How to entertain your parents in Manchester

If Manchester’s not your home city, it’s likely that your parents, or other relatives, will want to pay you a visit.

If they’ve not come for a specific event, it can be hard to come up with ideas for entertaining them.

The itinerary from my parents’ visit last weekend will give you some ideas.

City Centre culture

Manchester Town Hall

I can’t believe how many Manchester residents haven’t been inside the Town Hall. You only need to wander in to the building to realise that it is magnificent.

The Sculpture Cafe is the perfect place for tea and cake, lunch, or an indulgent afternoon tea. It’s a sophisticated setting where you will find crisp white linen napkins and tablecloths, chesterfield sofas and delicious food. It offers a touch of decadence at a very reasonable price.

Sculpture Cafe, Manchester Town Hall

The John Rylands Library

The striking red stone of the neo-Gothic library stands out next to the modern glass buildings of Spinningfields. You’ve probably walked past the library 100 times but have you been inside? It will take you less than an hour to browse the leather-bound books and admire the architecture, making it a good place to pop in to before hitting the shops, or en route to the Museum of Science and Industry or Castlefield Market.

The reading room at John Rylands with stained glass reflection

It’s easy to hop in a taxi from Deansgate (if you don’t fancy walking) to head on over to Oxford Road.

The Whitworth Art Gallery

The beautiful gallery blends in to the surroundings of Whitworth Park, which is a lovely place for a stroll on a sunny day.

The exhibitions have already been updated since the gallery reopened in February. I was drawn to the blossom trees in the Calligraphy Peach Blossom Garden, although the moving paper under the bridge was somewhat unnerving in the otherwise tranquil space – I expected a rat to scuttle out, but maybe that’s the point.

Cherry trees, bridge and wax waterfall at Whitworth Art Gallery

We were ready for home after the Whitworth but if you have time, head a little further up Oxford Road for the

Manchester Museum

Be sure to visit Maude, the tigon (yes that’s a tiger / lion cross) who used to live at Belle Vue Zoo.


For somewhere to eat in the evening


Possibly the most popular restaurant on the Curry Mile, it’s a good place to sample some of the more interesting Indian dishes. There’s also a good selection of cocktails – and mocktails in case one of you is driving.



Escape from the city

If your parents are staying for a weekend you might find yourself wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. National Trust properties just outside Manchester offer a chance for a breath of fresh air if you don’t fancy a full scale walk in the Pennines.

Lyme Park

Head up to The Cage for 360 degree views over Manchester and the surrounding countryside. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy by the stream.


Dunham Massey

A great place for a wander, with guaranteed encounters of the deer variety, and a new coffee shop for when the urge for scones and cream takes hold.


Keep reading for more ideas for days out in and around Manchester

3 Comments On This Topic
  1. Margaret Brown
    6 years ago

    You expected a rat to jump out. I thought it was kids burying themselves in paper!

    • Becci Johnson
      6 years ago

      Proof that art is always open to interpretation!

  2. Margaret Brown
    6 years ago

    And the lychee and blackberry mocktail was one of the nicest drinks I’ve ever had

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