This Halloween half term at Tatton Park there’s some spooky goings on. We went today to explore whats on offer. You have the rest of the half term week to enjoy the haunted happenings!
There’s some secret haunting at the Old Hall which is open everyday from 11am-4pm (last entry 3pm). Dare you step into what is reported to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country? You can discover the paranormal activity and secret legends.
Spooky fun in the Tatton Mansion
If less haunted activities are your thing then do what we did and go play “I Spy” in the amazing mansion. I love that children are welcomed into the mansion to learn all about what life was like in the past. The trail was enjoyed by the boys and I’m pretty sure the eldest got all the questions right!
Little fingers are welcome to explore the interactive displays too.
You can snoop around the mysterious mansion, looking for clues to answer the questions. Follow the trail and discover the treasures of Lord Egerton. The mansion is open daily from 12pm-4pm (last entry 3pm)
Mystery Maze at the Farm
If being outdoors is more your thing then trek on down to Tatton Park farm. Where you can follow your instincts through the mystery maze and discover surprises along the way! Or you can collect your conker from the secret tree and join in all the creepy conker fun!
Last but not least if you’re not exhausted by all the other activities then head to the Secret Garden behind the beautiful mansion. The garden is open everyday from 10am-6pm (last entry 5pm) where you can hunt out the spooks. Use your spooky skills on the secret garden trail everyday during half term Sat 21 Oct- Sun 29 Oct!
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I’ve posted about Christmas at Bents previously. Not because they asked me to. Not because they even got in touch. But I posted about it because I absolutely love the place. It’s like no other garden centre I know. Still family run after all these years. With family at the heart of everything they do. I love going there for its family friendliness. The playground is fabulous for little and big ones. The toilets cater for all ages and are always clean (this is very important to me!). The variety of food on offer is just great, something for everyone. And since the expansion in recent years the children just love the toy shop. While we get to view the craft and kitchen shops. I’m always recommending it as a go to family destination, which says a lot for what started as a garden centre.
Bents is on Warrington Road in Glazebury, WA3 5NT.
Bents are celebrating their 80 year anniversary this year. As ever at Bents Christmas is a fabulously big affair. People come from miles around to see the displays, room setups and decorations. You are positively encouraged to show from the displays. See something you like on displays just pick it up and buy it!
Christmas at Bents is a grand affair – Room displays are a visual delight
This year however just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they just added a whole other level of fabulousness! Bents very own Winter food market! Think Manchester Christmas market food on a small-scale. Its been constructed especially for Bents and is set within the glass house building. So if it rains, it’s no problem the roof gets closed, and you stay dry.
We went along to the opening night and got to sample the delicious food on sale.
In the middle of the food market is the traditional German sausage stall. With its charcoal fuelled hanging grill. Theres a choice of 3 different authentic German sausages, a premium bratwurst, a chilli bratwurst and a vegan hot dog. The bratwurst are all served in pretzel buns and you can help yourself to condiments. Even the condiments are authentic from Germany.
Vegan hot dog in a Pretzel bun with sauerkraut
Neil tried the premium bratwurst and the boys shared one. I had the vegan version with sauerkraut. I’m not vegetarian but I’m not keen on meat so I usually go with the vegetarian choice.
Neil reports the bratwurst was delicious. To eat the we sat in a little hut. Decorated with hops and Christmas lights, I loved it!
Winter Food Market Opening Times
The food markets are open every day as follows:
Mon & Tues: 12noon to 5pm
Wed – Fri: 12noon to 8pm (Fridays they plan to have live music 6pm-8pm)
Sat: 12 noon to 5pm and Sun: 12 noon to 4pm
The other food options at a different hut are pulled pork in a pretzel bun. Alongside pulled mushroom in the same pretzel bun and a snack choice of pork scratching. We couldn’t pass on trying food from here. It smelled delicious. So after listening to the live music for a while we shared one of each choice. Neil said the pulled pork was delicious but the boys said it was a little spicy for them. I tried the pulled mushroom, my goodness it was so nice. It came with a slice of cheese and some fresh rocket. I would highly recommend this choice if you prefer a vegetarian choice.
Pulled Pork in a Pretzel bun with cheese and rocket
There are two more food huts. The one in the middle sells pancakes, honeycomb and waffles. The last hut sells drinks.
The pancakes were a popular choice!
The drinks menu is extensive and sells hot, cold and alcoholic choices. I was told that all the alcoholic choices, bottled bears etc are from Bents very own food hall, so if you taste something you like there’s the option to take it away with you too.
Being pregnant and driving I couldn’t really have a drink but I did ask to have a small sample of the hot mulled wine. After all Christmas food markets aren’t authentic unless there’s a smell of mulled wine and apple toddy in the air. To me mulled wine is Christmas, so I slowly and carefully enjoyed a few tiny sips of the wine. I can tell you it was lovely. Baby is due in 5 weeks now so thankfully I’ll be able to go back for a full glass before Christmas once he’s arrived!
I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about the Winter Food Market at Bents this year. Except if it’s not on your list of festive things to do add it now! Its family friendly atmosphere, all-weather ceiling and delicious offerings are upping Bents game once again!
Treetop Trek is now now open at Heaton Park, Manchester and we were delighted to be invited down to try it out! Well one of us was delighted.
My 5 year old has been nagging me since he first saw it being built to go. I would have loved to go up and have fun but being pregnant it’s a no no for me sadly. So I recruited some lovely friends of ours who were happy to help out and give the Treetop Trek a try.
There are two types of Treetop Trek available the mini trek and the full trek. As my oldest is only 5 he couldn’t take part in the full trek as you have to be 7 or over. The mini trek takes between 1-2 hours and the full trek is longer taking 2-3 hours.
Starting at 5m high, this lower treetop adventure features 16 fun challenges, including 3 zip lines. Perfect for the younger and less confident trekkers or those with a bit less time on their hands.
The first step is to get the harnesses on and attend a brief safety demo.
Then they were off!
With both the mini trek and the full trek you are continually clipped on. There’s no need to clip and unclip at any part. The wire is continuous and so children should feel extra safe.
The only issue our children had was getting round the trees, its quite tricky for smaller ones to get the right ‘whipping’ action with the harness to pass to the next obstacle. Staff were on hand to help but if you are the only adult with more than one child I’d recommend being in the middle of them so that you can help each one to make sure the clips get around the trees. It didn’t happen all the time but just sometimes the smaller ones struggled with it and needed a little help.
The obstacles started off at around 5m off the ground but as confidence built the platforms got higher!
The first zip wire came shortly after two obstacles and by then the nerves seem to be fading in all the children, they started to love it! As a spectator you need to wear a wristband to be able to view the start and finish of the Treetop Trek but it’s free to watch. You can view the trek from outside the spectator area but you won’t be able to see it all. The full trek goes much further into the woods and you can’t see most of that one from the spectator area.
Even my friend was loving the challenge!
The obstacles vary but the children were all agreed that this one was the most nerve wracking, they all completed it though without a wobble or slip!
I was so jealous that I wasn’t up there with them. I love doing activities like this!
It took a little under an hour for all of them to get round the whole mini trek. Which seemed to be just the right amount of time for them not to get too tired.
Finishing the Trek
The trek finished with a zip wire to the floor. Despite all of them trying to run as they hit the ground everyone ended with a muddy bottom! That was all part of the fun though.
And the verdict….
Two thumbs up from everyone and they are already talking about going again!
I always like to try and get out and about to do something on the weekend at least for one of the days. This weekend was no exception as we were invited down to Heaton Park in Manchester to try out the newly opened Tree top nets adventure!
It really is what it says – Tree top nets!
Think a safe play space strung between trees which at points is 12m off the ground.
It’s hard to get a full picture because it’s hidden within the woodland area.
Theres 175m of walkways made from nets in the beautiful surroundings of Heaton Park Woodland. Don’t worry though about falling off the nets as you are always completely surrounded by high net sides so you don’t even need to wear a harness.
The lack of harness means that it’s suitable for most people age 3 and up.
If your children are aged 7-11 you are allowed to supervise up to 5 of them from the ground underneath the nets but I highly recommend taking part. It’s so much fun!
To me it seemed like you were walking on a soft trampoline base all the way around the nets. It’s almost like very slow bouncy running, an odd sensation but one you soon get used to.
What’s it like?
The nets are arranged in a large circle with ‘rooms’ off to the sides. Theres two areas with large inflatable balls which the boys really enjoyed. They joined in with other peoples games as they were rolling the balls to each other. They rolled over the balls, and enjoyed throwing them.
There is also an under 7 areas, which was great for the smaller people. As well as a little chill out area, which is a tree house. As a parent the chill out area was great to get your legs steady again and also to view all the nets and see what the children were up to! The session is also supervised by a qualified instructor who can often be found in the chill out area keeping an eye on everyone.
The session you pay for is 2 hours long which for young ones was quite a long time so we did come off before the session ended as the boys were getting exhausted. The slightly older children who took part will still very much tearing around though so it prob depends on their age and stamina!
Tree top nets prices and location can be found can be found online here.
The Best Part
I think Thomas would say the ‘funnest’ part was the rope slides. There are 4 slides made of rope which you need to use a sack to slide down.
I didn’t take part….I couldn’t…they looked pretty scary and made me nervous even watching. Being a 5 year old though it was a different story! There were lots and lots and lots of goes on the slides!
Treetop nets was great fun, and makes a great alternative to an indoor play area! Although it is a higher priced activity, you do get a longer session. I can testify that your legs will feel it the next day so it’s a great form of exercise too. Something the whole family can enjoy!
We’d like to thank the team at tree top nets for inviting us down to check it!
Geronimo 2017 is over! I can’t believe after all the build up and looking forward to it, that it’s already over for another year!
I don’t want this to be just another trip report post, I want to let the pictures do the talking.
Geronimo incase you don’t know its a family focused 3 day festival. This year it was in a new bigger and better venue Arley Hall in Cheshire. The festival site was well spread out which we loved. This year the organisers also introduced the option to camp at the event. Initially we were going to camp for the weekend but plans transpired against us and so instead we spent two full days there.
We managed to cram so much into two days we were left tired and happy festival goers by the end of the weekend. Next years date will be going in the calendar as soon as we know when it is!
Our Parenting Highlights
Enjoying being outside in massive field to run around in
Having time to sit down and watch the children free play with junk modelling
Watching the children laugh at the circus act
The Childrens’ Highlights
Professor Pumpernickel Science show
Cirque du Hilarious – they really laughed a lot!
Katy Ashworth on stage while we had our packed lunch
Monkey Do tree top nets
The fairground rides (these were an extra charge of £1 per ride)
What we thought might be improved for next year
The maps could have been a little more detailed
We’d really appreciate more hand washing stations near the porta-loos – we took our own hand foam but nothing beats hand washing
A list or rough guide of actives that need to be booked for a time slot so we could prioritise – theres just so much to do
But they were just minor points, we had THE most amazing two days at the festival, there was so much to see and do and we will definitely be back for next years. Geronimo just gets bigger and better each year! Thanks for the memories Geronimo 2017!
If theres one photo that sums up the whole festival besides the one above which my eldest adores I think its this one…..
This weekend the boy and I were invited to an event hosted by Online Golf promoting children to play golf.
Now golf is not something I’d ever thought was a children sport. I suppose for one reason is that I don’t know anyone that plays golf in our close family. The other reason I hadn’t really considered golf was that I presumed it was an expensive sport.Due to this I also thought that golf would be a difficult sport for children to play.
Well I was wrong on all counts!
Didn’t even realise that you could buy golf bags and clubs in so many different sizes!
The smallest one there was for 3-4 year olds. I wanted it just to display but then I love miniature versions of normal sized things!
Clearly I had preformed ideas about golf that were just wrong.
We had an afternoon of fun with some pro coaches trying out all sorts of different shots.
In small groups we got to rotate around the different practice areas. The pictures can do the talking for most of the post. Therefore I don’t want to do golf a disservice and use the wrong words to explain what Thomas was taught to do.
To me there was hitting hard, medium and gently. To a pro golfer I’m sure they all have names!
He really did enjoy taking part in a sport he’d not tried before. I’ve leave you with a short vlog.
Thanks to Online Golf for inviting us for the afternoon of fun. Golf has clearly made a good impression, this is how I found him not long after we got home!
I think I’d better start looking for a golf club locally that offers child lessons!
The official video from the day can be viewed here also!
Spring is on the way! Ok well it might not feel like it but if the daffodils are anything to go by and they usually know their stuff then it’s only around the corner. With spring brings the promise of bank holiday weekends too.
If you are starting to think about family time and weekend getaways then look no further than the fabulous Geronimo family festival! This year it takes place on the late May bank holiday. The dates are 27th-29th May.
This year its in a new home at Arley Hall estate in Northwich, Cheshire. With a great opportunity to spend the weekend together enjoying the spirit of family time.
Last year was our first time at Geronimo and we came away wanting more. You can read about our adventures here. This year for the first time Geronimo is also offering the option to camp! With a whole host of options families can either bring their own tent, caravan or motor home or book one of Geronimos’ range of accommodation. These include Bedouin tents and Tangerine tents available to suit families no matter what their size!
The theme of this year’s event is Princesses, Knights and Dragons families are welcome to dress up and join in the fun.
If you’ve got preschoolers then they are bound to love watching the stars of CBeebies on stage, famous faces such as Justin Fletcher, Mr Bloom (one for the mums!) and the stars of swashbuckle will all be there. Geronimo family festival caters for children of all ages!
For families that love music the music offering is second to none and includes the Voodoo Love Orchestra, Manière des Bohémiens an energetic and improvised Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli influenced Gypsy Jazz and Eastern European swing and Mr Wilson Second Liners – a New Orleans meets 90s club classics…a rave funeral without the body!
There is just so much going on this year at Geronimo you would be mad not to book while the second tier pricing is still available! Head to the official Geronimo website found here to book tickets and get the date in the diary!
If you’ve ever dreamed of an indoor Christmas themed fun park then look no further than Winter Wonderland at Eventcity. Event city is next door to the Trafford Centre. There are rides, shows and fun galore to be had when you walk through the doors of this very special Christmas treat!
Last year we had so much fun the boys didn’t want to leave and we can’t wait to go again! In addition to the rides there are bouncy castles and slides a plenty.
Winter Wonderland 2016 runs from 10th December 2016 to 1st January 2017. It is all indoors at Eventcity right next to the Trafford Centre. With loads of free parking available you’re sure to have a fab time. Each session lasts 4 hours and includes all rides. Also the Basil Brush Show, the Cinderella Mini Panto, the Christmas Circus and a Meet & Greet with the big man himself! Of course the sessions after the 24th December don’t include Santa as he’ll be off having a very well deserved rest!
New shows for 2016
As well as the rides, there will be a dazzling array of colourful shows. Including an exciting new addition for 2016 – Christmas pantomime – Cinderella! There will also be a brand-new Sci-Fi show, a Christmas circus, Pip Ahoy! from Channel 5’s Milkshake and a chance to meet the nation’s favourite fox – Basil Brush! Santa Claus is inviting all the children to come and visit him! Children will be enchanted by the Ice Princesses, Fairies and Elves who love to play and chat and have ‘s-elfies’ with the children.
There will also be a whole host of games stalls and a vast array of food and drinks stalls to purchase.R Refreshments including hot snacks and sweet treats.
We have been kindly offered a family ticket to give away for Winter Wonderland for use on the evening of December 12th – this session starts at 6:30pm.
When I was in my 20’s pre-children and pre-mortgage I used to spend most weekend evenings out and about in Manchester. I loved it, theres so many different areas and vibes. However there was never anything like the night out I experienced on Friday! I can’t recommend it enough to make a change to your usual night out or with a group of friends, it really is fab!
Can you BREAKOUT…?
If you’ve never heard of it before Breakout is an escape room. For those of you who remember the crystal maze, its like that but with your friends and for a whole hour!
When I was first asked to go and experience a breakout room and write about it I did wonder how I would write about it if we didn’t get out……
But now I know, even if you don’t get out they let you out….phewwwww
On arrival we made sure to get there 10 minutes before as we had been instructed to for our briefing! We were going in the room called Facility X!
The secretion goes a little bit like this:
You arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews. His work is widely known throughout the research circles, but he has remained hidden in the shadows for years. What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.
Right ok we thought, what could we be facing?
If you thought that was a picture inside the room, sorry it’s not! This was just to entertain us while we waited for everyone to arrive!
The anticipation built and before long we were ready to go.
We were told bits and pieces about the room, mainly that we can touch and explore everything unless it had a do not touch sticker on. This was for things that were not part of the game i.e. live plugs!
I am not here to spoil it for anyone who wants to play Facility X so sorry if you came looking for clues!
Each room has a clock which counts down the hour for you from being locked in (and don’t worry there is always an escape button if you need to leave so you can if you have to, but obviously thats cheating!) There is someone from the behind the scenes team always watching you via the cameras but they can’t hear you. Every so often if they think you need help they will pop up a cryptic clue on the screen.
The room fits 5 so I took a snap of the team in action…sorry still no clues! But you can see we still had 30 minutes 44 seconds to go!
Do these look like happy faces?
Thats because they were happy faces that we escaped! With just 3 minutes to spare we actually cracked all the clues and escaped the room, we were on a massive high! We could not believe it! We did it! We will now call ourselves the A team!
To celebrate our brain power we headed off for cocktails.
We had an amazing time at Breakout, it really surpassed my expectations as a night out! I’d love to give you some clues but it would spoil the fun. We all brought different strengths to the game, had a laugh working together to get out and were elated that we made it out before the hour (just!)
Breakout prices vary but the more players you have the less it costs per person. Breakout now have two sites in Manchester so be sure to check which one you are playing at after you have booked. You don’t want to arrive late and feel flustered thats for sure. Bring your brains and find a great team to go with. We are already planning out next night out there, to a different room of course! Check out Breakout Manchester for more information.
Thanks to Breakout Manchester for inviting us to try the room!
Geronimo has been and gone for another year, this year was our first year visiting Geronimo at Tatton Park. In case you don’t have time for the whole post I’ll summarise it for you now. We had an amazing day out that surpassed my expectation in everyday although it was very busy we still managed to enjoy everything.
And for those of you sticking around to find out what we got up to here goes! We headed the warnings on the website and made sure to arrive early. Thankfully the weather was on our side and it was set to be a sunny day at Geronimo!
Flixster was sad in this photo because he’d just broken (again) the shark he loves a lot – we’ve spent more money repairing that shark than it cost to buy in the first place!!
The festival itself was due to open at 10am but I noted that it did open a little earlier than planned which I think was a great move by the organisers considering the crowds that had already begun to build up. We arrived around 9am and were parked up pretty easily with no queues, the whole car park seemed well organised which makes a refreshing change for a large festival. Grateful for no queues to sit in on the already hot day we headed to the entrance. We were through the main gates in no time and wristbands on our arms headed to get a map. The map listed everything going on at Geronimo that day and gave you a rough idea of where things we happening. It would have been easy enough to wander around Geronimo without a map but the times guide was very useful!
Our first stop was the 3ft and under area, there was a mixture of things in here, some soft play for the little ones, some story telling, some mini shows etc. We quickly came across Mini Professors who explained that we could book the boys on to a science class about bubbles. Now the boys are mad about bubbles and the eldest loves a good learning session so it was a no brainier. With them booked on we had 45 minutes to do something else at Geronimo before it began. So off we headed the big inflatable area, bound to be a winner!
The queues for rides and attractions weren’t too bad early on and so whilst the boy had some bouncy fun I took Flixster to the mini roundabout, he loved it!
I really love it when things like this are included because with little ones you never know which way it’s going to go, will you pay your money and have to endure a ride full of tears? On days like this it doesn’t matter if they love it and want to go on 10 times or are not so sure and don’t enjoy it, because at Geronimo its all included! No need to spend extra on all the rides!
The time quickly passed and we were heading back to Mini Professors to do some bubble experiments!
The boys loved it, I promise, despite Flixsters face on the photo! They learnt all about how bubbles are formed, what they are made of and how to hold one. The boy was enthralled, and I’m still hearing all about it now, he even had to pass on his knowledge to the grandparents recently when he saw them. So I know he learnt quite a lot at the one short session.
After our session we went on a general explore of the site, there was so much to see and do, we saw live music acts and lots of general street entertainment. The boys were fascinated by the Hippo, where else would you see a huge hippopotamus just trotting along?!
The sun shone beautifully and it was soon time for lunch. We did bring some snacks to keep us going throughout the day, and lots of water to drink too, but we had a mooch round the various food stall and picked the wood fired pizza. We were not disappointed, it was very very nice! It didn’t last long with the boys around!
After a lunch sat in the shade and a rest for the boys, it was time for more fun to be found and we didn’t have to look far!
The heater skelter had a long queue but with a few rounds of I-spy we didn’t seem to be waiting too long, plus with the added distraction of the never ending entertainment the boys weren’t bored thats for sure. the giraffe spotting also helped pass the time!
I didn’t get a photo of them coming down the heater skelter, I wasn’t sure when to expect them but from the smiles of happiness as the boy got up off his mat he certainly had a good time!
The sun was really beating down by mid afternoon and even with water, hats and lots of cream on the weather was really making the boys flag so I suggested we get a spot to watch the main stage, it just so happened that we caught the end of Mr.Blooms show followed by Swashbuckle which the boy adores. He’s always asking to go on that show, he loves the idea of the games and the challenges. It was Cook & Line from Swashbuckle on stage (and if you don’t have preschoolers or young children who watch CBeebies then you won’t know who I mean!)
As you can see from the pictures we were miles away from the stage but could see and hear everything perfectly well which was great for the boys, especially Flixster who enjoyed the dancing most of all!
The shows on the Geronimo stage were great and the boys loved watching, it was a nice relaxed atmosphere where it felt ok to just let the boys dance if they wanted to, no one was packed in and there was plenty of room for everyone which was really great.
Even after a full day of shows and experiments and having fun the boys still wanted to go on the rides again a few times before we had to say goodbye to Geronimo for this year and as it was their day I wasn’t going to stop them, so off we went. The boat was Flixster favourite by a mile!
The time did sadly come to have to say goodbye, and of course any trip out wouldn’t be complete without a child saying as you get back to the car “I need the toilet”……… so back to the entrance we went……then back to the car again….and finally we were setting off home. Both of them were spark out snoozing within minutes of leaving the Tatton Park site. Happy boys and happy parents. What a fab day we had enjoyed together as a family and another day for the memory banks. Thank you Geronimo team for inviting us to enjoy the day together.