The Imperial War Museum North at The Quays in Manchester is free to enter for people of any age, and has all kinds of special events and activities to interest children. Really easy to get to, in easy reach of the city centre and nearby the Trafford Centre, it has ample parking and is set on the bank of the canal next to Granada Studios and opposite Media City.
We were invited along to have a look at the Summer programme.
It started with story time - using puppets we were taught about Ali and Abdul, two brothers who were sent away to different parts of the world to fight for Britain in the first world war.
There was plenty to keep the children interested. As well as the puppets we were given photographs and other objects to handle, including the infamous 'biscuit' - which everyone agreed they wouldn't want to eat!
And this amazing treasure tin, which would have contained a soldiers valuable possessions...
After the story we tried decorating our own wooden yo-yo's. This is one of the special craft events which take place over the next few weeks - all details of the activities for families during the Summer can be found here.
After a bit of unsuccessful yo-yoing we set off to look at the museum and see the Big Picture Show. There are various different shows during the day. They take place in the main exhibition space and really are an amazing experience, surrounding you with images, film and sound. This photo is from the War At Home, and we looked at the Horrible Histories when we visited earlier in the year.
Also in the main exhibition space while we were there were traditional games - so my boys got to try bagatelle and the coconut shy. There are different events and displays taking place in the main space all Summer.
The Museum is currently hosting a 'From Street To Trench' exhibition which had lots to interest my small boys. Set up to commemorate the centenary of the 1st World War, it shows what life was like for those left at home, and for the soldiers when they returned, and documents the importance of the North West at that time.
My boys were fascinated by the recreation of a street in wartime - including hopscotch!
And even an insight into how it would feel to be sent home injured.
And they could pretend they were hiding in a sewer system - without the smells and diseases...
We had a quick lunch in the restaurant, which has an absolutely stunning view over Media City...
And then up the Air Shard. It does have a small fee, but it's definitely an experience. You can see all around Manchester throgh the Shard, which is almost entirely made of mesh. I will admit it does make me feel a little nauseous, and looking down isn't something I enjoy, but it's still worth a visit.
The Imperial War Museum North is open daily from 10-5. Entry is free, although some crafts and activities may have a small charge. They have a huge programme of events over the Summer, including many specifically designed for children.
We were given a free day out at the museum so that I could write this post.