A free museum which, in theory, sounds like heavy going for kids (it focuses on the lives of working people from the Industrial Revolution until now) but, in reality, is pleasingly hands-on and colourful. There is dressing up to be done, the opportunity to try to put boxes together at the same rate as a nineteenth-century child labourer, and an interactive family trail that ends with a free badge.
New Court Street, M3 3ER. www.phm.org.uk
All you need to do is go to the website below, download the PDF of the trail that takes your fancy, and take your kids on a fascinating journey around Manchester. It’s all self-guided, so no booking is required, and every clue provides a little window into the history of the city. It should take you 90 minutes to complete if you’ve got your thinking hats on and a magnifying glass in your pocket.
Start: Lower Byrom Street, M3 4FP. www.treasuretrails.co.uk
Let your kids pretend, just for a minute, that they are Paul Pogba sitting in the dressing room before a huge game at the Theatre Of Dreams. Let them be Marcus Rashford walking out of the players’ tunnel onto the stadium’s hallowed turf. Let them sit in Jose Mourinho’s seat in the dugout, before heading to the press room where the great man shares his thoughts after every home game. Let them sing ‘glory glory Man United’ all the way home in the car.
Stretford, M16 9DF. www.manutd.com
An absolute beast of a museum that is impossible to complete in just one visit. MOSI is a bonanza of shows, machinery demos and fancy dress, and plenty of opportunities for kids to conduct their own experiments and witness the magic of science. For some added fun, download the Treasure Hunters app before you go, then try to win all the Treasure Hunter badges.
Liverpool Road, M3 4FP. www.msimanchester.org.uk
Three floors and 21 rooms of pure unadulterated art. Kiddies will want to get themselves a Story Bag (contains: a story, some activities, a blanket) and an Explorer Tool Belt (contains: spot cards, binoculars, magnifying glasses), then visit the fully interactive Clore Art Studio and finally the Handling Trail, to get their mitts on bits of wood, glass, ceramic and metal that are specially designed to be poked about a bit. Works by Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites are on show for any grown-ups on a break.
Mosley Street, M2 3JL. www.manchesterartgallery.org