Family things to do in Manchester and the North

Gemma Gibb, Families Editor

The nights may be drawing in but there are oh so many reasons to get out. This month’s guide to top family things to do together is about both embracing spectacle and quieter moments. We can have it all, honest.

At Manchester’s mighty Science and Industry Museum don’t miss the chance to see Stephenson’s Rocket return for the first time in almost two centuries. Back where it all began when the first railways changed the world. It’s exciting stuff. A whole 10 days of mindblowing events and family things to do await also at Manchester Science Festival.

If spectacle is your bag, this is the month for you.  Hands down one of the best events of the year, the Winter Droving is the perfect Lake District escapade. Masquerade, phenomenal street performance, live music and the finest Cumbrian food and drink. Elsewhere in the region, Lightpool in Blackpool and Light Up Lancaster will be providing luminary free adventure galore.

For some calmer family things to do, literary lovers should head to Lady Lever Art Gallery for Quentin Blake and John Yeoman: 50 Years of Children’s Books and Quarry Bank too for The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition.




Here are our picks

More in Families

Families 17 May 2017–3 May 2019,

Wonderlab at the Science and Media Museum

Explore a maze of mirrors and take part in Star Wars inspired sound battles in over 20 new state-of-the-art experiences in this new exhibition.

Annual Banner Changeover 2018, courtesy of the People's History Museum
Education 20 January 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annual Banner Changeover 2018 at the People’s History Museum

Explore the story of democracy through a special display of banners that were integral to the women’s suffrage movement, as well as other campaigns for representation at the People’s History Museum.

Families 6 February–31 December 2018, FREE

Lark Hill Place 1918 at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Investigate the brand new 1918 setting for atmospheric street installation Lark Hill Place, then let loose in Peel Park.

Families 5 May–28 October 2018, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank

Pack your bags for an adventure as you discover the incredible journeys made by the people of Quarry Bank in an interactive trail.

Education 11 September–13 November 2018, from £35

Baby Book Club: Autumn 2018 at The Bluecoat

The Bluecoat’s popular Baby Book Club returns with a course of 10 weekly sessions for parents and carers with babies aged from 3 to 12 months.

Exhibitions 16 September–4 November 2018, FREE

To Stop Her Mouth at Lyme

Until the 4th of November, the magnificent stately home at Lyme park will be filled with a newly commissioned sound installation recounting the scandalous events of Ellen Turner’s abduction and the subsequent trial.

Comedy 21 September–4 December 2018, from £8

Mum’s the Word Comedy Club at The Edge

See the best stand ups on the circuit without having to leave your baby at home.

Exhibitions 18–28 October 2018,

Distortions in Spacetime at the Science and Industry Museum

Step into a black hole in Marshmallow Laser Feast’s brand new groundbreaking experience.

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum - Distortions in Spacetime by Marshmallow Laser Feast
Exhibitions 18–28 October 2018, FREE

Manchester Science Festival 2018

Meet a real-life cyborg, immerse yourself in a black hole or one of 120 other events in 11 days … yes Manchester Science Festival is back.

Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

In this month’s top picks of Tours and Activities in Manchester, we are featuring the guides who take you into the darker underbelly of the city, as well as some of the more macabre activities.

Exhibitions and art in Manchester


Autumn is festival season in the visual art world. We preview some familiar favourites alongside a brand-new addition to the scene – brainchild of Manchester’s resident prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


For this month’s eclectic theatre guide we’ve hunted out exclusive dance events, durational performance and some hair-raising Halloween hijinks.


It’s October, and the cinemas of Manchester and the North are taking the opportunity to host all manner of spooky screenings.

Writer Eley Williams.


More spoken word nights are emerging to join our favourite regulars, there are lots of launches and one-offs and workshops and conferences and even walking tours, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for Manchester Literature Festival, the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and Chester Literature Festival.


This month’s music guide features cutting-edge jazz, joyous disco, and singular voices in rock.

Things to do right now

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