Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Shekina Rose, Families Editor

Finally, we can say goodbye to what feels like the longest month ever and start to really enjoy 2023. There are so many family events and activities taking place in Manchester and the north over the coming weeks and months, and here are our top picks.

Pancake lovers rejoice. It’s time to celebrate the best flipping invention ever (pancakes) at Tatton Park and Farm this February half-term and learn all there is to know about these tasty treats.

Here’s one for the budding scientists – from 18 February – 5 March, discover the really wild side of science at Chester Zoo. Explore the fascinating world of animals, including getting hands-on with no other than elephant poo. Yuck!

The youngest creative souls will enjoy a stunning, visual performance at Z-arts on 5 March. Here you can meet the curiously wonderful shapeshifting creature, the marvellous toooB.

And older little ones aged 4-7 are invited to step inside the dark, dark, hilarious world of FunnyBones at The Lowry. This is a brand new, special storytelling adventure based on Janet and Alan Ahlberg’s much-loved children’s tale.

Looking further ahead, in May it’s time to splash into some deep-sea family fun at The Spongebob Musical at the Manchester Opera House,  where our favourite underwater spongey character has floated all the way to visit us from his home under the sea.

Also coming up very soon: Izzy Gizmo brings an energetic, live performance to The Stoller Hall on 4 February, and on 11 February head to the charming and funny Cardboard Carnival at The Edge to experience 45 brilliant minutes of playful puppetry and creative joy. Zipping through to the end of February – get ready to tap those toes at Marty and the Party at HOME Manchester, and head to The Lowry for a glorious adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Smartest Giant in Town.

Additionally, there’s still time to enjoy the interactive Fairy Tales wonderland at  Z-Arts. An innovative and enchanting exhibition that transports children aged 0-8 and their grownups to a magical world, full of storytelling and immersive play.

Here are our picks

More in Families

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Keep the kids entertained this half term, with songs, puppetry and delight as our favourite singing mermaid tries to escape the cunning circus master!

Families 11–26 February 2023, from £6.00

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum

Families of Manchester! Do you just LOVE gaming? This summer, head to Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester for an out-of-home, extraordinary gaming experience like never before.

Families 21–23 February 2023, FREE

Afrocats Takeover at The Whitworth

Keep the kids entertained this half term with a variety of Indian inspired cultural and creative movement activities, and inspiring arts and crafts workshops for children, young people and families.

Geronimo Festival 2022
Families 26–29 May 2023, from £20.00

Geronimo Festival at Arley Hall

Head to the Geronimo Festival 2023 to experience children’s entertainment & activities, music, food stalls, camping, and loads of fun!

The Welcome at Factory International
Families 11–19 November 2023,

The Welcome at Factory International

The Welcome is a huge nine-day celebration to mark the opening of Manchester’s phenomenal new arts space, Factory International. Everybody’s invited.

Culture Guides


Black and white classics and a Tarantino-scripted pop-thriller are amongst our Valentine’s themed picks for February.


The world of art and exhibitions never quite stops, so we have lots of new shows to look forward to at the start of 2023.

Gwendoline Riley. Photo by Adrian Lourie


From local writing to international talent, we have heaps of online launches and in real life readings not to mention some extra special festival events coming our way in live literature land.


More brilliant gigs appear on the horizon as we inch further into 2023.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


Queer Contact Festival, stunning physical theatre and intimate in-the-round performance top our eclectic list of drama, comedy and dance this month.

Classical Music

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

Food and Drink

Start 2023 as you mean to go on, with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

Eat your way through Ancoats, build a miniature eco-system and immerse yourself in visual art in this month’s tours and activities guide.

Things to do right now

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The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families Until 11 March 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-arts

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Childrens Until 18 March 2023, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Activity Until 1 August 2023, from £45.00

Manchester Food Tour From Canals to Canapés