Family Time at The Printworks

We’ve had a crazy busy couple of weeks and have been really looking forward to a slower pace over half term.  No rushing to get out of the house on a morning, no frantic panic looking for socks, shoes, book bags and clean t shirts.  No dragging Chloe out of bed with the promise of a new dress if she managed to make it through half a term without a tantrum in the morning (which incidentally she did!)  Just no real pressure.  We’re all tired.  Ben and Chloe have both been really emotional for the last week or so.  This is fairly common for Chloe towards the school holidays but Ben usually manages to hold things together – I think a combination of his SATs, his after school commitments having trebled and fighting off a bug have all knocked him for six and last weekend we had tears over not being able to hold a chip butty properly!  Yes.  I know.  We are so ready for half term.

To set our half term off on the right foot, we hopped a tram into town (my car has been in the garage but we had already decided that getting the tram would be a nice treat) and made our way to The Printworks which is just over the road from Manchester Victoria station.

 The Printworks

The Printworks is billed as “Manchester’s Premier Entertainments Complex” housing an enormous 20 screen Odeon Cinema and a wide variety of places to eat and drink.  This half term, from Tuesday 31st May through to Friday 3rd June it’s “Kids Week” at the Printworks with a range of free activities going on in The Pump Yard (including story telling, dancing and even vegetable planting) and plenty of family friendly options for a spot of lunch too.

We were invited along to The Printworks to enjoy a family film and some lunch.  Although I knew Ben would really enjoy the new Angry Birds, we decided that Zootropolis was probably a better option as we were taking Amy too.  Usually, if we’re going to take the kids to the cinema, we tend to just take the big two at the moment as they can sit happily through a film whereas Amy tends to get a bit fed up.  She’s only 2.5yo after all.  I must admit, I was much more up for watching Zootropolis having seen some clips and heard lots of great reviews.

Odeon at The Printworks

The Odeon Cinema in The Printworks is enormous and set over several floors so the kids though that having to go up lots of escalators to get to our screening was great fun!  The screening was relatively empty and we were able to have our pick of seats which is always nice!  The seating is super comfy and really generous with leg room (something Dave and I often struggle with).  The fact that the seats are fixed (rather than the fold up ones you so often get in the cinema) is great for little ones as I know my three often struggle with the flip up seats.  It was a shame the arm rests were fixed though as Amy really wanted to curl up and lean on me for a snuggle but the arm rests were in the way.

The film was great, holding all our attention right the way through (well, except Amy – though she did better than I expected).  Some parts of the film were “laugh out loud” hilarious, others a little scary.  Ben actually snuggled right up to me and openly admitted to being frightened – not that he needed to, I could feel he was actually shaking a bit!  Over all, the kids thought it was fantastic and I know they’ll happily watch it again.

Peachy Keens at The Printworks

After the film we were all more than ready for some lunch so we made our way over to Peachy Keens.  This isn’t somewhere we’d been before but we’d heard great things about the “world buffet” from friends (including Jenny from The Brick Castle who visited recently).  We were taken to a larger table in a fairly dingy corner of the restaurant which seemed to be being used as a staff room – when we arrived there was a member of staff laid down (!) in the adjacent booth and during the course of our meal there was always at least two staff members sat there.  Whilst this wasn’t an issue per se as they weren’t disturbing us, it did make us feel we weren’t really part of the proper dinner experience and had been shoved out of the way.

Having never been to a buffet before, we explained to the kids that they could choose anything they wanted to eat and showed them all around the buffet first so they could see what was on offer.  They were excited at the prospect of choosing and serving their own food and we told them it was a good chance to try different things.  I was really surprised that rather than going straight for pizza and chicken nuggets, Ben’s first choice was chicken tikka masala!  The girls stuck to the “safer”, tried & tested route of pizza, chips, chicken nuggets, crisps etc.

Choosing food at Peachy Keens - The Printworks

Dave tried Chinese food first whereas I went for Indian. We were both a little disappointed with the quality of the food – the chicken in the curry was very dry and over all the food seemed to be fairly bland.  However, the kids were clearing their plates and going back for more – three times over!  Although I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality of the food itself, I should point out that the buffet was all hot and well stocked.  The staff regularly came to clear our empty plates from the table but made little effort to interact with us which was a shame as Amy was full of smiles and good manners each time they came over.

Dinner at Peachy Keens - The Printworks
Indian food at Peachy Keens - The Printworks

The girls enjoying their dinner at Peachy Keens, The Printworks

The desert stand looked the most enticing with bite size cake pieces, ice cream and a chocolate fountain.  The chocolate fountain was fairly unappetising as it just looked a mess – I was glad that none of the kids seemed very interested in it.  I picked up quite a plateful of tasty looking morsels, which unfortunately turned out to be fairly nothingy and I left most of them.  The kids demolished their ice creams!

We left Peachy Keens with full tummies and happy kids.  The relaxed dining experience is great for families and the all you can eat buffet represents great value.  Whilst Dave and I are unlikely to go to Peachy Keens on our own, I do thinks its worth considering for a family lunch – especially if everyone likes to eat different things!

Mummy & the kids on the way home from The Printworks

Our afternoon at The Printworks made for a really great way to start our half term holiday – everything was so easy and convenient so there was no stressing out.  I would never really have thought of it as being a family friendly venue before having only experienced it at night but it’s definitely somewhere we’ll consider returning to in the future!

*We were invited to spend the afternoon at The Printworks free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*



  1. May 28, 2016 / 10:17 pm

    I'm really disappointed with your experience at Peachy Keens – when we were there the staff who were working were friendly and attentive and definitely awake! I suppose we all have bad days.
    My boys loved the cinema being up stairs and escalators, and Zootropolis is awesome isn't it! We loved it – I am looking forward to seeing it again 🙂

    • May 30, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      You're not the only person to say that Jenny – another good friend was really shocked by our poor experience and said the food has always been lovely so perhaps we'll have to give it another go.
      I loved the Odeon, we'd definitely go there again.

  2. Lizzie firstooth
    May 29, 2016 / 7:37 am

    What a lovely day. I love the sound of a 'world buffet' I wouldn't be able to control myself! I'm like you, I like Indian but my man always goes for the Chinese food. Have a lovely half-term x

    • admin
      May 30, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      I'm not a fan of Chinese myself so he has to make the most of the opportunity!

  3. May 29, 2016 / 6:28 pm

    The Printworks sounds fab! Shame about the buffet – I always find them a bit tasteless too x

  4. May 31, 2016 / 7:07 am

    My daughter loves choosing her food from a buffet. It's a great way for children to try new food especially if they take a friend who has different tastes to them. Sorry your eating experience wasn't good though 🙁


  5. Lozandthe Sprog
    May 31, 2016 / 9:47 am

    I wouldn't have considered The Printworks as being a family destination but with the cinema and restaurants this does make sense! Glad to see that they are trying to encourage more of a family feel. I love the sound of the vegetable planting and story telling. Followed the link to have a gander at the full list and the emergency services day sounds like something my nephew would go crazy for!
    I can't wait until I can take my daughter out for days like this, it sounds like your children had a great time! I still remember going to the cinema as a child- everything seems so huge and there's something special about watching a film on a big screen!
    I think I might skip that buffet now that the triangle has been done up as it didn't sound the best. The staff of a venue can make or break the experience sometimes!

  6. May 31, 2016 / 9:17 am

    What a lovely relaxed way to start your half term. I hope it carries on being as relaxed for you. #TriedTested

  7. Katie Taylor
    May 31, 2016 / 10:23 am

    Great post with lovely photos, thanks for sharing your experience xx

  8. May 31, 2016 / 9:35 am

    Sounds like the perfect family day out, my kids loved that film 🙂 #TriedTested

  9. May 31, 2016 / 9:53 am

    looks like a great place to take the kids for a day out. Shame about the food xx


  10. May 31, 2016 / 10:02 am

    Shame the food was a bit of a let down, sounds like a great place aside from that bit! #TriedTested

  11. Vanessa Turnbull
    May 31, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    Wow the printworks sound brill! Shame about your dining experience but those types of places really are perfect for the kids. Glad to hear Zootropolis is good- think i'll take my little one to see it next weekend! Xx

  12. May 31, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    Your photos look great, even if the food wasn't! My kids love a buffet too, I think it's the concept of being able to choose whatever they want and try a bit of everything (plus not get into trouble if they want to leave something they don't like). #triedtested

  13. May 31, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    That's a shame about the food hun, but glad other then that you had a great time, we went the other week and we thought it was brilliant we went to chiquitos because we don't tend to like buffet type restaurants

  14. mummydaddy mia
    May 31, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    What a lovely day! We still haven't braved the cinema with our (just!) 3 year old yet as shes not great with loud sounds and a lot going on at once however we are aiming to this week at some point! I also haven't been to the Printworks, it wasn't built when I was born and we moved away when I was 5 but we will have to take a trip there at some point as it sounds great! 🙂

  15. Reimer Ruby
    May 31, 2016 / 6:15 pm

    Sounds like a lovely day out for the family. Cinema and buffet lunch, seems perfect and my fave too. We have not been on a cinema as a family yet, but maybe someday we could give it a try.

  16. May 31, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    It sounds like you had a great day out despite the service at Peachy Keens…Such a shame.

  17. Mummy Melton
    May 31, 2016 / 7:41 pm

    Sounds like a lovely day, shame about the buffet though. We haven't braved a cinema yet as Mini M is still a bit young. Printworks are a great day out

  18. Odd Socks and Lollipops
    May 31, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    This looks great – what a fun time you all had and a great start to the half term

  19. May 31, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    That's a shame you didn't think much of the food but at least all round you had a fab day 🙂

  20. May 31, 2016 / 7:40 pm

    I love Printworks! I've never been to Peachy Keens, what a shame your experience wasn't great – although it does look like your little ones enjoyed it 🙂

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours
    via #TriedTested

  21. Tracey G
    May 31, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    20 screen Odeon complex – that's huge!! Sounds like you had a great time there
    With regards the food, there is always a balance between what everyone wants to eat and sometimes buffets like this are perfect, but they should also be able to offer a good quality of food too. Sounds like it was just right for the kids – blandish – but could do better!
    Glad you had a good time overall


  22. June 1, 2016 / 2:32 am

    Your restaurant experience sounds a bit like whenever we've been to Jimmy Spices, similar set-up that the kids love but I'm not impressed with the food. At least the film was good #triedtested

  23. Two Tiny Hands
    June 1, 2016 / 10:28 am

    MMMM, I haven't been to an all you can eat in yours. It's great the kids took it all on board and enjoyed the experience, even if you thought it wasn't completely up to scratch!

  24. Caroline Robinson
    June 1, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    What a lovely day out. I love going to the cinema and recently discovered that the Odeon is so much nicer then our closer Cineworld, mainly because of the fixed seats, luckily ours has fold up arm rests too so we can make it into a big sofa a cuddle up.

  25. Baby Isabella
    June 1, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Woweeee! that knocks the socks off our local cinema! Looks like an amazing entertainment complex! Perfect for a rainy day.

  26. June 2, 2016 / 11:48 am

    What a fun way to start the holidays, we watched Zootropolis recently boy loved it. It's a shame you didn't have the beat food for lunch though and you were stuck by the staff room. A buffet lunch is perfect for kids though, hopefully you'll have a better time in your next visit xx #TriedTested

  27. June 2, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    What a lovely way to spent the first day of the holidays! Sorry PK wasn't as you had hoped for. I haven't been to the printworks for years but it's good to know it's family friendly 🙂 #TriedTested

  28. Joanna McCaffrey
    June 2, 2016 / 3:47 pm

    Sounds like you all had a great start to half-term 🙂 It can be tricky keep all kids equally entertained!

  29. Sian - The Mama Story
    June 3, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous outing! We loved Zootropolis and I can see the huge benefit of buffet-style restaurants when it comes to dining with kids – the food looks yummy. My Printworks tales are all of drunken nights out pre-kids – a world away now!

  30. Jane Arschavir
    June 4, 2016 / 7:28 pm

    We did virtually the same visit as you this week too. We watched the Thomas film and went to Peachy Keens. I really enjoyed my main and the bits and bobs were good. It's not fine dining but it's good for families I think. Really enjoyed the visit to The Printworks and would go back for dinner and a movie with the boy 🙂

  31. Laura Clark
    June 6, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    Sounds like a really fun venue and a great day! My son is finally into the cinema now so we love taking him to Odeon kids club on weekends X

  32. June 6, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    I'm not really a fan of buffet food although since having Monkey it makes life a lot easier!! Disappointing re the desserts although the film sounds good, it's not one we've seen. Thank you for hosting #TriedTested X

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