time slot, so it might feel quiet, but that’s to make sure there’s plenty of space for social distancing.”
Elizabeth Sibbering – Operations Manager at Victoria Baths – added: “We’re delighted to be opening our doors again, for what has to be one of our favourite events of the year.
“The beautiful tiles and stained glass found throughout the building make a really stunning backdrop to all the maker’s stalls. There’s lots of spaces for people to explore – including the Turkish Baths suite and two of the former swimming pools, despite some areas needing to be closed for Covid safety reasons – and we aren’t dependent upon the weather.
“Victoria Baths is incredibly lucky to have had such amazing support over the years, from those who campaigned to save this building, right through to those who’ve helped us to face the many challenges of 2020 [so] this event will be an opportunity for those who love Victoria Baths as much as we do to enjoy spending some time in one of Manchester’s favourite buildings.”
The Festive Winter Fair at Victoria Baths takes place on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th November, and Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd November from 10:30am – 4:30pm.
Entry to the Festive Winter Fair is by pre-booked ticket only:
Adults – £3
Under 16s and ‘Friends of Victoria Baths’ – FREE
All the money raised from Victoria Baths’ events goes toward helping to keep the beautiful and historic building open for everyone to enjoy.
As per government guidelines under Tier 3 restrictions, you must only attend as a group of up to six people in your own household or support bubble, and it’s also worth noting that the building isn’t heated, so it’s vital you wrap up warm for the event as it is often just as cold inside as it is outside.
Last entry to the fair is at 3pm, and the building will close at 4.30pm.
You can book you tickets here, and for more further information, visit the Victoria Baths website here.
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.
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.
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.