The summer holidays have arrived which means many of us are likely clambering to find ways to fill the time.

With that being said, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite spots across Manchester that will keep the whole family entertained, without spending a penny.

From free exhibitions and workshops to fun-filled days out…we’ve got you covered.

Summer discovery at the Science and Industry Museum

Between a brand new interactive installation exploring Manchester’s textiles heritage and the jaw-dropping Amazônia exhibition, the summer season’s diverse events slate at the Science and Industry Museum continues to provide families with memorable summer holidays without the four-hour airport queues — and a visit won’t cost you a penny.

Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP
Marvel at the John Rylands Library

The John Rylands library is one of Manchester’s most stunning and unique buildings, and spending a portion of your afternoon within its walls will leave you gasping at its beauty.

Opened to the public in 1900, the jaw-dropping neo-Gothic creation was originally founded by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her husband. These days visitors can look around inside for free.

150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH
Free family activities at Imperial War Museum North

Throughout summer and well into autumn, IWM North is hosting a wildly entertaining range of free family activities, from live performances and design studios to camouflage camps and adventure missions. There’s loads going on, so hit the button below to plan your visit.

The Quays, Trafford Wharf Rd, Trafford Park, Stretford, Manchester M17 1TZ
Summer Verse Novel Reading at Manchester Poetry Library

Aimed at 13-16-year-olds and running every Saturday through August from 1pm-3pm, Manchester Poetry Library’s drop-in Verse Novel Reading Group sessions are perfect for any young literature buffs. A verse novel is a fiction book written like poetry, with support from MMU student facilitators participants will read portions of the book together and share thoughts afterwards.

Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BG
People's History Museum's summer of creativity

People’s History Museum have unveiled their latest summer-long exhibition, Until It Looks Like This, alongside a brand new sculpture, The Manchester Argonaut, as part of its 2022/23 programme. Showcasing the work of twelve talented Venture Arts studio creators alongside the vibrant piece by Jason Wilsher-Mills, the exhibition forms part of PHM’s extensive two-year exploration of disabled people’s rights and activism.

Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER
Give disc golf a go

Fancy using the summer to try out a new hobby? Head to Stretford’s Longford Park for a free round of disc golf. With a full 18-hole course that’s always open and completely free to use, this is the ideal chance to uncover a hidden a talent.

Stretford, Manchester M32 8PR
Heaton Park Animal Centre

A tried and tested favourite, the Heaton Park Animal Centre is always a popular spot during the summer holidays. Kids can meet a range of farmyard animals including chickens, goats, pigs and turkeys, along with more exotic species like alpacas and peacocks. Friendly, knowledgeable staff will also be on-hand to answer any questions posed by curious minds.

Heaton Park, Manchester M25 2SW
Kids swim free

Under 17s can swim for free during any ‘Swim for All’ session at council-run centres during the school holidays, and at selected times at the weekends during term time. Centres include Arcadia, East Manchester, Hough End, Moss Side and North City. Bookings can be made via app, website or in-person. Hit the button below for more information on specific sessions at each centre.

Various locations
Take-off at Runway Visitor Park

Another long-time favourite, Manchester’s Runway Visitor Park is adjacent to the busy runways of Manchester Airport, making it the perfect viewing spot. Along with a playpark and picnic area, the park is also home to a collection of retired aircraft including the Concorde G-BOAC and a former RAF military spy plane.

Sunbank Ln, Altrincham WA15 8XQ
The BFG in Pictures at Grosvenor Museum

Quentin Blake is one of the most famous, beloved illustrators of all-time, much of which is owed to his work on a number of Roald Dahl’s books. Chester’s Grosvenor Museum celebrates arguably his most famous work, with a free exhibition of early and unknown BFG illustrations.

27 Grosvenor St, Cheshire, Chester CH1 2DD
Wander through the botanical gardens at Fletcher Moss Park

Fletcher Moss’ botanical gardens offer a gorgeous setting for any afternoon walk, and also boasts an incredible array of wildlife considering their proximity to the city centre. Visitors can usually catch glimpses of a variety of birds including wrens, tree-creepers, robins and blackbirds, along with summer migrants, mostly from Africa, that include chiff-chaffs, willow warblers, sand martins and swallows.

18 Stenner Ln, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2RQ
Free entry for Mancunians at the National Football Museum

Manchester residents can grab free entry to the National Football Museum this summer. Fittingly, the museum are currently celebrating the history of the women’s game, fresh from the Lionesses incredible victory at Euro 2022.

Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG
Mon 1 Aug - Wed 31 Aug
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Sat 6 Aug 2022