Visiting Manchester but unsure on the things to do with your kids? Not to worry, boasting some fascinating museums, adventurous soft play centres, and unique craft clubs, Manchester has a great selection of indoor and outdoor attractions.
But how will you know which are the best things to do in Manchester with kids that are worth a visit? The northern powerhouse of this city is quickly becoming one of the UK’s most visited cities. A top choice for families as Manchester offers loads of outdoor kids activities.
Because of Manchester’s industrial past, visitors are sometimes surprised to discover there are acres of green parks, lakes and woodland. As well as stately homes and friendly working farms in the rural surrounds, which the kids will love.
Luckily, BabyBreaks has done the hard work for you, and researched the best things to do with your kids in Manchester.
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1. Science and Industry Museum
Showcasing Manchester’s journey through the industrial revolution right through to the present day. This unique museum offers a great mix of science and history. Children can learn through interactive exhibitions and live demonstrations, and they even have the chance to conduct their own experiments!
There are extra activities and workshops at the weekends and during the school holidays – check the website for up to date events.
PRICE: FREE (however you need to pre-book your ticket on the website)
OPENING TIMES: Open daily, 10am – 5pm during school holidays and Wednesday to Sunday 10am until –5pm during term time
2. National Football Museum
As you probably know, Football is probably the most popular and most played sport in the world. I have never quite understood why the Americans decided to change the name to Soccer though 🤣 . So if your family wants to know it all about this game, you need to head to the National Football Museum with 4 floors to walk through. There is even a penalty shootout to measure yourself against others.
PRICE: Children under 5: FREE
OPENING TIMES:Wednesday – Sunday 10am until 5pm (last entry is 4pm)
3. Legoland Discovery Centre
Aimed at children aged 3 – 10, Legoland Discovery Centre is the ultimate indoor LEGO playground with 3 rides, 10 LEGO build & play zones, a 4D cinema LEGO models of local landmarks. Hours of fun can be had building and creating, without any of the mess you would have to clean up at home!
Combined tickets for Legoland and Sea Life start at £16.95 when you book online, and the second ticket is valid for 12 months, so you don’t need to visit both on the same day.
PRICE: From £15 (1Adult+1 Child)
OPENING TIMES: Open daily, 10am – 6pm
4. Paradise Island Adventure Golf
Located at Trafford Centre opposite the Odeon Cinema, Paradise Island Adventure Golf offers two fun 18 holes courses to play. You don’t need to bring your full golf bag…just your smile and your children to have a great family time. A family of four can play 1 course for £30 or £42 if you fancy playing two courses. Are you ready for the challenge?
5. Alexandra Park
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
This 60 acres park has been built and open in 1870. Located close to Princess Road, Alexandra Park has a toddler play area for children under 6, another playground for all children, 4 tennis courts and even a fishing lake. If you are looking to stay outdoor with your children, Alexandra Park is a perfect place to be after lunch or a long day wandering the streets of Manchester.
OPENING TIMES: open all year round
6. Sea Life Manchester
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
Children will love this amazing aquarium, home to over 5,000 creatures including awesome sharks, tiny seahorses, colourful jellyfish and graceful rays. There’s an interactive turtle beach experience, a “touch pool” where you can hold a crab and stroke a starfish, plus a kids quiz trail to complete along the way. Enough reasons to be featured on our list of great things to do with kids in Manchester!
PRICE: From £19.75/adult and £15.25/child. Children under 3: FREE
OPENING TIMES: Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm (last entry is at 4pm) Saturday to Sunday 9.30am – 5pm (last entry is at 4pm)
7. Dreamland Imaginarium
Good news! Manchester has a new attraction for families with young children. The Dreamland Imaginarium is an indoor immersive experience that will test your senses with magical displays, big inflatable creatures and many more games.
This new exciting activity in Manchester opens on the 21st December 2022 and is available until 16 February 2023. Make sure your pre-book your tickets entry, especially during Christmas holidays.
8. The Manchester Museum
CURRENTLY CLOSED UNTIL LATE 2022
This museum exhibits a lot of animals and different objects defining the nature of our world. If your children love dinosaurs and fossils, they will be spoilt with different exhibitions and will be able to participate in different hands on activities. The museum is currently closed for a major renovation. So we can’t wait to visit this museum again later this year.
9. The Lowry
A creative space for art, theatre and music, The Lowry is a gallery with a difference. The building itself is like a work of art, with bright orange staircases, sloping blue floors and purple and glass walls. There are three theatres showing children’s performances and puppet shows, whilst the Lowry Galleries showcase work by LS Lowry plus regularly changing exhibitions from local and international artists.
Little ones can draw, read and play in the The Carole Nash Lookout, or attend art and drama workshops at the weekends.
PRICE: vary depending of the performance
OPENING TIMES: Open daily, 10am – 6pm. (Performance times for shows may vary.)
10. Etihad Stadium
Visiting a Football stadium has become something to do when visiting a city. Of course, Barcelona or Wembley are true favourites. But recent openings like Etihad Stadium which was open in 2002 and home to the Manchester City football team is one most rewarded activities to do in Manchester. The tour lasts about 1 to 2 hours. You will visit the changing rooms, the tunnel where players go through before hitting the pitch and so much more. Visitors praise the quality of the tour guides at the stadium too. A must see whether you like Football or not.
📍 Ashton New Rd, Manchester M11 3FF
PRICE: From £25/adult and £15/child . Children under 5: FREE Family Packages are available
OPENING TIMES: check website
11. Treetop Trek Manchester
A fantastic day out for little monkeys, Treetop Trek is a fun activity for all the family, suitable for children as young as 3. Set within the treetops of beautiful Heaton Park, the rope bridges, trampolines, slides and tree houses will test your balance, agility and nerves! A great way to get some fresh air and exercise and feel in touch with nature.
PRICE: From £18/person depending of the trek you choose
OPENING TIMES: Open daily 10am – 5pm
Lots of cities in the world has its own Chinatown. Manchester has the 2nd largest Chinatown area in the UK and the 3rd in Europe. I have found it more interesting to visit in the evening with the bright red lights illuminating the streets such as the famous Faulkner Street and its archway. Expect to see a lot of Asian eateries, fast food or even drinks take away outlets such as Bubble Tea joints. Check out these best Chinese restaurants in Manchester if you need some inspiration.
OPENING TIMES: every day
So we’ve got 20 more things to do with kids in Manchester…ready to see the rest of the list?
13. Manchester Spy Mission Treasure Trail
Turn exploring the city into a fun-filled game, with the Spy Mission Treasure Trail. Simply download the booklet (or have it delivered to your door) which will guide you through some fascinating tales of Manchester’s past, as you make your way from one landmark to the next using the clues provided.
Children will love pretending to be an undercover agent, and adults will get a unique insight into the city and learn some new facts along the way. This is what we call a proper day out for children in Manchester.
PRICE: From £9.99
OPENING TIMES: this trail is self guided so you can do it whenever suits you
14. Play Factore
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
Manchester is the luckiest city in England to host one of the largest kids indoor play area in the country. Play Factore as its name suggests is a like a factory with huge spaces for your children to have lots of fun. Lots of birthday parties happen there so it is a good sign! Equipment and things to do at Play Factore are very diverse from laser tag arena, trampoline, zip wire and lots of tunnels and slides. Finally, Play Factore has the longest indoor slide in the country which is 40 meters long!
15. I’m A Celebrity Jungle Challenge
If you are following the famous ITV TV show, you know what this is all about. If not, this fun packed activity is still worth to book. You will have a choice of different trails depending how challenging you want to be. Beware that this activity is only allowed for children aged 8+ with height and weight restrictions due to the nature of the activities. It will be physical for some, trust me! This attraction is among the newest things to do in Manchester with kids and it is pretty popular.
PRICE: From £20/participants aged 8+ and £10/spectator only
OPENING TIMES: vary depending on the slot you book
16. Ordsall Hall
An impressive Tudor manor house hidden in the midst of the Salford area of Manchester, Ordsall Hall is one of the region’s finest examples of Elizabethan architecture.
Dating back to the 12th century, the house and gardens will transport you back in time, with its interactive activities. Kids will love the opportunity to dress up in Tudor clothes and sit around the table at the Great Hall, where extravagant feasts were held. You may even meet a few costumed Tudor’s wandering the grounds!
Ordsall Hall holds lots of exciting events throughout the year, such as open-air theatre and arts & craft workshops. No wonder why Orsdall Hall is featured among our activities for days out in Manchester.
OPENING TIMES: Monday to Thursday 10am – 4pm. Sunday 1pm – 4pm. Closed on Bank Holidays.
17. People’s History Museum
Now let’s get serious for one moment here. Who ever visited a museum dedicated to people and more precisely to the history of democracy in Britain. People’s History Museum tells the past, present and hopefully bright future of our society like you’ve never seen before. It is highly educational too for our children but also fun to visit. You can interact with the exhibition with augmented reality through your mobile phone (pending you download the app for it). Discover why the Match Girls’ Strike was a key moment in Britain history. This museum is definitely worth to add on your to do list for sure.
PRICE: FREE (donation of £5 is very much welcome)
OPENING TIMES: Wednesday to Sunday 10am until 4pm
18. Heaton Park
The largest park in the Northwest, Heaton Park spans over 600 acres and includes an 18th century Grade I listed house, an animal centre, a boating lake, play areas, golf course and horse riding! You really could spend all day in this beautiful green space without getting bored.
OPENING TIMES: 8am – dusk every day. (Individual attractions’ opening hours may vary.)
19. The Crystal Maze
Another attraction inspired by a 90s TV show called…you guessed it…The Crystal Maze. You will be part of a team of 8 trying to collect as many gold tokens as possible. Each game requires different skills and can be nerve wrecking for some. This is an immersive and fun activity to do with teenagers. Expect some laughter and maybe some tears.
PRICE: From £44/person (age requirement is 9 years old minimum with a joining adult)
OPENING TIMES: vary depending on the slot you book
20. Lancaster Park and Animal Farm
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
This family run petting farm a short drive from the city centre, provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to get up close to a variety of animals such as pigs, horses, sheep and chickens.
Touching and feeding the animals is encouraged, and children can have a go on the mini JCB digger to hunt for treasure! There is also a scenic nature walk, picnic areas and play areas. Perfect for days out in Manchester.
PRICE: From £6/person
OPENING TIMES: Open daily, 9.30am – 4pm
21. Parthian Climbing Manchester
Climbing a wall can be daunting for some children. But other might well enjoy it as it requires patience and awareness. This is a good way to teach your kids to focus and concentrate. Parthian Climbing offers day pass so you don’t need to be a member to give it a try. My son started to climb walls as young as 9 years old and keep enjoying it at 12. Parthian Climbing offers some beginners classes for your child or the whole family. A good way to kill 1 hour on your next visit in Manchester and feel you’ve done some sport!
📍 St Benedict’s Church, Bennett St, West Gorton, Manchester M12 5ND
PRICE: From £10/day pass
OPENING TIMES: Monday to Friday 10am until 10pm / Saturday & Sunday 10am until 6pm
22. Palace Theatre Manchester
Nothing beats a nice family evening show to attend on a Saturday evening after an early dinner. Palace Theatre Manchester is one of these old theatres that need to be preserved for the sake of culture and the joy of seeing real life entertainments, performances and musicals. This theatre was built and open in the late 19th century. Today, the theatre can seat close to 2,000 people. At the moment, you can enjoy different shows such as Alice Wonderland, Blood Brothers or Billionaire Boy, the famous book from David Walliams. Check out the performances for the coming months before you arrive in Manchester.
PRICE: vary depending of the show
OPENING TIMES: check website for performance times
23. Escape Hunt
Age requirement is 8 years old and must be joined with an adult
Escape Hunt is part of a group who organises several escape rooms inspired by movies or TV shows. They are usually highly rated by customers and Manchester has an Escape Hunt on its own. We are big fan of escape rooms since we’ve tried it first in York last year. Our children loved it even our 8 years old girl. Escape Hunt Manchester organises several games such as Doctor Who, Blackbeard’s Treasure, Alice in Puzzleland, The Last Vikings and many more. They also set up 2 outdoor games if weather is nice outside. So which escape room will you try with your children?
PRICE: From £20/person in a group of 4 to 6 players
OPENING TIMES: vary depending of the game you want to play
24. Sightseeing Manchester
Any big cities have their Hop On Hop Off bus service and Manchester is no stranger to this easy way to explore the town. Sightseeing Manchester bus departs from Albert Square and will take you on a 1 ½ hour journey around Manchester. With audio commentary, you will be able to get off the bus at one of the 15 stops with key museums to see such as the National Football Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry.
25. Good Life Skates
Who remembers the good old days of roller skating disco venues in the 80s? Well, Manchester has recreated such a venue with Good Life Skates. You can of course bring your own boots. If not, you can hire roller sakes at the venue too with 1 or 2 hours slot to have fun on the rink. Opens from Thursday until Sunday, we expect this activity to be super popular this Summer for sure.
26. Adventure Forest Play Centre
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
Are you looking for a great soft play area in Manchester for your children? Then, you’re in luck as we have found Adventure Forest Play Centre the perfect venue to allow your kids to go wild. Managed and owned by two sisters, this venue prides itself to serve fresh homemade food so perfect for a quick family lunch. We love the fact that they organise exclusive sessions for autistic children or children with special needs.
Located in the heart of Trafford Park, this fun park has been designed in 3 sections and as its name suggests is themed around the forest. You will find a ball pool, swings, tunnels and many more fun games to play. For parents, there is a café with tables where you can watch your young kids whilst drinking your favourite hot drink.
27. Head Over Heels
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
Situated on the South West of Manchester in Chorlton, Head Over Heels is a lovely kids indoor play area that lots of local families go to. The venue is very clean and safe for your kids and parents can enjoy tea or coffee at the café. There is even a sensory room designed for babies to explore.
Don’t miss out on the newly open mini role play village where your child can pretend to be working in a café for instance.
So if you need a place to keep your children entertained on a rainy day in Manchester, look no further than Head over Heels in South West Manchester.
This indoor play centre has been praised by thousands of families looking at the reviews posted online. We love the fact that there is plenty to do for toddlers too with even a show dedicated to them every school day at 11am.
28. Dino Falls Adventure Golf
👶Baby & Toddler Friendly👶
Did you know that Manchester has one of the biggest adventure mini golf in England? With 36 holes, you will have the choice to play 2 different 18 holes courses: Volcano and Rapids. This outdoor activity to do with kids in Manchester will be a winner with lots of families but also during a birthday celebration.
Located at Trafford City, this huge adventure golf is part of Trafford Golf Centre where you can also introduce your children to real golf practise range.
Also, Dino Falls Adventure Golf is totally welcoming toddlers and young children so they can give a try by pushing the ball next to the hole. The venue is also pram friendly so no worries if your little one fell asleep on your day out in Manchester!
29. Chill Factore
This indoor venue is one of the best activities to do in Manchester with your children all year round. Chill Factore has huge facilities where you can practise or be introduce to skiing whatever the season. Luckily, you won’t need to bring your own equipment but make sure to wear appropriate warm clothes. The ski pass includes boots, skis, poles and a helmet. Did I mention that you could also take snowboarding lessons too?
Looking at the recent reviews, I would be surprised if you didn’t want to return to Chill Factore once more and have lots of fun with the family. Finally, the Lodge Bar & Kitchen is a perfect place to have lunch or dinner and have a break between your ski sessions. They serve classic burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and even the famous mountain dishes such as tartiflette which is made of potato, bacon and melting cheese.
Finally, here is one more reason to visit Chill Factore with your little tribe: it has the longest indoor ski slope in the UK!
30. Imperial War Museum North
While the subject of War can be daunting for young children, Imperial War Museum North is probably one of the best museums in Manchester to do with kids. This free entry museum is part of the Imperial War Museums available in England such as Churchill War Rooms in London.
You will be amazed by the design of some permanent exhibitions. For instance, there is a massive room full of red poppies. A lot of rooms offer a retrospective of different wars with an immersive experience throughout. IWM North has a lots of workshops and sessions dedicated to families, especially during school holidays, so check out their website to see what’s on.
I hope this non exhaustive list of things to do with kids in Manchester will help you to tailor make your next holiday in the Mancunian city. Manchester is such a fun city to visit for a long weekend break all year round. So much has changed in this historical industrial town. And let’s not forget the music that has been created with different singers and bands such as Oasis, The Smiths, The Stone Roses or New Order. We would love to hear back from your Manchester trip also. So feel free to send us a message on Facebook or Instagram or tag us along!
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30 TOP Things to Do in Manchester with Kids in 2022
- Science and Industry Museum
- National Football Museum
- Legoland Discovery Centre
- Paradise Island Adventure Golf
- Alexandra Park
- Sea Life Manchester
- The Manchester Museum
- The Lowry
- Etihad Stadium
- Treetop Trek Manchester
- Manchester Spy Mission Treasure Trail
- Play Factore
- I’m A Celebrity Jungle Challenge
- Ordsall Hall
- People’s History Museum
- Heaton Park
- The Crystal Maze
- Lancaster Park and Animal Farm
- Parthian Climbing Manchester
- Palace Theatre Manchester
- Escape Hunt
- Sightseeing Manchester
- Great Northern Sand Pit
- Good Life Skates
- Adventure Forest Play Centre
- Head Over Heels
- Dino Falls Adventure Golf
- Chill Factore
- Imperial War Museum North
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