Manchester has been included in National Geographic’s “Best of the World” list which sets out 25 must-see places to visit across the globe. 

Manchester has been included in the ‘family’ category alongside San Francisco, Switzerland, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago. As the only UK city to make the international list, Manchester has been recognised for its educational experience for all generations. 

Manchester is full of opportunities to learn, whether it’s exploring the city’s heritage in industry, culture and politics, exploring the natural landscape or delving into science, innovation and more. 

This city is inspirational, and can capture the imagination in many ways, so whatever you’re interested in, Greater Manchester will have something to expand your mind and teach you something new. 

To celebrate this huge achievement for the city, we’re rounding up some of the best educational family attractions in Greater Manchester to inspire your activities over the next year. 

Manchester Museum 

Due to reopen in February 2023, the entire city-region is anticipating the return of Manchester Museum. Following a huge transformation and two-storey extension, Manchester Museum is set to be bigger, more imaginative and more inclusive than ever. The museum’s plans, which include a new exhibition hall, South Asia Gallery and Chinese Culture Gallery, earned Manchester a spot on Natural Geographic’s Best of the World list and so it’s safe to say it’s worth adding their reopening date to your diary. Get ready to explore a wealth of exhibitions, including its headline programme Golden Mummies of Egypt, and expand your imagination when this institution reopens. 

Factory International 

Also due to open next year, Factory International is another hotly anticipated attraction that caught the eye of National Geographic. This new home for arts will position Manchester’s cultural offering on a global scale. With a year-round programme of events including theatre, dance, music and more, you can expect the unexpected from Factory International, and that’s never a bad thing. Who knows what you’ll learn, just bring curiosity and an open mind. 

Castlefield Viaduct 

Blend industrial heritage and nature in an educational experience that showcases the best that Manchester has to offer. Castlefield Viaduct is Manchester’s first sky park created by the National Trust. Built in 1892, the 330-metre-long viaduct is in the oldest part of Manchester and showcases the city’s role in the industrial revolution and provides the perfect opportunity to learn about the heritage of Manchester. However, now it’s full of trees, flowers and shrubs to also teach visitors about wildlife as well as urban gardens and works of art. 

Football Activities 

Manchester is a football city, and there is no better place to learn about the history and modern-day face of the nation’s favourite sport. Bring your little Marcus Rashford or Leah Williamson to the city to celebrate football, Manchester style. With two legendary premier league stadiums within the city taking a stadium tour at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium or Old Trafford is a great way for budding football fans to see all of the behind-the-scenes action and learn more about the beautiful game while watching where their favourite players take to the pitch. But if that’s not enough, Manchester is also home to the National Football Museum. With interactive games and displays for all ages, the world’s finest collection of football objects from silverware to shirts and inspiring exhibitions, the National Football Museum tells the story of the beautiful game both past and present. Let them play in a penalty shoot out and pose with iconic trophies. 

Football Museum

Science and Industry Museum 

Explore 250 years of innovation and ideas at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum, from taking a deep dive into the industrial revolution to exploring modern innovations that could once again change the face of the world. The Science and Industry Museum has everything you could need for a great family day out with interactive activities and displays that will not only educate but captivate minds of all sizes. The Science and Industry Museum also hosts world-class exhibitions which are not to be missed, currently Turn it Up: The Power of Music, and Power UP which explores the best video games and consoles of the last 50 years, are offering interactive and inspiring takes on some of our favourite entertainment mediums. 

People’s History Museum 

Discover Manchester’s political history in the UK’s only museum dedicated to sharing the stories of revolutionaries, reformers, workers, voters and citizens. It’s never too early to give the kids a passion and a cause. With ideas worth fighting for including equality, social justice and cooperation, the People’s History Museum shines a light on some inspiring individuals, groups and stories that have changed the world for the better. There are a lot of interactive activities to excite little ones and special exhibitions to make sure every visit is as inspirational as the last.

RHS Garden Bridgewater 

Getting back to nature can be an educational day out too and a trip to RHS Garden Bridgewater could make gardeners out of the whole family. Surround yourselves with beautiful blooms, towering trees and wonderful wildlife as you spend a day in this 154-acre green space. There are themed gardens including The Kitchen Garden which showcases herbs, vegetables and more, The Chinese Streamside Garden which was created with the help of Greater Manchester’s Chinese Community and The Paradise Garden which draws inspiration from some of the oldest gardens in the world. The gardens are also home to plenty of wildlife and native species to teach people of all ages about the importance of nature with many family-orientated natural activities taking place across school holidays. Plus, Bridgewater and the Worsley New Hall itself have a wonderful heritage that you can also explore, with grounds steeped in history from previous uses. 

Fusilier Museum 

Bury’s Fusilier Museum is home to thousands of items belonging to the XX Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. With over 300 years of history on display right up to the life of the regiment in this current day, this family-friendly museum gives an insight into military life and tells the fascinating story of The Lancashire Fusiliers from 1688 to 1968, when they became part of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The museum also continues the story of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers today with insightful exhibitions and immersive events for the whole family. 

East Lancashire Railway

East Lancashire Railway 

You don’t have to be a train fanatic to love the East Lancashire Railway, and it makes for a brilliant, educational day out for the whole family. Whether you visit for one of their special themed events or simply enjoy the railway line as it is, the heritage steam trains and dazzling diesel engines are a brilliant experience little transport lovers will go crazy for. Not only will you learn about the history of Britain’s transport systems but you can also explore more of the market towns around East Lancashire. Travelling back in time has never been so simple or stunning! To entertain kids, look out for the themed train journeys around the school holidays.  

Plus, next to Bury Station you’ll find the Bury Transport Museum in the restored Castlecroft Goods Warehouse to further leave little ones in awe. Inside you’ll find cars, trucks, buses, and trains from the 20th century and beyond. Alongside the vintage vehicles, you’ll find hands-on activities to engage the whole family, what could be a better day out? 


HOME is where Manchester’s creative community shines. If you’re looking for a cultural day out, there’s no better place to look. With cinema, theatre, and art all under one roof there’s bound to be something to capture your imagination. With independent films, dance shows and many more performances, you’re sure to find something new to talk about. HOME also hosts a series of events including story time workshops for little ones, conversations with creatives and reading groups amongst many others. Expect a treat for the eyes and a chance to open the mind as you’ll immerse yourself in the art of all kinds. There’s also a great café for a tasty treat! 

Manchester’s Art Galleries 

Looking for an arty day out? Manchester can certainly deliver. Manchester city centre is home to Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth, HOME, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and more. Salford is home to The Lowry and Salford Museum and Art Gallery while Oldham, Stockport and Bury all have their own arty offerings too. Search for your new favourite painting, take in the arty technique and show the whole family how important art really is. With a whole range of pieces on display, Greater Manchester’s art galleries are great spaces to introduce little art lovers to different styles, movements and artists. Make sure you check for special exhibitions that could help capture their imagination like Manchester Art Gallery’s Dandy Style men’s fashion exhibition or Rachel Goodyear’s Stirrings exhibition at Salford Museum and Art Gallery. Many of the galleries also run family activities and workshops to help you entertain little ones. 

Elizabeth Gaskells House

Elizabeth Gaskells House 

Celebrate Manchester’s literary history and go back in time to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. As one of the UK’s most important Victorian writers, Elizabeth Gaskell is a Manchester icon and her Grade II listed home has been perfectly restored to become an example of the regency-style villas that were popular in Manchester during the 1800s. Her home has been visited by famous names including no less than Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, John Ruskin and Charles Halle. By visiting Elizabeth Gaskell’s house and gardens you can learn about the author herself as well as her family and work but you can also gain an insight into life in Victorian Manchester. The house also hosts events from literary talks to children’s craft experiences. 

Manchester has so many museums and cultural institutions that can change the way you see the world and educate, so it’s no surprise that National Geographic added the city to its Best of The World list for families. 

To find out more about what’s on across Greater Manchester when you visit, visit our What’s On page.