12 Indoor Things to Do With Kids in Manchester

Why not try indoor skiing in Manchester?
Why not try indoor skiing in Manchester? | © Andrew Barker / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Lavelle
5 October 2020

Whether you’re looking for something new to try during half term or it’s your family’s first time visiting the city, there’s a huge choice in Manchester for keeping both kids and adults entertained. With everything from museums and behind-the-scenes tours to go-karting and skate parks, there’s an activity for every interest. To help with your decision, we’ve put together 12 of the best things to do with kids, come rain or shine, the next time you’re in Manchester.

Legoland Discovery Centre

Amusement Park
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Whether your child is a budding builder or simply likes to be creative, Legoland Discovery Centre is the perfect place for them to spend the day. Outgoing kids will love the karaoke room, while smaller children can play in the Duplo farm; there’s fun for the whole family in the 4D cinema. Don’t miss Miniland, where Manchester’s iconic landmarks have been faithfully recreated entirely out of Lego. The Discovery Centre also features lessons by their resident master builders, inspiring your younger ones to start thinking outside the blocks.

Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)

Museum
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England, Manchester, Museum of Science and Industry aka MOSI
© Steve Vidler / Alamy Stock Photo
A far cry from stuffy old museums, the Museum of Science and Industry presents Manchester’s important industrial history, demonstrating, with fun, colourful displays and interactive exhibitions all the ways in which the city has invigorated science and technology. Children will love playing with the experiments upstairs and exploring the halls filled with steam engines and planes. Don’t be surprised if they have learned something by the end of your visit, too.

SEA LIFE Manchester

Aquarium
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If you’re going to be visiting Legoland, be aware that Manchester’s SEA LIFE centre is located right next door and a joint ticket can be purchased for both destinations. You can roam the centre, walking through tunnels of exotic fish and coming face to face with sharks and stingrays; your kids can also have a go at diving in the immersive sea trek experience. Anyone can participate in this fantastic activity (the only one of its kind in Europe), wearing a special breath-easy helmet and a wetsuit to ensure that they are safe and comfortable during the ten-minute dive into the deep.

Chill Factore

Sports Center, Ski Resort
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There’s fun for the entire family at Chill Factore, an indoor Alpine ski village that offers the chance for you and the family to try your hand at skiing or snowboarding without having to find a mountain. Those who have a little experience can spend a day skiing down the UK’s longest indoor slope with real snow, while newcomers can enrol on lessons on the centre’s nursery slopes. If you don’t fancy skiing but still want to play in the snow, there’s the opportunity to go sledging or snow tubing, as well as a snow-covered play area for younger children.

CBBC tour at Media City

Architectural Landmark
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Young children will love this glimpse behind the scenes at CBBC, meeting their favourite characters and seeing how their favourite programmes are made. Based in Media City, the interactive tour takes an hour and a half but will fill your child’s imagination for the rest of the day as they’re given the opportunity to present their own show, report the news or even deliver the weather forecast. Make sure you book in advance as the tours are extremely popular, especially during school holidays.

Paradise Island Adventure Golf

Sports Center
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If you’re out for the day in the Trafford Centre, why not surprise the little ones with an afternoon playing indoor crazy golf at Paradise Island? The two wacky and colourful 18-hole courses can be tackled at your own speed, and are perfect for kids for whom this might be their first golfing experience. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, the Tiki Hut and Temple Ruins adventures will spark your kids’ imaginations while also providing a fun environment where they can get to grips with a new sport.

Bounce Central UK

Sports Center
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Unleash your child’s energy at Bounce Central, where they can spend a couple of hours leaping around in the huge trampoline arena. Over 90 trampolines have been connected together to create one giant area for kids to bounce around on, with basketball lanes and trampolines designed for running and jumping. Kids will also love the huge airbag that they can launch themselves on, before picking themselves up and going again. Children’s parties and weekend nights aimed at teenagers are also available.

Daytona Karting

Sports Center
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Kids as young as five can get their first experience behind the wheel at Daytona Manchester, thanks to the Bambino Experience, which provides training for younger children aimed at getting them ready to control the go-karts all on their own. Kids must complete two 30-minute sessions before being unleashed on the junior circuit. Older children aged eight to 15 can enjoy birthday parties, race school and 15-minute bursts around the track to hone their skills and attempt to beat their friends’ lap times.

Bean and Brush Family Art Café

Building
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Just a short drive out of the city centre in the nearby town of Sale, the Bean and Brush Family Art Café is an ideal place to get the little ones’ creative juices flowing. The tables in the café are covered with plenty of arts and crafts materials, with painting, clay sculpting and modelling just a few things to get stuck into. It’s also a fully functioning café with an extensive menu to cater for the whole family: the perfect destination for a rainy day in the city.

Depot Climbing Centre

Sports Center
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Manchester, UK. 22nd Mar, 2016. Climbers using the facilities at ?The Depot? indoor bouldering centre in Manchester UK. According to Sport England, the popularity of indoor climbing is increasing and has now overtaken its traditional outdoor counterpart:
© Michael Buddle / Alamy Stock Photo

Looking for somewhere for the kids to burn off some energy? The Depot Climbing Centre is the perfect place for them to clamber to their heart’s content. With walls available for all skills levels and ages, as well as special classes aimed at kids, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. With climbing proving to be an excellent way for kids to get their exercise and with reasonably priced memberships on offer here, the Depot is definitely worth repeat visits.

Virtual Hideout

Amusement Park
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The Virtual Hideout in central Manchester is one of the newer attractions for kids in the city. Offering its guests a unique virtual experience, this VR and gaming hub will be top of many families’ wish lists. With a wide array of adventures on offer, from sci-fi shooters to escape rooms, and from horror survival to family fun, there’s a VR adventure to suit every taste. If it’s your first time delving into VR, there’s a helpful beginners’ session available to get first-time users up to speed when plugging into the Matrix.

Projekts Manchester

Skate Park
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Based underneath the Mancunian Way flyover, Projekts SkatePark is a hub for boarders. The park itself caters to a mixture of different skate styles with street, transition and flat ground all featured. Housed in the park itself is also Projekts independent café, offering some of the best coffee in the city and a perfect place to take a break while the kids take to the ramps. First time on a board? Projekts has a team of experts that offer lessons for all age ranges, with board, helmet and knee pads all provided.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham

These recommendations were updated on October 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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