The below list is not exhaustive, but we would like to show you some examples of how families in the North West of England can spend their free time at a very low or no cost.
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, commonly known as the National Trust, is a charity and membership organisation for heritage conservation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here are some examples of what can be found in the North West:
- Dunham Massey has a large deer park to explore, gardens and a house. There is also a famous Christmas Lights show in December/January.
- Lyme Park is located on the edge of the Peak District, with longer rural walks across moorlands, woods and formal gardens.
- Quarry Bank is an 18th century cotton mill, where you can discover a complete industrial community and experience the very different worlds of owner and worker, who lived and worked here side by side. There are machines on display, and a house where young children who worked in the factory lived. You can also walk around the surrounding woodland and gardens
- You can visit the Beatles Childhood Homes, including that of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney, and see inside the places where the Beatles met, composed and rehearsed many of their earliest songs.
Museums and Galleries
There are many museums in the North West, such as the below list:
- People’s History Museum is a national museum of democracy. The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by, and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all. PHM’s programme for 2020 to 2021 explores migration, co-created by a Community Programme Team made up of people whose lives have been shaped by migration.
- Museum of Science and Industry is currently undergoing a large refurbishment, but permanent galleries displaying textiles and telling the story of the industrial revolution are still open. There are also temporary exhibitions on how science is transforming cancer care.
- The Maritime Museum Liverpool, including the International Slavery Museum, are located at the heart of Liverpool’s waterfront by the Royal Albert Dock. The Maritime Museum tells the story of life at sea, and the International Slavery Museum remembers and tells the stories of the enslaved.
- World Museum includes an aquarium, a planetarium, and world cultures gallery.
- The National Waterways Museum brings together a unique fleet of historic boats with rich collections and archives to tell the story of Britain’s canals and waterways.
* Kids in Museums is a website which shares activities that are being held by museums across the North West.
- They have recently uploaded an article about the Best Museums for Families in the North West which might be useful to you.
- They also have a directory of museum youth groups which exist across the North West and the rest of the UK.
- The North West is home to many famous sports clubs and teams, most notably Burnley FC, Everton FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City and Manchester United.
- Football, rugby, and cricket are some of the most popular sports in the North West, and besides the famous teams, there are many local or school teams that you or your children can join.
- Leisure centres are a cheap way to stay active, and most have gym facilities or swimming pools.
- Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a theme park with rollercoasters, smaller rides, and games.
- Seaside towns are accessible by cars and public transport – there are sights to see, arcades with games.
- Chester Zoo is one of the largest in the UK with around 500 different species of animals. In 2017 it was named the best zoo in the UK, and the 3rd best the world by Trip Advisor.
- There are many theatres in the North West – such as The Palace in Manchester, The Empire Theatre in Liverpool, and The Lyceum Theatre in Crewe.
- Libraries and community centres host a range of activities, such as reading groups, parent and toddler groups, youth clubs, and lunch clubs for senior citizens.
- Local parks are a great day out that come with no cost. Parks will often be home to lakes, forests, playgrounds and walking routes.
- National Parks are protected areas of undeveloped and scenic landscape. The Peak District and The Lake District are the closest to the North West. They are free to access and offer beautiful scenery and walks. Home to forests, lakes, and wildlife. You can visit nationalparks.uk to find out information.
- Canal and river cruises are a popular activity. The Leeds Liverpool canal stretches across the North West into Yorkshire. The Bridgewater canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh. They are home to many barges (canal boats) and offer lovely walks.
- Scouts and Girlguiding clubs offer a programme of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking and backpacking. It is a great way for children to learn new things and make friends.