*Collaborative post – The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own
Manchester is our home city and it isn’t a place we visit that often unless we are going in for a specific reason. I think a decade of working in the city made it lose some of its appeal!
With Damian having some time off work this week and the weather forecast being good, we decided we would have a day of exploration. I want the children to have an appreciation of their home city and understand its significant role in history. I’ve always been proud to be from Manchester and love exploring and uncovering new great spots to visit. In this post, I’m sharing my favourite things to do in Manchester with young children. If you’re not especially local why not look to book into a serviced apartment in Manchester and spend a couple of days here? There’s more than enough to see and do!
Arriving in the City
Getting into the city centre is pretty easy. We live on a train route into Manchester, and the city is well serviced from other major cities and towns. There’s also the Metrolink service which, on some routes takes you alongside some of the bigger attractions on the outskirts such as the Etihad Stadium (home to the current FA Cup, League Cup and FA Premier League Champions) and well as Old Trafford (which isn’t technically in Manchester but worth mentioning).
There’s also a good bus service into the city from the surrounding towns as well as the coach station. If you arrive in Manchester on the train, you can use these tickets on the Metrolink in the city zone, which of course helps little legs cut down on some walking. There is also a free shuttle bus service which is an efficiet way to get around the city, and we made use of this today.
Things to see with Kids
There are lots of things to do in Manchester, but some attraction includes the Art Gallery, The Museum of Science (MSI) and Industry, the National Football Museum, Central Library, The People’s History Museum and John Rylands Library. We made our way to the beautiful John Rylands library first as there was a half-term activity on that we thought we would stop in for.
John Rylands is a stunning building and there’s a family trail that you can do here which takes you all around the library. If you’re visiting in half term it’s worth keeping a look on their Facebook page as they share details of events they’re running.
After we had been to John Rylands we walked up by the Town Hall (which is having a vast amount of work done and is closed until 2024) and round to the Central Library. Central Library is a fabulous place and has lots of accessible areas. Again, they run a range of events over the holidays and at weekends so it’s worth a look to see if they have anything on. We stopped at the cafe here for a sandwich and a drink and it was well priced.
MSI, the National Football Museum and the People’s History Museum can easily take up most of the day so we didn’t visit those today; we have been before and wanted to make the most of the beautiful autumn weather and take in the fresh air.
As we went from the various points we went past a number of statues and public art. We saw the cotton fountain in St Ann’s Square (In the shape of the cotton plant to honour Manchester’s part in the Cotton industry). We saw the new Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St Peter’s Square and the monument to mark the 200 year anniversary of Peterloo (which I must say I was a little underwhelmed by). Peterloo and its history loom large in Manchester, as it rightly should, and if you visit the People’s History Museum it’s worth taking a look at this near Manchester Central (the former G-Mex).
I wanted to visit Brazennose Street to show the children the statue of Abraham Lincoln but we didn’t make it down there, but we did it make it to Home and the statue of Friedrich Engels before heading to Granby Row to see the Vimto monument, which is perhaps one of the quirkier monuments in Manchester!
Family-Friendly Eateries in Manchester
We were out all day exploring the city, leaving around 09:40 and home around 19:00 so it’s a long time for little legs! We stopped in Central Library for lunch, but I can also recommend John Rylands for a coffee and a light snack if you’re that way and feeling ready for a break.
Around mid-afternoon we stopped at a great little cafe on Whitworth Street across from Sackville Park called Esquires Coffee. We had a coffee and a pot of tea and the children had a babycino. We shared some cake and after a short time here we were all reinvigorated to continue exploring.
We ended up in the Northern Quarter by dinner time so we stopped at Dough for a pizza. The children were most impressed with their shaped pizzas (Dinosaur for Daniel and heart for Emma and Harry) and we all left well-fed, to make the walk back up to the train station.
We really enjoyed taking the time to explore Manchester with the children today, it’s nice to see our home city through their eyes and see their excitement at the trams as they go by, running up to the statutes and monuments and spening time sharing the history of the city with them.