There are so many things to do in Manchester with kids, you just need enough time and planning to tick as many of these great places off your bucket list when visiting the city.
1. National Football Museum
The National Football Museum is housed in the impressive Urbis building next to Victoria Station in Manchester.
It’s the world’s biggest football museum, as you explore the 2,500 items of wonderful football memorabilia on display. Items include Maradona’s Argentina shirt from the infamous ‘Hand of God’ match against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and one of Pele’s famous Brazil shirts. There is even the chance to lift the actual Premier League Trophy and FA cup.
What’s great at the National Football museum was the wide range of interactive
hands on activities for children to enjoy from picking a football mascot, join Gary Linker and the Match of the Day team and commentate on a Premier League match of your choice to taking part in the penalty shootout part of the amazing football plus experience.
The National Football Museum is well worth a visit whether or not you like football. It was a fun, educational, family friendly venue and is a must visit attraction when in Manchester. (you can read our review here)
Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Lancs, M4 3BG
2. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the ultimate LEGO playground conveniently located at the Trafford Centre.
There are over 2 million LEGO bricks under one roof and offers a totally different LEGO experience to that at LEGOLAND Windsor.
Learn about LEGO in the factory with Professor Brick-a-Brack who shows how Lego bricks are made in an engaging and child friendly way before exploring Miniland which was a recreation of popular UK landmarks such as Manchester, Birmingham, The Lake District and more.
Help rescue the captured princess on the brilliant Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, test your driving skills at LEGO ® City: Forest Pursuit Driving School before taking to the skies on Merlin’s Apprentice Ride.
There are also 10 LEGO build zones and an amazing 4D cinema showing The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure and Nexo Knights. The 4D effects of wind, water and imagery work very well all adding to the immersive experience.
It offers an alternative experience to that at LEGOLAND Windsor and we enjoyed the different attractions, shows and building lots of things with LEGO.
As the girls left they summed the day perfectly singing “Everything is awesome” from the LEGO movie, we can’t wait to go back! (you can read our review here)
Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 8AA
3. Sealife Manchester
The impressive Sealife Manchester features over 5,000 creatures including sharks, a giant sea turtle, seahorses, jellyfish and rays across 11 themed zones.
Highlights include the Jellyfish Seas, an underwater walk-through tunnel spotting sharks and a giant sea turtle called ‘Ernie’. There are so many activities for children to learn about marine life from the state of the art technology at Turtle Beach to the interactive touchpool experience you can hold a crab or touch a starfish.
Although it’s not on the same scale as some of the larger aquariums around the UK it still offered a fun educational trip and I would recommend as a great all-weather family attraction to visit whilst in Manchester. (you can read our review here)
Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS
4. Chill Factore
Chill Factore is an indoor ski and snow resort next to the Trafford centre Manchester. Chill Factore offers a huge range of snow activities including skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding and snow play in their snow park. With a huge 180m long real snow slope, it’s the longest indoor ski slope in the UK.
The snow park contains four great activities to keep children and adults entertained including tubing runs, sledge racing, a bobsleigh/luge run where you travel quickly down the course plus a fantastic snow luge ride for children aged 6 – 16.
For children aged 4 and under there was the brilliant ‘Mini Moose Land’ which is a snow themed adventure zone.
If you are visiting Manchester and enjoy skiing, snowboarding or just playing in the snow then you must visit Chill Factore. It is truly a wonderful place for families that should not be missed. (you can read our review here)
Trafford Way, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M41 7JA
5. Cbeebies Tour
At MediaCityUK you can take a CBBC behind the scenes, where they can enjoy an interactive and fun tour as they learn about their favourite programmes.
Children can even test their skills in front of the camera as they can present the own CBBC show or try presenting the news and weather.
MediaCityUK, The Quays, Salford, M50 2LH
6. Take a football tour
Manchester is famous for football and its two main football sides, Manchester United and Manchester City.
On their stadium tours you can go behind the scenes, sit in the famous dugout, walk through the players tunnel and explore the dressing rooms, providing a fascinating peek behind the scenes at both football clubs.
Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Lancs, M11 3FF
Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M16 0RA
7. Great Shopping & Restaurants
Manchester offers some of the best shopping in the UK. We loved exploring the shops in the city centre and also at the massive Trafford Centre on the outskirts of the city.
Manchester offers every store you could think of from big name department stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols to some of the girl’s favourite’s stores Zara, Smiggle and Lush.
Another great attraction is the Printworks, here you can watch the a 3D movie on the giant IMAX screen or enjoy a meal at the family friendly restaurants such as Wagamama, Hard Rock Cafe or Nando’s.
Across from the Printworks is the Corn Exchange with even more family friendly restaurants including Vapiano, Pizza Express, Wahaca and Byron.
8. Museum of Science and Industry
This fascinating museum offers a great day out for families when in Manchester. Located at the disused Liverpool Road Station, which was the world’s first passenger railway station.
There is so much for children to get involved in with hands on exhibitions , you can take a train ride on a steam train and see the world’s first commercially available computer.
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4FP
9. Manchester Museum
Manchester Museum allows you to explore the world across its 4 floors. Highlights include Stan the fossilised Tyrannosaurus Rex to the Ancient Worlds and Living Worlds gallery.
At the Vivarium you can see live reptiles and frogs just as they would be in their natural habitat.
The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL
10. Play Factore
Every parent would have been to a soft play before, but I am guessing none will be quite like Play Factore, located at Trafford Park.
At 26,000 sq ft it is the largest play centre in the UK and has the tallest playframe in the World at 15m high plus the largest indoor slide in Europe stretching 40m.
There is also a laser tag area and go kart circuit and a large area for infants, making the Play Factore a destination that all children will love to visit.
Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Trafford Way, Manchester, Lancs, M41 7JA
Why we would recommend a visit to Manchester
Manchester is such a great city for a family break, with lots of incredible child-friendly attractions, amazing museums, and some of the best shopping in the UK, we can’t wait to return.