Don’t let the kids drive you up the wall this summer. There’s plenty going on in Manchester to keep you all busy, whether you’re looking to expand their horizons and introduce them to new experiences, or simply tire them out so you can get a bit of peace and quiet on the sofa.
Read on for our top picks, from the best places to eat to must-see family activities.
Buzz around the Bee in the City trail
The bees are dotted all around the city, so it’s a great way to tire the kids out, particularly if you’re in need of a quiet evening. What’s more, download the app and enjoy discounts around town as you tick each bee off your list.
Create your own fairytale at Breakout’s new Enchanted room
Escape room game specialists Breakout Manchester have just announced a brand new magic-themed room that draws inspirations from childhood favourites such as the Grimm fairy tales, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
In the new game, you are in the witches and wizard section of the local library when you notice a book you’ve not seen before. Drawn to it, you start to leaf through the book but the next thing you know you wake up in an enchanted forest and find a gingerbread house. Now all that remains to be seen is whether you can escape the trap laid out for you before the witch returns.
Flip Out at this Trampoline and Adventure Park
Home to a whole load of trampolines (obviously), Manchester’s only dodge attack arena, a laser maze that’s perfect for testing your Mission Impossible manoeuvre skills, a 20ft drop ninja slide, cyber towers, plus stunt boxes for free-running lovers, there’s plenty for the kids to get stuck into at Flip Out Manchester Trampoline and Adventure Park.
With the added bonus of free parking and a cafe with good coffee (never to be overlooked), you can’t go wrong here. They’ve also got some killer discounts running throughout the summer holidays.
Take them to the beach… without leaving Manchester
Manchester might well be landlocked, but you can still find a beach at intu Trafford Centre.
Back again this year, it’s bigger and better than ever before in a new location outside The Great Hall. Complete with deckchairs and a range of activities such as Water Walkers, Bungee Trampoline and Bumper Boats, the beach is open every Monday – Saturday from 10am – 7pm, and Sundays from 11am – 6pm.
Get to Albert’s for a proper home-style sharing roast
Get the whole family together and enjoy a proper Sunday roast without having to do any of the accompanying washing-up. Dig into 800g cuts of 21-day dry-aged heritage breed beef, a 1.5kg whole roasted chicken with confit legs, or a 1kg pot of Shetland rope-grown mussels plus all the trimmings to share between your table, depending on what tickles your fancy.
Serving up proper food for little people, all the Sunday roast dishes are available to order as smaller children’s portions too. As well as offering an award-winning wine list for the adults around the table to enjoy, there’s also live music and a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
Enter Merlin’s magical potion room at LEGOLAND
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is throwing a mega party event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO Minifigure this summer.
Get down between 21st July and 2nd September for some mind-bopping fun and, whilst you’re there, experience the new Merlin’s Apprentice ride, where you can enter Merlin’s magical potion room and discover a LEGO wizard’s world of spells and sorcery.
Kids eat free at Samsi
Keep the kids happy at Samsi with their fun little children’s menu. It’s bite-size Japanese cuisine to suit everyone’s taste served with noodles or rice. Choose from karage chicken, vegetable tempura or chicken. And between 12 and 5 pm Monday to Sunday, kids eat free leaving you with more spending power to enjoy their award-winning sushi, sukiyaki or samurai shichimi.
Expand their horizons at Sea Life
Take the kids to feed Ernie the green sea turtle, Sea Life Manchester’s friendliest and hungriest resident, in their magnificent tropical ocean this summer.
As well as promising lots of underwater fun, there are great savings to be had too – particularly if you also fancy doing LEGOLAND on the same day.
Pic & Mix Festival at intu Trafford Centre
Expect five days of fun at Selfridges’ Pic & Mix Festival between 29th August and 2nd September. With plenty of activities up their sleeve for families to get involved in over the course of the in-store festival, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for creating new memories with events such as face painting, family portraits and much more going on at the end of the month.
Check out family-friendly Sundays at The Anthologist
This Sunday (29th July), new Peter Street opening The Anthologist launch family Sundays. Grab the kids and the family dog too, because everyone’s welcome.
Between 12pm and 3pm, there’ll be complimentary face painting and a drop-in mocktail mixology class (using strictly fruit juice and sugar syrup only, of course), plus plenty of board games and special kids pizzas for just £5.95 running alongside their usual kid’s menu.
Make the most of £1 Go-Karting for adults and kids
Make the most of this great summer offer and head down to TeamSport Indoor Karting with the whole family to compete for the top spot on the podium.
Race across multi-level tracks, speed down the straights, and master hairpin bends secure in the knowledge there is a team of trained professionals on hand to keep you all safe. At just £1 for an extra driver when you buy one full paying adult or child session this summer, you’d be mad not to give it a go.
Watch their favourite fairy tale films come true at intu Trafford Centre
This summer little girls and boys can watch their favourite fairy tale films come true at intu Trafford Centre. Throughout August, every Tuesday on Birthday Street (created especially for shoppers to earmark the centre’s 20th birthday), catch pop-up sing-alongs from everyone’s favourite princess characters.
Eat fresh at Vapiano
Laid back Italian eatery Vapiano at the Corn Exchange is a great dining spot for small, enquiring minds.
Firstly you all get a chip card on arrival, then you use this to register your order direct with the chefs. Your little ones can explain how they like your food and what they’d like added or left out from their chosen dish – meaning even the fussiest of eaters will be content here. Enjoy great savings on their children’s menu which starts at just £4.95 for children under eight.
Feast in continental style at Lunya
Award-winning restaurant and bar Lunya has updated its selection of family-friendly summer delights on its menu ready for the school holidays.
In keeping with the restaurant’s authentically European approach, children are welcome to choose anything from the adult menu that can be served in a smaller portion, and the children’s menu also now includes a specially chosen collection of kid-friendly tapas too. Their new summer menu is out now, featuring new dishes inspired by owners Elaine and Peter’s latest amazing food adventures in Catalonia.
Bring out their inner boffin at the Museum of Science & Industry
There’s plenty of hands-on activities at MSI to keep your kids interested throughout the holidays. The museum has created a beautiful garden in their upper yard as part of their Bee in the City celebrations which will be there until 23rd September.
Alternatively, get your family game face on at Power Up playing some of the most popular video games from the past 40 years, including Pong and Pacman, Minecraft and Mario.
Step inside your favourite 90s game show at The Crystal Maze
Unless you’ve been actively watching re-runs, we’re betting that your kids won’t know what The Crystal Maze is – but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it once you get there!
Try out the same four challenge zones (Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic) you’ve got to know and love via the telly and work as part of a team on various skill challenges to earn those precious time crystals as a family.
Experience the future of video gaming at Virtual Hideout
Launching just in time for the summer holidays, Virtual Hideout is the new venture from the team behind Breakout escape rooms and offers hours of fun for the whole family.
With over 100 games to choose from, no matter what sort of games you like you’ll be more than happy getting stuck in here.