Things to do over May half-term

Creative Tourist

Looking for things to do with the family over the May half-term holiday? Things that are fun for both kids and adults, and maybe even — whisper it — educational? We’ve got you covered.

Honing in on Manchester but also looking to places like Liverpool and Leeds, here we we round up indoor and outdoor escapades for the whole family, taking in museum trips, children’s theatre, science shows and more. We’ve also included some free and low-cost activities, because thankfully there’s lots of affordable arts and cultural fun to be had in these parts.

And if the below isn’t enough, sign up to our newsletter for a weekly round-up of Manchester and the North’s best events.

Our top picks

Bees: A Story of Survival at World Museum Liverpool

Bees: A Story of Survival at World Museum Liverpool, Liverpool, Until 5 May 2025, from £0.00 - Book now

Both kids and grown-ups will get a lot out of this educational exhibition in Liverpool, which takes a closer look at the lives of bees and their vital role in human existence.

Bees: A Story of Survival at World Museum Liverpool
© Photo by Pete Carr - Render by Battlecat and Wolfgang Buttress Studios

The 100 Story Hotel at Z-arts

The 100 Story Hotel at Z-arts, Manchester, Until 31 July 2024, from £9.00 - Book now

Check into the 100 Story Hotel this half term! Walk through those doors and let Clive the Concierge take your bags. Yes, he is slightly hairy and has got very long claws, but what do you expect from a polar bear?

The 100 Story Hotel at Z-arts

Delhi House Cafe

Delhi House Cafe, Corn Exchange, Exchange Square, Manchester, M4 3TR - Visit now

When it comes to Indian food in Manchester, this is one of the greats. A lovely option for dinner before an evening theatre performance!

Delhi House Cafe

Preston: City Event Programme

Preston: City Event Programme, Until 28 September 2024, free entry - Visit now

Preston’s Caribbean Carnival is a perennial highlight in the city calendar and 2024 marks its 50th anniversary, with loads in store for families. There’s also a great (and free!) open-air jazz event a few days later. Read about both here.

Image of a stage with a band playing and a crowd of audience members stood and sat down.
Michael Porter Photography

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, Yorkshire, WF4 4LG - Visit now

Brighter days mean more outdoor adventures. Set over 500 acres, you’ll find art trails, scavenger hunts and all manner of family fun happening at this stunning open-air gallery over the hols.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Manchester Museum

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

A place of wonder packed full of incredible stories and family-friendly activities, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Manchester Museum.

Manchester Museum Tours at Manchester Museum

Eureka! Science + Discovery Merseyside

Eureka! Science + Discovery Merseyside, Victoria Pl, Seacombe, Wallasey, Merseyside, CH44 6QY - Visit now

Discover how Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics are a part of everyday life at the North’s newest children’s museum, sister of the much-loved Eureka!

Image courtesy of Eureka! Science + Discovery Merseyside.

Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, WA14 4SJ - Visit now

The perfect place to experience the first hints of warmer days. Whatever the weather, Dunham Massey in Altrincham takes our number one spot for a fun outdoorsy day out.

Dunham Massey
National Trust

People’s History Museum (PHM)

People’s History Museum (PHM), Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER - Visit now

There is always something stimulating and creative for big and little kids alike at this national museum of democracy. It’s never too early to learn about past struggles and that ‘there have always been ideas worth fighting for’.

People's History Museum Manchester
Image © People’s History Museum

World Museum Liverpool

World Museum Liverpool, William Brown Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 8EN - Visit now

Family-focused and hands-on, it’s all here at The World Museum with treasures from around the world, the bottom of the ocean and even outer space.

Exterior of World Museum Liverpool, home to Dino Ranger Day

Stately Homes in the North

Explore some of the North’s most stunning buildings and learn about the families that once lived there. Stroll through the picturesque grounds, take in the fresh air and let the kids run free.

Adventure Activities in the North

The North of England is home to the longest high wire bridge in Europe, over 1,000ft above the Honister Pass in Keswick, and one of the UK’s largest outdoor inflatable water assault courses near Sheffield. This part of the world, then, has no shortage of incredible adventure activities.

Treetop Adventure Manchester
Treetop Adventure Manchester.
Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.