If you love the idea of camping, but are less keen on missing out on home comforts , Ribblesdale Park is the place for you.
There are no tent pegs or cold showers to contend with, and definitely no sleeping on cold hard ground here.
Instead, in this corner of the Ribble Valley, you’ll find stunning fields dotted with white bell tents, in the shadow of a historic mansion house.
There are beds – proper ones, with king size duvets, and plump pillows, and soft blankets – as well as all the modern trimmings we’re all used to, like plugs and mirrors inside.
They’re decorated beautifully, a subtle bohemian mix of macrame hangings, patterned rugs and draping plants.
You don’t have to queue at huge crowded shower blocks here – you can stroll across the field to individual shower huts and sparkling clean loos.
On our visit, the north west was right at the tail end of its insane heatwave, so within minutes of arriving it was kit off and straight into Gisburne Park Estate’s outdoor pool.
After more than an hour of sweltering in the car from Manchester, the sparkling water in the courtyard was a perfect welcome.
It’s heated too, so even on cooler days you can take a dip.
Suitably refreshed and settled into our cosy glamping tent, it was over to Gisburne Park’s on-site restaurant, Hindelinis.
Here, the portions are massive and the flavours plentiful, from the creamy curry sauce served alongside the battered fish and chunky chips, to the tender chicken burger inside a pillowy bread bun.
You might not expect to find top quality cocktails in the middle of the countryside, but you’d be wrong – the bartenders at Hindelinis whip up arguably the best espresso martini in the country, with subtle notes of caramel.
There aren’t many moments as peaceful as sitting on the outdoor terrace with a pornstar martini in hand, its edible flower garnish pairing perfectly with the pastel skies as the sun sets.
With its rural location, there’s not much in the way of nightlife once darkness sets in, but thankfully each glamping tent comes with its own fire pit – so it was back to the glamping village for wine and a game of cards around the campfire on our own private deck.
Waking up at Ribblesdale Park is the epitome of tranquility.
Where else could you open your window in the morning to spot both a peacock and majestic Sika deer strolling past?
Michael Bisping announces second ‘Tales From The Octagon’ talk with Manc MMA star Tom Aspinall
UFC legend Michael Bisping is bringing back his hugely popular Tales From The Octagon conversation series and he’s bringing Manc MMA star Tom Aspinall as well as Scottish fighter Paul Craig along for the latest Manchester talk.
Following the success of his first trio of live shows back in 2021 — then marketed simply as ‘An Evening with Michael Bisping’ — the Lancashire-raised fighter has invited along the two fellow Northerners to make this latest event more of a discussion surrounding MMA’s past, present and future.
Despite being born in Cyrpus, Bisping spent most of his life not too far down the road in Clitheroe and has spent a lot of time in Manchester, including winning multiple fights at the AO Arena and even meeting his wife, so there was never any question he’d be bringing the tour back to his second home.
Hosting just two shows this time, one at London’s Indigo at the O2 and the other at the Manchester Apollo, the talk promises stories spanning years inside the Octagon as well as the 44-year-old’s time commentating cage-side since retiring back in 2018.
The second Tales From The Octagon live show will also see the special guests chipping in with plenty of their own “wonderful, hilarious” and exclusive “behind-the-scenes stories” and they provide their own take on the MMA scene at large of today.
Craig, a former light heavyweight champion and Aspinall, a Salford-born heavyweight currently ranked fourth overall in the UFC, will both be joining the expert panel across the two dates this winter, bringing their own funny anecdotes, personal stories and unique takes on their careers and the sport as a whole.
Best of all, like sitting down to watch with a mate who also happens to be a vastly knowledgeable fight fan, Bisping style on stage draws both casual and new fans with the open, informal style, whilst still making sure to entertain the hardcore followers of the sport.
With Aspinall being not only a local lad but one of the UFC rising stars and next in line for a heavyweight, we’re also looking forward to hearing his thoughts on how fast-growing career. Here is Bisping speaking on just how excited he is by the 30-year-old fighter:
Speaking ahead of the two new shows, Bisping said: “The last tour in the UK was epic, I was overwhelmed by the turnout and reaction of my fans old and new. I can’t wait to come back later this year with a new show and with Tom and Paul in tow.”
Given the popularity of these three and the fact the previous tour went down a treat, it’s fair to say seats to sit in on this conversation are going to go fast.
Now branching into acting, running a successful podcast and YouTube channel, not to mention a Sunday Times and Amazon Best Seller thanks to his 2019 autobiography, Quitters Never Wins, you’re getting a real value-for-money showing.
The Tales From The Octagon 2 talk in Manchester takes place on 16 December; tickets start from just £28.50 and you can secure yours HERE.
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.