If you’re wondering what to do on a rainy day in the Summer holidays (or afterwards if you have pre-schoolers) then a day at The Lowry in Manchester would be a great idea. We spent a lovely day there watching the Gruffalo’s Child, eating lunch in Pier Eight Restaurant and then completing the day with activities in The Lowry’s galleries – my three just loved the super hero drama workshop – Girls can be Superheroes too!
The Gruffalo’s Child was utterly and completely engaging. I’ve seen quite a lot of Julia Donaldson’s books turned into plays over the last few years, The Gruffalo, What the Ladybird Heard, The Scarecrows Wedding and this was definitely one of the best, although I am a sucker for Stick Man too (which incidentally is on at The Lowry on 26-30th October 2016 click on the link for tickets).
As I’m sure you know The Gruffalo’s Child is the sequel to The Gruffalo, which sold over 13 million copies and won several prizes for children’s literature. The story follows the Gruffalo’s daughter on her adventurous pursuit in search of the “big bad mouse”, the only creature her father is truly fearful of.
The show involves just three actors who were amazing. A few jokes for the adults thrown in for good measure but they quite simply brought the book to life.
The only caveat I’d have about The Gruffalo’s Child is that it is a little scary for younger children. The lights dimmed and the Gruffalo is on stage under a large cover snoring and the tears started around me from some tiny toddlers, with questions like ‘Mummy is he real?” and “Mummy can we go I’m scared” being heard. Even my nearly 5 year old jumped onto my knee.
However as the story unfolds the tiny children do relax and start to enjoy the show. They realise the Gruffalo “is just dressed up ” and giggle, clap hands excitedly and sing along with the songs. At just an hour (well 55 minutes) the performance is the right length for kids up to aged 5/6. There is no interval to contend with and whilst I did see quite a few Mums leaving the theatre with kids as they “needed a wee” not too many!
The show we went to see was on at 11am, but for the next 4 weeks it is on at 11am and 2pm so grab your tickets now. The timing of both shows also give you chance to eat lunch at Pier Eight restaurant in The Lowry if that tickles your fancy too. It also means you can take advantage of their summer ‘Kids Eat Free Offer‘ *terms and conditions do apply but basically kids get a free meal with every adult meal from the bar or restaurant.
I haven’t eaten in the bar but the food in the restaurant is superb. I had scallops and rainbow trout for lunch whilst my kids could have fish and chips, tomato pasta and sausage and mash! What a treat. My scallops were just divine.
After our lovely meal which was served with a smile, a splattering of crayons and kids menus to colour in (always a winner) we went along to The Lowry galleries. It’s been a long time since I went to the actual galleries and I did manage a little look round later in the afternoon but we went over there to take part in one of the daily summer activities The Lowry is running. The day we went was a Super Hero drama workshop, but other days are going to include Gruffalo workshops, Where the Wild Things Are, take a look to see what your kids might fancy of the Non Stop Events. They are on until 31st August!
My three absolutely loved the Super Hero drama workshop! These workshops take place every half an hour and are really good fun. If we were closer we would pop in for the workshops alone.
After the workshop I persuaded the kids to take a look around the Lowry paintings which I’m glad I did as again this is child friendly. The girls were given a clipboard and a small piece of paper on the way in and encouraged to find their own favourite Lowry painting and copy it. We whiled away a good half an hour doing this, giving me time to look at the paintings themselves and them time to find something to draw and then copy it. Fantastic idea!
All in all we had a really lovely day at The Lowry. We parked in the muti-story car park but for those of you on the tram route it really is very accessible indeed.
Highly recommended day out.