The social event of the year drew in hundreds of people  - and the rain stayed away.

Smithills Hall staged its annual Garden Party today

Families were treated to ice cream and food stalls along with games, interactive story-telling, a teacup ride and much more in the beautiful historic grounds of the estate.

The Bolton News: Henry LisowskiHenry Lisowski (Image: Henry Lisowski)

Simon Sullivan storyteller for Bolton Library and Museums, entertained children, resplendant in his colourful cape get-up, which saw him tell fun stories aided with props the children could get involved in.

He said: “I’ve come along to tell some stories for Bolton Library and Museums.

“This is my fifth time doing the garden party and usually I am outside doing story walks but I’ve been inside the hall today telling stories.

The Bolton News: Smithills Garden Party

“We’ve had lots of little ones today enjoying the stories and they’re all interactive, so we’ve had games and parachutes to play with.

“Everyone’s had a little dance and a boogie, with the sun out shining, and we’ve all had a lovely day.”

Jenny Rees said her daughter Sienna was a big fan of the story-telling.

She said: “The children are enjoying all the different activities, the story-telling was especially fantastic because it was so interactive.

“As we arrived, we went inside so we missed the rain as well.”

The Bolton News: Henry LisowskiHenry Lisowski (Image: Henry Lisowski)

Children had their faces painted and Bolton FM blasted the tunes.

Teen cousins and sisters Lexi Henderson, Sophie and Kirsty Kearsley were loving the garden party.

Lexi said: “It’s going very well, and I think school children would love this.

But I think this is fun for any child older or younger, and I love it.”

Grace Collard had young girls crowding over her stall full of cute character earrings, with Hello Kitty, Bratz, and teddies on display along with a collection for adults.

The Bolton News: Henry LisowskiHenry Lisowski (Image: Henry Lisowski)

She said: “My first time doing this market was last year and it was blazing hot, but it’s really successful and the footfall is amazing.

“There’s more than a thousand people that show up and it’s been even busier this year and I think after lockdown people just want to get out even more.”

The Bolton News: Smithills Garden Party

Having escaped the rain, Thomas Moran and Susan Lee said the event had more stalls this year.

Thomas said: “It’s got more stalls this year and better weather as well.

“There’s so many fun things for the kids like face painting and we just about missed the rain.”

Around 4,000 visitors came to the last garden party.