Summer specials on the hoof.

Creative Tourist

Short on time? Only got a couple of hours to spare in Manchester? Here’s a few ideas to fill your time:

Look out in museum shops, tourist information centres and hotels for the brand new Manchester Mini-Explorer bags. Launching in time for the August holidays these are self-guided tours and trails like no other, allowing your kids to lead you on a playful journey of Manchester, museum to museum, learning and doing all the way. You can buy one at participating museums and get exploring – anytime to suit you!

On Sundays in August you can join us on a Mini-Explorer boat trip along Manchester’s canals and waterways which are filled with a thousand stories. Allowing you take in four award-winning museums, sail three historic waterways, navigate a lock and lots more besides, these trips are a novel way to hop between the city centre and the Quays, with special family activities on board. Keep checking the website for more details.

Bring rugs, blankets and picnics to Screenfields, the annual outdoor cinema on the green at Spinningfields. The Family Film Club is on Saturday mornings with a series of children’s screenings including classics such as The Jungle Book and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as well as latest animated blockbusters like Toy Story 3 and Wall-E. For older children check out the Thursday evening programme including screenings of Anchorman, Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club amongst others. For more information and the full film programme visit

Carrying on the cinema theme is the Family Friendly Film Club Weekender. This summer, arts and cultural venues across the North West will host a fun-filled weekend of events including an exciting range of film screenings and activities providing fun for all the family. Please keep an eye on the Film Club webpage for updates and further information on times and locations.

During the Manchester Picnic, Piccadilly Gardens will be transformed into a foodie family oasis for three days. With delicious food and drink stalls, a large themed picnic area and bags of family entertainment, it’s the perfect picnicky day out. Most importantly, small people and their cuddly friends are invited to a Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Sunday 7th. Enjoy kids’ workshops with Manchester Museum and dance along with Twinkle the Bear. Special goody bags for the first 100 best-dressed teddies are up for grabs.

Screenfields, 23 July – 27 August, Spinningfields, 3 Hardman Boulevard, M3 3AQ. £2 each or season ticket £9.99. Mini-Explorer boat trip, August. Family Friendly Film Club Weekender, 4 – 7 August 2011, venues across the North West. Manchester Picnic, 5 – 7 August, Piccadilly Gardens.

Culture Guides


Film festivals galore, samurai classics and the Greatest Film of All Time all feature in this month’s film guide.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.

The Bull and the Moon at Instituto Cervantes


With spring’s indecisive weather in mind, we’ve pulled together a whole load of fun indoor and outdoor family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the North.

Poet Helen Mort.


Spring is making an entrance in live literature land with some extra special festival events, writing walks, online launches and in real life readings from local writers as well as international talent.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


As an exciting new spring season of theatre launches, we share our top picks of performance happening now and over the next few months.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.

Things to do right now

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