Manchester’s Best Kept Half Term Activity Secrets: 15 Activities That Will Blow Your Mind (2024)!

As half term approaches, families in Manchester face a familiar challenge – how to survive a whole week (or two) with the kids off school?! I’m joking, but if you’re anything like us, by the Tuesday, you’re probably wondering what else you can do with the kids to keep them reaching for the playstation, or binging on Netflix. But what are the best half term activities Manchester?

We know that combing through endless event listings is the last thing on your mind. In fact it’s the reason why we wanted to establish this site!. The worry of missing that one unforgettable event or not discovering Manchester’s hidden treasures can unnecessarily complicate your holiday plans.

But What Are the Best Half Term Activities Manchester

But worry no more!

LetsGoManchester.com has got you covered. We’ve put together an ever-updating list of the best family-friendly events throughout Manchester. From interactive workshops to awe-inspiring shows and outdoor adventures, we ensure you’re in the know about the city’s finest half term activities for children. The best part? Our list is always up-to-date, making sure you won’t miss a thing.

Take Wet Weather Inspiration from My Mini Maker

Where: In your own home

My Mini Maker Butterfly Sensory Kit

When: Whenever you want to get the kids away from the screens!

Cost: Kits range in price between £10 and £25, but we have secured an exclusive time limited offer of 30% off your first order

What: Yes, we live in Manchester and we live in England. We know the weather is probably going to be terrible! If you’re like us, you will be desperate to reduce your kids’ screen time this (probably) wet and miserable half term holiday.

Well, enter My Mini Maker – a family run business providing sensory and activity educational kits for children between the ages of 3 and 8. Our kids (and secretly us) love playing along with this all inclusive, hassle free (and relatively messy free kits).

Go Ape At Delmare Forest

Where: Delamere Forest, located about 20mins drive from Chester

When: Saturday – Thursday 10am – 1pm

Cost: From £20 to approx £35 for the treetop challenge and £38 pound for the segway challenge

What: This February half term, Delamere Forest in Cheshire offers a range of outdoor adventures at Go Ape, suitable for all ages. Young adventurers over 1m tall can enjoy the Treetop Adventure, while those over 1.2m and aged 6+ can take on the Treetop Adventure Plus for more thrilling crossings.

The Treetop Challenge caters to older children, teens, and adults, providing breathtaking views from 12 metres up. Although the Forest Segway experiences are on hold until spring, the forest itself remains a prime destination. Delamere Forest, Cheshire’s largest woodland, features unique natural sights like a ‘quaking bog’ and Blakemere Moss.

Visitors can engage in biking, walking trails, and Gruffalo Orienteering. Facilities include bike hire, a café, and ample parking (charges apply). With adventures starting from £20 and varying in challenge levels, Go Ape Delamere Forest promises an unforgettable day out filled with exploration and excitement.

Plus, take advantage of our exclusive and time limited special offer to grab 15% off when you book a Treetop Challenge. All you need to do is enter FAMILY15 at checkout.

Take a Stroll Along Our Industrial Heritage

Where: Any of the canals spanning the city however one of our most favourite walks is at Pott Shrigley on the Macclesfield Canal.

half term activities manchester

When: 24/7

Cost: Free

What: Rather cringingly, Manchester is often referred to as the Venice of the North, and as much as we love our home time, whilst it’s got a lot of waterways, we don’t quite many other similarities. However, there are miles and miles of canal to explore.

They’re naturally pretty easy walking, as the canals themselves are fairly flat, although they can have relatively steep steps up or down to the canal. They cover a range of scenery, sights and sounds ranging from the industrial heartlands of the city centre through to wooded gorges and open fields. Take your pick and share your finds with us!

Top Tip: Get out when the sun shines and soak up the suns reflections off the water!

Discover Mr Darcy at Lyme Park’s Gardens

Where: Lyme Park Gardens

Cost: Free if you’re a National Trust Member, although non-members will have to pay

What: Did you know that Lyme Park gardens and exterior were the setting for the BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation from the mid-90s. Think Colin Firth and a wet white shirt!

Tucked away in Disley on the edges of Stockport, Lyme Park is a great day out for all the family. Lovely grounds, a beautiful house, fantastic play areas and acres of parkland to go strolling and looking for deer.

Top Tip: Especially if the weather is good, make sure to get there early as entrance to the grounds and parking can back up onto the A6!

Go In Search of Harry Styles

Where: Great Budworth, Cheshire

half term activities Manchester

Cost: Free

What: Until recently, the photographic, filmographic and generally picture postcard village of Great Budworth a few miles from Northwich was the home of Harry Styles – see if he’s returned and get your snap on Insta! Not only that but Great Budworth has everything you need for the whole family: Ice Cream Farm, Check; delightful pub, check; country parks and lakes; check!

We love getting out here on a sunny day and if you’re there toward the end of the half term week, be prepared for some stunning wedding photography opportunities!

Top Tip: Be sure to eat in the George and Dragon followed by a walk through Marbury Country Park and Budworth Mere!

Eat Ice Cream from our Top Pick

Where: The Real Fruit Creamery, Knutsford

Cost: Last time we visited in 2023 one scoop of ice cream was about £3.95

What: All kids love ice cream! And we feel the Real Fruit Creamery serves the best ice cream. We also love that they will do a kids size scoop, but let them have two flavours (make sure you ask) – letting the kids enjoy multiple flavours without a huge portion, or costing a fortune!

Top Tip: They are routinely changing the flavours, however if they have it, go for Black Cherry or the Amalfi Lemon and Clotted Cream! They’re simply divine!

Discover Eureka! The National Childrens Museum

Where: Eureka! Halifax, West Yorkshire

Cost: Tickets for the day cost around £60 for a family of four, however once you’ve visited you have free entrance for a year!

What: For those looking for something a little further afield (Halifax takes about 70mins to get to from Manchester) Eureka is a great option. Some of the exhibits feel a little dated and show wear, but the kids loved it! It’s easy to while away the whole day at the museum.

If you want to stay longer, we stayed at the Dean Clough Travelodge which was perfect for our needs and ate at the Long Can Hall – a tudor pub on the outskirts of the town!

Top Tip: If you can extend your stay do, make sure you check out the Piece Hall which is just a few minutes from Eureka! as well as Hebden Bridge! You won’t regret it!

Venture into The Play Factore This Half Term

Where: The Discovery Centre, Trafford Park

Cost: Entrance for a 5 – 16yo is £15.95 and you’ll need to book online!

What: When it comes to our pick of half term activities Manchester, if you want to get the adrenalin pumping for your kids (and you) then head to the Play Factore. This is a soft play centre, meets the new BBC Gladiator arena! It’s thrilling for kids, and terrifying for adults. Be sure to check out our recent review, however if you have slightly less adventurous kids, then this may not be the play centre for you!

However, if could let you bribe your way to a sneaky couple of hours at the Trafford Centre afterwards!

Top Tip: If possible, get their first thing, and avoid really wet weather days, to try to limit how busy it is!

Shop Local: Head to Giddy Goat Toys

Where: Didsbury

Cost: Free entrance, but obviously not for the toys

What: We love independent shops. And Giddy Goat Toys is one of the best when it comes to toy shops in Manchester. Situated in the heat of Didsbury village, there are some great educational and imaginative toys for kids of all ages. If you’ve never been, Didsbury is a great ‘destination village’ to head to, with great cafes and French bakeries, parks and playgrounds as well as a range of other independent shops.

Top Tip: Combine a visit to Giddy Goat Goy with a cake from La Chouquette, a walk in Fletcher Moss Gardens, one of the best flapjacks from Flapjackery and a play in Didsbury Park. There’s also plenty of on street parking to keep costs down for a great and fun half term activities Manchester.

Take In a Magic Display at The Lowry

Where: The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays

Cost: Tickets available from £16:50

When: Sunday 18 February 2024 2pm

What: Morgan & West, renowned for their engaging and entertaining magic shows, are set to dazzle Manchester this half term with their latest offering, a family-friendly extravaganza designed for both children and adults.

Known for their appearances on shows like CBBC’s “The Slammer” and fooling magicians Penn & Teller on ITV/CW Network, the duo brings a mix of humour, fantasy, and magic that appeals to audiences ranging from five to 105 years old.

This new show promises an hour of non-stop fun, featuring a blend of whimsical magic tricks, hilarious antics, and their signature playful charm. Building on their previous successes, including “Unbelievable Science” and “The Great Big Christmas Magic Show”, Morgan & West continue to captivate audiences with their unique blend of magic and comedy, making their show a must-see event this half term in Manchester.

Get Green Fingered at RHS Bridgewater

Where: RHS Bridgewater, Worsley, Manchester

Cost: free to RHS members and children under 5. Most activities are included with garden admission but some have a small fee

When: Throughout February 2024

What: Get green fingered with these half term activities and enjoy an exciting February half term at RHS Garden Bridgewater with a range of family-friendly activities. The garden opens daily from 10am to 4pm between 10th and 25th February 2024. Activities are suitable for various ages, and garden admission is required (free for RHS members and children under 5).

Great Garden Adventure

  • Date: Friday 23 February
  • Times: 11am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm (45 mins each)
  • Location: Meet at The Welcome Building
  • Details: An adventurous exploration designed for young explorers, suitable for ages 3-6 accompanied by an adult. Additional cost of £2.50 per child, booking required.

Cup of Soup Planting Sessions

  • Dates and Times:
  • Monday 12 February: 12.30pm – 3pm
  • Friday 16 February: 11am – 1.30pm
  • Monday 19 February: 12.30pm – 3pm
  • Location: In the marquee
  • Details: Engaging planting sessions for ages 5 and up, with adult supervision.

Matchbox Cress Houses

  • Dates and Times:
  • Wednesday 14 February: 12.30pm – 3pm
  • Thursday 15 February: 11am – 1.30pm
  • Location: In the marquee
  • Details: Create a matchbox house with a cress garden, suitable for ages 4 and up, with adult supervision.

Card Windowsill Gardens

  • Dates and Times:
  • Wednesday 21 February: 12.30pm – 3pm
  • Thursday 22 February: 11am – 1.30pm
  • Location: In the marquee
  • Details: Craft your own card garden with a variety of plants, suitable for ages 4 and up, with adult supervision.

Storytelling with Colour the Clouds

  • Dates: Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 February
  • Times: 30-minute sessions at 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm
  • Location: In the marquee
  • Details: Engaging storytelling sessions for ages 3 and up, accompanied by an adult. Booking available on the day.

Head to Poynton for a Slice of Paris

Where: Clumber Road, Poynton

half term activities manchester

Cost: A couple of pounds per pastry and cake

What: Discover La Chouquette, a French bakery that has recently opened in Poynton on the edges of Stockport following its successful first launch in Didsbury in December 2020. Providing both great sweet and savoury options, you will not find yourself spoilt for choice!

Top Tip: Combine it with a visit to nearby Lyme Park or head to the Macclesfield Canal for a walk near Pott Shrigley.

Go Underground this Half Term Holiday in the Hope Valley

Where: Castleton and the Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Cost: variable depending upon which cave you go to and if you book in advance or on the day

What: Discover a series of underground caves near Castleton in the Hope Valley. Our pick has to be Blue John Cavern – although the entrance and exit can be tricky for small legs – our son who was four at the time, only just managed it (and I wouldn’t fancy carrying him), but Speedwell Cavern is very good too.

Top tip: parking is at a premium when it comes to availability around the valley, so be sure to get there early in the day, to make sure you can get parked.

Chinese New Year 2024 Celebrations in Manchester

Where: Manchester City Centre

Cost: Free

When: 10 – 11 February 2024

What: This event presents a perfect opportunity for families to immerse themselves in a different culture, enjoy delicious food, and experience the joy and community spirit of Chinese New Year in Manchester.

Manchester is set to host one of the UK’s grandest celebrations for Chinese New Year 2024, marking the Year of the Wood Dragon. The festivities are scheduled for the weekend of Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11, offering a vibrant and culturally rich experience for families.

Main Attractions

  • City Centre Dragon Parade: A highlight of the event, this parade brings the streets to life with the traditional dragon dance, symbolizing good luck and prosperity.
  • Street Food and Exhibitions: The celebration includes an array of street food stalls, offering a taste of authentic Chinese cuisine, and exhibitions showcasing Chinese culture and traditions.
  • Red Lanterns Display: Key areas in Manchester, including St Ann’s Square, Market Street, and Albert Square, will be adorned with hundreds of red lanterns, creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere.

Head to Kenyon Hall Farm for a Winter Welly Walk

Where: Kenyon Hall, Winwick Lane, Croft, Warrington, WA3 7ED

Cost: Free – although they do ask you to buy a drink or flapjack from the cafe!

When: Open every day throughout January and February

What: When it comes to local pick your own fruit farms, Kenyon Hall Farm is one of our favourites. However, not just a destination for the summer months, the farm has activities throughout the year and this February half term, why not try a ‘winter welly walk’?

Ready to explore? There’s no need to book in advance. Head down any time from 9am, with last entry at 4pm. This flexible schedule ensures that you can make the most of your day, whether you’re an early bird or prefer a leisurely start.

With activities for kids, pet-friendly paths, and routes accessible to all, it’s the perfect way to spend a day outdoors.

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  • Richard

    Hi! I’m Rich, co-founder and writer behind Lets Go Manchester. I grew up in Bournemouth but have been living up here for almost 10 years. I now find myself exploring Manchester and the surrounding counties with my amazing wife and two gorgeous kids.

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