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Blog Archive for December, 2013

Christmas shopping in the North

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It only comes once a year, but once is enough for those looking to switch Cliff Richard off the radio and actively avoid the Mistletoe. The biggest stress of all though can come from the never-ending traipsing from shop to shop in a bid to avert any last minute panic buying. To help the cause, here is our guide to Christmas shopping in some of the UK’s leading consumer havens to help you rediscover that festive feeling.

Leeds 

Trinity Leeds

When it comes to retail in Leeds this Christmas, it’s hard to look past the recently developed Trinity shopping centre in the heart of the city. After opening in spring of this year, Trinity will be hosting its first Christmas and is sure to attract shoppers, with its Christmas light switch on already being a resounding success. It is home to over 100 shops and restaurants with the majority of the country’s biggest brands housed under this bespoke glass dome. The recently launched Trinity kitchen has also proved somewhat of a phenomenon, as the concept of bringing street food vendors indoors has really caught the imagination of locals.

Victoria Quarter

For those with more expensive taste, the glamorous and elegant Victoria Quarter arcade is the hub for premium fashion and lifestyle brands. The likes of Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols all sit in this beautiful, marble adorned building which boasts all the history of an ITV period drama. Certainly not a place for those stringent with money, but regardless, it is still worth visiting just to marvel at the exquisite design.

Manchester

Afflecks

An absolutely must-visit in Manchester, Afflecks is home to the weird and the wonderful, and undoubtedly offers something a bit different on your Christmas run this year. Found in Manchester’s Northern quarter, Afflecks is made up of a range of little boutiques and indie merchants with this eccentric emporium being a real magnet for vintage and the unorthodox. Based over four floors, be prepared to lose all track of time as you immerse yourself in tattoos, retro clothing and homemade accessories.

Arndale Centre

For the more conventional amongst you, the Arndale shopping centre offers everything you need from the major high street brands to those a little less known. Perfect for Christmas shopping, if not a little predictable, the Arndale is Europe’s third biggest city centre shopping facility and annually attracts more customers than the Trafford Centre.  It is also known for its seasonal events with Santa’s grotto always proving popular. Its extensive food court and fantastic location make the Arndale centre perfect for all your Christmas shopping needs.

 

Newcastle

Fenwick Department Store

Fenwick’s in Newcastle is the UK’s largest department store and is spread over five floors of a historic and character-filled building. Originally launched in 1882, Fenwick’s has expanded and specialises in a range of luxury goods with its vast food hall and enchanting toy department particularly highly thought of. It has also become famous for its Christmas window displays which is now in its 42nd year and also has a ‘Christmas village’ on the second floor for everything festive as well as top quality food and wine. Fenwick’s is a little pricey but really is a prime retail centre in the North-East.

intu Eldon Square

After much redevelopment in recent years, intu Eldon Square is home to many of the Britain’s top chains with Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and Debenhams all tenants. In all, there are 150 shops spread across two floors and it regularly competes with the Arndale in Manchester to be the country’s largest city centre shopping facility. It offers plenty of places to grab a bite to eat and the continuing refurbishments promise to add some exciting dimensions to this already popular retail destination.

So wherever you are this festive season, the North’s leading cities offer a fantastic selection of shops and retailers who and can provide everything to suit your needs this Christmas.

 

 

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New Year’s Eve Meal: Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester

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Leeds

Gaucho

Gaucho is the steak lover’s dream restaurant. With an Argentinean flare, Gaucho is one of Leeds’ very best restaurants, so will undoubtedly be buzzing with diners over the festive period. Especially for the New Year celebrations, Gaucho is welcoming diners in for that special NYE meal and evening with a selection of ‘tasting’ menus, ranging from £75 to £95 per head. If this takes your fancy, get in touch with the Leeds location to secure your booking.

Angelica

Located in Trinity Shopping Centre and boasting stunning surroundings, champagne to draw in the new year and an all round classy experience, Angelica’s New Year Party provides the perfect location to draw in the New Year whilst admiring the skyline of Leeds. Entry is £20 for a standard ticket, and food options are the regular offerings from Angelica’s impressive menu. Additional food packages are available for an increased cost.

 

Newcastle

Babucho

Babucho is the dining gem of Newcastle. The perfect distance between the bustling city centre and the relaxed Quayside, the restaurant provides satisfaction through top class food, along with a trendy bar and lounge where you can relax the night away with a quiet drink. For New Years Eve, join Babucho from 8pm for their Twilight Dinner Party, which includes Babucho favourites on a set menu and a special surprise from the bartenders after midnight.

Blackfriars Restaurant

If your ideal New Years meal consists of the traditional and British goodies, then look no further than Blackfriars, located on Friars Street in Newcastle city centre. Their NYE menu consists of a classic prawn cocktail; slow-braised Northumbrian beef; suckling pig and sticky toffee pudding. New Years Eve sees all the popular spots booked up with relative speed, so make sure you move early, with Blackfriars set menus starting from £30per head.

 

Manchester

Blackhouse: The Grill On The Alley

If you’ve been to any Blackhouse before, you know that the restaurant prides itself on the use of fresh British meats and produce, and the Grill On The Alley is no different. If your ideal NYE celebration consists of a quality meal over a party theme or set menu then this is the choice for you in Manchester. Revel in the delightful tones of the in-house pianist whilst you enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, before moving on to enjoy a delectable meal in the relaxed restaurant ambiance.

James Martin Manchester

If you’ve never treated yourself to the culinary delights offered by one of TV’s best chefs, then New Years Eve is the perfect special occasion to sample what James Martin Manchester has to offer. For the big night, the restaurant is offering a set four or six course meal, complimentary bubbly and even a piano vocalist and close up magician for entertainment. Head down for the 6pm sitting if you want the meal to start your night before moving elsewhere to bring in the New Year, or opt for the later sitting if you want the meal and drinks to be the focal point of your big night.

If  fancy New Year’s Eve in the city, make sure you check out our website for a luxurious end to your evening.

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New Year’s Eve in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle

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New Year’s Eve can often provide more stress than joy as the pressure to see out the year with a bang becomes ever more important as you try to make the most of your fading youth. Well if you’re still yet to make plans for this year’s celebrations, look no further than our guide to what’s happening on December 31st in some of the UK’s most prominent cities.

Leeds

Angelica

One of the more stylish venues in Leeds, Angelica in Trinity Leeds is giving you the opportunity to reflect on the year whilst overlooking the city’s skyline in something reminiscent of a New Year’s Eve scene in a Hollywood blockbuster. Angelica is putting on a night of music and merriment in what is likely to be one of the more suave events on offer in the West Yorkshire capital. Entrance tickets come in at just £20 which gives you access to the bar and a complimentary glass of champagne at midnight. If you’re looking to splash the cash though, then you can invest in one of the range of NYE packages available.

The Botanist

If you’re looking for a vibrant and much more down to earth experience then The Botanist is probably your safest bet. Popular all year round and known for its eclectic array of cocktails and beers, The Botanist is a nice environment to ring in the New Year and they’ll also be offering the musical styling’s of Sebastopher.  Even better, it’s a non-ticketed affair although you might want to book a table in advance just to be sure of having some of your own personal space.

Manchester

New Year’s Eve Musicals Gala

If you’re feeling sophisticated then attending the New Year’s Eve Musical Gala at The Bridgewater Hall could be just what you need. The celebrations promise an evening of favourite songs from the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, George Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein with some of the country’s leading west end star on show. There are also other performers present with stilt walking, magicians and the North Brass quintet all promising to delete the audience. Tickets start at £32 with champagne, mulled wine and mince pies all adding to the evening’s festivities.

Cloud 23

Cloud 23 is a unique and stunning destination to spend your New Year’s Eve and at £50 per head, offers decent value for money. Its elegant setting which looks over Manchester through floor to ceiling windows, is sure to add that extra sparkle in your end of year celebrations. Style and class is really of the essence here with a lavish drinks menu at its disposal and complementary champagne for all who attend.

Newcastle

Winter Carnival

Though it may not take you to midnight, the Winter Carnival will certainly be a lively and enchanting start to your evening. Floats, music and performers of all disciplines will be on display as Newcastle tries to bring a taste of the Nordic to the New Year festivities. There’s plenty of dress up and tightly rehearsed dance routines on show with a burning Viking long ship being particularly impressive. The evening culminates with fireworks at 6pm leaving you ready to tackle the rest of the night.

If that doesn’t take your fancy but you’re still in the mood for some fireworks, you can always watch the Quayside firework display which happens annually at midnight and is surrounded by bars and clubs so you can enjoy the pyrotechnics while sipping on a cocktail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas events in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle

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Now that the doors of the advent calendar have been impatiently unhinged, the season to be jolly has officially begun and nowhere is this more evident than in some of the UK’s most prominent cities. With a stream of seasonal events for all ages, there really is no excuse to not get into the festive spirit this Christmas.

Leeds

Briggate Christmas Spectacular

Running from the 6th of December, Briggate is offering a two week festive market whereby a giant marquee will become a hub for merriment and good will. Arts, crafts, demonstrations and of course food and drink will all be available from the 20 stalls that are taking part in the celebrations. As well as retail therapy, the Christmas Spectacular will feature appearances from Leeds City Varieties, Opera North and the cities major sports teams. The market runs to the 22nd of the month and even offers late night shopping on Thursdays.

Stockeld Park Christmas Adventure

If magic and wonder is evading you this winter then visit Stockeld Park’s Christmas Adventure. With breathtaking illuminations, a snowflake maze and an outdoor Ice Rink, Stockeld Park really does have it all this Christmas with a packed special events calendar ensuring that the sparkle remains for the whole festive season. Stockeld Park is also home to the largest Christmas shop in the north, and you could find that you get lost for hours in its beguiling gift emporium.

Manchester

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland at Event City is the UK’s largest Christmas indoor theme park and is coming to Manchester for the first time this December. Not only are there 30 fun-packed rides, but there’s also plenty of food and drink on offer. To top it all off, the Christmas Circus is in town and its array of breathtaking and entertaining performers promises to leave you in awe and put you into the festive spirit.

Spinningfields Ice Rink

Reminiscent of a scene from a Christmas card, Spinningfields Ice Rink offers you the chance to skate under the stars with friends and family and is popular amongst locals and tourists alike. The Ice Rink is open seven days a week and also offers a whole host of activities including a pop up festive village and Helter Skelter rides, making Manchester City Centre a must visit if you’re looking to soak up that Christmas atmosphere.

Newcastle

Countdown to Christmas at Belsay

Belsay Hall, just outside of the city, is putting on a plethora of festive events to take you back to Christmas past. Running every weekend up until the 14th of December, Belsay Hall creates nostalgia with a host of events including festive carols and songs and even Christmas ghost stories for adults. Enjoy the festive season in the historic surroundings of this 19th century mansion and don’t forget to sample a wintry walk around the stunning gardens.

Kielder Winter Wonderland

If you’re seeking a bit adventure and wonder, Kielder Winter Wonderland could be just what you’re looking for. Follow the Winter Wonderland star to the middle of an enchanted forest to be welcomed by a fantastic range of festive activities which will awe and amaze. Not only is there ice skating and snow tubing, but there’s also a visit to the elves workshop and of course Father Christmas himself to look forward too. Also, make sure you don’t miss the Water Birds of Prey Centre where you can get up close and personal with one of the largest collections of birds of prey in the UK.

If you’ve seen anything you fancy or you’re just visiting one of these fantastic cities, make sure you check out our website for a luxurious end to your evening.

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