Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Gemma Gibb, Families Editor

Our guide this month celebrates the unexpected, the ambitous and all the blinking excellent ways that cultural organisations in the north are pushing the boundaries of what creative family events and experiences can be like.

This weekend alone sees a full day of literary hijinks at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Day, the showstopping return of the Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade, and a goosebump-inducing afternoon of fairytale performance from The Hallé Children’s Choir.

Book ahead for an incredible Storyhunters session at Liverpool’s brand new Storybarn – the only interactive story centre for children in the region then experience Alice In Wonderland – the first family show at Chester’s impressive new Storyhouse arts centre either in the remarkable new building itself (which is pulling in the crowds) or at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre this summer.

Experience the dreamland for curiosity seekers that is the new Wonderlab gallery at Bradford’s redeveloped National Science and Media Museum and prepare for summer festival heaven with our guides to this year’s multi-award winning Just So Festival in Cheshire, and the best family things to do at this year’s bluedot and Cloudspotting festivals. You’re welcome.


Here are our picks

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Culture Guides

Food and Drink

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.


We highlight the best arthouse gems, charming animations and underrated blockbuster revivals showing on cinema screens near you this month.


Our top picks this month reflect on the predictable uncertainty of the world – through subversive enamel paintings, a séance for a figure of alternative facts, and an event that will equip its audience with apocalypse skills.

Author David Gaffney headlines Bad Language. (Credit: Phil Rigby)


Novels, narrative non-fiction, new works… June sees the last Verbose before summer, a whole host of live literature events in Didsbury, FutureEverything poetry and a look forward to next month…


As we enter festival season, the likes of bluedot, Cloudspotting and Manchester International Festival offer the chance to see some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards…

Sophie Willan Branded at Contact


Jaunts to the countryside, a new comedy show that turns tragedy on its tail and the best bits of MIF17 are all in this month’s theatre guide.

Destination Guides