Family Five

Family Five: Christmas lights switch on, Silver Blades Ice Rink, Bean & Brush and more

By Steph Smith

Steph Smith, who manages the Hale, Altrincham and Sale area for Mums in the Know, chooses five great things to do with the kids over the next week.

1. Altrincham’s Lantern Parade & Christmas Lights Switch On (Saturday November 22)


Altrincham’s Stamford Quarter promises a day of festivities this Saturday. This truly magical event will involve FREE lantern-making workshops from 12 to 4pm at 61 George St (opposite M&S), a showcase of local community talent in Stamford Square and Santa’s Grotto which will be located at Art with a Heart (82-84 George St). There’s no charge to visit Santa but visitors are asked to bring a donation of a new toy (unwrapped) or an item of tinned food for the Salvation Army’s Toy Appeal.

At 5.25pm, Captain Christmas and his merry band lead the Lantern Parade through the town alongside children from St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School. The evening show, hosted by Silk 106.9’s breakfast DJ Ditchy, will begin around 5.30pm in Stamford Square wtih a packed programmed of special guests leading up to the big switch-on at 6.30pm. Click here for more details.

2. Big Saturday: Dinosaurs at Manchester Museum (Saturday November 22)


A must for any dinosaur fans! Venture to the Manchester Museum and meet Stan the T.rex and their newest dinosaur, Gorgosaurus, a smaller cousin of the T.rex (7.3m long, 2.6m high). Stan the T.rex will be saying his first words on Saturday with the help of the broadcaster Mark Radcliffe and Talking Statues, a project which has given voices to a number of statues across London and Manchester.

Discover more about the animals that were living at the time of the dinosaurs such as Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs and Ammonites and find out about Percy the Plesiosaur. Meet experts, be dinosaur detectives and create dinosaur sock puppets and more. Why not make a day of it and take a picnic to enjoy in the dedicated Picnic Area on Floor B? Alternatively, you can take a welcome pitstop at Cafe Muse on the ground floor.

Open: 11am-4pm. Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL.

3. Paint a Bauble at Bean & Brush


Head to the fabulous Bean & Brush Family Art Cafe in Sale, where the delicious food served is fresh, seasonal and made with the best locally sourced ingredients. Rest assured that this is one of those rare cafes that genuinely lives us to its ‘family friendly’ reputation. The fun continues upstairs in the art and craft studio. There’s currently an extensive range of Christmas pots and baubles to paint.

Bean & Brush Family Art Cafe, The Old Sorting Office, 12 Hayfield Walk, Sale, Cheshire M33 7XW

4. Saturdays at Silver Blades Ice Rink


Altrincham’s Silver Blades Ice Rink is open seven days a week and Saturday is always a great day to visit since it’s geared up for the whole family to enjoy. Starting off with a special parent and toddler session (10.15-11.45am) aimed at little ones aged 18 months to 5 years, and including fun on and off the ice. There’s also a family skate and disco session from 10.15am to 4pm and then, for teenagers and beyond, an evening disco session from 8 to 10pm.

Silver Blades Ice Rink, Oakfield Rd, Station Site, Altrincham, WA15 8EW

5. Manchester Climbing Centre


Manchester Climbing Centre is a brilliant place to visit with the family. On Saturdays and Sunday mornings, there are a variety of sessions for Little Monkeys (5-7 year olds) and Rock-Its (7-11 year olds). Great fun and an excellent way to improve your child’s confidence, fitness and communication skills! Give it a go. For more details, read our review here.

Manchester Climbing Centre, St Benedicts Church, Bennett Street, Manchester, M12 5ND