YOU’RE BARD… Prescot’s first ever micropub, a real ale haven with capacity for 50 people, has been given the go-ahead by council planning officers. An empty unit at 57 High Street will be converted into a pub, called The Bard, serving real ales from across the country, alongside craft beers, wine, spirits and soft drinks. No mainstream lager or alcopops will be served, and there will be no TV, gaming machines, or amplified music at the venue, which will be run by husband and wife team John and Julie Marsden. There are also plans afoot to bring a Shakespeare-inspired beer festival to Prescot, which will also see the construction of the Shakespeare North Playhouse begin in the New Year. The pub is due to open by the beginning of February 2018.

Wacky World Preston

WACKY WORLD… A 20,000 sq ft inflatable play park opens its doors today in Preston, in what’s been said to be the first of its type in the UK. Wacky World is taking over what was formerly the Little Monsters Play Centre on Campbell Street, and includes a giant climbing wall, a “Total Wipeout-style” arena, slides, a wrecking ball, what’s described as a “hungry hippo”, and an assault course. The company has opened a series of pop-up parks around the country, including one in Liverpool earlier this year, and has designs on opening more permanent sites in the North West. The permanent inflatable park is expected to create up to 25 jobs.

Manchester HA

UNINTENTIONAL REBRAND… The old Freemason’s Hall has recently undergone a refurbishment, and rebrand into ‘Manchester Hall’, in a bid to become the city’s latest swanky dining destination. This elaborate festive attempt may be taking a few liberties with the new signage though. Only saying what many Scousers are probably thinking…

Loganair Plane

ISLAND FLIGHTS… If you fancy a change from the usual summer holiday spots next year, Scottish airline Loganair is launching three direct routes from Manchester to the Scottish islands from June 2018. A route to Orkney will launch on June 22, with flights on Mondays and Fridays, while flights to Shetland will open on June 23 and run through till September 1. The latter route will be the first ever non-stop flights to Sumburgh. The third direct route, a 95-minute flight, will link Manchester with Stornoway in the Western Islands, and will run on the same dates as the Shetland services. Loganair said it was now looking at adding further services, including direct flights from Manchester to Bergen in Norway, so if you fancy something a bit different – and probably a little less sunny – next year, flights are available to book from 19 December.

Christmas Tree

PULLING UP TREES… Urban Green, one of Manchester’s fast-growing ecological consultants, has brought some festive cheer by decorating its office in Ancoats. Naturally, you’d expect their arboriculture team would be keen on having a real Christmas tree to get everyone in the seasonal spirit, but the rumour is they have decided to buy a plastic tree instead. Perhaps the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt is true, even if it’s referring to trees.


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