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!
The Great Northern Giant Summer 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!
13 July - 31 August 2023
The Manchester Museum
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!
University of Manchester,
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
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.
Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
Manchester Art Gallery
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!
Manchester Art Gallery,
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
Heaton Park and Heaton Hall
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…
Monday to Sunday 08:00 - dusk
Science and Industry Museum
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!
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
The Donkey Sanctuary
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!
The Donkey Sanctuary
Saturdays 10:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 15:00
First Sunday of the month - 10:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 15:00
Fletcher Moss Park & Botanical Gardens
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!
18 Stenner Lane,
Monday to Sunday 08:00 - 17:00
Explore Quayside MediaCityUK
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!
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
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!
322 Ordsall Ln,
Monday to Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday and Saturday Closed
Sunday 11:30 - 16:00
Manchester City Centre Walking Tour
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!