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Things to do in Manchester and the North West in the Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are upon us once more, but if keeping the kids entertained for six weeks seems daunting, don’t fret! There is plenty to do in the North West this summer, from page-to-stage adaptations of kids’ classics, old and new, to adventures aboard real heritage steam trains.

Read on for our top tips for family fun this summer.

The Wizard Academy Express

1st, 15th & 29th August | East Lancashire Railway, Bury

It’s the first day of term at the Grand Old School of Wizardry, so grab your broomstick and ready your wand, it’s time for an interactive adventure to retrieve a magical artefact from a gaggle of sinister sorcerers.

This family-friendly experience will see you board the train with a full staff of wacky warlocks to take part in appropriately arcane activities and games and finish the story.

Sleeping Beauty – Summer Pantomime

Until Tue 13 August | Bolton Albert Halls Theatre

The Albert Halls, Bolton presents a spellbinding summer panto production of Sleeping Beauty. As the kingdom rejoiced the birth of the new Princess Aurora, the evil Carabosse crashes the christening to place a curse upon the child. Starring All Together Now’s Yvette Royle and Nickelodeon’s Jade Natalie.

If you’re looking for some respite from the kids, there’s also a one-off grown-ups only version of the Panto…

Day Out With ThomasTM

Thomas, the Number 1 blue engine, and The Fat Controller are travelling all the way from the Island of Sodor for lots of family fun at heritage railways around the North-West.

Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th August | East Lancashire Railway

Thomas & FriendsTM will be at Bury’s East Lancashire Railway from Saturday 3rd to Sunday 4th August. Meet Thomas, Daisy and The Fat Controller and watch re-enactments of classic Thomas stories at East Lancashire Railway, just a stone’s throw away from the Bury Transport Museum.

My First Day Out With Thomas

Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th August | Kirklees Light Railway

Later in the month, Thomas and his friends Mavis and Toby will be making an appearance at Kirklees Light Railway for My First Day Out With Thomas. Take a train ride with a 15-inch narrow gauge Thomas engine at this event, perfect for young fans of Thomas!

Magic Goes Wrong

Tue 6 August – Sun 11 August | Quays Theatre, The Lowry

You might have heard of The Play That Goes Wrong, the theatrical farce that has toured the world and launched a series of BBC Specials since it first premiered. Now, Mischief Theatre, the team that put the show together, have conjured up an evening of grand illusion!

Created with magical Vegas mainstays Penn & Teller, Magic Goes Wrong follows a hapless gang of magicians presenting a charity event. As the accidents spiral out of control, so does their fundraising target!

David Walliams’ Mr Stink

David Walliams' Mr Stink

Tue 20 – Thu 22 August | Bolton Albert Halls Theatre

David Walliams’ warm-hearted and funny Mr Stink has been adapted for the stage by the award-winning Chickenshed Theatre Company in association with Sam Bradshaw Productions. Mr Stink is the story of a kind but lonely 12 year old called Chloe, who invited Mr Stink and his whiffy dog to move in to her family’s shed.

Packed with a host of original musical numbers, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hold your nose at this page-to-stage adaptation!

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Sat 3 August – Sun 1 September | Quays Theatre, The Lowry

What’s got one shiny wet nose, two big furry ears and two big goggly eyes?

Join one intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear, as they wade through swishy, swashy grass, a splishy, splashy river, and thick, oozy, squelchy mud in this interactive adventures based on Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s beloved picture book.

Roundabout: Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency

Sat 7 – Sun 8 September | Roundabout in Albert Park

From one of the writers behind CBeebies’ Rastamouse, Apple Tree House, and Swashbuckle: when Dexter’s mum is sent to jail for getting mixed up in a jewellery robbery, it’s up to Dexter and his best friend Winter to get her out. On their journey to uncover the truth, their detective work leads to some surprising discoveries…

Part of Roundabout: a four day festival of new plays, comedy and community events in a unique pop-up theatre in Broughton’s Albert Park.

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