Posted: Tue 24th Oct 2023

Family holidays in Manchester: Everything you need to know

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 24th, 2023

From its gritty, industrial past, Manchester is emerging as one of the United Kingdom’s friendliest and most welcoming cities. It’s a great place for families to escape for a break, with state-of-the-art museums, a legendary sporting culture and a beloved TV set to explore.

In this guide, discover everything you need to know about planning a family holiday in Manchester, including the top things to do and how to get around the city.

Don’t overlook the importance of booking accommodation well in advance, particularly if you’re travelling during the school holiday period.

You’ll find a diverse range of short-term rentals on this page, which lists family-friendly properties in the city centre and the surrounding towns.

With its affordable public transport system, you can easily access everything Manchester has to offer, no matter where you choose to stay.

Family-friendly things to do in Manchester

Visit the National Football Museum

Sporting-obsessed families shouldn’t miss the National Football Museum, which exhibits a fascinating collection of football memorabilia. See replicas of the Premier League trophy and a rule book from 1863, as well as the match ball from England’s World Cup-winning final in 1966. There are also exhibits explaining how football is played by those with different abilities and footage from legendary matches.

Step onto the set of Coronation Street

Based at Media City, the Coronation Experience is a 90-minute guided tour of one of the UK’s favourite soap opera sets. You can follow in the footsteps of all your favourite characters while learning a whole lot of behind-the-scenes secrets. Step inside the Rovers Return and the family home of the Platts while capturing photographs that well and truly put you in the scene. Special “Star Tours” are also available to meet cast members from the show.

Ride the East Lancashire Railway

Connecting Manchester with Heywood and Rawtenstall, the East Lancashire Railway offers stunning views across the Lancastrian countryside. The railway first opened back in 1846 and is now run as a heritage line with trips every weekend throughout the year. Across its 12-mile length, the East Lancashire Railway takes in seven stations where you can hop on and hop off as you please. The railway also runs themed events such as the Day Out with Thomas and Halloween Ghost Trains.

Relax in Fletcher Moss Park

Sprawling between the River Mersey and Stenner Woods, this scenic garden in Didsbury was donated to the city in 1915 by Alderman Fletcher Moss. It encompasses tranquil rock gardens and a fern-fringed pond, as well as an impressive collection of ornamental trees and shrubs. You can stretch your legs on one of the trails that lead through the water meadows and woodlands or simply relax beside the river. In addition to its family-friendly cafe, the park also includes recreational facilities that include sporting pitches and tennis courts.

Explore Sea Life Manchester

Marine life from across the globe is showcased at Sea Life Manchester, which is located within The Trafford Centre on Barton Square. While exploring its aquariums, you can get up close to sharks, jellyfish and octopi, as well as green sea turtles, starfish and cleaner shrimps. Kids always love the giant Japanese spider crabs, which measure more than three metres from claw to claw! Live feeds, keeper talks and diving demonstrations are held throughout the day.

Get hands-on at the Legoland Discovery Centre

Adjacent to Sea Life Manchester is the Legoland Discovery Centre, an indoor playground that will keep young kids entertained for hours. It’s home to impressive LEGO models of local landmarks and a 4D cinema, as well as the opportunity to create alongside master builders. Also within the Legoland Discovery Centre are several gentle rides, including Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice.

Visit the Manchester Museum

Operated by the University of Manchester, this outstanding museum is just as appealing to kids as it is to adults. It’s a great place for learning about the lifestyles of ancient cultures, with objects from the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans on display. Kids will love the taxidermied animals and dinosaur skeletons, which can be explored independently or along the family-friendly discovery trail.

Getting around Manchester

While some of Manchester’s attractions are within walking distance of one another, the best way to get around the city is by using public transport. On buses and trams in Greater Manchester, children under 5 years of age travel for free while those aged 5 to 11 are eligible for child fares.

A single trip for children costs £1 while adults pay £2. If you want unlimited travel, a daily pass will cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for kids while a weekly pass is £21 for adults and £10.50 for kids.

Best time to visit Manchester

Manchester’s high season extends from June to August when the days are warm and sunny – the perfect weather for festivals and outdoor events. September marks the start of the shoulder season, which continues until December and coincides with the start of the football season. From January to May, you can expect crowd-free attractions and the best deals on accommodation.

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