The summer holidays of 2021 have proven a little more challenging for families than usual.
First, we had to wait for the lockdown lifting dates to roll around before we could start booking activities. And then – right on cue – the storm clouds gathered and Manchester has been soaked ever since.
According to the Met Office, this torrential rainfall has set the tone for the final stretch of summer – with the rest of the month grimly forecasted to be something of a washout.
It’s at times like these we should consider ourselves fortunate we’ve got the National Football Museum right on our doorstep.
Situated inside in the uniquely-shaped Urbis Building at Cathedral Gardens, English football’s flagship cultural venue is playing host to a range of interactive exhibitions this month – offering four floors of indoor family-friendly activities all under cover.
Not only is there loads to see and do here (away from the unseasonably wet and windy weather) for parents and kids alike – it’s also the perfect way to whet your appetite for the new football season.
Here’s what’s happening at the museum right now…
The National Football Museum is home to a fantastic Play Gallery right now which lets you put your skills to the test with a series of interactive challenges.
You can also host your own mini competition with a penalty shootout or game of table football; have a go at being a goalkeeper on Shot Stopper; or try stepping into the shoes of a Match of the Day Commentator.
Hall of Fame exhibition
The National Football Museum’s English Hall of Fame highlights the achievements of those who’ve made an outstanding contribution to football – celebrating players and managers whose work, talent and dedication have “made football the game of our lives”.
Guided 30-minute tours take place daily at 2pm.
Euros craft activities
Not all of us are ready to forget about the Euros just yet.
The National Football Museum is hosting a range of craft activities themed around the magic of the tournament that gripped the nation in June and July – and everyone is free to join in.
Make your own football timeline / Rewrite the Rules
Ever wondered where all the football rules actually came from?
At the National Football Museum you can read up on the original Laws of the Game and even create your own with the ‘Rewrite The Rules’ activity.
If you were in charge, what would you change?
Tours take place across the whole museum every opening day – allowing you to enjoy the best possible insight from one of the venue’s expert curators.
(Every Day 11am)
Right across the museum, there’s also plenty of photo opportunities.
You can pose alongside the Premier League trophy – won by Manchester City in 2020/21 season, the first ever England football team strip, the infamous Diego Maradona ‘Hand of God’ shirt, and the match ball from the 1966 World Cup Final – the year football came home.
Other exclusive summer exhibitions include Still Gleaming: Euro 96 in Pictures – remembering key moments during the year in which the continental tournament was hosted on home turf – and a new museum gallery dedicated to football’s first female superstar – Lily Parr.
You can find out more about everything that’s happening at the National Football Museum during the remainder of the summer on the official website.
You can watch the Champions League final at a massive fan park in Manchester
Fancy soaking up the atmosphere and watching the Champions League final surrounded by thousands of other football fans?
Well, there’s a massive fan park coming to Manchester that’ll let you do just that.
As Manchester City set their eyes firmly on what would be a historic treble title-winning season, the Sky Blues just have a showdown against Inter Milan in the final of European football’s flagship tournament to get past first – and the UK’s leading sporting fanpark brand, 4TheFans, is inviting fans to catch all the action live at a huge Champions League-dedicated indoor and outdoor fan park on Saturday 10 June.
Following its sold-out EURO 2020 and World Cup 2022 fan parks – which saw tens of thousands of fans come together to cheer on England – 4TheFans is back with its massively-popular immersive fan experience.
3,000 footy lovers will be put at the heart of the action as they enjoy the biggest final in Europe.
With less than a week to go before the big day, tickets are already being snapped up fast so you’ll need to be quick if you want to make sure you grab yours too.
Every tackle, every shot, and every piece of skill will be shown on four massive anti-glare screens that are backed up with a world-class sound system to deliver a genuine big game atmosphere that’s as close to the real thing as you can get.
And if (when) Man City score, then get ready for big celebrations with special effects, pyrotechnics, and cO2 cannons.
As well as getting to catch all the live game action, there’ll also be a Sky Sports presenter and a soon-to-be-announced City football legend on hand to give their match analysis as part of an interactive show, as well as DJs blasting out tunes, and competitions and giveaways to get involved in.
With all ages welcome, making it the most family-friendly fan park in Manchester, little football-loving Mancs can also take on their parents in penalty shootouts, and try out a precision wall to test their shot accuracy.
To top it all off, there’ll also be some award-winning street food and drink to tuck into too.
4TheFans Champions League Final Festival Fan Park is taking over Love Factory in central Manchester on Saturday 10 June from 3pm, and for any Man City fan who can’t make it out to Istanbul to see the game live in person, we think you’ll agree that this is an absolutely unmissable alternative.
Tickets are on sale now, with prices starting at £8 per person for a group of six, and £10 for individual tickets – with a VIP box starting at £75 per person.
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 29 May – 4 June 2023
We’re saying goodbye to May, and giving a big Greater Manchester welcome to June this week.
Summer is (pretty much) here now, and not only does this week start off with yet another bank holiday, but schools are also for half term across the region, so that means we’ve got an events calendar thats jam-packed full of festivals, family-friendly activities, Spring fairs, museum exhibitions, immersive experiences, and so much more.
Once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide, so here’s our top picks.
The Manchester Flower Festival 2023
Manchester City Centre
Monday 29 May
Manchester has become one of the most picturesque places in the UK as the city is all dressed up in celebration of the annual Flower Festival.
Back by popular demand for its fifth year, the four-day festival – which is often dubbed the “most Instagramable event of the year” – has seen Manchester bloom to life and draped from head to toe in magnificent floral displays, with plants and flowers are covering landmark buildings, shop windows, doorways, balconies, statues, fountains, and more right across the city centre.
And today is your last day to catch all the colour.
Mancs now now get up close to rare personal items of Stephen Hawking’s in a new exhibition that’s now opened down at the Science and Industry Museum.
Stephen Hawking at Work explores the remarkable life of a world-renowned scientist, who passed away in 2018 – with significant objects from his office giving an insight into his life as a scientist, science communicator, and as a person who lived with motor neurone disease.
Highlights include a rare copy of his PhD thesis, and a wager he made with his peers about whether things that fall into a black hole are lost forever, while there’s also a ‘time traveller’ party invitation that he sent to his peers after the party had taken place, to prove that time travel to the past is impossible.
A new Jurassic-themed trail has opened in Greater Manchester, and you can go back in time to when “dinosaurs ruled Earth”.
Described as being “an immersive dino experience” where families can walk among huge static dinosaur models, all while learning lots of fun facts and snapping photos along the way, Totally Jurassic has now opened in Walkden town centre, and tickets are available from as little as £5 per person.
It’s the latest pop-up family attraction by Totally Roarsome – which is one of the North West’s best-loved immersive events companies.
Keen to escape the usual indoor activities and taking your family on a virtual adventure this half term instead? Fancy saving a few pennies while you’re at it too?
Manchester’s largest virtual reality arcade, DNA VR – which is suitable for thrill-seekers aged seven and over – is offering an extra 10% off all week, and there’s a gaming experience for everyone to get stuck into, with both arcade and longer escape-style challenges across a variety of themes available to choose from.
The critically-acclaimed venue perfect alternative day out in the city, and you can grab yourself 10% off with the code DNAVR10 when you book tickets here.
Half Term at the Science and Industry Museum
Manchester City Centre
Monday 29 May – Sunday 4 June
Curious Mancs can explore brand-new science displays, immersive exhibitions, decades of gaming, and more this May half term and beyond.
The Science and Industry Museum is hosting a half term “packed full of digital discovery” – with the unveiling of hotly-anticipated new display dedicated, an extension to one of its most successful world-first exhibitions, the chance to explore the world of gaming, discover groundbreaking ideas that “change the world”, and so much more.
It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon immersed in science, look forward to the future of tech, or a journey back though Manchester’s industrial past.
The world’s most innovative ‘out of water’ shark experience has now arrived at Cheater Zoo.
Visitors heading to the UK’s largest charity zoo will be some of the first in the country to get to make the most of the brand-new immersive exhibition known as Planet Shark: Predator or Prey – which aims to highlight “the wonder of sharks”.
Working with global creative company, Grande Experiences, the new exhibition at the zoo features an impressive 360-degree underwater digital display, as well as life-sized shark models.
A giant outdoor funfair full of vintage fairground rides and a circus is back at the Trafford Centre.
After several hugely-successful runs in both 2021 and 2022, the UK’s third largest shopping centre’s outdoor space has “sprung to life” once again, and is back with a whole host of thrilling rides, a glittering circus, and lots of delicious treats for the whole family to enjoy.
Spring Escape has popped up outside the Great Hall, and tickets are now available to buy for the wide range of events on offer.
A huge circus tent has been installed onto the roof of Depot Mayfield in Manchester, as the world-leading cabaret La Clique is in town.
The trailblazing show is visiting the city for a limited six-week run, featuring the best circus and cabaret acts in the world.
Presented by live entertainment company Underbelly, La Clique is wowing audiences with its genre-defining cabaret show, and for its Manchester stint, performers will include tension strap artist LJ Marles, singer Chastity Belt, aerial contortion artist Miranda Menzies, comedy and stunt performer Sam Goodburn, and more artists to be announced.
One of the East Lancashire Railway’s (ELR) fan-favourite events is back again this week, and it’s giving families the chance to go on a ‘wizarding adventure’ and ride a Harry Potter-themed train through Greater Manchester.
Aspiring witches and wizards can gather at the ELR for a day of sharing spells and magic-themed fun.
This interactive adventure will see visitors, both young and old, enjoy a range of performances from colourful characters and magical creatures, all before boarding the ‘Wizard Express’ for a two-hour round trip journey through the Irwell Valley of wonders.
You’ll get to discover on-trend seasonal essentials, like designer sunglasses, the latest summer dresses, and your go-to holiday essentials, or treat yourself to a timeless investment piece from the latest designer fashion lines at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.
And if you can’t wait or want to get ahead of the line, McArthurGlen members will actually get 24 hour early access.
Keen to watch the Manchester derby FA Cup final in Manchester city centre this weekend?
The first-ever Manchester derby FA Cup final in the history of the competition is happening this weekend, and while not everyone is able to be there at Wembley for the momentous occasion, it’s still a massive day for the city.
Fans will be out in full force to watch the big fixture as Manchester United face Manchester City on Saturday 3 June at 3pm.
Town is going to be absolutely buzzing with big game atmosphere, not to mention everyone else out enjoying a weekend full of sun, so if you are wanting to go out and watch it in the pub, it’s worth having an idea of where you’re going rather than just rocking up half an hour before kick-off.
Read our round-up of where to watch the FA Cup final in Manchester city centre here.
We Invented The Weekend 2023
MediaCity & Salford Quays
Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 June
We Invented the Weekend is back for 2023.
After a successful first outing last year, the two-day bold and imaginative culture-led festival is back by popular demand, and is set to take over both MediaCity and Salford Quays this Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 June Salford with a jam-packed lineup of events so festivalgoers of all ages can get involved in a wide range of activities for FREE.
Situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester back in 1843, the festival celebrates the differences in how people spend their leisure time, free time, quality time, and me-time.
Some of the UK’s “most exciting” comedians are bringing their shows to a new mini comedy festival in Manchester city centre this week.
Taking over Manchester’s home of cult cinema, video games, and “cool nerdy events”, Cultplex – which is tucked away within the award-winning venue GRUB in Cheetham Hill – for one-day only this Saturday, A Lovely Day is a brand-new mini comedy festival that’s set to bring all the laughs.
A handful of the funniest and upcoming names on the comedy circuit will take to the stage to perform their new work-in-progress shows.