Recently, the kids and I were invited to spend a little time at The Printworks urban entertainment complex in Manchester.
Bar the odd trip to the cinema, I have never really explored The Printworks in much depth before, despite walking past it at least once a week!
Having previously associated The Printworks with nights out, the idea of a family day there was a new concept for me. However, they offer a plethora of family friendly venues inside this former printing house. A building seeped in history, it once produced publications such as the Manchester Evening Chronicle and the Daily Mirror, until it was closed in 1985 – my inner geek loves a little bit of architectural knowledge, especially anything related to printing and publishing.
After lying dormant for over ten years, the 1996 bomb attack in Manchester City Centre spurred on redevelopment for the area now known as Exchange Square. In November 2000 Alex Ferguson and Lionel Ritchie were the guest celebrities opening the doors to The Printworks as we now know it, and the rest is history.
Adam, Lucie, her friend Olivia and I headed into Manchester, looking forward to a fun-filled day ahead. I parked up at the NCP carpark, just a few minutes walk away from the Printworks and we made a hasty dash inside, thanks to the notorious Manchester rain! If you are travelling via train, then Victoria station is just next door, along with handy Metrolink stops opposite. I appreciated the fact that The Printworks is all under one roof, keeping us dry and warm.
First on our agenda was a trip to the Odeon cinema. Boasting 20 screens, across several levels, this is definitely one of the biggest complexes I have ever seen. This also includes the IMAX and The VIP Gallery.
I took advantage of the array of concession stands available and opted for a Costa and popcorn, whilst the kids enjoying a Tango Ice Blast and few bags of sweets. We caught a late afternoon screening of Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Being big DC Comic fans, Lucie and I had eagerly anticipated this one for some time.
I won’t spoil things for any of you guys yet to watch it, but the movie did not disappoint. Darker than it’s rivals latest offering, with a more serious storyline, we were all enthralled throughout the entire film. With a few familiar characters in the mix (we may have named our cats Lex and Luthor) my parenting pride peaked as Lucie instantly recognised the presence of a very special female character early on. We even had a little blub during one particularly sombre scene!
After our movie session, we headed to Peachy Keens for an evening meal. An all you can eat, multi-cuisine buffet, this was the ideal choice for our little clan. Between us, food can be a bit of a debate as our tastes vary rather dramatically. With over 40 main course dishes from around the world and a huge selection of salads and sushi, we were spoilt for choice!
Alongside the pre-prepared foods, there are also stations with chefs available, ready and waiting to create you something fresh and bespoke. I especially liked the idea of the ‘make your own stir fry’ stand. The place itself was warm, friendly and had a lovely family feel. Clean and tidy, with attentive staff on hand to clear up any spills or mishaps, our first impressions were good.
We were greeted by the duty manager and shown to our table, whilst being offered a round of drinks. Peachy Keens have an extensive drinks menu so after we’d sorted beverages, it was time to head over to the self-serve buffet. I ended up with a rather eclectic mixture of chill, beef in black bean sauce, boiled rice, spring rolls, meatballs and egg friend rice whilst Lucie and Olivia settled for a traditional Indian curry each. The food was satisfactory and great value. Lucie even went back for seconds – mainly consisting of half a plate of olives!
Being an utter sweet-tooth, I was keen to give the dessert section a go. With a chocolate fountain, ice creams, cakes, jellies, apple crumble, creme brulees and more, it didn’t take long for me to fill a plate full of goodies. They were perfectly portioned and tasted divine. The kids soon followed and Olivia put my gluttonous ways to shame, heading back to our table with a plate full of healthy fruit and jelly!
With prices varying from just £4.99 to £14.99, depending on what day and time you chose to dine, Peachy Keens is excellent value for money and offers much more freedom than a tradition restaurant. Overall, we enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon and will no doubt enjoy many more family days together at The Printworks in the near future.
*Our food and cinema tickets were provided FOC however all opinions are my own.