Wow! Manchester is such a family-friendly city to visit! Beautiful historic buildings, stunning parks and free city centre transport. Most of the museums are free of charge and regularly host fabulous children’s events. Take a look at our pick of 10 Free Things to do in Manchester with Kids:
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#1. Art and Entertainment at The Lowry
The Lookout at the Lowry is a free-to-use family activity space for kids of all ages. It’s a fabulous space to curl up with a good book or play some games, and the stunning views of the Quays are inspiring.
The Lookout boasts an extensive programme of free activities for families to enjoy, including story sessions and ballroom dancing.
You will also find a selection of themed and seasonal art activities, such as making Tinkerbell wands, make your own circus & create a Lowry inspired paper puppet person!
Enjoy walking with the kids over the nearby Millenium Bridge, which is designed to lift up as boats still come down the Manchester Ship Canal.
#2. Heaton Park
Brilliant for families, Heaton Park is a huge, beautiful park just 4 miles north of Manchester city centre. It is easy to reach by road or public transport.
There are two fantastic large playgrounds, a tram museum, a boating lake and three cosy cafes to enjoy – so lots of outdoor things to do with the kids!
#3. Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry
Situated on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world, Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry is truly a museum for everyone.
Kids can meet historical characters and watch demonstrations of original machinery.
They can also enjoy a train ride behind a replica steam locomotive or take part in hands-on workshops – lots for the little ones to do!
#4. Free Metroshuttle Buses
It’s so easy to explore Manchester city centre and save money with the free, and frequent, Metroshuttle buses.
They serve all major rail and bus stations, shopping areas and they get you to your destination fast!
#5. Queen’s Park
With a permanent outdoor theatre, tennis courts, fountains, BMX & cycle tracks, Queen’s Park, Heywood is a super place to spend some time with the kids!
It has a great toddler playground next to an outdoor gym overlooking the lake and lots of events are held here at weekends.
It’s also a lovely starting-point for a stroll along the River Roch.
Visiting Dublin? Take a look at Things to do in Dublin with Kids!
#6. Manchester Museum
Explore the world at Manchester Museum! There is so much to see and do spread across 4 action-packed floors of displays and exhibitions!
See the famous Egyptology galleries and then visit the world of nature featuring a sperm whale skeleton, birds and live animals.
The kids will love the Prehistoric Life Gallery, home to Stan the giant T-Rex! The museum has a great programme of family activities all year round.
#7. Levenshulme Market
Levenshulme Market is a community run market that operates on Saturdays between March and December in South Manchester.
Always a bustle of activity, the market offers a diverse range of high quality traders selling delicious street food, vintage clothing, plants, gifts and homeware.
8. Free Family Art Club at Manchester Art Gallery
The free monthly art club at Manchester Art Gallery is designed so you and your kids can play, create and enjoy the gallery as a family.
With plenty of free art materials to use and art club artists to inspire you, no previous experience is necessary!
The gallery holds two monthly Early Years art clubs; a baby art club for little ones who aren’t walking yet, and a mini art club for children aged 1 to 4 years.
9. Wythenshawe Farm
Perfect for a family afternoon out, Wythenshawe Community Farm gives children the opportunity to stroke a sheep, pet a pig and learn how vegetables are grown.
Situated in a beautiful park with a nearby playground, it really is a delight to visit with kids!
10. Manchester Festivals
Manchester has lots of amazing festivals all year-round so make sure you check what’s on before you go to catch events like:
- Chinese New Year in January,
- Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival in March,
- Manchester Children’s Book Festival in July and
- the annual autumn and winter festivals of food and literature!
What free things to do in Manchester with kids would you recommend? We’d love to hear your feedback, so please let us know in the comments below!
Are you planning a visit further north or down south? Check out our Free Things to do in London or Free Things to do in Edinburgh.