Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Shekina Rose, Families Editor

With summer just around the corner, here are some of the best family-friendly events taking place in Manchester and the North in the coming months, both indoors and outdoors, so you can enjoy a fun trip out with your family come rain or shine!

First and foremost, we are very excited to announce that after a two year break due to you-know-what, Manchester Day returns on 19 June! Join fellow Mancunians for a free, fun-filled event, celebrating the culture, diversity and creativity of Manchester.

Watch out – because in May, Manchester theatres are getting some very… ‘fiery’ visitors! On 22 May, visit The Stoller Hall to experience The Little Green Dragon, an interactive music-themed Early Year’s workshop, for young people aged 3-5 and their grownups to enjoy together.

Next up, get ready for a magical adventure with your other favourite dragon – Zog! Zog and The Flying Doctors will be taking place at The Lowry, on 28 and 29 May.

First dragons, now dinosaurs… In June, travel back in time to a world pre-humans, in a roaringly exciting Jurassic adventure, The Dino Adventure at East Lancashire Railway.

More time-hopping… Immerse yourself in the unfiltered stories of the Terrible Tudors, featuring those horrible Henries and the many headless wives! Expect another side-splittingly funny, educational performance from the Horrible Histories team, teaching you all there is to know about the torturous, terrifying, and quite frankly terrible Tudor times, taking place at The Stockport Plaza on 7 May.

And the festival we’ve all been waiting for is back, bigger and better than ever before! Are you ready for infinite fun that knows no limits? Science and space-loving families are invited to the Bluedot Festival 2022, which returns for its fifth year of awe-inspiring, inter-planetary fun and delight, on 21-24 July.

Other family events include Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers, a mischievous family show inspired by the extraordinary works of the much-loved, prolific author, taking place at The Lowry from Sunday 29 May to Wednesday 1 June.

On 22 May, head to the eco-aware, climate-conscious Plastic Drastic Fantastic, also taking place at The Lowry, and experience an energetic and thought-provoking dance show that explores our complicated relationship with plastic.

Witches and wizards of the North are invited to step aboard the Harry Potter-themed steam train at the East Lancashire Railway for a spell-binding Wizarding Adventure, taking place on selected dates until 1 June.

Families who love the outdoors, the Outdoor Art Club at the Whitworth continues in May, with fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

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.

Looking forward to the summer months and into September, experience the Manchester Festival of Nature at Heaton Park on 26 June 2022, for a family day out jam-packed with fun outdoor activities and nature-focused adventures, and Just So Festival is back this August with a weekend of wonderful treats and fun for the whole family. While in September our 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.

Here are our picks

More in Families

The Saturday Sessions at Company Chameleon Studios
Childrens Until 16 July 2022, from £3.00

The Saturday Sessions at Company Chameleon Studios

Calling budding young movers aged 4 – 16 years. Get the weekend off to a leaping start with these energetic and engaging dance sessions.

Activity 26 May–28 July 2022, from £12.50

Behind the Scenes Tour of Central Library

Get an access all areas view of Central Library in Manchester, with a brand new behind the scenes tour.

Child playing at a table with an adult stood over them - part of Spring Family Fun
Families 28 May–5 June 2022, FREE

May Half Term at Science and Industry Museum

Head to the Science and Industry during May half term from Saturday 28 May to Sunday 5 June for a week of fun, discovery and play.

May Half Term at RHS Bridgewater
Families 28 May–5 June 2022, from £0.00

May Half Term at RHS Garden Bridgewater

This May half term families are invited to RHS Garden Bridgewater for a hive of bee-themed activities and Jubilee Weekend celebrations.

Jubilee Weekend at East Lancashire Railway
Families 3–5 June 2022, from £20.00

Jubilee Weekend at East Lancashire Railway

There’s fun for all the family at the Jubilee Weekend at the East Lancashire Railway. It’s time to get dressed up in your glad rags and climb aboard a heritage steam train, taking you back to the best of 1940s Britain.

Families 19 June 2022 10:30 am, from £19.50

Fireman Sam at The Lowry

On Sunday 19 June join Fireman Sam at The Lowry, for an all-singing, all-dancing, fun-filled live show for families and people of all ages to enjoy.

Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Families 1 July–28 August 2022, from £28.00

Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Don’t miss one of the greatest love stories ever told when it comes to Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre this summer. Theatre and fresh air. Perfect.

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre
Childrens 22 July–29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

A revival of Grosvenor Park’s sell-out, critically acclaimed production of the classic tale of a boy’s friendship with a mysterious caveman.

Activity 10–11 September 2022, FREE

We Invented The Weekend

Expect everything from community feasts, vintage markets, water sports, live music and performance, right across MediaCity and Salford Quays this September. A new free festival for everyone.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Ennio Morricone, Charlie Chaplin and 80s vampires. There’s something for everybody on the big screen this month.

Hurvin Anderson, Double Grille, 2008 © Hurvin Anderson. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022

Exhibitions

Whatever the weather, we’ve got tonnes of new art for you to enjoy. This month we bring you lots of choice: from large, all-encompassing displays to smaller and equally as interesting shows to suit all tastes.

Poet Malika Booker.

Literature

Live literature has plenty for readers and writers alike this spring, with emerging names and established authors taking to a mic near you, along with the opportunity to perform or put pen to paper yourself. There’s lots to listen to in real life and there are still opportunities to join in to events online. Read more here…

Music

From the North’s best festival line-ups to the wildest collaboration you’ll catch on a Manchester stage this year, check out our latest music picks.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Check out our updated theatre guide for provocative dance shows, prosecco-popping outdoor performances and site-specific Shakespeare.

Manchester Jazz Festival

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Stuzzi Leeds

Food and Drink

Enjoy spring and summer at some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

Discover a new hobby, experience the most deliciously diverse area of Manchester’s city centre and explore the city’s infamous music scene in this month’s Tours and Activities guide.

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