Things to do during the summer holidays in and around Greater Manchester

From imaginative storytelling experiences to craft workshops, and giant lawn games to food and funfairs, there's plenty going on

The school holidays are in full swing – but luckily there are lots of great activities and days out in and around Greater Manchester to keep the whole family busy.

From imaginative storytelling experiences to craft workshops, and giant lawn games to food and funfairs, there’s plenty to keep kids of all ages occupied.

And lots of it is free, too.

Family Weekender at Box On The Docks 

Photo: Mark Waugh

In MediaCity this August, Box on the Docks presents the Family Weekender celebration marking the end of the Summer on 20th and 21st August.

The event boasts a whole host of fun with a weekend filled with giant lawn games including family favourites such as Jenga, Connect 4 and Dominoes.

Challenge your family to a competitive game or just sit back and enjoy the music with free entertainment from kids entertainers, musicians, craft activities and storytelling with the Salford Literacy Trail.

To find out more, click here.

Fairy Tales interactive exhibition at Z-arts

Whether you fancy an afternoon boogie at the Castle Club disco, a lazy stroll around Once Upon a Time Square or a sneaky siesta in Grandma’s caravan – but watch out for the wolf! – there’s summer fun aplenty at the Fairy Tales interactive exhibition.

Running Tuesday-Sunday throughout the summer holidays at Z-arts in Hulme, close to Manchester city centre, Fairy Tales is an imaginative storytelling experience for children aged 0-8, priced £8.

It is designed to encourage role play and exploration, bringing to life some of the most loved traditional tales from around the world, including The Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk and the spider Anansi.

To find out more, click here.

Picture This at The Lowry

Running all summer up until October at The Lowry, Picture This features six popular children’s books that have a strong visual identity on the page and have also been vividly brought to life on stage.  

Each section of the free family exhibition includes illustrations and artwork from the books – which range from much-loved modern works to iconic classics.

Alongside these are filmed extracts from stage productions, with a variety of props, costumes, designs and posters. 

To find out more, click here.

Travel the world with the Corn Exchange 

There’s a whole host of things planned for all the family at the Corn Exchange this summer, including some free travel-themed craft workshops every Wednesday throughout August, perfect to keep the young ones entertained no matter the weather.

During the 30-minute craft sessions running from 11am to 4pm, kids will learn about the food, the national flags and national anthems of different countries each week.

All participants will receive their own special passport and get a stamp from the country of their workshop, encouraging them to come back and travel round the rest of the world with the Corn Exchange over the summer.

To find out more, click here.

Family garden trail at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

For those looking for something fun to do with the family for the summer holidays, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House have launched a new family garden trail.

The new trail entertains families with fun facts, discoveries and things to do as they make their way around the traditionally planted Victorian garden. QR codes along the trail activate the different elements to be found in the garden and there’s also a paper version of the map available.

The trail also highlights facts about sustainability and shares take home ideas about reducing carbon emissions. To spread this message even further, whilst stocks last, families will also be able to take home a special pack of Elizabeth Gaskell House wildflower seeds.

To find out more, click here.

National Trust houses, gardens and deer parks

© National Trust Images / John Millar

There’s great value family fun to be had this summer at National Trust houses, gardens and deer parks across Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Near Altrincham at Dunham Massey you’ll find A Fairy-tale Summer, a self-led family trail of discovery and imagination.

You might just happen across stringed-musical happenings on the lawn and children’s stories in the Orangery, adding a bit of fairy dust to the proceedings.

In Wilmslow head to Quarry Bank to experience the very different worlds of owner and worker, who lived and worked here side by side.

In Wild Science, encounter and handle native species in the Explorer Dome – travel around the world and experience habitats and eco-systems that you’ve never seen before. In Working Science, learn how electricity is made and how we can make eco-electricity.

At Lyme, it’s all about getting creative and being inspired by the landscape. Over the past six centuries, the Legh family transformed Lyme from a rugged medieval hunting ground into a designed landscape of follies and views.

To find out more, click here.

Free kids media workshops with Manchester Libraries

Young people in Manchester can become mini reporters, Tiktokers and YouTubers thanks to a new partnership between Media Cubs and Manchester Libraries.

The free sessions are running for younger children and teens at local libraries throughout August, allowing them to become roving reporters, presenters, directors, photographers as they take on hosting their own press conferences, reviews, adverts, news bulletins and much more.

To find out more, click here.

Summer Fest at Trafford Palazzo

Visitors at Trafford Palazzo can expect four weeks of family-orientated fun this month that incorporates dance, crafts, music, bootcamps, a variety of entertainment and local food vendors.

Taking place every Monday from 12pm to 4pm is the TP Dance School. This is an opportunity for kids to be taught basic dance moves, including the latest TikTok dance trends and more.

On Wednesdays, Kate’s Crafts returns with three hours worth of festival-themed crafts.

Every Friday throughout August, there will be a series of ‘Bitesize Bootcamp’ sessions that include different kinds of physical activities. From circuits to tug of war and obstacle courses, the Bootcamp can be enjoyed by the whole family.

To find out more, click here.

Halal Food Festival and funfair

With over 100 exhibitors, street food vendors and an outdoor funfair, it’s set to be a tasty bank holiday weekend at Manchester’s first Halal Food Festival.

There’s also a kids play arena, with activities hosted by their official charity partner, Islamic Relief.

So not only will families enjoy delicious food at the event but they will also be helping those less fortunate.

The Halal Food Festival will take place at the BEC Arena on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2022, from 12 noon to 8pm each day. Tickets start from £7. To find out more, click here.


Read more

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience.

This week