My family and I are fortunate enough to live in rather close proximity to the greatest city in the world, Manchester. Whenever we are struggling for things to do at the weekend with the children, we head into the city centre for some family fun.
Luckily for us, Manchester is but a 10-minute train journey from our home. If you’re travelling from further afield and require an overnight stay, you’ll find ample accommodation in the multitude of hotels in Manchester.
We decided to explore the city centre and uncover all the things to do in Manchester with the kids over the course of a weekend. My 5-year-old, Aurelia and I had an absolute blast!
Mini Golf at Treetop Adventure Golf
Treetop Adventure Golf has just become our new favourite place.
There are two 18-hole courses both with a different theme. Firstly, the Tropical Trail. We navigated our way through a jungle of trees and plants. Each hole was completely different and presented us with a whole new challenge.
The second course is aptly named ‘Ancient Explorer’ it truly felt as though we had entered the Aztec world!
The scenery used around the courses is truly fantastic!
Aurelia and I spent around 90 minutes playing golf (both courses). As we arrived before midday, we enjoyed the special offer of playing 2 courses for the price of one! For this fabulous golfing experience, we paid only £14.00.
We then finished off our visit with a delicious lunch in the restaurant. Cocktails could be bought from the bar as well as tea and coffee.
The golf course itself was fairly quiet. We did see a hen party as well as a few birthday celebrations as we made our way around the course.
If you were staying in Manchester for a function, such as a hen/stag party, the Treetop adventure golf course would make a fabulous item on your itinerary.
Manchester is home to a number of museums which are located throughout the city centre. A number of these museums had to be included on my list of activities to do in Manchester with the kids. They provide a full family day out and are a great way to keep the kids entertained.
We often visit the Manchester Museum during school holidays with the kids. As some of the exhibitions change frequently, there is always something new to see. There really is something to pique everyone’s interest.
Manchester Museum houses a huge ancient world exhibition which has captured my imagination since I was a kid!
You’ll find some unusual creatures in the vivarium.
The museum holds a large collection of preserved animals. From lions to elephants – and everything in between!
A firm family favourite of ours is Stan the T-Rex!
The space centre with its interactive exhibitions will take children’s imaginations into the skies!
Science and Industry Museum
I enjoyed many a school trip to the Science and Industry Museum and even as an adult, the experience is still as wonderful as when I was a child. There are so many different exhibits, so many interactive pieces. It really is family fun for all ages and a perfect activity in
The exhibitions are continually changing. We were fortunate enough to see Stephenson’s Rocket, a train built in 1829. It has returned to Manchester for the first time in over 180 years!
To me, the most iconic part of the museum is the Air and Space Hall. Planes and cars of all shapes and sizes make this a place of awe and wonder for children and adults alike.
Visitors to the museum can also meet a replica of ‘baby’ the worlds first computer built in Manchester in 1948.
The Experimenter gallery allows visitors to experiment with a whole range of equipment (Aurelia had us in here for over an hour).
There are always plenty of activities held throughout the day to keep the kids entertained.
Manchester Art Gallery
Neither myself nor Aurelia had ever visited Manchester Art Gallery prior to our exploration of the city. This might seem like an odd place to take kids in Manchester for some family fun, and I must admit, initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am not particularly interested in art, although I do appreciate a good painting! Furthermore, I was not sure Aurelia would find the art gallery of any interest.
I was pleasantly surprised by our visit. Aurelia stood in awe of the paintings and took a real interest in them.
There were even some interactive displays to pique the children’s’ interest.
Aurelia has requested a return visit to the Art Gallery.
John Ryland’s Library
Another new item on our itinerary was John Ryland’s Libray. A friend had recommended this as a great place for children, and she was absolutely right!
A friendly member of staff welcomed us and gave Aurelia an activity pack. This quest took us to every room in the library looking for clues.
Aurelia was kept busy and so I could enjoy the displays.
Because Aurelia enjoyed the John Ryland’s Library so much, I simply had to add it to the list of things to do in Manchester with the kids!
People’s History Museum
Another of Manchester’s hidden gems is the People’s History Museum. This was another first-time visit for Aurelia and I. The museum is spread over 3 floors and explored the history of Manchester through the eyes of its residents.
There are plenty of interactive displays to engage the children.
There are a multitude of notable landmarks dotted throughout Manchester City Centre that are a must-see for any visitor!
I won’t bore you with too many details! But there has been a church on the site of Manchester Cathedral since the Saxon times. The cathedral we see today was built in the 13th-century. It underwent some major restoration work in the Victorian era, and for this reason, can appear to be a rather modern building. However, once you step inside, hundreds of years of history ooze through its walls.
Access to the Cathedral is free to all and entrance is only restricted during events, such as mass or weddings. Aurelia loved walking around and looking at the old
Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall competes with the new, modern glass buildings in Manchester as one of the most iconic, imposing landmarks in the city. It is the headquarters of Manchester City Council, the rallying point for protesters, and a stunning example of Neo-Gothic architecture. During the festive season, the Christmas markets establish themselves in front of its doors.
The Town Hall is currently closed for refurbishments, but can still be admired from Albert Square.
Piccadilly Gardens is a popular spot for families. The fountains are beautiful and the playground provides some much-needed relief for children after a long day’s shopping. If you’re looking for things to do in Manchester with the kids, then
In the summer months, you will find families relaxing and playing in this green area. It is also a popular site for musicians and entertainers.
The Chinese Arch
This iconic monument stands in Manchester’s China Town. Gifted to Manchester by the people of China in the 1980s, this ornately decorated monument is the only one of its kind in Europe.
Manchester’s China Town offers a whole range of Chinese restaurants, shops and supermarkets. The food in this district is well noted for its authenticity and is extremely popular with Mancunians.
Manucium – Roman Fort
Lying amidst the modern high rise buildings lies a hidden gem.
The information boards located on the site will give you some information about what the site looked like and how it was used.
The site is free to walk around and open all year!
Food and Drink
If you’re looking for places to drink and dine, Manchester is absolutely filled with bars, restaurants and cafes. There are too many wonderful places to list in this post. But I’ll highlight just a few!
The Printworks is an incredibly popular location in Manchester City Centre. It is my favourite spot for a night out! But during the day, there
Richmond Tea Rooms
Aurelia’s favourite eatery has to be Richmond Tea Rooms. Located in Manchester’s vibrant gay village.
One of the things I love about this place is that every person gets their own individual tea stand. This means Aurelia feels grown up with her very own afternoon tea.
The children’s afternoon tea comes with veggie sticks and a cookie – real child-friendly food!
Richmond Tea rooms also
The staff here are so pleasant and could not have doted on Aurelia any more (even though they were incredibly busy).
The atmosphere is notably welcoming and cosy. They also sell the most amazing individual slices of cake!
We hope you enjoyed our exploration of our city centre. I truly hope you have found something to inspire you to come and explore this beautiful place for yourself!
If you have any further items to add to the list of fun activities to do with the kids in Manchester, then please let me know in the comments below.