Friday 13 February 2015

Spring Half Term 2015 at the Imperial War Museum North

This Spring half term the Imperial War Museum North, at Trafford Quay in Manchester will be hosting a series of activities designed for children, and focusing on War At Sea. Entry to the museum is FREE, and the extra activities this half term are FREE - with no need to book. We were invited to have a preview last weekend with our 4 and 6 year olds, and they loved it.

Imperial War Museum North Activities For Children

We've been to the Imperial War Museum North a few times now, and my boys always enjoy looking at the exhibits and seeing the Big Picture Show, but the special events for school holidays really are so well done, they're always the highlight.

First we were all taken into the main space, and had story time underneath the Harrier Jump Jet. This was really different, really cool, and actually gave the children a chance to sit and look around them while the story telling was taking place. It wasn't too distracting, but it made us very aware we were in the museum, rather than being off in a white-walled room that could be anywhere.

Story time under the Harrier Jump Jet at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester

The story told of a young man who was sent to war at sea. The children were taught about all of the strange foods and animals that the young man saw, including a coconut, and a parrot which he took as a pet. We were told how he felt when he returned home and told his family what he'd experienced. It brings war to life for the children and makes them think about the fact that every single soldier is a real person with thoughts and feelings. 

Craft activities at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester

After storytime we were taking part in a craft activity. We were led to the big learning space near the gift shop, where the children were all given card, scissors, pens and templates to make their own 'Message In a bottle'.

Children's craft activities at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester

My boys had great fun with this, although the messages were a bit unusual!

A 6 year olds message in a bottle
Help! Send I fone and PS
A 4 year old's message in a bottle
Not sure if this is a message or a Martian in a bottle.

My other half enjoyed it too....we love a bit of extra imagination and creativity. 

Battleship in Dazzle camouflage at Imperial War Museum
4 year old drawing ship's crew
"The Crew"

Afterwards we ate lunch in the Watershard Cafe. I can't put my finger on why, but the cafe always seems incredibly posh and expensive. There's no doubting it is outstanding quality, and when I look at the prices, it actually isn't over-priced. Something there has just gone a little wrong, and it may be the hot drinks. Tiny mugs, expensive prices, yet gorgeous. I may not be in the right demographic when I just want 20 minutes to sit down with the children.

Small but delicious coffee at the Imperial War Museum Watershard Cafe
Truly gorgeous hot drinks - this though is a large, at around £2.50
The food is freshly prepared and beautiful, and the staff are lovely. The children's meal deal offers a choice of 5 items for £4.25 (a good selection including jelly, fromage frais, Babybel, fruit, sandwiches etc). Adults can have a choice of sandwich, crisps and cold drink for £4.95.

Fabulous ham sandwich at the Imperial War Museum Watershard Cafe
The children's meal deal ham sandwich
The view is excellent. Even with the usual rain and gloom, you can see out all across Manchester - including the BBC and ITV Television Studios across the canal. To see even more of Manchester take a trip up the Air Shard. I didn't go up this visit because I don't like it, but I have done on previous occasions.

View of TV Centre Studios from the watershard Cafe at IWM North

After lunch we went on a quick look around the museum, which we're getting to know quite well now. We went back into the main space to watch the Big Picture Show about The War At Home. There are several different shows throughout the day including some aimed specifically at children - the Horrible Histories: Rotten Rationing has been our favourite so far.

The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester at Trafford Quays

There is loads of space in the Imperial War Museum North, which is great for anyone with a wheelchair, buggy or boisterous 4 year old! Our youngest still hasn't quite mastered Hopscotch yet!

Hopscotch at the Imperial War Museum North

The Imperial War Museum North bring history to life for children most weekends and holidays. You can find their calendar of events by clicking this link. We'll be back in July to preview their Summer event - Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits. 

The museum is open 10am-5pm 7 days a week. Last admission is 4.30pm. Entry is FREE. Car parking costs from £5 for up to 4 hours. 

We were given lunch for the children and a family ticket for the Air Shard in return for this post. Everything else is FREE FOR ANYONE.


  1. This looks like such a great day out and the boys look like they loved it x

    1. They really do love it there. They were really excited as soon as they knew where we were going :)

  2. I'm sad we don't live close enough for a quick visit now, we had a great time when we went last year. It sounds like they have more great activities over the half term and it looks like your boys had a great time!

    1. They did have a lovely time. It is really nice there and the activities are great :)


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