10 of the best family days out near Manchester

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Manchester family days out

10 of the best family days out near Manchester

Whether you fancy an active day out swinging through trees or a more sedate countryside adventure powered by steam, try these fun-packed days out for the whole family

1. See what it’s like inside an air raid shelter

Manchester Air Raid Shelters

Deep beneath Stockport town centre you’ll find a network of tunnels with an exceptional wartime story to tell. The Air Raid Shelters were originally designed to protect 3,850 people from bombing during the Second World War. They were soon expanded by digging further into the sandstone to create a one-mile complex that could accommodate 6,500 people – the biggest shelter of its kind in the country.

Today, visitors can tour the tunnels, hear the stories of the local people who sheltered in them and get an insight into life in wartime Britain. Check the website for family-friendly tours suitable for kids aged seven and upwards

2. Have a Ninjago adventure at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Manchester LEGOLAND

Immerse yourselves in the world of LEGO at this all-weather Manchester family attraction. Kids and grown-ups can have a go on three adventure-themed rides, get model building tips from LEGO experts and burn off steam through the ten build and play zones, including the new Ninjago City Adventure.

When you need a breather, sit back in the cinema for a 4D film experience. Space fans will be pleased to know there’s a new intergalactic mission zone launching at the Discovery Centre at Easter 2018. Book your tickets online to select your preferred entry time.

3. Be a rock star at the Rope Race Climbing Centre

Manchester Rope Climbing

If you or the kids have ever fancied rock climbing, then a taster session at Rock Race Climbing Centre is a great way to try it out. Family sessions run every Sunday and are designed for everyone, from those with no experience through to ‘rock stars’ wanting to take their skills to the next level.

Climbing is a fun group activity and brilliant exercise for adults and children alike. You’ll also be building tighter bonds as you learn how to climb safely together. All equipment is included in your session fee and proper rock boots can be hired for extra.

4. Make a new furry friend at the Donkey Sanctuary

Manchester 4 Donkey Sanctuary

Meet some adorable characters and find out about the important work they do at the charity-run Donkey Sanctuary just outside Manchester. The donkeys and mules aren’t just for petting, they also have a therapeutic role with children who have additional needs.

Visitors can find out the stories behind the rescued animals, see how they are cared for and find out how their placid nature has been making a difference to kids for more than 40 years.

5. Hit the slopes at Chill Factore

Manchester Snow Park at Chill Factore

If you love skiing, or even if you don’t, there’s plenty to keep family members of all ages entertained at Chill Factore. Tiny tots can explore the interactive Moose Hoose and get to grips with the cold stuff in the snow playground. For two- to three-year-olds there’s a mini donut ramp where they can whizz down the piste in an inflatable ring.

Kids aged four and up can have a go at sledging and downhill donuts, while families with older kids can fill a whole day with taster skiing and snowboard sessions, as well as plenty of slip ’n’ slide fun in the Snow Park.

6. Take a tour on the East Lancashire Railway

East Railway in Lancashire

All aboard for a ride through 12 miles of Greater Manchester’s historic landscape, from bustling industrial towns to chocolate-box villages and country parks.

The railway uses vintage steam and diesel locomotives to transport passengers along the Irwell Valley, stopping at seven stations along the way. Hop off at Bury for a look around the Transport Museum, with all kinds of restored vehicles and children’s workshops during the school holidays.

Older family members might enjoy stopping at some of the pubs and breweries along the track, too. Check the website for themed weekends sure to appeal to kids and adults alike.

7. Treetop Trek and Treetop Nets Manchester

Manchester Treetop Nets

Swing, leap and fly your way through Heaton Park at this tree top adventure suitable for kids as young as three. Children aged five and up can have a go on the mini trek course, which has 16 obstacles including three zip lines, while those aged seven and up can tackle the longer zip trek with more than double the number of aerial challenges.

From three-years-old, visitors can get the buzz of being up to 12m off the ground with the peace of mind that they are in a contained, netted environment. There are giant trampolines, walkways and slides to whizz down without the need for a harness. It’s perfect for first-time treetop adventurers.

8. Step back in time at Tatton Park

Manchester Tatton Park

Tatton Park’s house is a treasure trove of history with art, literature and furniture collections of national significance. The house was passed to the National Trust in a near complete state, so is the ideal place to delve into life during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Children can tour the house with a trail sheet, picking out interesting features and sharing the stories of the people who lived and worked there. But there’s more to Tatton Park than the historic mansion. It has 50 acres of garden and 1,000 acres of deer park to explore.

Young animal fans will also enjoy seeing cows being milked, feeding the chickens and exploring the play barn at the 1930s rare breeds farm. Don’t miss the fluffy new arrivals in spring-time!

9. Find an underwater world at SEA LIFE

Manchester SEA LIFE

Get nose-to-nose with some the most fearsome and fascinating creatures under the sea at SEA LIFE Manchester. There are 15 creature zones to explore, from the shark shipwreck to the seahorse nursery, and a new exhibition – Jurassic Ranger – looking at the prehistoric sea creatures.

You can find out more about the sharks, rays and turtles during talks held at the tanks throughout the day. Experience being part of a shoal of reef fish by walking through the ocean tunnel, and marvel at the smaller creatures to be found in the rock pool tank.

For marine biologists in the making, there’s a chance to book a VIP experience to hand-feed one of the turtles.

10. Runway Visitor Park

Manchester Runway Visitor Park

If jet engines and aviation heritage factor in your perfect family day out then head to the Runway Visitor Park at Manchester Airport. More than 600 aircraft take off from the runway each day and visitors can get an uninterrupted view from the Park’s raised viewing mounds.

Both inside and outside the hangars you can climb onboard planes with household names like British Airways Concorde and RAF Nimrod. On selected days a DC-10, Trident and Avro RJX are also open to inspect.