Things to do in Manchester When You’re 3

Flea and I were invited to Manchester this weekend to try out the city's cultural attractions.

Since we are completely ALL ABOUT high culture and stuff we jumped at the chance to spend a few days exploring the various  kid-friendly exhibits and events at Manchester's many museums, galleries and public spaces.

Here's our run-down of the best things to do in Manchester when you're three: 

Flea at the Crown Plaza Manchester

Bagsy the best bed while Mummy figures out how the lights work (yes, she had to call reception in the end.) 

Flea at the Family Friendly Film Festival

Discover the BEST way to watch movies: on a spotty blanket, with cushions, a picnic and colouring book. The blanket may come in  handy for hiding under later when "Where the Wild Things Are" comes on.

Flea and Friends at the gallery

Take in the Lowry Museum's 'Express Yourself' dance exhibition with some friends.  (l-r: Flea, Slinky Lizard, Max the Monkey).


If it's sunny take a stroll along the canal and admire the architecture of the Quays – sadly, one of us missed most of it because she kept admiring her new stickers.

Lunch at Manchester Museum

Check out the fine cuisine at the Manchester Museum, where all the food is organic and even the water is ethically sourced. And it is all served in a dinosaur box, of course. 


When travelling in swanky circles it is imperative that one remembers that one is a young lady AT ALL TIMES.


Ignore the ballet outfits. They're for girls.Yeuch.


Everyone knows it's way cooler to be a "pirate cowboy robot"


Round off the weekend with a physical interpretation of the 'Dash' character after an open-air screening of The Incredibles. How Mummy laughed when she realised I wasn't going to stop.

ps: things to do in Manchester when you're 34


Find two grown men practising dance moves in the "choreography" area of the museum, with not a child in sight. Snigger like an eight-year-old.

Of course, thanks to everyone at who arranged the trip for us. Some top recommendations if you find yourself in Manchester over the holidays with kids:

The Lowry has a great dance exhibition for kids, with lots of room to run around

Urbis has fantastic activities and interactive exhibits for kids, and Flea adored the weird diagonal glass elevator and interactive soundscape playground.

Manchester Museum is great if your kids are into dinosaurs, lizards, frogs, tigers and
elephants. Although you might want to plan in advance how you'll
explain 'taxidermy' to your toddler, which I, er, didn't.

Finally, check out the Family Friendly Film Festival which runs all summer: it's just brilliant with everything from Harry Potter festivals and fairy days to family-friendly screenings with animation, manga, short films, international movies and lots of dressing up, picnics and stickers.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 9th August 2009 / 4:44 pm

    looks like you both had a fab time!

  2. 9th August 2009 / 5:00 pm

    Looks and sounds great. What is it about hotel room lights? I can never figure them out either.
    Btw, did you forget to take anything?

  3. Sally
    9th August 2009 / 9:56 pm

    We did have a fab time, Flea is full of tales about all the films she saw, particularly.
    Hotel lights – grrr. I’m used to the whole idea of there being a master switch, and the various mechanisms for turning lamps on and off in hotels but this one was new on me – a slot in the wall where you have to put your keycard for the lights to work – an eco measure so you can’t go out and leave lights on. Lovely idea but why wouldn’t you mention that at check-in???

  4. leslieanne
    9th August 2009 / 11:05 pm

    Looks like you both had a ball 🙂
    -and your hotel room looks lush!

  5. 10th August 2009 / 11:27 pm

    That looked like too much fun!

  6. 11th August 2009 / 11:25 am

    Sounds like great fun!
    Manchester is only 30-30 mins away from us but it’s somwehere we never go!

  7. Sally
    11th August 2009 / 4:05 pm

    @Leslieanne It was great fun and the hotel was lush, I must admit!
    @mwa – no such thing.
    @Insomniac – I’m the same – we’re only about 45 mins from Manchester but I’ve never taken Flea, although I’ve taken her to London for the day. It’s been a good opportunity to see how much there is to do there, I’d really recommend it.

  8. Florists In Manchester
    14th March 2011 / 12:36 pm

    Awww looks like loads of fun!

  9. 27th January 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Manchester is one of those places which I have labeled in my head as somewhere great to live rather than to visit. This is probably because I went to uni there, but almost none of the things Flea liked about the place were anything I recognise…

  10. 27th January 2016 / 9:16 pm

    Manchester’s on my ‘places I want to go before my daughter starts school’ list – perfect to have a few tips ready made for a three-year-old! #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..Family day out: Sea Life BrightonMy Profile

  11. 30th January 2016 / 4:06 pm

    Great post!! I’m totally sorted for thee-year-old Manchester activities now! Looks like you guys had a great time. I’m prett bad at exploring UK cities…I really must do it more often. Thanks for linking to #citytripping