In many ways, Manchester has become the north’s answer to the sights and excitement of London, particularly with families and young people looking for adventure. In fact, there is so much to do with your family in Manchester, that you’re more likely to run out of time than you are to struggle with filling an itinerary. There are attractions and activities to suit just about everyone, as well as all the modern amenities, such as family-friendly accommodation, convenient public transport and top-quality restaurants. Here are some helpful hints and tips to help you plan a fantastic weekend in Manchester for your family.
Where to Stay
Whether you’re on a tight budget or splashing out for a special occasion, the city of Manchester is full of hotels and B&Bs to choose from, but this type of accommodation is not always ideal for travelling families. You might want to consider staying in a serviced apartment or ‘aparthotel’ as they are sometimes called.
From luxury studios to 2-bedroom penthouse apartments, you and your family will be able to relax in a home from home with all the facilities you need for maximum comfort for 1 night or more. This type of accommodation has become more popular in recent years, particularly since Native Manchester wins the Times best places to stay award.
Things to Do
For Animal Lovers
Animal lovers of any age will find more than enough to fill a weekend packed with animal encounters in Manchester and the surrounding areas. Highlights include the Knowsley Safari park, which is over 550 acres in size and includes over 700 wild animals, which you can see from the safety of your vehicle. If you prefer to get a little closer, you could drive the short way to Chester Zoo, where there are more than 21,000 exotic and endangered animals. There is also the Sea Life centre in Manchester and the Blue Planet Aquarium, which includes interactive experiences and marine favourites like sharks, octopus and rays.
For Football Fans
Manchester is a terrific place for football fans, as it’s home to the world’s biggest football museum, with 2,500 items of football memorabilia on display, as well as the chance to lift the actual Premier League Trophy and FA cup. Fans can also take, not one, but two Premier League stadium and museum tours at Manchester United and/or Manchester City grounds. At Old Trafford, for example, you can access areas usually reserved for players only, including the dressing room, the tunnel and the manager’s dugout.
Manchester is home to the largest indoor play centre in the UK: Play Factore. Here, you’ll find climbing frames, soft play, slides, go-karts, indoor ziplines, arcades, restaurants and much more to keep the whole family entertained for hours. Not far away is Chill Factore, which is an indoor snow centre offering snowboarding, skiing and other snow-related fun. There is also the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, an indoor LEGO Playground which features soft play, 4D movie showing, awesome LEGO models and plenty of other LEGO-themed activities. For outdoor adventures, Treetop Manchester in Heaton Park’s woodland features a Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets all year round.
For History and Science Enthusiasts
If your children are sponges for learning, then you won’t be short of interesting museums and exhibitions to treat them to. The Science and Industry Museum is a big favourite, as it features the oldest surviving passenger railway station and warehouse, while the Manchester Museum takes you through the history of the natural world and international cultures, and IWM North takes you through the history of people in relation to war and conflict.