10 Best Free Days Out In Manchester

birds eye view of manchester

Manchester offers a wealth of exciting experiences for families on a budget. From cultural hotspots to interactive museums and picturesque parks, there’s no shortage of fantastic free activities to enjoy on your family day out! So, gather your loved ones and get ready to explore our list of the 10 best free days out in Manchester, guaranteed to create lasting memories for the whole family!

giant sand pit

The Great Northern Giant Summer Sandpit

Let’s start off the summer of 2023 right with this special event – a giant sandpit!

The perfect outdoor activity for kids that is fun and creative definitely involves sand! So, this summer the Great Northern Warehouse’s amphitheatre is reopening its newly designed playhouse that will have a super cool and GIANT sandpit!

Filled with 50 tonnes of soft sand and wooden logs to sit on, you can enjoy some summer play with buckets and spades!

Did I forget to mention…it’s completely FREE!

Shape Location Get directions

Great Northern,
235 Deansgate,
Manchester,
M3 4EN

Opening Times

13 July - 31 August 2023

Pricing

FREE

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an egyptian mummy exhibit at bolton musuem

The Manchester Museum

Step into a world of wonders at The Manchester Museum, located at the University of Manchester.

From ancient and golden Egyptian mummies to dinosaur fossils, the museum’s extensive collection will captivate both kids and adults alike. Discover a treasure trove of knowledge, explore interactive exhibits, and even meet Stan, the famous T-Rex!

Plus, during the summer they hold a whole host of free activities for kids! Learning can be fun!

Shape Location Get directions

University of Manchester,
Oxford Rd,
Manchester
M13 9PL

Opening Times

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 21:00
Thursday and Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 08:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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girls playing match stick game

People's History Museum

Delve into the fascinating history of democracy and social change at the People’s History Museum!

Engaging displays, including interactive exhibits and thought-provoking multimedia, shed light on Manchester’s role in shaping democracy. The museum offers an inspiring journey through time, highlighting the importance of people’s voices in society.

Kids can get involved with free activities revolving around the shape of Britain and the past, present and future of the country. With costumes to dress up in, they can really immerse themselves.

Shape Location Get directions

Left Bank,
Manchester,
M3 3ER

Opening Times

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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people getting messy
Unleash your inner artist at the Manchester Art Gallery, home to an impressive collection of artworks spanning centuries. From artwork masterpieces to political issues like gender and climate change, international artwork and regular exhibitions for kids!

Admire masterpieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh and Turner, and discover contemporary works that challenge the status quo. Engage with the art through family-friendly workshops and interactive exhibits.

Discover couture up close or get involved in the Earth’s climate! If you have kids with a passion in protecting the planet, they’re running a Climate Justice exhibition from 16th February 2023 – December 31st 2023. This special exhibition encourages viewers to learn from history, make better decisions and encourage caring to create action!

Not only do they have exhibitions, but the Museum hosts regular ‘creative meet-ups’ for kids aged 14 – 19 years old. With a place where they can discuss and share board issues and creativity, there’s even family workshops too where you all can create art!

Shape Location Get directions

Manchester Art Gallery,
Mosley St,
Manchester
M2 3JL

Opening Times

Monday Closed
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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flowers at full bloom at heaton hall

Heaton Park and Heaton Hall

Escape the city buzz and immerse yourself in nature at Heaton Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Europe. This expansive green oasis offers endless possibilities for family fun. Take leisurely strolls, enjoy a picnic by the lake, let the kids burn off energy at the play areas, or explore the animal farm.

Being a park that spans 600 acres, there’s plenty of space to run around! If you like the water, head out onto the boating lake, and immerse yourself in all things wildlife at the animal centre! From astronomy class to beekeeping courses – there’s plenty of activities here for you and the family to get stuck into. Channel your inner Harry Potter and David Attenborough!

Their animal centre homes animals that everyone will love, from goats, ducks and pigs to chickens, turkeys, rabbits and alpacas! And best of all, it’s FREE to visit! You might even be lucky enough to see a peacock perched in the tree…

Shape Location Get directions

Heaton Park,
Middleton Road,
Higher Blackley,
M25 2SW

Opening Times

Monday to Sunday 08:00 - dusk

Pricing

FREE

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operation ouch

Science and Industry Museum

Fuel your curiosity at the Science and Industry Museum, where science comes to life through interactive exhibits and awe-inspiring demonstrations!

From steam engines to space exploration, the museum offers a hands-on learning experience that sparks the imagination of visitors of all ages. Did you know they have a really cool exhibition at the moment? Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You…discover how things work and travel in the body…

A family day here will be exciting and interesting, especially when you see a car suspended in mid-air that you can lift! Want to get hands-on with mixing shadows, designing and printing textiles and engage in a free activity trail pack? That’s all here for your kiddies to get involved in and more!

So, if you’re looking for a wide range of interactive, creative and exciting activities, you’ll find them right here at the Science and Industry Museum. A brilliant FREE family city break!

Shape Location Get directions

Liverpool Rd,
Manchester,
M3 4FP

Opening Times

Monday Closed
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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two donkeys running

The Donkey Sanctuary

Experience the joy of interacting with adorable donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary, located just a short drive from Manchester.

There are 7 acres to discover at this family-friendly sanctuary.  With a chance to meet and learn about these gentle animals, as the sanctuary transforms the lives of donkeys all over the world!

Take a leisurely walk along the sanctuary trails, stroke the donkeys, and perhaps even adopt one for a day!

Shape Location Get directions

The Donkey Sanctuary
Green Fold
Abbey Hey
Manchester
M18 8RJ

Opening Times

Saturdays 10:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 15:00
First Sunday of the month - 10:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 15:00

Pricing

FREE

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gardens at fletcher moss and gardens in manchester

Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens

Discover the tranquillity of Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, nestled within the picturesque surroundings of Didsbury Village.

This hidden gem features beautifully landscaped gardens, meandering paths, and a charming rockery. Enjoy a peaceful family stroll, spot wildlife, and savour a moment of serenity in this urban oasis.

Discover flourishing flora and towering trees as you wander around the gardens. The kids can even dive into a bug hunt in the soil or in the water! With so much to explore and see, your family day out will be filled with family adventures and an enjoyable afternoon!

Shape Location Get directions

18 Stenner Lane,
Didsbury,
Manchester,
M20 2RQ

Opening Times

Monday to Sunday 08:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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mediacity uk

Explore Quayside MediaCityUK

Visit the bustling Quayside at MediaCityUK, located at Salford Quays, just a stone’s throw from Manchester city centre.

This thriving waterfront destination is home to a host of attractions, including the BBC studios and the Lowry Theatre. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, watch street performers, or simply take a leisurely walk along the Quayside, admiring the stunning views of the waterfront.

It’s free to explore, but will need to purchase tickets for the cinema or buy food if you get hungry!

Shape Location Get directions

The Quays,
Salford,
M50 2NT

Opening Times

Monday to Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 19:00
Sunday 11:00 - 17:00

Pricing

FREE

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two girls at ordsall hall

Ordsall Hall

Take a step back in time at Ordsall Hall, a stunning Tudor manor house brimming with history.

Explore its grand rooms, discover hidden nooks, and uncover tales of intrigue and romance. Engaging activities and workshops make this a great destination for children to learn about life in Tudor times. From arts and crafts to creative workshops!

Learn how to use beads and sequins in embroidery, make corn dolls or head out on a bug hunt!

In the summer you’ll find a bunch of FREE fun activities the whole family can enjoy. From tours and creative work to channelling your inner Tudor!

Shape Location Get directions

322 Ordsall Ln,
Salford
M5 3AN

Opening Times

Monday to Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday and Saturday Closed
Sunday 11:30 - 16:00

Pricing

FREE

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manchester city

Manchester City Centre Walking Tour

Or you can simply embark on a self-guided walking tour of Manchester city centre and soak up its rich history and vibrant culture.

There are plenty of opportunities to discover new things here in Manchester if you haven’t been here before! Marvel at iconic landmarks such as the Town Hall and Manchester Cathedral, explore bustling markets like the Arndale and appreciate the city’s unique architecture. Don’t forget to pause for a photo at the iconic “worker bee” symbol, a nod to Manchester’s industrial heritage!

This city truly offers a wealth of incredible free activities for families and we hope we’ve helped with the 10 best free days out in Manchester! From educational museums and art galleries to tranquil city parks and historical sites. Embrace the opportunity to explore, learn, and create lasting memories with your loved ones. So, embark on a memorable adventure in Manchester, where family fun doesn’t have to come with a price tag.

If you are looking for more inspiration and FREE things to do, check out our other blogs! We hope you’ve found the perfect location for your family, may the adventure continue! Try reading Free Fun Family Days Out, Things To Do With Teenagers, Fun Things To Do Near Me, Days Out Membership, Outings for Stroppy Teens or Free Things To Do In London!

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