Did you know there are loads of museums and places to visit in the local area that are not only great for families, but cheap or even a free day out?
Here’s a list of our favourite places and museums to visit, in order of distance.
- Oldham Library and Gallery.
We are regular visitors to Oldham Library and Gallery, it plays host to weekly rhyme time sessions and a monthly twin group. However, it has much much more to offer.
Oldham Library has a wonderful performance space, offering music, activities and theatre to all, with the Arts Funded Council programme, Live@thelibrary. From drama and writing workshops to children’s and family shows, there’s something for everyone. Unless stated, all Live@thelibrary events are only £5. We’ve seen many productions including Hand’s Hen and The Ugly Ducking, such fabulous family shows!
There’s also family films showed monthly with The Small Cinema and Gallery Oldham. Tickets are less than a fiver, which includes a kids goodie bag plus arts and crafts before the movie.
Oldham Library, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL
- Portland Basin.
Such a fab free day out, we love it! Only 2 minutes out of the centre of Ashton, Portland Basin is really easy to get too. There’s free parking too.
Take a walk down a 1920’s street, have a look around and see how life was. Explore the school, the chippy, the church and even the pub.
There’s also an under 5’s play area, Nuts and Bolts which is fab, but my kids favourite part is the miniature train. We stand and watch it go around and around for ages. We also enjoy the trails they have on, at the moment it’s teddy bears, can you spot all the teddies hidden in the museum?
There is space for picnics and also a cafe, so great for lunch time or snack time. Easy access for prams, even my big double fits in the lift. On nice days, you can pop outside, feed the ducks, have a walk or even take a trip on the canal. Fantastic!
1 Portland Place, Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 0QA
- Museum of Transport Greater Manchester.
Probably my sons favourite museum, he’s a huge fan of buses. Under 16’s are free, adults only £4 a ticket, so really a cheap day out. Apart from the many buses to view, there’s a ‘play’ bus for children to climb on, they can be the driver or conductor dressing up in the outfits and hats. Theres’s also tables filled with colouring sheets for your little ones. My kids love finding the buses your allowed to climb aboard, especially the double decker buses. There is also a tram you can board and my little ones love to take turns to be the driver.
There isn’t any picnic space but there is a very reasonably priced tea room, where you can enjoy light lunches.
A word of warning, you do enter via the shop, which I find hard with a car mad little boy as it’s filled with little toy cars and bigger collectables.
Boyle St, Cheetham, Manchester M8 8UW
- Museum of Science and Industry.
Another fab place that is completely free to enter, they do rely on donations. The museum is open every day and is really easy to access from the centre of Manchester. Be amazed as science and history is brought to life through interactive shows, demonstrations and even some dressing up. My kids love the Experiment Gallery, there’s loads of ‘hands on’ things to do. There’s also a little sensory space for babies and young children which is fab.
As well as a cafe and a bistro, they do have a large picnic area which I love. It gives you the option to bring your own food without worrying about the weather. We usually pack a lunch and treat ourselves to a coffee and a cake!
Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP
- Manchester Museum
Open every day of the week and free entry, Manchester Museum is a fantastic place for families to visit, especially if you have any dinosaur fans. My eldest loved learning all about the dinosaurs, we visited the museum due to him studying dinosaurs at school. We were also fascinated by the Vivarium which is home to a large collection of frogs and the animals collection which includes approximately one million preserved animals.
Again there is a cafe and a fab picnic space, although it is quite small so get there early. The museum is light and airy, it has a lovely modern feel about it. It’s definitely a good day out, too much to see in one day if I’m honest. We’ve been back several times and still haven’t seen everything.
Like most of the free museums, Manchester Museum is a charity and needs support with our donations.
Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
Where do you and your family like to visit?