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Activity ideas please in Manchester late July for 2 year old (and 3 month old!)

(14 Posts)
mrscactus Mon 18-May-09 19:33:36

My DH will be entertaining our 2 DSs in Manchester in late July while I'm on a residential course for a week. It's right in the centre of town where we'll be staying, but he will have a car with him.
He did this last year - but there was only 1 DS then and he wasn't nearly as active when he was 1 year and 3 months. A year on things are a bit different!
The other DS will be 3 months old, so will be in the sling/buggy.
We're not local so does anyone please have any recommendations for where would be good for them to go?
Also if we try to go swimming somewhen - (I might get a free afternoon) which are the good child friendly pools - and where are they?!

Clayhead Mon 18-May-09 19:47:06

Tatton Park

Dunham Massey

Lyme Park

The museums and art galleries often have decent activities on too and lots of these are central.

Sorry, don't know about pools!

dizzymac Mon 18-May-09 19:56:30

Heaton Park is supposed to be nice and is only a tram ride from the centre

barleycorn Mon 18-May-09 20:05:44

My 2 yo likes the museum of science & industry - it's got a good child friendly cafe too. The Manchester museum is good - stuffed animals, a live tomato frog, lizards & a play area for reading/ scribbling (not on the books clearly).
My friend takes her dd swimming at the aquatic centre & says it's great, presume they have kiddies sessions but not sure.
Heaton Park , definitely worth a trip & the dc get the excitement of tram travel. You can go to Salford Quays on the tram too, to feed the swans & have ice cream, but I think the Imperial War Museum's a bit old & dark for a 2 yo.

mogwai Wed 20-May-09 11:21:46

Chester zoo is lovely and would only take you about 45 mins to reach along the M56 - could get a whole day out of that!

Blue Planet aquarium at Ellesmere port is just past the zoo but it's TERRIBLE - you can do the lot in an hour and it's dead expensive.

I'd second Tatton Park - £5 to park your car but then there's a nice playground and usually a carousel and small fair. Entrance to the farm is extra.

Also - could get a whole day out of Chatsworth House/Gardens. There's a nice playground and zoo and it's only an hour or so south of Manchester (just past Bakewell). Bakewell itself is worth a look because there are plenty of ducks to feed and if it's warm there's a playgound with a little paddling pool just along the river. Beware though - never go to Bakewell on a Monday - market day - it's packed!!!

Dunham Massey is okay but nothing there for the kids whatsover - no playground or anything.

Heaton Park is good.

mrscactus Sat 23-May-09 21:33:58

Thank you all so much for these ideas. The information is absolutely invaluable.

The possibilities should hopefully keep the boys happy for a while!

Are there any parks with playgrounds right in/near the centre?

serin Sun 24-May-09 23:56:49

Don't know about the city centre itself, I tend to avoid all city centres except for Liverpool which I know well.
If your husband drives out to Knutsford he could do Tatton Park which is really lovely and has a huge play area and kids farm and he could also visit Gauntlet bird of prey centre which is close by and excellent value.

Chill Factore near the Trafford centre has real snow for them to play in (not sure of the eco ethics of this).

Other than this I have no clue, have never found Manchester to be very child friendly.

GivePeasAChance Mon 25-May-09 00:11:27

The city centre probably isn't that child friendly really. Would recommend the Science and Industry museum - is in the city centre, free and great for the little ones (not 3 month old clearly)

Also the Manchester Museum on Oxford Road worth a visit. And that is near the Aquatics Centre (swimming pool) on Oxford Road too.

What else? mmmmmmmmm City centre is a bit pants so all the parks others have mentioned would be worth a visit - bit of a trek a lot of them though. Would say Heaton Park or Wythenshawe park are the closest (both have farms etc etc too)

frustratedmom Mon 25-May-09 00:14:32

Will back on science museum -has special under 5's area in xperiment (2nd floor) and the engine hall. plus its free (always abonus when you dont know how long the boys will last.

mogwai - we were in blue planet 3 hours ds loved it so much he refused to leave. but agree it is very expensive for what it is.

Would also say about chester zoo.

Suggest heading over to the wales side of the mersey to find some beaches (only takes about 1 plus however much to get out of city )

If you go to feed the ducks at bakewell and stand on the bridge the fish fight the ducks for the bread - hours of amusement for ds!

MorocconOil Mon 25-May-09 20:32:26

Head Over Heels, soft play area in Chorlton.
Hulme Park, probably nearest city centre park.
Heaton Park is really nice, and has a great outdoor playground, ducks, farm, cafe etc.
Aquatic centre is the best pool for little ones.

MorocconOil Mon 25-May-09 20:33:41

You can get the tram from town to Heaton Park. The children love the journey.

LupusinaLlamasuit Mon 25-May-09 20:41:51

Hmmm, little kids in city centre...

Whitworth Park (and gallery) not too far down Oxford Road on the bus. Don't know if it has a play area though. Platt Fields (coupla miles further one in bus/taxi/car) is huuuuuuuuuge and will have lots of stuff. Always used to have play equipment, lake, animals - dunno what these days though.

Triangle/Exchange Squares near the Cathedral and Urbis museum very nice for little ones to run around - not a park as such but if it's nice weather you can while away lots of time here...

Aquatic Centre is closest swimming, again down Oxford Road. Manchester Museum (at the University) just beyond there also - dinosaurs, animals, mummies etc.

Lots of galleries which have child-friendly bits usually: City Art Gallery on Moseley Street has great interactive stuff for kids. Cornerhouse (Oxford Rd again!) gallery, decent cafe

Albert Square and St Peter's Square also good for running about

Get on the tram from centre to Salford Quays for running around spots, boats, bridges. Lowry Centre (theatre/gallery) often has kids' activities and art carts etc.. Imperial War Museum here probably a bit old for your kids but outside spaces nice

Do an open top bus tour: yes, even in Manchester.

Some great blue badge walks if your kids like walking.

Science and Industry Museum as others have said is great and you can fill lots of hours here.

If I think of any other good ideas, will post.

mrscactus Thu 28-May-09 21:26:12

Wow! I'm really quite envious I won't be joining them. These activities all sound great - thank you!

mogwai Wed 03-Jun-09 18:25:56

regarding beaches - west kirby is quite nice - sandy enough for bucket and spade.

Also Formby (though no longer any red Squirrels there!) has lovely dunes etc

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