Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Debbie Cowley, Families Editor

Our top picks this February bring you the best family things to do across Manchester and the north. We know this is the toughest stretch of winter so take it easy and treat you and your family to some quality family time together exploring the places and things you love. Our top picks include science, art, music, theatre, crafts and even insects!

The fabulous Young Explorers programme returns to the Royal Northern College of Music. Designed to engage young children in classical music, this latest event invites you to take a trip through the musical art gallery that is Pictures at an Exhibition. 

Over at Z-arts they open their smash-hit show of the year this month, The Tiger that Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat. Children can get up close to some of Judith Kerr’s famous characters. We’ve also selected The Little Prince at Z-arts, which is a magical, timeless story, on stage this February half term.

For the young scientists in your life the Science and Industry Museum and Jodrell Bank have got a packed programme of fun activities ready to entertain and inspire throughout half term.

Heads up for March; Zog is coming to Oldham Coliseum! Join Zog at Madam Dragon’s school to learn all the things that dragons need to know…

Lots to look forward to and we’ll make sure you hear about it all. Read on for more details.

Check out our free things to do in Manchester guides for more ideas.

Here are our picks

More in Families

Experience The Magic of Trees at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens
Families Until 1 March 2020, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Autumn at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

If ever there’s a time to explore Beningbrough Hall, this is certainly it. Check out the packed programme of seasonal events and activities at the National Trust property this autumn.

Exhibitions Until 23 February 2020, FREE

A-Z of Salford’s Collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.

Exhibitions Until 1 March 2020, FREE

In A League Of Their Own at Castleford Museum

Rugby League is born and bred in West Yorkshire. From its beginnings in Huddersfield in 1895 to the Super League superstars of today, celebrate over 120 years of blood, sweat and tears.

Families Until 5 February 2020, FREE

Castle Crafts at Pontefract Castle

Get creative together and explore and learn about the history of Pontefract Castle through play or crafts. A different activity each month.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions Until 20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

Activity Until 15 February 2020, FREE

People’s History Museum 10th Birthday

People’s History Museum – Manchester’s national museum of democracy – celebrates its 10th birthday with a special weekend of events.

Young girl playing with a tea set at Toddler Tuesdays
Families Until 30 June 2020, FREE

Toddler Tuesdays at Castleford Museum

These lively mornings of crafts and singing are fun, creative sessions for toddlers.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - a sketch of a white house
Families 2 February 2020 11:00 am, from £7.00

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Waterside Arts

Imagine if your neighbour was actually a sorcerer whose house was powered entirely by magic? Would you know how to cope with a vacuum cleaner that has a mind of its own?! 

Boy playing with a tube in the SEND friendly sessions
Families 8 February 2020 10:00 am, FREE

SEND Friendly Sessions at The Hepworth Wakefield

Explore the gallery at your own pace in these creative and sensory sessions designed specifically for young people with SEND.

Culture Guides


Valentine’s events, horror marathons and the best new releases.

Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here at Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth


Power and conflict, rock and reggae, and rebellious acts by the over 60s all feature in this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

Poet Jane Yeh. Photo by Andy Forest.


Our shiny new diaries are filling up fast as details of prize-giving galas, poetry and prose launches, and some old favourites announce dates and details.


Eyeing up Manchester’s gig calendar, we’re spoilt for choice this New Year! Read our top picks for the coming months.

Theatre in Manchester


Turn On Fest at Hope Mill Theatre and PUSH Festival at HOME are amongst our top picks of theatre in Manchester and the North this January.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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


Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Looking to eat some of the North’s finest food in January 2020? Kick the decade off with our guide to all things to eat and drink in Manchester and beyond.

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Tours and Activities

Start the decade with a new experience and take inspiration from our January Tours and Activities guide.