Manc-made beach is coming to Great Northern again this summer – and it’s FREE


“Manchester’s got everything but a beach,” Ian Brown once said. Not anymore, Ian. Because the Great Northern is once again transforming its amphitheatre into a giant sandpit for the summer holidays – and it’s free for families to enjoy.

The sandpit, just off Peter Street, is filled with 50 tonnes of sand and there’ll be lots of events going on there throughout the summer, starting with the Mancunian May Fair this weekend (4th/5th May).

The beach will have a giant deck chair for a perfect photo opportunity and will be a great place for kids – little and big – to bring their buckets and spades and enjoy the beach as if it was Blackpool, but without the donkeys. And sea.

The Mancunian May fair will showcase free play sessions that will help unleash young imaginations with den building, cardboard village construction and giving youngsters the chance to do a bit of Japanese art of Hapa Zone (leaf printing for anyone not in the know).

Pic Phil Tragen

Frozen treats from Cheshire Ice Cream Farm will be on sale throughout the weekend and little ones can also continue to enjoy the Great Northern playhouse, complete with an animal hospital for teddies and a pretend cafe.

“Following last year’s successful launch, which brought huge numbers of families to the Great Northern during the scorching summer, we’re delighted to bring our sand pit back for 2019 – and in time for our Mancunian May Fair,” said Great Northern centre director Mark Schofield. “The team here is excited to once again welcome children to enjoy safe, free play any day between now and the end of the school holidays.”

The transformation of the square over the summer months is sponsored by Manchester-based beach holiday specialists, On the Beach, who created a very impressive sandcastle sculpture in the play area last year.

“As the beach holiday specialists, it was fantastic to bring a little bit of the beach to Manchester last year,” said marketing director Alan Harding.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Great Northern once again to create a fabulous outdoor space where families can get together and children can experience a little of the beach in the heart of the city.”

Mancunian May Fair activities run from 10.30am – 4pm and are entirely free of charge, although donations to the Big Change homelessness charities will be gratefully accepted.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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