Things to do at May half term

Creative Tourist

The school year is flying by, and as we move into the summer months, we’re already looking forward to the May half-term holiday. We’ve compiled some of the best activities taking place in Manchester and the North, both indoors and outdoors, so you can be sheltered in the rain and bask in the sun on those rare sunny days!

From steam train journeys with wizards and dinosaurs, to flying with dragons and running freely around the RHS Bridgewater Garden, here’s a selection of things to do and see in Manchester and the surrounding areas, including stately homes, museums, parks and children’s theatre shows.

For more family activity ideas for half term in Manchester, check out our guide to family things to do in Manchester and the North and also our guide to free family things to do in Manchester too.

Here are our picks

  • 1. 2022 Banner Exhibition at People’s History Museum

    People's History Museum

    2022 Banner Exhibition at People’s History Museum (PHM), City Centre, Until 8 January 2023, free entry - Visit now

    An important conversation starter and a brilliant day out – head to PHM to take a bold journey through the history of rights and equality.

  • 2. Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

    Fairy Tales at Z-arts, Manchester, Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00 - Book now

    Enchanting and packed with hands-on fun, step into your favourite fairy tales at Z-arts this Easter.

  • 3. Families at the National Football Museum

    families at the national history museum
    National Football Museum

    Families at the National Football Museum at National Football Museum, Cathedral Quarter, Until 1 December 2022 - Book now

    Here’s one for a rainy day… Visit the National Football Museum to explore the history of football, practice your football skills and learn everything there is to know about the world of football.

  • 4. 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. Take a look at the guide for our picks of Stately Home in the North.

  • 5. Eureka! The National Children’s Museum


    Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Discovery Road, Halifax, HX1 2NE - Visit now

    Step into a digital forest world full of hands-on fun and make shapes with interactive tech that responds to your every move. Whether it’s your first or seventeenth time at Eureka – there’s always something new to experience.

  • 6. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

    Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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

    Looking for a glorious day out with the family? Head to the beautiful Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield this half term, where you’ll find modern and contemporary sculptures situated in 500 acres of the 18th century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire.

  • 7. RHS Garden Bridgewater

    Image: Harris Bugg Studio

    RHS Garden Bridgewater, Occupation Road (Off Leigh Road), Worsley, Salford, Greater Manchester, M28 2GU - Visit now

    For a fabulous outdoorsy day out – head to RHS Bridgewater. Look for signs of spring as you explore the spectacular 154-acre garden.

  • 8. Goodtime Games

    goodtime games
    Goodtime Games

    Goodtime Games, 212 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2LW - Visit now

    A haven for those of us who love food and getting competitive over a board game, Goodtime Games is the latest arrival to Burton Road. Serving up delicious vegan and vegetarian food alongside a plethora of table top fun. 

  • 9. Leeds Art Gallery

    Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS1 3AA - Visit now

    Housing a world-class collection of 19th and 20th-century British art, an incredible Victorian Tiled Hall café and a perfectly formed lending library – there’s plenty to see here.

  • 10. World Museum Liverpool

    Exterior of World Museum Liverpool, home to Dino Ranger Day

    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.

  • 11. Breakfast in Manchester

    Federal Cafe Bar
    Image courtesy of Alabama's All American Eatery.

    Half-term is an egg-cellent time to start the day slowly and treat yourselves. Enjoy a breakfast out with your family at at some of our top-picked breakie and brunch places in Manchester.

  • 12. National Science and Media Museum

    National Science and Media Museum, Leeds
    National Science and Media Museum

    National Science and Media Museum, Princes Way, Bradford, BD1 1NQ - Visit now

    Explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies and their impact on our lives at The National Media Museum in Bradford – the first UNESCO City of Film.

  • 13. Dunham Massey

    Dunham Massey
    National Trust

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

    Whatever the weather, Dunham Massey in Altrincham takes our number one spot for a fun outdoorsy day out.

  • 14. Formby Beach

    By Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK (Formby beach) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Formby Beach, Victoria Rd, Formby, Liverpool, L37 1LJ - Visit now

    Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and run free in the fresh air. Keep your eyes peeled for those little red squirrels too.