Manchester for families:
a suggested one-day itinerary
Rise and shine (emphasis on shine). Despite its sodden reputation, Manchester is actually less rainy than the UK on average, so with any luck, you’ve got a good day to look forward to. Once you’ve breakfasted in your hotel, head out into the centre of town to explore. If the weather holds, a leisurely stroll along the Rochdale Canal, which threads its way through central Manchester, is a lovely way to introduce kids to the city. If rain is in the forecast, however, then duck into the Museum of Science and Industry. One of many world-class museums that calls Manchester home, it has a range of family-friendly attractions, from a replica 19th-century steam engine to an Experiment gallery full of playful, hands-on exhibits. If your kids are budding football fans, they can also spend the morning in central Manchester’s National Football Museum and its fascinating Hall of Fame.
Before heading out beyond the centre of town, settle in for a hearty lunch. Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar & Restaurant, located in Manchester’s grade II-listed Corn Exchange, is ideal fare for younger visitors. Kids can make their own pizzas at the table, and grown-ups can nibble on antipasti like a bresaola, parmesan and rocket salad, followed by a plate of mushroom risotto with saffron. Once the whole family’s full up on carbs, embark on an active afternoon out. For younger visitors, the Legoland Discovery Centre (located just west of central Manchester in the huge Trafford Centre) has the makings of a thrilling outing, with rides, play zones, and even a 4D cinema. For those with older children, the nearby Jump Nation Trampoline Park is another way to burn off some excess energy. Picture: wall-to-wall trampolines, activities like Dunk Nation basketball challenge, and tumble tracks for budding acrobats.
Now matter how you spend your afternoon, wind down the day at the Trafford Centre, a colossal mall and entertainment centre that’s the second-largest of its kind in the UK. Stop for dinner at one of the many restaurants on-site (from Tampopo, which serves East Asian bites, to Gourmet Burger Kitchen) before catching a film at the Odeon: with 20 screens, it’s one of the busiest cinemas in the UK (and is bound to have films the whole family can agree on).