Greater Manchester is filled with so many things to see and do, so here at Visit Manchester, we've compiled a list of 101 places to explore, attractions to visit & exciting activities to experience. Categorised by theme, this easy-to-use guide contains (almost) everthing you need to know about this fantastic region.

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Arts & Culture | Music | Sport | Food & Drink | Nightlife | Shopping | Family | Outdoors

Things to do in Manchester - John Rylands

Arts & Culture
 

1. Visit one of Manchester’s most impressive libraries
The John Rylands Library is one of Manchester’s most impressive buildings. Nestled between the busy Spinningfields district and Deansgate, this masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture looks more like a castle or cathedral than a library. Discover incredible exhibitions, take a seat in the impressive reading room or just appreciate the sheer beauty of the place.

2. Explore the home of one of the region’s most famous novelists
Since its £2.5m restoration and once the home of famous novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, 84 Plymouth Grove – Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is now home to exhibitions, and a tea room in the old kitchen and servant’s hall. See where Elizabeth wrote her famous novels and stroll around the beautiful recreated gardens.

3. Meet Stan the T-Rex
Explore the world and more at Manchester Museum, with collections ranging from a fossilised Tyrannosaurus Rex named Stan to anthropology collections from South America. With permanent exhibits and regular special exhibitions, there’s always a good reason to visit.

4. Explore Manchester’s industrial past
Based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world, the Museum of Science and Industry truly is a museum for everyone. Permanent exhibitions allow visitors to explore how the Industrial Revolution started in Manchester and transformed Britain’s cities. Watch demonstrations of original machinery, take a train ride behind a replica steam locomotive and take part in hands-on workshops.

5. Admire Manchester’s newest arts and cinema complex
This gallery/theatre/cinema/bar/bookshop/café redefines the contemporary arts centre with more than enough space for ideas both old and new. HOME is the epicentre of Manchester’s creative scene and is the perfect hub for visitors and residents alike.

6. Travel back to the Tudor period
Dating back over 600 years, Ordsall Hall is one of the region’s finest examples of Elizabethan architecture. Experience what life was like for the Tudor’s, or unearth the wealth of new discoveries to be made with the informative and exciting family events and exhibitions programme.

7. Explore exciting exhibitions
This spectacular gallery houses a huge collection, with outstanding pre-Raphaelite paintings, craft and design and early 20th Century British art. With an exciting exhibitions programme, Manchester Art Gallery has a wide-range of events suitable for both children and adults. Visitor facilities include 2 cafes, a large shop and full disabled access.

8. Experience the sights and sounds of Britain’s Home Front
Take a step back in time and wander the original tunnels from the Stockport air raid shelters used during the 1940s in wartime Britain. Opened in 1939, the shelters were the largest purpose-built civilian air raid shelters in the country, providing shelter for up to 3,850 people and were extended in 1940-41 to accommodate 6,500.

9. Visit Grade II Listed beauty
Following a huge £50m refurbishment in 2010, Manchester’s Central Library truly is a stand-out piece of architecture in Manchester’s city centre. The Grade II listed building combines its original historic features with its new cutting-edge design, and is home to the impressive Wolfson Reading Room, as well as a huge collection of reading material.

10. Delve into literary history
With an extensive library, archive and study centre containing Burgess’ books, music and papers, as well as an exhibition space and performance space, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation is a credit to one of Manchester’s greatest cultural figures. Located in Chorlton Mill, this magnificent piece of architecture also houses a bookshop and café where you can find current and more obscure editions of Burgess’ books.

Pro tip: take a look at our literary itinerary to see more of Manchester’s literary history.

Things to do in Manchester - Imperial War Museum

11. See and hear real voices of war at Imperial War Museum North
Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Daniel Libeskind, houses both permanent and temporary exhibitions, uncovering themes of modern conflict through art, photography and interactive displays. Established while the First World War was still being fought, people have entrusted IWM with their stories of war, making for an engaging and informative day out for all the family.

12. Visit a versatile gallery
With 16 new exhibitions every year alongside a busy events programme, Gallery Oldham is an ideal family day out. From contemporary art to natural history collections, this award-winning gallery also offers live music programmes and arts and crafts course for adults.

13. See dramatic theatre within a truly historical building
Not just a performance space, this grade II listed building is steeped in history. Once the largest trading hall in England, the Royal Exchange Theatre was seriously damaged during World War II, when it took a direct hit from a bomb during a German air raid in the Manchester Blitz in 1940. Over 70 years later, the Royal Exchange Theatre attracts top acting and writing talent to the seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, suspended in the centre of this historic Cotton Exchange.

14. Study in a 19th Century newsroom and library
Opened in 1806 as a library and newsroom, The Portico Library now consists of approximately 25,000 19th Century books housed in the original splendid Grade II listed building. Entrance to the Gallery area is free and open to everyone. The Gallery hosts a robust programme of events and free exhibitions throughout the year.

15. Meet the revolutionaries
A national museum charting the history of the struggle for equality and democracy in the UK, the People’s History Museum is perfectly suited to the radical city of Manchester. Family friendly throughout, there’s hands-on stuff in every gallery and regular activities for children. For those looking to seriously dive into political history, the museum houses the Labour History Archive and study centre.

16. Visit the oldest public library in the English-speaking world
As the title suggests, Chetham’s Library is believed to be the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, with furniture and fittings dating back to 1654. Housed in a beautiful sandstone building dating from 1421, the entire collection at Chetham’s has been designated as one of national and international importance.

17. See the gallery in the park
Following a stunning £15 million development, The Whitworth is now fully integrated into the park it calls home. Based in Whitworth Park, and part of the University of Manchester; the Whitworth houses exhibitions of new work by some of the world’s leading artists alongside eclectic exhibitions too.

18. Enjoy unbelievable theatre
With three stunning theatres, the Lowry Galleries, and an impressive restaurant and bar, there’s plenty to keep you entertained at The Lowry. With everything from West End musicals to the very best in drama and live bands, The Lowry draws in some of the best entertainment from across the world. The Lowry Galleries showcase changing exhibitions by one of Britain's best loved artists, LS Lowry, as well as paintings, sculpture and photography from around the world.

19. Join the Suffragettes!
The Pankhurst Centre was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family who led the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women & was the first meeting place of the Women's Social and Political Union. Steeped in political history, and with incredibly informative volunteers, this is a must visit for anyone visiting Manchester. 

Want to know more? Check out our top 5 women of Manchester – some of the most influential female campaigners, politicians and artists from Manchester’s history

Things to do in Manchester - Music Venue

Music
 

20. Appreciate world-class jazz
Matt and Phreds is a laid-back basement club hosting live jazz, funk and soul acts, situated in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter. With live music six nights a week, an extensive wine and cocktail list and some of the tastiest pizzas outside of Italy, Matt and Phreds is an enjoyable night out for all.

21. Enjoy live classical music
With its own purpose built studio in MediaCityUK, the BBC Philharmonic offers a fantastic opportunity to experience live classical music at its best. Those interested can apply for free tickets for concerts in the studio, or purchase tickets for their annual season at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

22. Experience music underneath Manchester’s railway tracks
A bar, kitchen, live venue and club space, Gorilla is situated under the railway tracks on Whitworth Street West, offering an authentic and gritty venue synonymous with Manchester’s famous music scene. With a mixture of live and club music, film and comedy, all hosted in its spacious venue, Gorilla never fails to disappoint for a night of entertainment.

23. Party in Manchester history
Housed in a historic Manchester building originally built in 1878 as The Deaf Institute, this bar and club of the same name was brought back to life and now hosts live gigs, comedy and club nights. In the ballroom, under a massive mirror ball, with velvet curtains, a domed ceiling and parrots on the wall, some of the biggest bands have played on this small stage.

Pro tip: check out our Top 5 music venues for more places to see great live music

24. See a first-class performance
Manchester Camerata is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras, with a reputation for brining audiences’ first-class performances that are bursting with vitality. Experience it for yourself at the Bridgewater Hall, where they are the chamber orchestra in residence.

25. Get lost in music
Piccadilly Records has made quite the name for itself since it first opened in 1978, as one of the world’s best independent record shops. Supplying an across the board variety of genres from indie, disco, funk, house, psych and everything in between, you’ll be sure to find something you didn’t know you were looking for!

26. Visit the centre of Manchester’s punk scene
Occupying a grand old Victorian pub is Band on the Wall – located at the centre of the punk scene in the 1970s where Buzzcocks, The Fall and Joy Division first played. Now, with a global reputation for showcasing a vast array of accomplished and respected artists from around the world, Band on the Wall is definitely worth the visit if you want to truly uncover Manchester’s music scene.

27. See Manchester’s state of the art international concert venue
Hosting over 250 performances a year including classical music, rock, pop, jazz and much more, the Bridgewater Hall is also home to three resident orchestras, including Manchester's renowned Hallé Orchestra. An impressive piece of architecture, this one is definitely worth a visit!

Things to do in Manchester Whistle Punks

Sport
 

28. Explore the history of Manchester United
Visit the home of the most successful club in England with a Manchester United Stadium and Club Tour, and experience the life of a premier league football player. Sit in the manager’s chair, explore the dressing room, and immerse yourself in football’s unrivalled story. Make sure you get a ticket to experience the world-famous Premier League.

29. Experience world class football Manchester City Stadium and Club Tour
Enjoy an all-compassing and unforgettable Manchester City Stadium and Club Tour and experience the pride and heritage. Sit in the press room hot seat, walk down the players’ tunnel, and sit in your favourite players’ chair, and learn about the world-class Etihad Campus. Make sure you purchase a match ticket and experience the passion of a Premier League game.

30. Experience a live ice hockey game at Manchester Storm
Silver Blades Ice Rink is the home Manchester Storm Ice Hockey team. Manchester Storm play in the Elite League in the UK, and you can watch the high-tempo sport during the season with a great family atmosphere.

31. Watch the Manchester Giants, one of basketball’s biggest names
Attend a basketball game at one of the UK’s best known names. After an absence of a decade, Manchester Giants are back to thrill the nation’s sports enthusiasts at the Trafford Sportsdome.

32. Visit the home of British cycling at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre
Cycle in The Velodrome, Britain's first indoor Olympic cycling track, and follow in the footsteps of Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton CBE and Laura Trott. Race round the track, watch the professionals, or even enjoy the £19m indoor BMX arena at one of the world’s finest cycling centres.

33. Relax to the rhythm at Manchester’s Reggae Yoga
Build up your core muscle whilst listening to the uplifting beats of roots reggae soundtrack with this fast-paced Vinyasa flow Reggae Yoga. Classes are held weekly at the fantastic 18th Century listed Wonder Inn on the edge of the Northern Quarter.

34. Become a speed demon at one of the Go Karting tracks
Race against friends at one of Manchester’s elite Go Karting tracks. The Daytona track at Trafford Park offers year-round racing on the challenging tarmac GP circuit, whilst the city-centres own TeamSport Go Karting has a fantastic multi-level professionally designed state-of-the-art circuit.

35. Unleash your inner lumberjack at Whistle Punks’ Axe Throwing
For a night out with a difference head down to the Great Northern Warehouse where Whistle Punks will show you the ropes before allowing you to throw axes as hard as you can at the targets, before being crowned the king or queen of axes. What more could an urban Viking want?

Things to do in Manchester - El Gato Negro

Food and Drink
 

36. Discover the Secret Beer Garden at B.EAT Street
Hidden inside Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse, B.EAT Street offers a funky outdoor garden, cocktail bars, and various food vendors. Featuring outdoor decks, plenty of space to dance, and brand new rotating venues, B.EAT Street is the place to catch that Mancunian sun this year.

37. Enjoy the decadence of Tattu
Sit in the rose garden at Tattu and enjoy a unique sensory experience courtesy of the dominating pink blossom tree. Offering body art-inspired cocktails such as ‘Ink Me, Drink Me’ and ‘Skull Candy’, Tattu also has a contemporary Chinese cuisine with a modern flair, making it a memorable experience each time you visit.

38. Eat the Best British Beef at Steak-Lovers Hawksmoor
Housed on Manchester’s famous Deansgate; Hawksmoor has a gorgeous Edwardian interior coupled with some of the best steak in town. Working with small farms around the country, Hawksmoor source the very best beef that the country has to offer, and serve it up on an exciting revolving menu. 

39. Get a Taste of Spain at one of Manchester’s Fantastic Tapas Restaurants
Manchester has no shortage of tapas restaurants offering the best of Spanish cuisine. In the heart of the city centre, King Street-based El Gato Negro is situated over three floors with fantastic food courtesy of Chef Patron Simon Shaw. Owners of Lunya source the very best Catalan ingredients, and also have a fantastic deli just next door to purchase some of their best goodies. Iberica offer fabulous food, tiny tapas for those who fancy small dishes, as well as around 50 wines from Spanish regions. It also hosts two fantastic terraces for when that famous Manchester sun makes you believe you are in Spain. Finally El Rincon de Rafa, tucked away on Deansgate, is a popular long-standing favourite of the city owned by former Stockport County Football Club’s Rafael Cabrera.

Things to do in Manchester - Corn Exchange

40. Visit Manchester’s Famously Edwardian Corn Exchange
Manchester’s Corn Exchange building has been transformed recently into a world-class dining venue. Offering a fusion of flavours from around the globe, the Corn Exchange is home to Wahaca, Pho, Cabana, Mowgli, Tampopo, and many others. Roomzzz are also due to open their second Manchester Aparthotel in the building, consisting of 114 apartments from ultra-sleek pods to luxury palatial penthouses.  

41. Enjoy the finest view of Manchester at Cloud 23 at The Hilton
In the centre of Manchester’s tallest building, Cloud 23 at The Hilton has the most spectacular views of the city skyline. Guests can enjoy elegant afternoon tea, innovative cocktails, and signature British cuisine, whilst watching the sun set across the city.

42. Delve Into the History of Gin at the City of Manchester Gin Experience
The City of Manchester Gin Experience have opened up in the resurgent Green Quarter, offering a purpose-built space with a cinema screen and private bar. Tour the distillery, explore the history, and even create your very own personalised bottle of gin to take home!

43. Experience Albert’s Schloss, Manchester’s First Tankovna
Beneath the iconic Albert Hall lies Manchester’s Bavarian Beer Palace. Albert’s Schloss serves up the freshest Pilsner, along with 10 heritage brews on tap and a range of Alpine inspired cocktails. From 11:30am every day the Cook Haus is open serving up rustic, simple and fresh food. At night there are a huge programme of bands, resident DJs, and Schloss’s own night creatures.

44. Discover the UK’s Second Largest Chinatown
Manchester, twinned with Wuhan in China, has the second largest Chinatown in the UK with a wide variety of quality restaurants, bakeries and shops. The traditional Paifang (architectural gateway structure) was built in China and shipped over to Manchester as a gift from Manchester City Council to the Chinese community.

45. Eat the Freshest Local Produce at One of Manchester’s Many Markets
Manchester has a huge number of local food and drink, produce, and makers markets to enjoy some of the best local delicacies. From Bury Black Pudding at Bury Market to the world-famous international cuisine at the Manchester Christmas Markets, enjoy the very best of Greater Manchester.

46. Enjoy Great Coffee at Pot Kettle Black
Born in 1871, Manchester’s Barton Arcade is now home to Pot Kettle Black, a speciality coffee shop owned by Rugby League’s Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan. On top of the fantastic coffee, there are also a range of teas, sandwiches, soups, cakes, and pastries.

Pro tip: Check out our Top 5 Alternative Coffee Shops.

47. Havana Great Night in one of Manchester’s Rum Bars
Manchester isn’t necessarily known for its rum bars, but it celebrates them all the same. Party until 4am in The Liars Club, with their huge rum collection and tiki mayhem. Revolucion de Cuba, Hula, and Turtle Bay also have great offerings on rum collections and cocktails.

48. Sample the Local Craft Beer at Brewery Taps
Manchester has a thriving craft beer scene, with a number of local brewery taps opening up across the city. Meet the brewers, try the beer from source, and learn about the craft beer process.

Pro tip: Check out our Top 5 Craft Beer Pubs

49. Enjoy a Touch of Gatsby Glamour at The Fitzgerald Secret Bar
Seek out the secret entrance to the Northern Quarter drinking den, and have yourself a prohibition era-inspired experience. With an air of mystery, splendid décor, and a vintage vibe, the venue comes alive with live jazz and blues, and DJs offering up a mix of soul, disco, and funk.

Pro tip: Inspired? Check out our Top 5 Secret Bars

50. Explore the Urban Regeneration Project at the Iconic Mayfield Depot
The historic site of Mayfield has re-opened to the public for the first time in 30 years, as GRUB move in to offer the best of the local street-food traders and craft beer. Get yourself down every Friday and Saturday and enjoy live DJs, great food, and craft ale, wine, and cocktails.

51. Appreciate the Luxury of Slattery Patissier & Chocolatier
Head down to the famous award-winning Slattery, experts of hand-made chocolates and wedding cakes. There is a wedding cake showroom, chocoholics dream shop, as well as dining room. There is also availability to try your hand at chocolate making in the Slattery School of Excellence.

52. Experiment and Find Your Favourite Wacky Pizza
Manchester has enjoyed a resurgence of the humble pizza, with venues such as Crazy Pedro’s and Rudy’s Pizza offering up unique takes on the classics. From the Kingston Rock to a fine Calabrese, you’ll never get bored of trying great pizza. 

Things to do in Manchester - All Star Lanes

Nightlife
 

53. Laugh until you cry at the Comedy Store
Situated along Deansgate Locks, the Comedy Store is right in the heart of one of Manchester’s most popular nightlife spots. Housing a spacious bar and canal-side restaurant as well as the auditorium, this hugely popular venue showcases some of the best comedic talent from around the world.

54. Party canal side at Deansgate Locks
Home to not only the Comedy Store, Deansgate Locks’ ten impressive converted railway arches also house six lively bars, with a picturesque walkway and bridge hanging over the canal below. With a handful of great bars also surrounding the area, Deansgate Locks is a buzzing venue to spend the evening eating, drinking and dancing until the early hours.

55. Step up your ping-pong game
With the likes of Roxy Ball Room on Deansgate and Twenty Twenty Two in the Northern Quarter, there’s plenty of opportunity to take on your friends/enemies in an epic ping-pong battle. The Northern Quarter haunt offers a soundtrack provided by some of Manchester’s best DJs, while Roxy Ball Room also houses an array of pool tables and beer pong tables to keep you entertained all evening.

56. Bowl your friends over
With late-openings at many bowling lanes located in the heart of the city such as All Star Lanes and Dog Bowl, these truly entertaining venues also come equipped with a fully licensed bar and restaurant to help (or hinder) your bowling performance.

57. Party in an old publishing house
Once the largest newspaper printing house in Europe, the aptly named Printworks is now a buzzing entertainment complex located in the heart of Manchester. With restaurants and bars to tickle the tastebuds from every corner of the world, the UK’s largest cinema and a rooftop garden with four beehives, there’s certainly enough to keep you entertained.

58. Hang with the hipsters in the Northern Quarter
With some of the city’s best independent bars and restaurants at its fingertips, the Northern Quarter is one of the most popular places to head out to for the night. With new establishments cropping up almost every month, the Northern Quarter is also home to a number of long established live music venues including Band on the Wall, Night and Day Café and Matt and Phred’s.

59. Have a wander down Manchester’s newest nightlife destination
With a Grade II Wesleyan Chapel, Manchester’s first tankovna and an uncompromising beer house to name a few, Peter Street has launched itself as a go-to nightlife destination in Manchester. Also featuring Impossible, Manchester’s newest gin nest and two-floor cocktail bar, Revolucion de Cuba, you'' find it difficult to leave this little street with a lot going on!

60. Peveril a Peak at some of Manchester’s finest pubs and ale houses
Manchester wouldn’t be Manchester without its vast array of traditional British pubs serving real beers and ales. It’s also impossible to say you’ve had a night out in Manchester if you haven’t visited at least a few of these haunts. With the likes of Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, Peveril of the Peak, Britons Protection and the Marble Arch to name but a few, there’s a lot of choice when it comes to choosing somewhere to whet your whistle.

Pro tip: Check out our top 5 back street boozers for more inspiration.

61. Grab your (An)coat and check out Cutting Room Square
Ancoats is fast becoming the new place to eat, drink and relax. Set just on the edge of town, backing onto the Northern Quarter, this once industrial destination is now a hotspot for all things food and drink. From Seven Bro7hers beerhouse which was born off the back of the brewery of the same name and ownership (and is actually owned by seven brothers!) to the infamous Rudy’s Pizza, Ancoats is the place to be.

62. Celebrate in Manchester’s vibrant Gay Village
It would be impossible to create this list without mentioning Canal Street at least once! Located just south of Chinatown, along and around Canal Street, the Village is both party central and a living piece of social history – proof that Manchester is one of the world’s leading gay-friendly cities – and we’re extremely proud of it. Whether you’re part of the LGBT community or not, everyone is welcome to this flamboyant destination. Top bars include G-A-Y, New York New York and Velvet.

63. Enjoy a budget night out with some of Manchester’s students
Student nights out in Manchester are like no other. With over 350,000 students in Manchester and the surrounding area, it’s one of the largest student populations in the UK, and therefore has one of the largest entertainment and nightlife schedules. A firm favourite is The Factory – based in the old Factory Records offices, this place is iconic. Fifth Avenue and 42s are also common stomping grounds for students, with cheap drinks and late night openings.

Pro tip: Need some cheap grub to see off the hangover? Check out our top 5 cheap eats.

Things to do in Manchester - Afflecks

Shopping
 

64. Experience some of Greater Manchester’s greatest creators at a Makers Markets
Bringing together the finest and often award winning food, drink, art and craft producers in the area, the Makers Markets across Greater Manchester feature carefully selected specialists. Ensuring the goods are unique, original and designed to inspire, the makers source, grow, rear, bake, make, and create the products they sell.

Pro tip: Check out our top 5 Greater Manchester Markets

65. Get your fashion-fix on Manchester’s King Street
For boutique fashion outlets, Manchester’s King Street is the place to go. With world-famous brands such as Mulberry, DKNY, Barbour, and Karen Millen, King Street is the place to find that something extra special.

66. Spend a day at intu Trafford Centre
Featuring everybody’s favourite brands, intu Trafford Centre is the place to go. Featuring a huge number of outlets, as well as world-class food and drink establishments, ODEON IMAX, SEA LIFE, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre, Namco Funscape, Laser Quest, Aerial Extreme and more, it’s easy to keep the whole family entertained.

67. Shop for everything at Manchester Arndale
With over 200 stylish stores to explore, Manchester Arndale is your city-centre hub for everything from technology to health and beauty. With a fantastic calendar of events including magical Christmas treats and student socials, the Manchester Arndale is certainly worth a visit!

68. Independent in the NQ
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a bohemian neighbourhood in the city-centre, defined by its vibrant street art and uniquely independent outlets. With the wonderful Afflecks at its heart, the Northern Quarter signifies Manchester’s gritty independence with record stores and vintage clothes galore.

69. The Avenue / Spinningfields
Spinningfields is one of Manchester’s newest and vibrant neighbourhoods. The Avenue in Spinningfields showcases some of the best international fashion collections, including Armani, Paul Smith and Oliver Sweeney.

Pro tip: When sunny, visit the Oast House’s ever-popular beer garden, where hops were roasted as far back as the 16th Century.

70. Levenshulme Market
Levenshulme Market is a community-run social-enterprise market that operates every Saturday, with an eclectic mix of artisan crafts and fresh local produce. With a monthly night market now taking place, it’s time to experience one of Greater Manchester’s hidden gems!

71. Barton Arcade
Barton Arcade is a gorgeous example of Victorian iron and glass architecture. With an eclectic mix of venues from the intriguing British shoemaker Jeffery West to women’s clothing boutique Jill Black, the Barton Arcade also houses one of the region’s best tapas restaurant and deli in Lunya, as well as  a fantastic coffee shop owned by rugby league players Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan Pot Kettle Black.

72. Altrincham Market
Altrincham Market is a popular award-winning market based south of the city centre. Open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the market encompasses local produce, antiques, farmers and flowers, food, and craft, and has a new market square open with regular food pods.

73. Afflecks
Manchester’s emporium of eclecticism and the hub of the fiercely independent Northern Quarter, Afflecks is your home for everything from top hats to tattoos, piercings to posters and all in between.

74. Manchester Craft & Design Centre
Also located in the Northern Quarter based in the former Victorian fish-market building, Manchester Craft and Design Centre is at the hub of a growing innovative and artistic community. Creating textiles, jewellery, ceramics, prints, fine arts, and sculptures, the MCDC houses some of the region’s most talented artists

75. Bury Market
Located in the heart of Bury town centre, the Bury Market attracts locals and visitors alike. Packed with numerous independent traders selling everything from fashion and footwear to books and electrical goods, the market is also the place to go for the famous Bury Black Pudding.

Things to do in Manchester - East Lancs Railway


Family
 

76. Rainy Day? Head to the UK's leading family entertainment arena
With the tallest standing indoor slide in Europe, as well as a full indoor laser tag arena, go-kart track and exhilarating zip wire - Play Factore is an extremely popular local attraction and guaranteed thumbs up day out for the kids. Make sure stay for a coffee bite to eat too, we highly recommend those stone-baked pizzas.

77. Explore the picturesque town of Bury via the power of steam
East Lancs Railway is a star attraction for families, with tonnes of themed events ranging from Thomas the Tank Engine to Pirates and Princess Adventures. Combine this with the excitement of boarding a steam train and you have yourselves a day out the kids will never forget.

78. Experience the UKs longest indoor ski slope
Perfect for rainy days (or even to escape the hot sunny days), Chill Factore is a large indoor winter paradise for snow lovers. Whether you have teens who want to thrill seek on the slopes, or tots who enjoy sledging in and having fun in the snow, there’s something for all ages to get stuck in with.

79. Be inspired
Bolton Central Library and Museum offer a wide range of activities including trails, themed weeks and talks, with special events at weekends. You can visit the popular on-site aquarium featuring freshwater fish from all over the world and learn anything from Egyptian mummies to local history and wildlife at the museum. Best of all, it's free entry!

80. Have a go at being a CBBC presenter
Go behind the scenes at CBBC, join one of their Interactive Tours and discover how it feels to present the news and weather. The tour lasts about an hour and a half, suiting ages 6 to 11 years - don't forget your camera too as there will be loads of photo opportunities.

81. Explore 1000 acres of Parkland
Tatton Park is an idyllic place for a family day out, with 4 attractions to enjoy! You could pay a visit to the animals at the farm, hire bikes to explore the parklands, discover the fascinating mansion or pack a picnic and let the kids go wild on the Adventure Playground. There’s a world of activities too, including a woodland play trail, den building and an indoor play area with toy tractors.

82. Visit a working farm!
Set on 70 acres of rolling countryside is the family run Smithills Open Farm. Meet and learn about animals such as goats, cows, pigs and sheep to reptiles and more unusual species like Burmese pythons.
Out in the grounds enjoy a tractor and trailer ride, a donkey ride or watch the cows being milked! If your children still have some energy left over then the bouncy castle, assault course, adventure playground and sand pit should sort that out while you grab a chance to relax with a well-deserved cup of tea!

83. Meet 15,000 animals, in 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens
Chester Zoo is an incredible place for a family day out, packed with interesting seasonal events for inquisitive minds. There’s a whole world of exotic animals to be amazed by; start by visiting the plains of Africa, or head to Indonesia and explore the rainforest plus much much more! The zoo is open all year round and has a seasonal programme of events, including the hugely popular ‘Lanterns’, a festive night time journey around the zoo during the Christmas period.

84. Jump into the weekend at one of Manchester’s trampoline parks
Go Air is home to 200 interconnected trampoline beds, twin dodgeball courts, bounce basketball, battle beams, a giant freestyle airbag jump zone, a dedicated jump arena for under 6s and mini soft play for under 3s. It’s a the perfect option if the kids need to run off some energy on those rainy days!

85. Find Nemo at the Sea Life Centre
With more than 5,000 sea creatures in 30 displays, there’s plenty to keep little ones captivated at Manchester's Sea Life Centre. Hold a crab or touch a starfish at their interactive Rock Pool experience and observe creatures including sharks, seahorses, octopus, jellyfish and rays. End your visit by letting them run off the excitement with a session in their popular soft play area, and if that's not enough, Legoland is just next door! At the moment, you can visit both SEA LIFE Manchester and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre from just £20 per person when you pre-book online.

86. Try on hats from all eras of history at Stockport’s Hat Museum
Stockport’s hat museum is a surprisingly enticing attraction, with Interactive Live demos and a huge collection of hats for you to try on, complete with a family fun area where you can even try your hand at making your own hat. If being spooked is your thing then make sure you join one of their ghost tours!

87. Do nothing, or do it all at Haigh Woodland Park
Discover a magical place for all the family! With its own brewery, chocolatier, baker and Ice cream maker, you won’t have to search far for a bite to eat, plus you can walk it all off with a stroll by the canal or explore the enchanting woodlands. For the more adventurous there are various activities; fly through the treetops on a high ropes adventure, enjoy a game of crazy golf or simply have a play on the free adventure playground.

Pro tip: Check out our top 7 family friendly countryside walks

88. Find your way through the Maize Maze
In the heart of picturesque Dunham Massey is the popular Red House Farm. With outdoor play equipment, home-made produce and on-site refreshments, it’s a huge family favourite for days out. Their maize maze, planted to a different design each year, is open in July and there are lots of extra activities including a barrel train, climbing wall, inflatable slide and bouncy castles, trampolines, straw mountain and laser quest for the summer. Keep your eye out for seasonal activities!

89. Go plane spotting at Manchester Airport
There’s something quite magical as a child when you visit the airport and watch the planes take off and land. Close to Manchester Airport is The Runway Visitor Park which combines the fascination of planes with a children’s play area, picnic site and aviation shop. Hop on board either the DC-10, Trident or Avro RJX free of charge at weekends or you can even book a tour of The famous Concorde G-BOAC.

90. Decorate some cakes
Master the art of cake decorating at Hey Little Cup Cake! who have specially designed kids cake decoration classes. Mum or dad get a complimentary drink too (along with the little ones of course) and you’ll even get to take 4 creations home with you at the end. Yum!

91. Delve into the world of football
With free, family-friendly activities across weekends and throughout the school holidays, including Football Skills sessions and Subbuteo days, the National Football Museum is great for a family day out. Admission is free, or make your visit even more memorable by buying credits for the interactive FootballPlus+ experience. Let the kids (and adults) test their skills at everything from penalty kicks and clever tricks to shot stopping and commentating!

Things to do in Manchester - Dovestone Reservoir


Outdoors
 

92. Embrace the great outdoors at Dovestones Reservoir
Whether you’re after an amble in stunning surroundings, a glimpse at the soaring peregrine falcons or feeling adventurous enough to take on one of 500 recognised rock climbs, Dovestones is majestic in everything it offers. The northern gateway to the Peak District National Park has the ambience of open moorland contrasted with the excitement of sailing, cycling and orienteering and, whichever you choose, it’ll surely take your breath away!

Pro tip: If you fancy another amble around Oldham, check out our top 5 walks in Oldham

93. A forest of feasts for the fearless at Tree Top Trek
You can now get to enjoy the sights and thrills previously reserved for squirrels and bats as you take on 35 exciting obstacle challenges at a jaw-dropping height of 15 metres! Pit your wits in the tree top canopy along balance bars, swinging logs and rope bridges, not to mention 24 zip wires!

94. Go Ape at Go Ape
Set amongst the rugged hills and bustling wildlife of Lever Park, Rivington, Go Ape challenges you to take on a trek through the woods with a difference! With Tarzan swings, rope ladders and the 198 metre long ‘water slide’ – a zip wire over the park’s reservoir – you’ll experience a breathtaking adventure that’ll live long in the memory.

95. Take a dip in the Quays
Take to the water in style by choosing from a wide range of wet and wild activities at the Helly Hanson Watersport Centre, situated on Salford Quays. Whether a novice or an expert, there’s something for you, from getting creative with raft building, to the thrill of powerboating, to testing your resolve against the climbing wall. You can even take the plunge and swim in the open water of the quays.

96. Challenge yourselves amongst the Treetops
Monkey around in the treetops whilst you enjoy a terrific and active adventure just outside the city centre at Aerial Extreme. The intu Trafford Centre hosts a modern, urban high ropes course sure to pack in the thrills! With obstacles up to 27 feet above the ground, swing, climb and jump your way to the end of a wonderful, white-knuckle challenge.

97. Cruise the oldest manmade canal
Discover a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life on the luxury restaurant boat Francis Egerton. Based in Worsley, cruises voyage along the historic Bridgewater Canal from Worsley Village, Boothstown, Sale, Dunham Massey and beyond. From fine dining to afternoon tea, or purely a sightseeing cruise, immerse yourself in the ambience and history of Manchester’s most historic waterways on Bridgewater Cruises.

98. Face your fears in the Great Outdoors
Mountain Monkeys is set across 3 different picturesque, rural locations within for you to be become at one with nature in a spectacular way just a stone’s throw from the city centre. Aside from testing your physical abilities and wits as you climb and abseil gorges and quarries, be prepared to get wet as you wade through pools and climb waterfalls. You’ll also get the chance to unleash your inner Bear Grylls as you try out a variety of bushcrafts, such as shelter building and fire lighting.

99. Go Trekking with Llama’s
And now for something completely different... Llama Trekking on Saddleworth Moor! You get to take in the fantastic views of the moors and visit the delightful local villages whilst leading the llamas who, in turn, will happily carry your belongings. There is a choice of routes and destinations and the walks can be designed to accommodate picnics or stops at local coffee shops and country pubs. As the walks can be tailored in both route and duration, the experience is suitable for all the family.

100. Immerse yourselves in 18th Century rural living
Nestled in the tranquillity of rural Cheshire yet only a short journey from Manchester city centre, Dunham Massey provides a wonderful opportunity to gain an appreciation of 18th Century rural living. Admire the intricacies of the grounds’ house and take a step back 400 years with the park’s fully restored working sawmill, powered by a waterwheel. There’s also the opportunity to come face-to-face with nature with a guided walk of Dunham Massey’s deer park.

Pro tip: Check out our top 5 walks with a view for some more inspiration, and great photo opportunities!

101. Sail the Manchester Ship Canal
The Princess Katherine is the largest leisure barge in the Salford Quays and has indoor and outdoor seating for 90+ guests Private Canal Cruises. From Party Boat Hire (complete with dancefloors) to sightseeing trips and traffic-avoiding cruises to Manchester United’s Old Trafford, there are a range of options open to you with Manchester River Cruises.

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  1. MLFHS
    Number 102 Start your family history with Manchester & Lancashire Family History Soc in Manchester Central Library.
  2. Chissie
    What a brilliant post.... love the ease of use
    Excellent!!!

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