Gwen Riley Jones

Father’s Day in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

This year’s Father’s Day is Sunday 19 June, just two days before the official longest day of the year. That means lots more hours of daylight with your dear old dad so why not make it something to remember? Last year and the year before were wash-outs, for obvious reasons, so this is the time to do something special.

And it doesn’t have to be expensive, we have some pocket-friendly options below, depending on what pops is a fan of. The great outdoors? We’ve got you covered. Football? Tick. Cinephile? Check out our expert list of films, taking in everything from chin-stroking arthouse fare to blockbuster smashes (no, not that Blockbuster).

Food and drink treats are always a winner, so we’ve picked out some of the best father-friendly restaurants and pubs and events to explore this late-June weekend. The weather has been… unimpressive lately, but we’re sure the heavens are just holding back the good stuff as a treat for our good old dads.

And Father’s Day isn’t just another made-up gimmick to sell products and greeting cards, it actually dates back to the Middle Ages, so show some respect for papa and treat him to something nice. We all know dads are difficult to buy for – how many JFK documentaries can one man watch? – so an experience-led gift is the way forward, whether that be a nice meal or a high-octane day out with the family.

Here are our picks

  • 1. National Football Museum

    The National Football Museum Manchester
    Image courtesy of National Football Museum

    National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3BG - Visit now

    Red or blue or some obscure shade of colour that the mainstream press don’t much care for, there’s something for all footy-loving dads at the world’s biggest football museum.

  • 2. Three Little Words

    Three Little Words
    Three Little Words

    Three Little Words, 12-13 Watson St, Manchester, M3 4LP - Visit now

    Treat your dad to one of the greatest Sunday roasts in Manchester. Plus, if you’re one of the first hundred visitors, your dear old dad will get a free rum drink. What’s not to love?

  • 3. Bundobust Manchester

    Bundobust Manchester
    Ian Jones

    Bundobust Manchester, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AG - Visit now

    If you have a socially-conscious dad (and if so, fair play), we recommend veggie-heaven: Bundobust. The tapas-style curry menu is divine, and the absence of proper plates or cutlery will leave him feeling truly at one with the earth.

  • 4. Canoeing and Kayaking on the Mersey

    Venture Out Canoeing

    Canoeing and Kayaking on the Mersey, Until 30 September 2022, from £25.00 - Book now

    Active dad? Take him out on the river for a fun-packed ride through some of the North’s best scenery – just a short trip outside of Manchester city centre.

  • 5. Outdoor Art in the North

    A great one if your dad’s got a penchant for both art and the great outdoors. The North is home to more than its fair share of iconic outdoor artworks – discover the best of them here.

  • 6. Whistle Punks Axe Throwing

    Whistle Punks Axe Throwing, Unit 20, Atrium level, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, , Manchester , Lancashire, M3 4EN - Visit now

    Every dad secretly thinks they could live off the land, fishing and chopping wood and training up an army of wolves to protect the family homestead. It’s abject nonsense, of course, most dads can’t even use the TV remote correctly but humour the old bloke. Test his axe skills over at Great Northern and be a good sport, let him win at least once.

  • 7. One Man, Two Guvnors

    One Man, Two Guvnors
    Image courtesy of Pamela Raith Photography.

    One Man, Two Guvnors, Until 3 September 2022, from £15.00 - Book now

    The hilarious, smash-hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors explodes into the North West this summer in a brand-new production. On Father’s Day it will be playing in the Bolton Octagon’s in-the-round space – well worth a trip with your old man.

  • 8. Kunichika: Japanese Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight

    © National Museums Liverpool, courtesy of Frank Milner

    Kunichika: Japanese Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Until 4 September 2022, free entry - Visit now

    If your dad prefers traditional rather than contemporary art, Kunichika: Japanese Prints is a treat. It’s designed for both lovers of the art of Japanese print and visitors who are new to the technique and style, featuring 50 of the master printmaker’s pieces.

  • 9. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the North

    World Heritage Sites tell the story of this country’s unique contribution to the world. More than playing its part in that story, the North is home to many natural, cultural, historical and scientific Sites of international interest, and they’re right on your doorstep! Pick one or two from our guide and take your dad on a trip to remember.

  • 10. Hawksmoor

    Hawksmoor, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3WB - Visit now

    If your dad loves meat then he’ll love Hawksmoor. They have a well-deserved reputation as being the finest purveyors of steak in Manchester and beyond.

  • 11. Breakout Manchester

    breakout manchester
    Photo by Gnist Design from Pexels

    Breakout Manchester, 36 High Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1QB - Visit now

    Put your dad’s survival skills to the test by challenging him to a session at Breakout Manchester. Perfect for those who are into high concept, cryptically minded thrill-seeking.

  • 12. Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in Cumbria
    Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Rayrigg Road, Windermere,, Cumbria, LA231BN - Visit now

    All dads like boats, right? What better than a brand-new museum dedicated to the simple, timeless pleasure of boating on the banks of one of England’s largest and most picturesque lakes? You could even go for a hearty walk after and pretend to let him to be in charge of the map.

  • 13. Pubs in Manchester

    Britons Protection entrance.
    Image courtesy of Briton's Protection

    It’s a good bet that the majority of dads like a pint, or just like kicking back in a pub reading the paper. Do your duty and join him at one of these top-tier establishments.

  • 14. Cinema

    Take your dear old dad out to one of the many excellent cinemas dotted around the North and take in a big-screen experience that he’ll waffle on about for years.

  • 15. Breakfast in Manchester

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

    Top tip: if you see your dad early in the morning, you get the rest of the day to do something fun – fill up on high-energy grub then get out and get active.

  • 16. Record Shops in Manchester

    Record Store Day
    Image courtesy of Piccadilly Records.

    Whether it will actually ever touch a needle or not is irrelevant, let your dad relive the youthful joy of unwrapping a fresh slab of vinyl.

  • 17. Rapha Clubhouse Manchester

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester
    Courtesy of Rapha

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester, 5 St Ann’s Passage, Manchester, M2 6AD - Visit now

    Cycling culture in Britain has exploded over the last decade or so, with dads the least able to resist the allure of the Lycra. Your average man having a midlife crisis is far more likely to be found comparing the weight of the forks on his carbon fibre road bike than he is thumbing the pages of a Mazda MX-5 sales manual. This is (mostly) a good thing and should be encouraged. Stop by Manchester’s Rapha Clubhouse and make sure he’s kitted out in the most stylish finery for those gruelling hill climbs.

  • 18. Utility Gift Shop

    Utility Gift Shop
    Utility Retail Ltd

    Utility Gift Shop, 128 Oxford Road, University Green, Manchester, M139GP - Visit now

    Utility Gift Shop on Oxford Road is all about products that are new, unique, quirky and cool… Just like your dad! We recommend the Kinto Travel Mug, Vitra Toolbox and Rains Wash Bag. Check out our guide to independent shops in Manchester for more ideas.

  • 19. Bookshops in Manchester

    UNITOM bookshop
    UNITOM bookshop

    Give it a heartfelt, handwritten inscription and you can’t go wrong with a book. It’s also a great excuse to spend an afternoon sifting through some of Manchester’s best independent bookshops, if ever you needed one.

Things to do right now

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The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Childrens Until 29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Activity Until 30 August 2022, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members) £1.50 for trail

The Lost Words at Quarry Bank

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Great Northern Sandpit
Families Until 31 August 2022, FREE

The Great Northern Sandpit

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £0.00

Tours in Chester