Ready, set, GO! Action-packed adventures
If you are an active family and want a fun and healthy day out, head to the city of Manchester. From football to cycling via an exhaustive range of culture, you’ll find excitement and energetic diversions in this northern sporting hub.
Manchester is known throughout the world for its sport, so an iconic football ground seems the best place to begin a day out. But which one? Red or blue? Manchester City and Manchester United each offer an interesting 80-90 minute guided stadium tour. Even if you aren’t a fan, it’s hard not to feel emotional as you sit in the dressing room where some of the world’s most famous players have tied their laces before a career-making game, or when you walk down the tunnel towards the light.
You might discover a few interesting facts like how many pies the United supporters consume during match day in the Theatre of Dreams. (Two and a half tons at last count.)
Take a tour of the arts scene
Culture in Manchester is thriving and you can’t do a day out here without taking in a show, an exhibition or walking tour. If you have music fans in the family, they can take an Oasis- or Morrissey-themed tour (assuming they’ve heard of them!). If they like art, make sure you head over to the renovated Whitworth gallery, a beautiful space.
Visit the velodrome
Team GB’s internationally successful cycle squad is based in Manchester and if cycling is more your family’s thing, you can book a taster session at the fastest and busiest track in the world – the National Cycling Centre. Book as far as possible in advance to get a slot. Or if the weather’s good you may tempted, like we were, to spend a morning learning mountain biking skills. We were kitted out with bikes and then each family member was taught the basics on a dedicated skills outdoor area before progressing to the technical trail. Before you leave the centre, check out the exciting BMX biking track and watch the riders fly.
Hungry after all that exercise? Continuing the Olympics theme, you may like to head over to the Northern Quarter or Deansgate and have something to eat at Bem Brasil. This is lunch with a Brazilian twist - the Rodizio waiters walk around with sizzling plates of meat and you use red or green counters to indicate if you want more or can’t possibly squeeze in one last rib.
Have fun at Salford Quays
Speaking of art, we love The Lowry for exhibitions and family cultural events. At weekends the centre invites families into its free activity gallery The Lookout. This is a space where children can creatively explore themes in the exhibitions or do their own thing with cutting out and colouring in. This space is particularly suited to the under 5's.
Also at the Quays, the Imperial War Museum North encourages little ones to dress up and take part in interactive exhibits and understand some of the history through play. If you have kids aged between 6 and 11 years old they’ll go mad for the CBBC TV Tour at Media City UK, but book in advance as it is very popular.
And if you’re still feeling energetic then you can all stand up paddleboard or wakeboard the waterways of Salford Quays. What do you mean you are tired? You’ve barely got going yet!