Friday, 22 August 2014

Manchester - What to do?

Manchester activities with the family
Manchester Cathedral from Blackfriars Bridge

You are planning a visit to Manchester; there is plenty to do to keep the whole family entertained, with lots of family friendly attractions and museums. I've picked out a few which I think look fantastic for some family fun.

When you visit a new city, a good way to orientate yourself and make sure that you don't miss anything is to take a guided tour, and in Manchester you can take an Open Top Bus Tour around the city. The tour takes two hours and is accompanied by a local guide, visiting sites in both the city centre and surrounding districts.

Even if you've never visited Manchester before you are bound to have heard of Old Trafford Football Stadium, the home of Manchester United.

Manchester Old Trafford Stadium
Old Trafford -

There's a museum you can visit which is free until the end of August, and for an additional £18 you can book a tour of the stadium which allows you to visit the home dressing room, the tunnel and the Manager's seat in the dugout. It's a little way out of the city centre, so if you are planning a visit have a look at Hotel Direct for details of hotels nearby.

Football fans would enjoy combining a visit to Old Trafford with a trip to the National Football Museum. Located in the city centre, entrance is free but you can purchase credit to take part in Football Plus+ activities, with some hi-tech experiences for older children like a Penalty Shootout and a Match of the Day Commentary Challenge. Younger visitors can enjoy the Discovery Zone aimed at children aged 5 and under, and there are interactive objects and games throughout the museum. There is plenty here to keep football fans of all ages interested and entertained, with all sorts of football related artefacts and memorabilia.

The Legoland Discovery Centre is a completely indoor attraction, so perfect for rainy days. There are all sorts of Lego related activities, with rides, a 4D cinema, a Miniland built of Lego featuring local landmarks and plenty of opportunities to play with Lego bricks.

Manchester Lego Discovery Centre
LEGOLAND Manchester -

You can build your own Lego racing cars and race them down a track, and younger children can construct in the Duplo village. The Legoland Discovery Centre is located inside the Trafford Centre.

The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry takes you on a journey through Manchester's heritage. It's located on the site of the former Liverpool Road Station, one of Manchester's most important historic sites.

Manchester MOSI
Manchester Museum of Science -

Among many other exhibits you can go underground and walk through a Victorian sewer, learn about the Manchester cotton mills and see road transport and locomotives. There is also a 4D theatre. Entrance to the museum is free, and you could easily spend a whole day here.

If your children are obsessed with trams, buses and coaches then the Museum of Transport would definitely be worth a visit. It's located about a mile outside the city centre, with excellent public transport links. It's based in one of Manchester's earliest bus garages, adjoins the first tram depot, and has a large collection of restored vehicles from the county. There are also regular special events with chances to ride on some of the historic buses.

Children aged six and over might like to visit the CBBC Interactive Tour at MediaCityUK and visit the home of many favourite CBBC shows, including Blue Peter and Newsround. Children can try their hand at being a television presenter, and find out all about what goes on behind the scenes. Make sure to book in advance as capacity is limited!

If you are planning a visit soon then there is plenty going on in Manchester and the surrounding areas over the next few weeks.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends will be visiting the East Lancashire Railway from the 4th to 5th October 2014, with rides on Thomas and lots more. The following weekend, the Autumn Diesel Gala takes place at the East Lancashire Railway, and from the 18th-19th October 2014 there will be a full weekend of steam, with locomotives from both the home collection and further afield.

At Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park, children can visit Crocodile Joe's Wild World on weekends throughout the summer, including the 24th and 30th August, and meet a collection of cold-blooded creatures in an interactive show.

From the 15th October to the 19th October 2014 Disney on Ice will be visiting the Phones 4u Arena with a show featuring a cast of Disney stars, and Disney's The Lion King will be performing at the Palace Theatre from the 17th January to the 22nd February 2015.

With so much to do, Manchester is a great place to visit with the family!

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