Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Sarah Gaffney-Lang, Families Editor

With the warmer weather and lighter nights, we have a bit more of a spring in our step and there are plenty of exciting family things to do. This month’s round-up features online sing-alongs and crafts, outdoor theatre, and summer festivals.

The prospect of a festival is thrilling and 5 on the Farm in Barnsley, Yorkshire manages to combine all of the best kids activities into one three-day extravaganza with the aim of celebrating rural life. With plenty of opportunities to meet their favourite Milkshake! TV presenters, much-loved cartoon characters Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol, and access to furry friends in Cannon Hall Farm there’s something for everyone.

Round up the family for a woodland walk with a difference! In the stunning surroundings of Mottram Hall, a whole host of species await discovery – from dinosaurs and jungle animals to mythical creatures and even superheroes. One thing’s for sure, Totally Roarsome is bound to excite.

After months indoors, the very mention of outdoor theatre has us brimming with excitement! Which is why Waterside Arts and Heartbreak Productions’ new adaptation of the children’s favourite Mr. Stink is simply unmissable. Arrive early to explore Sale’s ‘secret’ Walkden Gardens before settling down with a picnic.

There are a host of online activities for families to enjoy too –  ranging from a raucous protest style sing-song with songwriter Matt Hill (you can expect tunes from all the greats – including Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan) to crafts with Early Years Atelier at The Whitworth.

For the inevitable rainy days (it is Manchester after all!) there are brilliant resources for creating a special Doodle Den from the People’s History Museum along with activities relating to topics such as climate change, LGBT+ Pride and migrant rights.

Do bedtime a little differently! Get cosy and snuggle up for a live-streamed, multi-sensory story session via the People’s History Museum’s Facebook page. It’s a perfect way for your tots to prepare for a long snooze (fingers crossed, eh!) at the end of the day.

Events are still changing at pace, but rest assured that we continue to update these pages frequently – so do check back for new family-friendly activities. In the meantime, be sure to check out our full guide to the best online events from organisations in Manchester and the North too.

Scroll down to get stuck in.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Totally Roarsome

    Totally Roarsome, Mottram Hall
    Courtesy of Totally Roarsome

    Totally Roarsome at Mottram Hall, Macclesfield, Until 6 June 2021, from £7.95 - Book now

    Head over to Mottram Hall where, in the depths of stunning Cheshire woodland, you’ll discover an immersive walking trail. Totally Roarsome promises to excite your little ones with huge figures of animals ranging from the Jurassic to the mythical.

  • 2. 5 on the Farm Festival

    Channel 5

    5 on the Farm Festival at Cannon Hall Farm, 28–30 August 2021, from £24.95 - Book now

    This three-day extravaganza manages to combine all of the best kids activities into one festival featuring famous faces from the tellybox, access to furry farm animals, and opportunities to meet much-loved cartoon characters from Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.

  • 3. Mr Stink

    Mr Stink Heartbreak Productions
    Jeremy Abrahams

    Mr Stink at Walkden Gardens, Manchester, 13 June 2021, from £11 - Book now

    Round up the family for a trip to Walkden Gardens to watch Waterside Arts and Heartbreak Productions’ outdoor theatre adaptation of Mr Stink in stunning Sale parkland which is perfect for a summertime picnic.

  • 4. Doodle Den: Playful Protests Online

    doodle den at people's history museum, young girl using thick marker pen to drawer on a glass panel

    Doodle Den: Playful Protests at People's History Museum at People’s History Museum in Manchester, City Centre and online, Until 31 December 2021, free entry

    Hunker down with blankets, cushions and whatever takes your fancy to create a Doodle Den and use the People’s History Museum’s online resources to creatively explore important topics including climate change, LGBT+ Pride and migrant rights.

  • 5. Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank

    Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank
    Jody Hartley

    Science Learning at Home, online, Until 31 December 2021, free entry - Visit now

    Science Learning at Home with Jodrell Bank is a great way to explore some of the observatory’s themes online. The current #CaptureTheMoon series includes photography-based projects – with tips for achieving clear images using a camera or phone, along with art-based activities for younger children – which include making your own moon craters and packing bags with items fit for a trip to the moon! On top of all that, you can find an introduction to the best stargazing apps for budding astronomers big or small.

  • 6. My First Protest Song with the People’s History Museum

    Babies listening to a man play the guitar as part of My First Protest Song
    People's History Museum

    My First Protest Song online, Until 5 June 2021, free entry - Visit now

    Round up the family and join singer-songwriter Matt Hill (Quiet Loner) for this online event full of toe-tapping tunes from times of change.

  • 7. Zog

    Zog Live onstage at The Lowry theatre
    Courtesy of Freckle Productions

    Zog at The Lowry, Manchester, 2–4 July 2021, from £16 - Book now

    Don’t miss the children’s classic Zog live at The Lowry! This new adaptation is jam-packed with lively songs from Joe Stilgie and is sure to have your little ones up in their seats, singing along while cheering the loveable Zog on.

  • 8. Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9PL - Visit now

    Round up the family and explore Manchester Museum’s collection from your home.  Head over to their new site for entertainment and education until they reopen.

More in Families

Hidden Winter
Families Until 31 August 2021, FREE

Hidden Winter

Round the family up and head outside for this wonderful story walk adventure from Stand and Be Counted Theatre. Perfect for livening up a lockdown walk.

Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever at The Lowry
Families 28–29 April 2021, from £18.15

POSTPONED: Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever

It’s Peppa’s Best Day Ever! Join Peppa Pig and all her friends and family on as they embark on fun-filled day long adventure. With all the familiar faces, and plenty of chuckles, chortles and trademark snorts this show will have your little ones captivated.

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester
Exhibitions 17 May–31 August 2021, FREE

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester

TOP SECRET: the Science and Industry Museum digs into the history of British national security over the last 100 years.

The Merry Wives of Windsor at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Families 4 June–30 August 2021, from £30

The Merry Wives of Windsor at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Enjoy this hilarious Shakespearean comedy in the wonderful open-air surroundings of Grosvenor Park.

Manchester International Festival: The Walk
Families 4 July 2021, FREE

MIF21: The Walk

An epic and extraordinary travelling artwork will set off from the Turkish – Syrian border for Manchester this April. Adventurous and inventive, this is the first event to be announced for MIF21.

Vintage by the Sea
Families 4–5 September 2021, FREE

Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe

Celebrate the brilliance of 20th century design, fashion, vehicles and entertainment at this award-winning festival set around Morecambe’s famous art deco Midland Hotel.

Professor Brian Cox - Horizons
Education 13 October 2021 7:30 pm, from £43.25

Professor Brian Cox: Horizons

Using state of the art LED screen technology, Horizons will fill the M&S Bank Arena with images of far-away galaxies, alien worlds, supermassive black holes and a time before the Big Bang.
Horizons is a celebration of our civilisation, of our music, art, philosophy and science; an optimistic vision of our future if we continue to explore Nature with humility and to value ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Winter Droving Penrith
Families 26 October 2021 12:00 pm, FREE

The Winter Droving in Penrith

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

The Not So Ugly Sisters. Image from Wrongsemble's previous show The Princess and the Sprout.
Families 24 November 2021–1 January 2022, from £12.00

The Not So Ugly Sisters at Waterside

The Yorkshire based theatre-company Wrongsemble bring this wonderful new take on the well-loved classic to audiences for Christmas 2021.

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