All sorts will be happening at the city’s parks, libraries, leisure centres and galleries this half-term – with many of the varied programme of family-friendly activities being completely free.
Everything from Portuguese drumming to cycling to wildlife walks is included in Manchester’s packed events calendar, meaning there’ll be something to appeal to everyone.
Family Track Taster sessions at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre will allow the next generation of cycling champions to try out the world-class facilities of the Velodrome track (Friday 23 February). These events are suitable for children aged nine and over, who must be accompanied by an adult. Check www.superactivecamps.org/national-cycling-centre to find out more and book in advance. Meanwhile, free swimming is available for under 17s at Manchester’s leisure centres – go to www.better.org.uk/manchesterfreeswimming to find out more.
Plenty is happening at Manchester’s parks – including Heaton Park, which hosts the Half-term Funfair, a familiar fixture at the park which offers attractions ranging from candy floss to white-knuckle rides (17 – 25 February). Get crafty with creative activities at the Place to Potter in the park’s horticultural centre every day during half-term (10.30am – 3.30pm).
Treetop Manchester is set in the majestic woodland of Heaton Park. Open daily, there are two outdoor aerial adventures for the family to enjoy – trekking through the trees on the aerial challenges and zip wires of Treetop Trek, or bouncing on giant treetop trampolines at Treetop Nets. With slides, walkways and giant ball zones, all suspended in the tree canopy, the nets are a brand new way to play outdoors in the high trees (Treetop Trek is suitable from ages 5 upwards; Treetop Nets is suitable from ages 3 upwards. Adult supervision required for children under 12. www.treetoptrek.co.uk or www.treetopnets.co.uk).
The wild-at-heart will love the Winter Wildlife Walk, which will showcase some of the amazing habitats at Fletcher Moss Park and Gardens, Didsbury – offering the chance to see some of the birds and bugs which make Manchester their home. The two-mile walk, led by the RSPB, is on fairly easy terrain and is buggy accessible, with refreshments provided at the end of the trail. A limited amount of binoculars and other nature-spotting equipment will be available to borrow on the day (Wednesday 21 Feburary, 10am, meeting at the Visitor Centre). Email Mersey.email@example.com for more information on this and other half-term activities taking place at Fletcher Moss and Chorlton Water Park.
At Alexandra Park, there’s plenty of space to run around and accessible family-friendly facilities, with children’s play areas and tennis courts – all of which are free to access. The park’s Coffee Cranks Cafe offers a wide selection of food and drink, plus bat and ball hire for table tennis and basketball.
Free Family Art Sessions at Manchester Art Gallery are the perfect chance to get creative, through making and drawing. Artist-led sessions for younger and older children are available – visit www.manchesterartgallery.org for more information (Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 February, 1 – 3pm).
Four of Manchester’s libraries are hosting events on International Mother Language Day (Wednesday 21 February), to celebrate the city’s linguistic and cultural diversity. Free activities and performances for people of all ages will be held at Central Library, Longsight Library, North City Library and the Forum Library, Wythenshawe – with highlights including Indian dance and Portuguese drumming activities at North City Library, plus a performance from Creole music star Papa Sam Alafia at the Forum Library.
Executive Member for Schools, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “Whether you love art, sport or the great outdoors, Manchester has it all, so it’s no surprise that there are so many exciting activities for all the family to get involved with this half-term.
“Be sure to visit one of our parks, libraries or sports facilities during the mid-term break and make the most of everything on offer.”
To find out more go to www.manchester.gov.uk/allsortstodo.