The latest edition of the long-running Pokémon videogame series, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, will soon be available with a release date on 18th November 2022. If you just can’t hold back your anticipation and excitement for catchin’ them all, though, there are big opportunities to embark on your very own in-person Pokémon adventure right here in the UK. Readers who are in reach of Manchester should make an immediate bee-line (or a Beedrill Bumble?) to the Trafford Centre: it’s the third-largest shopping centre in the whole of the country and that leaves plenty of hiding places for a Pokémon hunt at the special Pokémon: Art Through The Ages exhibition.
There are lots of large banners and posters around the Trafford Centre making the event easy to find.
This is a family-friendly event which is ideal for those looking to keep their young relatives occupied over the half-term period over this and next week. The fun is concentrated around the “Orient” Food Hall at the middle of the Trafford Centre – it won’t be hard to find, an enormous frieze of a Charazard has been suspended from the ceiling! The main stage in the centre of the seating area of the Orient has been converted into a Pokémon activity centre – visitors can enjoy child-friendly colouring-in and art lessons as well as watching episodes of the Pokémon anime series – there’s a smaller screen in the activity centre itself but they’re also projected large onto the Orient’s jumbotron at 5.30pm Monday-Saturday and 5pm Sunday, so you can finish the day with your love for Pokémon as the biggest thing in the building!
Wow, Charazard’s enormous!
There is lots of space for big families to stick together in the Activity Centre at the Orient.
Something extra-special is also at the Orient, because you have an opportunity to meet Pikachu himself! Meet-and-greets with the biggest star of the Pokémon world are held on the Orient stage multiple times per day an you’re welcome to give the fuzzy lightning-mouse a cuddle and have your photo taken with him to remember your meeting.
Pikachu is always happy to make new friends!
The fun doesn’t stop there either. Once you have created your artistic masterpiece at the Orient, you can show it off around the whole Trafford Centre! Visitors will be given an activity book which is full of Pokémon art in various styles for you to admire, eveything from oil to stained glass, and it’s your springboard to your very own Pokémon hunt. Walk around the centre seeking out the portraits of various Pokémon – aficionados will remember them as the classics of the first-generation Kanto from the very beginnings of the Pocket Monsters – and when you find each one there will be a letter attached to the picture. Find them all and it will spell out a secret code which you can then take to the GAME store on the ground floor of the shopping area to win a special prize – a limited edition double-sided Pokémon poster, with no further purchase necessary. When you have filled out all of the challenges in the activity book, take your completed book back to the Orient activity centre to be rewarded with a certificate from Professor Oak acknowledging you as the Trafford Centre’s very own Pokémon master.
There’s one down: can you find the rest?
You’ve gotta catch ’em all, there’s a prize waiting for you in GAME!
While the Pokémon: Art Through The Ages event is mainly directed at younger children, there is room for big kids and the young-at-heart as well!
Your day doesn’t have to end there, because the Trafford Centre has a lot more Pokémon content still to offer. There are lots of items of Pokémon merchandise to purchase in the shops, including in the toys section on the top floor of Selfridges & Co., inside GAME, and discount Pokémon encyclopedias on sale inside WH Smith: Smith’s is also hosting a Pokémon TCG swap shop on Saturday’s for the duration of the event and for a week afterwards as well, so enthusiasts of the trading card game should make sure to swing by with their spares and maybe find a surprising bargain or haggle for that foil you so desperately need to round out your set. Of course, the Trafford Centre itself is far more than just a shopping precinct and is a whole entertainment venue including a cinema, minigolf, Laser Quest, and an amusement arcade with videogames, bowling, and even dodgems. It’s the ideal place to visit for family entertainment and Pokémon: Art Through the Ages is the icing on the cake to make it a grand day out.
Pokémon toys for sale in Selfridge’s.
After your kids are tuckered-out after a busy day chasing Pokémon up and down the Trafford Centre, a fuzzy friend will help them to their bed-time.
You can find out more information on the Pokémon: Art Through the Ages event at the Trafford Centre website
The Orient activity centre is open 11am-6pm Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, 10am-6pm Wednesday, and 12pm-6pm Sunday. The event runs daily from 17th October to 13th November.
Please note that the Arts & Crafts activity can be very busy and booking ahead is advised – to guarantee access, you can reserve a slot for free at this website.
The Pikachu meet-and-greet runs on a changing schedule. Most sessions will be held at the Orient main stage but he can also be found at certain times at GAME and Selfridge’s toy department. Check this link to find out his current diary and when’s best to meet him!
The WH Smith’s Pokémon TCG swap shop runs 11.30am-2pm every Saturday from 29th October to 19th November.
Happy hunting, trainers!
Goldeen used Water Pulse! It’s SUPER EFFECTIVE!