Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Shekina Rose, Families Editor

There’s a breeze that feels like autumn in the air, and as we say bye to the summer holidays and begin to welcome in the cooler months, Manchester’s events and activities continue to bring joy and fun to families. Enjoy our top picks of the best outdoor and indoor family-friendly events and activities happening in Manchester and the North in the coming months.

First up, from 19 September head to Heaton Park for The Lost Words: Told in Gold at Heaton Park, an outdoor theatre performance inspired by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ beautifully illustrated children’s book, The Lost Words.

Next, on 25 September, float your way to Waterside Arts to join the bouncy, wonderful Mr. Bubbles at The Bubble Show, featuring all sorts of bubbly fun, storytelling and magic.

Part of the incredible Autumn season of events at Z-arts, Grandad Anansi tells an inspiring and heartwarming story of family, love, being brave, and letting go, with performances from 29 September – 1 October.

What’s that we can see flying overhead?! Is it a WITCH? With Halloween just around the corner, we’re looking forward to RNCM Young Explorers: Halloween Spectacular on 16 October, where young people will get an introduction to live orchestral music while also celebrating the best, spookiest time of year!

In more Halloween celebrations, during the half-term, budding artists and creative souls are invited to join much-loved, super talented children’s author and illustrator Nick Sharratt for a special Halloween themed drawalong at The Lowry on Sunday 30 October.

Another teaser for the half-term holidays… get ready for the Manchester Science Festival at the Science and Industry Museum and venues across Manchester, jam-packed with science-focussed experiences to inspire and entertain visitors of all ages, with cutting-edge scientific innovations and future developments. Come along and explore what the future holds for humanity.

More events coming up include the Manchester Folk Festival, where families can enjoy David Gibb’s weird yet wonderful Family Jukebox event at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on 15 October, the Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show at The Lowry on 24 September, and the spine-chilling and electrifying Demon Dentist at the Manchester Opera House on 13-15 October.

Still open until 2 October is The BFG in Pictures, a new, free exhibition based at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum,  and everyone’s favourite nanny, Mrs Doubtfire, is taking to the stage at the Manchester Opera House, in a hilarious and touching musical comedy about family, love, and friendship.

Open all year round is the interactive Fairy Tale wonderland at  Z-Arts, in an innovative and enchanting exhibition that takes children aged 0-8 and their grownups to a magical world, jam-packed with storytelling and immersive play. And for a rainy day, there are loads of great indoor museums to visit, including the Science and Industry Museum and the National Football Museum.

Here are our picks

More in Families

Illustration entitled ‘Because you cannot tame something so happily wild’ by Emily Hughes showing painted animals in a woodland setting
Exhibitions Until 30 October 2022, FREE

Picture This at The Lowry

This summer, the Lowry is celebrating children’s books with a wonderful exhibition of illustrations and an exciting accompanying events programme for the whole family.

light night leeds
Families 13–14 October 2022, FREE

Light Night Leeds at Leeds Town Hall

Light Night Leeds is a chance to see the city’s most loved locations in a brand new light. The UK’s largest annual art and light festival, it has brought cutting-edge installations to Leeds for the past 17 years.

Exhibitions 14–29 October 2022, FREE

Lightpool Festival

Taking place during Blackpool’s annual Illuminations display, Lightpool is a celebration of spectacular art works and live, illuminated performance across the iconic town.

Baby Bear at Z-arts
Families 23 October 2022 10:30 am, from £9.00

Baby Bear at Z-arts

Part of the Manchester Literature Festival, Baby Bear is a nature-inspired show for families.

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families 27 October 2022–19 February 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

The sun may have set over our Manchester theatres during the pandemic – but now “it’s rolling high through the sapphire sky” once again. Hit musical The Lion King has added even more dates to its previously postponed run.

Winter Droving Penrith
Families 29 October 2022 12:00 pm, FREE

The Winter Droving in Penrith

An incredible wonderland of outdoor arts, masquerade and pint carrying competitions in Penrith.

Families 11 November–23 December 2022, from £5

The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

Adventure around nine new magical, illuminated worlds after dark including an Ice Kingdom and meet Father Christmas.

Families 16 November–30 December 2022, from £6.00

Glow at RHS Garden Bridgewater

Get that festive feeling you’ve been waiting for at the shimmering spectacle of lights at RHS Bridgewater.

Childrens 24 November 2022–2 January 2023, from £13.00

Lightopia at Heaton Park

The award-winning and visually sensational lantern and light festival returns to illuminate Manchester this winter.

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