It’s that time of year again, as spring is in the air and the weather is heating up it means that May Half term is just around the corner. For most of Greater Manchester, May’s half term will run from Friday, May 26 and Monday 5 June, making it the perfect time to step into summer.

As school is out, there are more exciting activities across Greater Manchester than ever before ready to entertain your little ones and big kids. This year, set their imaginations alight with floral displays, dinosaur adventures, creative workshops, time travel and getting back to nature. The possibilities are endless, but one thing is for sure, Greater Manchester has everything you need to make this half-term magical.

Here are just some ideas for half-term events across Greater Manchester that will provide hours of entertainment:

Manchester Flower Festival 

Friday 26 May to Monday 29 May

Fabulously floral and fun for all the family. What could be a better way to welcome in the summertime and kick off your half term than with The Manchester Flower Festival? As the streets are lined with floral installations and taken over by live music, entertainment and outdoor dining, the Manchester Flower Festival breathes some new life into the city-centre, and we think you’ll bloomin’ love it. Families can work their way around the shopping streets in a floral trail to find the most beautiful floral displays, and of course, stop for a quick snap. There are also a lot of Fringe Displays which mean even more colour, flowers and Instagrammable moments across the city.

Flower Festival

Manchester Jazz Festival

Friday 19 May to Sunday 28 May

Music lovers can begin half term with the sweet sounds of jazz as the beginning of half term coincides with the closing weekend of the Manchester Jazz Festival. Some of the best northern, national and international musicians from the world of contemporary jazz will be coming to Manchester from Friday 19 to Sunday 28 May. Band on the Wall is hosting a weekend-long closing party from Friday 26 May with a mash-up of genres and some incredibly talented artists to get your feet tapping. It’s a must-visit and a perfect way to add some funky music to your half-term.

Tiger who Came to Tea Garden Trail at Tatton Park 

Saturday 1st April 2023 to Friday 1 September 

May half term is the most beautiful time to head to Tatton Park, with spring flowers in bloom and (hopefully) some summer sun, it’s already a great family day out. But now when visiting the park, families get the opportunity to take part in the new Tiger Who Came to Tea Garden Tea Party Trail. Based on the ever-popular Children’s Book, the trail is a great way to make the most of being in the great outdoors and keep your kids entertained. Little ones will love the chance to pick up a trail pack and get hands-on playing in Sophie’s Kitchen, collecting some yummy teatime favourites before the hungry tiger eats them all. If you’re lucky you may even catch the tiger to snap a photo together! The trail ticket costs £2 per person per day and normal park entry fees apply.

Sheep Sheering at the Farm 

Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May 

To celebrate the start of summer, Tatton Park will be sheering their sheep to help them get ready for the start of summer. This May half term, you’re invited to watch in Sheep Sheering at the Farm. Head down to the farm to see these farmyard friends shed their woolly coats. North Cheshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers will also be there to show you all of the things that can be done with the wool. Of course, all of the usual family fun will be going on, so you can meet all of your farmyard favourites, enjoy the woodland play area, and join in with den building and kids trails. The 40-acre farm is a fabulous family day out and a great way to enjoy nature. Normal farm entry fees apply.

1940s weekend East Lancashire Railway

Saturday 27 to Monday 29 May

Step back in time and get ready for some forties fun at East Lancashire Railway. To begin the half-term celebrations, the ever-popular 1940s Weekend returns to provide some good, old-fashioned entertainment for the whole family. With live music and performances, living history displays, vintage stalls, period fashion and vehicle displays, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. This year there will even be an RAF Flypast, vintage dance classes and the opportunity to enjoy a Vintage Cream Tea in the Observation Saloon as it departs from Bury Station at various points throughout the weekend. It’s a jolly good day out for the whole family.

1940s weekend East Lancashire Railway

East Lancashire Railway Adventures

The Wizarding Adventure 

Thursday 1st June

Your letter has arrived and now it’s time to get ready for your first day at the Grand Old School of Wizardry. This May half-term holiday, join the East Lancashire Railway for a spellbinding adventure of wizard-themed activities and magical photo opportunities that will set your little witch or wizard’s imagination alight. Hop on the steam train from Bury to Rawtenstall and back again, to take part in a host of enchanted activities like learning the basics of broomsticks, practising potion making or learning charms and spells. This is the perfect adventure for students aged 5 – 12 but anyone is welcome to enrol. Come use your magical powers to help the school carry out a secret mission of graduating with honours of hocus-pocusry. Tickets are priced at £15.50 for children and £20 for adults.

The Dino Adventure

Friday 2nd June

Or, head back to the age of the Dinosaurs as you join the intrepid explorers at East Lancashire Railway’s Dino Adventure. This is an adventure of Jurassic proportions as it allows you to get up close and personal with their baby dinosaurs. The adventure is aimed at children aged 5 – 12 but all are welcome. You’ll get to learn all about these adorable dinosaurs from their expert handlers in this fully interactive experience that is both educational and entertaining for all the family. Enjoy a return trip from Bury to Rawtenstall powered by a dino-proofed steam train, a two-hour dinosaur experience with “expert rex wranglers and triceratops tamers”, dinosaur themed activities and plenty of photo opportunities! Tickets are priced at £15.50 for children and £20 for adults.

Planet Shark: Predator or Prey

Thursday 25 May to October 

This May half term, sink your teeth into Chester Zoo’s latest aquatic adventure. Planet Shark: Predator or Prey is a new immersive experience that will transport you to the depths of the oceans to learn more about one of the world’s most infamous, but also most misunderstood predators. Free with zoo entry, the interactive gallery will dive into millions of years of evolution through life-size models, shark teeth and jaws and extremely are fossils which are up to 370 million years old. You’ll learn all about the ocean’s oldest predator and how people across the globe are working to protect these incredible creatures.


Dino Farm Event at Reddish Vale Farm 

Saturday 27 to Tuesday 30 May 2023

This half-term, Reddish Vale Farm is being invaded by the UK’s largest and most realistic walking dinosaurs. Dino Farm Event is a roarsome all-day event that gives visitors the chance to meet baby dinosaurs, watch roaming dinosaurs, undergo ranger training, enjoy a display of Europe’s most realistic dinosaurs, join in with fossil digging and take part in a dino egg hunt with a special golden dino egg hidden around the farm every hour! Expect arts and crafts and lots of photo opportunities. Of course, there will be all the usual Reddish Vale Farm fun including your favourite farmyard friends, small animal handling, tractor rides and outdoor adventure play. It’s a truly epic day out the whole family can enjoy.

Dino adventure

Disney 100: The Concert at AO Arena

Monday 5 June

If there’s a Disney fan in your family, this event is not to be missed. Featuring legendary film scenes on a giant screen and with musical moments brought to life by the Hollywood Sound Orchestra and star soloists, Disney 100: The Concert is a delight for all the senses. The show features your favourite songs from classic films like Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Encanto, and more; as well as highlights from the worlds of Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. A part of the Disney 100 celebrations in its 100th anniversary year, this concert celebrates a century of adventure and Disney music magic. Tickets cost £50.95.

Spring Escape at Trafford Centre 

Friday 27 May to Sunday 4 June 

The Trafford Centre’s Spring Escape event is bringing all the fun of the fair to your half term, quite literally. A family funfair including a log flume, waveswinger, tea cups, bumper cars, hook a duck, a fun house and bungee trampolines will be on the doorstep of the Trafford Centre, making for a great day out in itself or the perfect accompaniment to a day of retail therapy. There will also be delicious treats and pop-up food stalls including retro American candy giants Kingdom of Sweets. The family funfair runs weekends from the end of April up to the beginning of half term on Friday 27 Maywhen it is then open daily from 12 pm to 9 pm. You can book tickets for Spring Escape at Trafford Centre here. Entry costs £2.80 per person and ride tokens must be bought separately.

Manc Bank Holiday Social at Escape to Freight Island 

Sunday 28th May 2023

In true Manchester style this half term, Our Kids Social will be hosting a Britpop Special Manc Bank Holiday Social at Escape to Freight Island! Taking over the outdoor area and Plant Room at Freight Island this event will have DJ Helen playing your favourite Brit Pop Classics, The Conker Crew with mud kitchens and crafting, and the chance to design your own album cover and make musical instruments in the Make, Do & Mess area, a glitter bar Hula Hula Fun will host a circus drop in and there will be a two-channel Silent Disco! Tickets cost £8.50 per booking fee for both children and adults, but pre-walkers can enter for free.

We Invented the Weekend 

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June 

Closing half-term celebrations is a brand-new, two-day, culture-led event in Salford with a whole host of free activities. We Invented the Weekend is a bold and imaginative free festival for the UK, celebrating how people spend their leisure time, taking place where the weekend was originally invented, in Greater Manchester. We Invented the Weekend will take place across both MediaCity and Salford Quays, including a main stage on MediaCity’s main piazza, satellite stages and a dedicated BBC stage across the festival site.

Across the two-day weekender, CBeebies Bedtime Stories LIVE will descend onto MediaCity and delight children of all ages, with festival guests and celebrities reading stories. BBC Children’s will continue to spark attention at We Invented the Weekend with everyone’s favourite CBBC and CBeebies stars making an appearance on the festival's main stage.

The Lowry Theatre will also host the world’s first-ever Junior Art Battle Manchester, where young artists will compete in live painting competitions to be named champion.

There will also be over 100 ‘We Get Creative Workshops’ hosted by talented creatives from across the region well as live music from a powerhouse of North West Talent.

Catch a Performance at The Lowry Theatre

You Choose

Wednesday 31 May to Friday 2 June

Based on the brilliant book by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt Nonsense Room Productions, You Choose is an interactive musical where you choose what happens. Using the picture book as inspiration and through a series of games and challenges, every show becomes unique with different characters, locations and customers each time. Perfect for kids aged 2 – 7, You Choose gives them a chance to engage their imaginations and most of all, have fun. It’s a great family-friendly activity to fill your half term. There are multiple performances between Wednesday 31 May and Friday 2 June, with tickets starting from £7.50.

The Snail and The Whale

Saturday 3 to Monday 5 June

From the Oliver Award-nominated company that brought ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Room on the Broom’ to the stage, join an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father as they reimagine the story of a tiny snail’s incredible trip around the world. The Snail and the Whale is inspired by the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. This heart-warming adventure is for everyone aged four and up with two performances each day and tickets start from £15.

A tiny sea snail longing to see the world hitches a lift on the tail of a great big, grey-blue humpback whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, brought vividly to life through live music, storytelling and lots of laughs – but when the whale gets beached, how will the snail save him?

To find out about more events going on across the city-region, visit our What’s On page.

For more family-friendly ideas to help inspire and entertain your kids in all corners of Greater Manchester, visit our Ideas and Inspiration page.