8 free family days out in Manchester
- Credit: Archant
Manchester is one of the UK’s busiest tourist destinations. It’s just perfect for family outings, particularly if you’re looking for an exciting day out without spending a single penny. Lucy Matthews selects some free places to explore.
National Football Museum
If you and the family are football crazy then the National Football Museum is a must visit, as you can explore the history, passion and drama of one of England’s greatest sports. Manchester’s National Football Museum is one of the biggest football museums in the world and welcomes visitors from across the globe every year. With a consistently changing programme of interactive exhibitions, their very own hall of fame and a collection of world class football memorabilia, it’s easy to see why it has become one of Manchester’s busiest family attractions. The museum encourages visitors of all ages and genders to come and explore, including non-football fans as their exhibitions link to a diverse range of topics including fashion, history and art.
Urbis Building, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG, 0161 605 8200, www.nationalfootballmuseum.com
Fletcher Moss Gardens
Sometimes it can be nice to take the family away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre in exchange for more natural surroundings and Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens is the perfect place to do so. There is still plenty to explore and many activities for all of the family to get stuck into including nature trails, walks along the River Mersey and even a spot of tennis. The family friendly nature trail through Stenner Woods will have everyone on the lookout for some of the nature reserve’s best plants, birds, butterflies and so much more nature. If the family are keen walkers there are plenty of paths along the River Mersey, Millgate Fields and Fletcher Moss Gardens where you can soak up the beautiful scenery. The park and gardens is suitable for all ages including young children and teenagers.
Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, Didsbury, M20 2RQ, 0161 434 1877, www.fletchermossgardens.org.uk
Gallery of Costume
Located in the stunning eighteenth century Platt Hall is Manchester’s Gallery of Costume, which showcases stunning costume collections and is one of the largest collections in Britain of its type. The collections contain clothes worn by men and women from the 17th century right up to the present day and has hosted pieces from high fashion designer like Christian Dior and Givenchy. There is also a range of rare clothing items on display that represent the historic dress of working people including clogs and shawls from Lancashire weavers. The exhibition programme is consistently changing to suit the interest of visitors of all ages, so be sure to check what displays they have on offer before your visit. Check opening times too.
Platt Fields Park, Manchester M14 6LA, 0161 245 7245, www.manchesterartgallery.org
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Museum of Science & Industry
There is so much fun for families to discover at Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry, as you can explore their hands-on exhibitions, meet fascinating historical characters, watch exciting demonstrations and end your visit in their gift shop. Delve into Manchester’s scientific history by learning all about the Industrial Revolution in a fun and unique way as there are plenty of hands-on workshops for the children to get stuck into. The museum’s huge collection of historical vehicles and working machinery is another enthralling and favourite highlight of many visitors. The museum really is for children of all ages and they firmly believe in the power of play with younger children, offering specific activities and packs for toddlers including treasure baskets and a Soft Play Experiment! area.
Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP, 0161 832 2244, www.msimanchester.org.uk
Whitworth Art Gallery
The Whitworth Art Gallery underwent a huge remodelling two years ago and has now cemented itself as one of Manchester’s best galleries. Whether you are an art loving family or you’re simply looking for somewhere different to explore, the Whitworth Gallery has so many exhibitions, displays and events to explore. From historic exhibitions to modern commissions, there is so much wonderful art to explore. The Whitworth The gallery also holds specific family orientated events and workshops such as ‘Artbaby’ where your little ones can explore different sounds, music and art. The gallery also gives away daily art hampers for families, packed full of wonderful materials for the whole family to make, draw or build anywhere in the building.
Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER, 0161 275 7450, www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
Greater Manchester Police Museum
Founded in 1981, the GMP Museum is a museum with a difference as you and the family can explore Greater Manchester’s fascinating policing archives and history. Located in the Northern Quarter, the museum was one of Manchester’s earliest police stations and has been transformed to reflect the reality of policing in the late 1800’s/1900’s. You can experience what life was truly like for a criminal in Victorian Manchester, as you will explore where they were charged, fingerprinted and even can even discover the cells where up to twelve men were held per night. The Magistrates Courtroom is another highlight of the museum as the interior will transport you back to the 1900’s where you can experience what it must have felt like for inmates to stand in the dock. The museum is only open to the public on Tuesdays and would not be recommended for young children.
57A Newton St, Manchester M1 1ET, 0161 856 4500, www.gmpmuseum.co.uk
Manchester Art Gallery
Right in the heart of the city centre is Manchester Art Gallery, the perfect place to visit if you are an art-loving family wanting to explore stunning exhibitions or even get a bit creative yourselves. It is home to the city’s world-class fine art collection, containing nearly 13,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints and watercolours. The gallery has a consistently changing programme of fascinating exhibitions and events that explore different topics such as history, culture and fashion. Manchester Art Gallery is also ideal for families with young children as there are plenty of activities and opportunities for them to get creative. There are four monthly art clubs with particular sessions for babies aged 1-4years and the Clore Art Studio where the whole family can play and create together.
Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL, 0161 235 8888, www.manchesterartgallery.org
The Makers’ Markets
The Makers’ Markets are a quirky day out for the family and are held in various locations across Manchester including Spinningfields, Northern Quarter, West Didsbury, Chorlton and the Lowry Outlet. The markets are a celebration of some of the finest award-winning food, drink, art and craft producers across Manchester and Cheshire and aims to bring communities together. There really is something for all of the family at the markets, as you can browse the huge and diverse range of stalls, sample artisan breads, purchase handmade gifts or sit back and relax to live music. A particular highlight of the markets is of course the delicious food on offer where passionate producers will be selling some of the best seasonal local produce. The Makers’ Markets are suitable for all ages. For more information on specific market days visit their website.
Various locations across Manchester, www.themakersmarket.co.uk