North West
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Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Blackpool Illuminations

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Visiting Blackpool for their annual illuminations is a tradition for us that started way back when big J was only young. For us going to see the illuminations is the beginning of Autumn and we love wrapping up warm for a stroll along the golden mile. There is so much to see and do when you visit Blackpool Illuminations and I've tried to pop down everything you need to know before you go.

blackpool tower lit up

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9 Pumpkin Patches Close To Liverpool

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Picking a pumpkin is so much fun. Before little J was born we would usually pop to the local supermarket to buy pumpkins but then we found out about pumpkin patches and pumpkin picking. Pumpkin patches have popped up all over the North West with most of them being within a 30 minute drive from Liverpool. Some patches go all out with fairground rides, maize mazes whilst others are just patches that you choose your pumpkin. Whichever you choose, Pumpkin Picking is definitely a must especially with little ones, they will love it. 

a pumpkin patch

Pumpkin Patch High Town

Orrell Hill Lane, L38 5DA

Famous for their huge, perfect and fabulous varieties of pumpkins, squashes & gourds  Pumpkin Patch High Town has lots to offer pumpkin pickers. 

Opening Times
Open 9am til 6pm every single day from 1st October through to 31st October 2023

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
Free Maize Maze
Picnic area 

How Much?
Pumpkin Patch High Town is free and no need to book

a variety of pumpkins

Paul's Farm Pumpkin Patch

382 Dunkirk Lane, Leyland PR26 7SY

Pick your perfect pumpkin, fresh from the field. 

Opening Times
Open 10am till 4pm on 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd 28th and 29th.

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
Free tractor and trailer ride to the patch
Face Painting
Spooky Shop
Photo Opportunities

How Much?
Paul's Farm Pumpkin Patch is free and no need to book

a row of pumpkins

Kenyon Hall Farm

Winwick Lane, Croft, Warrington WA3 7ED

The Kenyon Hall Farm Pumpkin Festival is back for 2023 with countless displays of pumpkins & squashes of all shapes, sizes and colours.

Opening Times
Open from Sat 23rd Sept to Tue 31st Oct. Check specific dates for opening times as may vary

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
Small children's playground
Pumpkin-tastic photo opportunities.
Refreshments available

How Much?
​Entry tickets cost £2.95 for adults and children; infants under 18 months go free. No pumpkins are included with the entry ticket and booking is essential

a pumpkin sitting on leaves

Birchall's Pumpkin Patch

Reeds lane Rainford WA11 7JP

Pick your own pumpkin at Birchall's Pumpkin Patch

Opening Times
The pumpkin patch is open from 1 October to 31 October. Monday to Thursday 10am to 5pm. Friday and Saturday 9am to 6pm. Sunday 10am to 5pm 

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
Enjoy sitting on the tractors and combine
Take a walk in the maze searching for the Gruffalo and his friends. (This is available between 7th to 26th October) 
Refreshments served with a brand new food menu including  a range of breakfast barms served until mid morning. 
A marquee where you can sit and enjoy drinks and food after choosing your perfect pumpkins. 
Plenty of opportunities for photographs. 
Take a walk in their spooky maze designed for families. The spooky maze is available from Friday 27th October to Monday 30 October. 

How Much?
Birchall's Pumpkin Patch is free and no booking is required.

a pumpkin patch

Grange Farm

Lowton, Stone Cross Lane South WA3 1JU

A vibrant showcase of all things pumpkin.

Opening Times ​
Tuesday - Saturday 9:30am till 3:30/4pm, Sunday 10:00am till 3:30/4pm and Pumpkin Picking activities available on the 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, and 21st-31st October 2023

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
Fun Fair 
Maize Maze
Children's Entertainment and Games (not available on the 7th or 8th)
Enjoy the Animals of Grange Farm 
Pumpkin Carving 

How Much?
Tickets are priced at £3.50 and booking is essential

A pumpkin

Sandy Lane Farm

Sandy Lane WA8 3XP

Pumpkins are ready you just need to pick your favourite. 

Opening Times
Daily 10am to 4.30pm

Anything Else To Do While We Are There?
The spooky maze will open on Saturday 30th September 
Miniature railway (weather depending)

How Much?
Just pay for what you pick

a carved pumpkin

The below are pumpkin patches however I cannot find any details on their opening times or whether they offer anything else. Will keep updated

Catchdale Moss Farm / Rainfords 

Ln, Eccleston, Saint Helens WA10 5QG

Pumpkin Alley

Delf Lane, Ormskirk L39 7JJ

Church View Farm Shop

Southport Road, Lydiate, Merseyside L31 4HJ

Are you planning on visiting a Pumpkin patch this year? Which one is your favourite? 


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25 Halloween Events In Manchester 2023

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

We try to find as many fun things to do around Halloween as possible and each year our list of places to visit gets bigger and bigger. The North West definitely gets in to the spooky spirit with so many Manchester Halloween events to enjoy. If you are looking for family fun this Halloween then you need to check out our ever growing list which I will keep updated.

Halloween Events In Manchester
people dressed in colourful monster costumes

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12 Of The Best Autumn Walks In The North West

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There is something about Autumn that makes me what to put on my wellies or walking boots and head out for a nice long walk. Autumn time is quickly becoming one of my favourite seasons, the leaves are falling, the colours are changing and there is a fresh feel to the air. It's took me a while to figure out where are the best Autumn walks in the North West but these are definitely our favourites.

A pair of boot amongst fallen leaves

A boy walking down a hillMerseyside 

Calderstones Park

Postcode - L18 3JB

Calderstones Park offers visitors 94 acres of woodland, lake and fields. Visit the beautiful Japanese and old English gardens and make sure you do not miss the one thousand year old tree.

Opening Times - 24 hours a day all year round.

Children's Play Area - Yes, there is a children's playground and also a woodland climbing area for older children.

Cafe - Yes, The Reader Cafe offers the choice of breakfast and lunch, sandwiches, snacks, salads, soups and desserts. Take some time out and enjoy two bookshelves full of books to read while eating.

Toilets - Yes

Parking - Yes there are two main car parks

Anything else - The park recently updated its facilities with The Storybarn an imaginative play space for children and families to discover their love of books, an ice cream parlour and miniature railway.

For more information visit The Storybarn

Sefton Park

Postcode - L17 1AP

Sefton Park is an ideal location for an Winter Walk. It boasts over 200 acres of landscape including paths to follow, an array of trees and even statues of Peter Pan and an Eros fountain.

Opening Times - 24 hours a day

Children's Play Area - Yes, includes a range of outdoor play equipment including slides, swings and roundabout.

Cafe - Yes, the Aviary cafe offers hot and cold refreshments and the lakeside cafe offers coffee and ice cream.

Toilets - No

Parking - Yes, there are a couple of parking areas and also on street parking too.

Anything else - There is no charge to enter the park. The park has a boating lake, the palm house, caves and waterfalls and a bandstand. Fishermen are welcome but you will need an angling licence.

Croxteth hall

Croxteth Park

Postcode - L11 1EH

The largest of the parks is Croxteth Park offering over 500 acres of woodland, paths, ponds, streams and trails. There is also the chance for you to test your navigation skills whilst orienteering.

Opening Times - 7am - 7pm for the inner park

Children's Play Area - Yes, there are two palygrounds to accommodate all ages.

Cafe - The park has two cafe's. One is situated in the main grounds and the other cafe is within the farm.

Toilets - Yes, situated in the main grounds and within the farm.

Parking - Yes

Anything else - The park has a
Country hall and Walled Garden

Children's Farm.
Farm: Daily 10:00am – 5:00pm
Last entry 4:00pm
£5 per person
Children Under 1 Go Free

Birkenhead Park

Postcode - CH41 4HY

Birkenhead Park has influenced park designs all over the world and was the inspiration for Central Park in New York. The park is a must for a Winter walk with beautiful landscapes, unusual trees and wildlife.

Opening Times - 24 hours a day, all year round. The visitor centre is open 9am-4:30pm 7 days a week except for 25th and 26th December and 1st January

Children's Play Area - Yes, There is a children's play area located just by the Ashville Road entrance to the park with modern facilities. There is also a small rockery meant for climbing and a regular ice cream truck

Cafe - Yes, inside the visitor centre

Toilets - Yes, inside the visitor centre

Parking - There is no car park however there is on street car parking.

Anything else - Two lakes available for angling but a permit is required. Architecture Trail, Sports at the park including boules, cricket and tennis and guided ranger walks

Greater Manchester

A woodland walk

Heaton Park

Postcode - M25 2SW

Heaton Park claims to be the biggest and best park in the North West with specific walks and run trails suitable for all the family so it is a must for a Winter walk.

Opening Times - 8am till dusk

Children's Play Area - Yes, there are two play areas designed for children.

Cafe - There are 4 separate cafes offering takeaway only

Toilets - Yes

Parking - Yes, chargeable to a maximum of £3 per day

Anything else - There are a range of activities and facilities also available including donkey rides and Treetop high ropes.

Tramway museum and tram rides. You can visit the museum and take a tram ride on most Sundays and bank holidays. Tickets £2, children £1 and a family ticket for £5. The museum is near the Middleton Road entrance.

Between April and September, you can hire a rowing boat or a pedalo to explore the Lake and the wildlife around it. Boat hire is available:

Monday-Friday 10am to 5.30pm (last boat goes out at 4.30pm)
Saturday/Sunday 10am to 8pm (last boat goes out at 7pm)

Click for more information and to book Treetop Trek

Alexandra Park

Postcode - M16 7JL

Alexandra Park boasts 60 acres of grassland and a £5 million transformation in 2014.

Opening Times - From dawn to dusk

Children's Play Area - yes, there are two play areas. One suitable for toddlers and another for older children.

Cafe - Yes

Toilets - Yes, during cafe opening hours

Parking - Yes, parking is available.

Anything else - There is a boating lake which is home to many ducks.


A dad and son den building at Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest

Postcode - CW8 2HZ

Delamere Forest is the largest woodland in Cheshire boasting 972 hectares. It is managed by Forestry England for all to enjoy.

Opening Times - Summer opening times: 8:00am to 8:00pm. Winter opening times: 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Children's Play Area - No

Cafe - Yes. There is a cafe at the visitor centre near the main car park and also The Station cafe near the railway.

Toilets - Yes.

Parking - Yes, there are a number of payable car parks.

Anything else - Go Ape, Gruffalo Orienteering, bike trails and walking trails

Check out our Go Ape Review and Where To Spot A Gruffalo posts

Walton Hall Gardens

Postcode - WA4 6SN

Walton Hall Gardens is set within acres of tranquil and idyllic parkland, steeped in local history and is the perfect space to pop on your wellies and head out for an Winter walk.

Opening Times - September - June 10:30-4pm. July and August 10:30-8pm

Children's Play Area - Yes, a large play structure suitable for all ages.

Cafe - The Heritage Cafe is open 9-5pm for takeaway only.

Toilets - Yes

Parking - Yes, chargable.

Walton Hall and Gardens operates a pay and display car park.
Daily charges:
Mon-Fri: £3.00
Sat-Sun and bank holidays: £4.00
Coaches: £8.00

Anything else - There issue much to do and see at Walton Hall Gardens including

The Children’s Zoo
Summer opening
10.30 am – 4.00 pm
Last admittance at 3.45 pm

Adventure Golf
10.30 am – 4.30 pm
Last tee off 4.00 pm

Thomas The Tank Engine Land Train


two people walking through the woods

Williamson Park

Postcode - LA1 1UX

Williamson Park is home to the iconic Ashton Memorial and 54 acres of beautiful parkland with enchanting woodland walks, play areas and breathtaking views to the Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells and mountains.

Opening Times - October to March: 10am - 4pm. April to September: 10am - 5pm

Children's Play Area - Yes

Cafe - Yes. The Pavilion Cafe is serving takeaway

Toilets - Toilet facilities are open next to the Ashton Memorial and in Wyresdale Road Car Park but remain closed in the café.

Parking - There are two pay and display car parks in Williamson Park - at the Quernmore Road entrance (15 spaces, including disabled parking) and at the Wyresdale Road entrance (100 spaces). Please note that from the Wyresdale Road car park there is quite an uphill walk to the park facilities.

Up to 1 hour £1
Full day £2
Evening after 5.30pm £1

Anything else - Entry to Williamson Park grounds and the Ashton Memorial is free. Entry to the Butterfly House and Mini Zoo (available for purchase at the gift shop)
Adult £4
Child £3 (under-3s free)
Family (2+2) £13
Concessions/students £3.50

Avenham & Miller Parks

Postcode - PR1 8JT

Avenham & Miller Parks are located in the heart of Preston's city centre, yet feel far removed from their urban surroundings. The parks are connected by beautiful and scenic paths, creating one large and diverse park with a lot to offer.

Opening Times - Listed as Always Open

Children's Play Area - Yes

Cafe - Yes, The Pavilion Cafe offers hot and cold drinks, lunch options and children's menu.
April - September: Monday - Sunday: 10am - 5pm
October - March: Monday - Sunday: 10am - 4pm

Toilets - Yes

Parking - Yes. A 40-space car park for Avenham & Miller Parks can be found on South Meadow Lane, opposite The Continental Pub (PR1 8JN). There are also a number of city centre car parks to choose from, which include disabled parking.

Anything else - The park's paths circle this large green space and offer serene views from all angles. This includes views of the park's Japanese Rock Garden - a beautiful and exotic garden area created in the 1930s. Miller Park has many fascinating and historical points of interest. These include its listed water fountain, rock features, spiralling gardens, and a large basalt rock from the Giant's Causeway.


A field overlooking cumbria

Grizedale Forest

Postcode - LA22 0QJ

Grizedale forest in the heart of the Lake District World Heritage Site, offers the perfect Winter day out for everyone

Opening Times - The forest is open 7 days a week, dawn til dusk

Children's Play Area - Yes. Grizedale Visitor Centre has a large children's play area and there are a couple of picnic benches surrounding the structure.

Cafe - Yes, at the visitor centre for takeaway only.

Toilets - Yes, there is a large toilet block by the main car park and also toilet facilities in the visitor centre.

Parking - Yes. Visitor Centre and Kennels car parks have a pay on exit system with the current charges
Up to 20 minutes £0.00
Up to 1 hour £2.20
Each additional 20 minutes £0.45
All day £8.00

Moor Top and Bogle car parks - currently no charge

Anything else - There is a Go Ape at Grizedale Forest, Bicycle hire, 10 walking trails and 9 cycle trails to follow.

Tarn Hows 

Postcode - LA21 8AQ

Tarn Hows offers an accessible circular (1¾ miles) walk through beautiful countryside with majestic mountain views.

Opening Times - From Dawn to Dusk

Children's Play Area - No

Cafe - No, an ice cream operates most days in the car park.

Toilets - Yes, they are situated in the main car park

Parking - Yes. Tarn Hows and Glen Mary car parks are open operating pay and display.

Anything else - There are accessible paths at the lakes edge so wellies would be ideal for little paddlers.

woodland overlooking a lake

These are 12 of the best Autumn walks in the North West and I would love to hear from you if you had any others to share.


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Instructed Session At Astbury Water Sports Centre

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Disclosure - We were invited along to have an instructed session. Any thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

I'd like to say as a family we are quite adventurous and will always give something a go especially if it pushes us out of our comfort zone. I think nowadays we spend far too much in front of a screen whether it's working, gaming, using our phones so I am always aware of getting outside as much as possible. We are lucky that the boys love being outside especially Little J who is always up for an adventure. Whilst most of our adventures are on land this week Little J and John took to the water for an instructed canoeing session at Astbury Water Centre. It was meant to be for all three of us however my sea legs must have stayed at home so I happily watched from the side.

canoes on the water

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Dining Out | The Ring O Bells, Warrington

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Have you ever walked in somewhere and got a good feeling about it straight away? I have a few times and one of those times was recently when we went for a pub lunch at Ring O Bells in Warrington. We were invited along to sample the menu and take a look at the pub which is soon to celebrate it's 1 year anniversary under new ownership. 
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