Half term is almost here which means an entire school-free week for the kids, but the big question is how to keep them entertained? If you’re stuck for ideas or in need of fresh inspiration for things to do with the kids in Manchester during the half term holidays, we’ve made things a little easier. We’ve rounded up some of the best things happening in Manchester which are suitable for kids and families, including some indoor activities in case the weather doesn’t deliver. So, without further ado here are the most thrilling things to do in Manchester with kids, which are bound to make this half term pretty memorable and enjoyable for all.
The best things to do with kids in Manchester this half term
1. Take on the challenge of NERF Action Xperience
Gear up for the ultimate NERF adventure at NERF Action Xperience in Trafford Palazzo. You have an hour to explore various immersive zones, including a skill-testing Training Ground, a heart-pounding sports arena and thrilling, thematic blaster arenas – this huge indoor venue is a haven for NERF enthusiasts of all ages! Once you’ve finished showing off your skills in the Training Ground, and blasting and outwitting your family and friends in the arenas, you can take grab a bite to eat at Archie’s.
2. Be bowled over at the Trafford Centre’s bowling venue, King Pins
Adding to the activity bar circuit in Manchester, but this time at the Trafford Centre, is King Pins with its flagship at Trafford Palazzo. The ‘crown jewels of bowling’ has a plethora of activities on offer including 15 lanes of Ten Pin bowling and four lanes of Duck Pin bowling (a shorter-laned, faster game of bowling, new to the UK), shuffleboard, ice free curling, air hockey, karaoke booths and arcade games galore for guests of all ages. It also features two independent food concessions, a full-service bar and its very own dessert kiosk.
3. Watch a stage adaptation of Fishing for Rainbows
Award-winning children’s writer Oliver Sykes is bringing a show inspired by his own family’s fishing escapades to Greater Manchester this February half term. Suitable for audiences aged five and up, the stage adaptation of Fishing For Rainbows tells the story of strong-minded siblings Kezia, Duke and Danior Boswell and will be performed at Urmston Library, Sale Library, The Met in Bury, Salford Arts Theatre and Oldham Library & Lifelong Learning Centre on various dates during half term. The story is how fishing became an important part of the kids’ childhood, as both an adventure-filled family day out and a way to put a cheap and nutritious meal on the table.
4. Get green-fingered at Dobbies’ free workshop in Altrincham
Families can take part in a free February holiday workshop at Dobbies Altrincham, keeping children aged 4-10 years busy during the half term. The fun-fuelled workshop is centred around Random Acts of Kindness, which takes place on February 17, encouraging everyone to be extra kind to one another and go above and beyond to brighten someone’s day. Dobbies will be showcasing all the different ways children can care for the planet – from making a bug hotel, feeding birds or planting pollinating flowers to help bumblebees thrive to picking up litter or making compost.
5. Escape to an immersive world at DNA VR
Providing a unique entertainment experience, DNA VR allows visitors to dive into unimaginable virtual worlds spanning horror, fantasy and music. From surviving a zombie apocalypse, to traveling to the pyramids in Egypt or fighting off dragons, DNA VR has a game for everyone whether it be one from their arcade or free-roam sessions. At DNA VR in Manchester visitors can solve an escape room, explore the depths of the deep blue ocean or even save the Earth from an intergalactic disaster. Arcade sessions are suitable for kids over seven and free-roam sessions are available for kids over 12 years old.
6. Get on board the East Lancashire Railway for a fun-filled train ride
See the nearby countryside in style by hopping on board on a East Lancashire Railway steam train, which runs from Bury to Rawtenstall. Over the holidays the railway will be hosting a number of fun events and experiences to keep all of the family entertained. For the little ones who are taking a break from school there are visits from famous characters to look forward to, including Bluey and Bingo. East Lancashire Railway will also be hosting The Dino Adventure, a day out with some wacky wizards and a traditional luncheon.
7. See adorable donkeys up close at The Donkey Sanctuary
In search of free things to do with the kids in Manchester? Look no further than The Donkey Sanctuary in Abbey Hey. Both a great cause and a chance to see cute donkeys up close, it’s great way for kids to enjoy the outdoors and interact with animals. Visitors will have the chance to see the different areas in which the donkeys live, learn about how we care for them, discover the dynamics of the herd and get answers to all questions that they may have about our donkeys. The Donkey Sanctuary is free and can be booked online, however donations are welcomed.
8. Cosy up at Ducie Street Warehouse’s Mini Cini
Get out of the house and step into Ducie Street for their half-term screenings in the Mini-Cini. It’s a cosy haven to bring your family together and perfect for hiding away from the cold February weather. The Mini Cini will be screening classic family films including Toy Story (1995), Coco (2017), The Incredibles (2004), and Peter Rabbit (2018).
9. Get behind the wheel at the UK’s first live action go-karting video game experience
Offering a new way to hit the pedal to the metal is Chaos Karts, an all new attraction which combines real-life racing with augmented reality in Manchester. And this is definitely one of the top things to do in Manchester if you’re looking to squeeze something in before the kids go back to school. The UK’s first live action video game experience throws players into a virtual world, living inside a real-life video game to race-battle their friends, family and rivals. With no physical obstacles on the track and anti-collision technology, helmets and driving suits are not required to create a fun-fuelled experience for everyone aged 11 and above.
10. Discover the spookiest parts of the city with this ghost exploration tour
I ain’t afraid of no ghost! If you’re looking for a touch of the heebie-jeebies then this Manchester ghost tour is for you. Mixing a fictional storyline with real elements of folklore and local history, this outdoor game and walking tour will take you on unique and unusual adventures where you’re guaranteed to see Manchester in a whole new light. You will be guided to some of the most frightful places in the city, following step-by-step instructions in order to solve clues. Dare you go on this tour?
11. Play in the name of science at one of the region’s much-loved museums
From February 10 to 25, the Science and Industry Museum is inviting visitors of all ages to explore how play is the key to scientific innovation during a series of special events, including playful pop-ups, world-premiere experiences and gaming extravaganzas. The fun continues in Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You where visitors can go on a fun-filled journey through the digestive system, and Power Up, the ultimate gaming experience where visitors can play their way through five decades of computer games.
12. Reach for the stars at one of Manchester’s many rock climbing walls
If you and the kids are looking for a challenge right here in Manchester, then rock climbing or bouldering is one of the top things to do. Push yourself to new heights (quite literally) as Manchester has plenty of indoor climbing and bouldering spots, whether you’re a rock climbing rookie or a seasoned climber. From Stretford to Stockport, Bolton to Oldham, there are many venues which are suitable for kids and some even have cafes offering light refreshments or a place to watch the youngsters scale some walls from afar.
Manchester restaurants where kids can eat free this half term
The Real Greek
Indulge in The Real Greek’s kids eat free offer this February half term, available from February 11 to 25. For every adult that spends £10, you can get a complimentary kids meal, complete with a drink and dessert for children under 12.
Take the pressure off family weekday dinners and give the kids something to smile about this school holiday at YO! From February 12 to 23, kids can enjoy a free kids meal deal bento box all day when dining with a full-paying adult (minimum £10 spend).
Ducie Street Warehouse
Kids eat free is available on Monday to Thursday from February 16 to 26. Valid for children aged 10 and under, with a paying adult meal.