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Things to do in Manchester with kids. Our wishlist!

Manchester England

Manchester England is a northern city that’s known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It was the world’s most productive centre for cotton-making in the 19th Century. You can see the past all around you when you look up at all the striking Victorian architecture in the city centre. It really is a beautiful place, with a modern vibe to match its vibrant history. It’s a few years since we’ve been to Manchester, but we love the place and we’re looking forward to when we can travel again. Here’s our wishlist of things to do in Manchester with kids.

IPlease note: some of these attractions are currently closed, but look out for them re-opening when the time of crisis has passed.

Manchester streets
Manchester’s architecture reflects its past as an important city in the Victorian era.

Ride on a tram

Manchester’s tram system is the biggest light rail system in the UK. We don’t have trams where we live, here in London. When our kids asked what trams were, it was a bit tricky to describe them. A bit like a cross between a bus and a train? Either way, they found it lots of fun to whizz around on the 63 miles of track running in and around the city. Manchester’s public transport system is excellent, with buses and trains running frequently. But we couldn’t leave without also taking a tram ride in Manchester!

Visit the Museum of Transport

As it’s in a city with such a sophisticated public transport system, it’s fitting that the Manchester Museum of Transport is one of the finest collections of buses and trams in the world. The Museum of Transport is based in one of Greater Manchester’s earliest bus garages, and there you’ll find a collection of vehicles that spans more than 100 years, from an 1890s horse bus to a full size prototype Metrolink tram. A trip to the Museum of Transport makes for a really fun day out if you’re looking for things to do in Manchester with kids. You can even clamber aboard some of the old-fashioned buses, to play driver and conductor!

Museum of Transport address: Boyle St, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 8UW

Eat Dim Sum in Manchester’s Chinatown

Manchester’s Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns outside China. It’s the second largest in the UK, and the third largest in Europe. Manchester Chinatown is a bustling hubbub of bakeries, bubble tea rooms and excellent restaurants where you can eat dim sum with the family. For an extra thrill, visit during the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, when the streets are packed with revellers drawn by the colourful parades of dancing dragons.

See Old Trafford

Old Trafford Manchester
Visitors can take a tour of Old Trafford.

Footie fans can visit Old Trafford, the home of Premier League football team Manchester United. It’s a huge stadium, with a capacity of just under 75,000. In fact, it’s the biggest club stadium in the UK. Old Trafford offers a Museum and Studio Tour where you can really explore the place. Visitors get to sit in the manager’s seat in the dugout, walk through the players’ tunnel towards the pitch, and find the seat of their favourite player in the dressing room. Know anyone who would enjoy that? I certainly do!

Old Trafford address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M16 0RA

Hang out in Salford

Salford Quays
Salford Quays features cutting-edge architecture.

Although technically Salford is a separate city to Manchester, it’s right next door, and it’s easy to get there from Manchester city centre. Salford is a varied borough, made up of the towns of Salford, Eccles, Swinton, Pendlebury, Walkden and Irlam. It ranges from cutting-edge architecture on The Quays, to Ordsall Hall, a ‘haunted’ grade I listed Tudor building. Families will find plenty of things to do with kids in Salford. The Lowry arts centre shows West End Musicals, as well as the best in UK dance and drama. At Imperial War Museum North, kids can discover over 2,000 historical objects, like the First World War field gun that fired the opening British round on the Western Front. If you visit Salford, don’t forget to try a delicious, crumbly Eccles cake. These local delicacies are crammed with raisins and encased in buttery pastry. A real child-pleaser!

What things to do in Manchester with kids would you recommend?

If you’re interested in finding out more about things to do with kids in other English towns and cities, check out these features:

The best things to do in Bournemouth

Things to do in York with kids

Things to do in Harrogate, north Yorkshire

26 London museums and galleries you can’t miss

All images are from Pixabay.

1 Comment

  • Lauretta Wright
    October 9, 2020 at 8:08 am

    I remember going to Manchester for work a number of years ago now and I had some free time to look around – and really liked what I saw. I’d like to go on a mini trip there though – not work related! I never did get to ride on a tram so I think it’s a must-do!

    Reply

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