Free or cheap Summer Holiday activities in Manchester. (Part 1)
The summer holidays are upon us again bringing the annual problem of how to keep your children entertained without breaking the bank. As a mother of three, I am always on the lookout for new things to do and days out that don’t cost a fortune so I’ve tried to put a comprehensive list together here! This blog covers outdoor activities, museums and art galleries. I will be listing more events and activities in Part 2, including a calendar of one off events and details of free events specific to Trafford .
The Great Outdoors! Activities to get your children out, about and active.
Cheap days out for children in Manchester
Dig the City – if you enjoy the great outdoors and are interested in urban gardening, head into Manchester for this annual event. We went along with our children last year and there was lots to do and see for adults and children.
The National Trust has lots of affordable days out within easy reach of Trafford. Check out their North West page for more details. Most National Trust parks and properties do allow you to take a picnic too!
National trust North West days out
Manchester Treasure Trails
Manchester treasure trails
We had a fantastic family day out doing one of these trails a couple of months ago; we had 8 children aged 3 – 11 years and 5 adults and everyone really enjoyed this. It is easy to stop noticing the city that you live in but these trails are a great way to make you really explore! The printed sheet, that you pay to download, guides you around an area of Manchester via a quiz aimed at children.
A great adventure on your doorstep!
Urmston Meadows is an excellent place to explore or just have a picnic; they also run specific events throughout the holiday. We often spend hours on the Meadows, making dens, walking and playing hide and seek; my children love it, especially if they manage to get very muddy! Click here for more details
Why not get some inspiration from the Nature Detectives website – they have loads of brilliant ideas for kids’ activities in open spaces like Urmston Meadows.
Family Friendly Cycling around Manchester.
There are many off road cycle tracks suitable for families with children. Click here for more information.
Don’t miss this year’s Skyride – the centre of Manchester is closed to cars and you can cycle around in safety!
This is a little more pricey at £8 per person (under 5s free) but my daughters rate it as their best day out ever! If you don’t mind your children getting VERY muddy, it is great fun and will fill a whole day.
Click to view website
Spinningfields outdoor cinema
For days when you want to chill out! Spinningfields outdoor screen has a series of family-friendly screenings of some Disney classics during August
Click here for dates and more details
Museums and Art Galleries
We are very lucky in Manchester to have so many excellent and free museums and galleries. Many of them offer special events and workshops through the holidays that appeal to a very wide age range.
MOSI – The Museum of Science and Industry always has excellent activities for children and they have some great special events on through the holiday that are FREE! The ever popular steam train rides will be running as will the 4D cinema.
Click here for more details
a range of activities and events for all age groups
Manchester Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery is running a series of free workshops throughout summer – they do get very busy though so get there in plenty of time to avoid long queues.
Whitworth Art Gallery
The Whitworth is running some very exciting free workshops based on their upcoming building work! They have workshops and projects for specific age groups; 11-14 year olds can work towards a Bronze Art Award if they attend 6 sessions.
Family friendly art workshops in Manchester
The Manchester Museum
As ever, the Manchester Museum is offering a huge array of events, activities and workshops which should keep even the most difficult to please child happy! From making clay amulets, to junk modelling and then story-telling on the Magic Carpet, there is loads going on this summer!
Click here for a full list of activities
The Imperial War Museum North
Themed activities will be taking place over the holiday for the whole family, their website says:
“Commando crawl your way through an inflatable assault course, build a giant jenga tower and learn how to build a shelter from bare essentials. Specially designed for young people and led by experienced and friendly instructors. Whether you’re a Commando Joe or a Commando Jane you’re sure to have fun.”
There are also craft activities and story telling sessions – click here for more details
John Rylands Library
A range of magic themed events are scheduled for this summer in this beautiful building. Magical story telling. making monsters, cracking codes and looking at magical books are all taking place.
Click here to see more details
The National Football Museum (Urbis)
From Subbuteo skills workshops to flag printing, the National Football museum kicks off the Summer Holidays in style!
subbuteo skills workshop
Click here for a calendar of family friendly events at the museum
Keep an eye out for part 2 of this blog which will feature a calendar of one-off free or cheap events and other holiday activities.