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Family Days Out North West – Engaging Days Out For All Ages

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Looking for the best family days out in northwest England?

Believe it or not but the North West of England is home to some of the best family days out in the UK, packed with exciting attractions and hidden gems to thrill both kids and adults alike.

From world-class zoos and interactive museums to adventure parks and cultural hotspots, there’s loads of amazing options to enjoy quality time together and create lasting memories.

As a northerner and a parent myself, I’ve visited many of the suggestions in this post and can highly recommend them to families whether it’s for a day trip, a weekend break away, or a half-term holiday.

Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

🏨 Accommodation: I recommend Booking.com
✈️ Flights: for the cheapest flights, I use Skyscanner
🚗 Rental Car: I recommend Discover Cars
🛡️ Travel Insurance: for the best deals I rely on SafetyWing

Map of the Top Attractions in Northwest England

Use the interactive map below to zoom in and out and see all the top family attractions for days out in the northwest of England.

👉 Short on Time? Here are the Top 3 Day Trips in the north west of England:

📍1: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester

The ultimate children’s fantasy world with Lego building workshops and a 4D cinema. Kids can also ride trains and fast cars! Book your tickets HERE

📍2: Chester Zoo

Ranked the UK’s number 1 zoo, come close up with tigers, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, sea lions and more. An absolute must for all the family.

📍3: SEA LIFE Blackpool

Discover the magical underwater marine world and be blown away by the 360 degree views of giant rays, sharks and turtles down the iconic tunnel! Book your tickets HERE

North West England Essentials Checklist:

✅ An excellent pair of walking shoes (for lots of walking)
✅ A hoodie or warm sweater (for chilly evenings especially in winter)
✅ A decent raincoat (it rains a lot here)
✅ A good quality compact camera (for taking great pics)

Northwest England: Best Day Trips with Family in 2024

Ultimate guide to all the best day trips in the north west of England for families by train, car and coach, suitable for kids, couples, young and old alike.

1. Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester – Perfect for Younger Kids

The Legoland Discovery Centre is packed with proper hands-on, interactive Lego-themed rides, shows, and building workshops that will absolutely delight the kiddos. The best features include riding an actual Lego train, racing Lego cars, watching a mind-blowing 4D cinema show, and meeting characters like Lego Ninjago!

closeup of lego bricks built to resemble a street with a road, buildings and people walking

With plenty of creative play areas perfect for imaginative young minds, as well as a Lego-themed VR experience, this is a pure, plastic brick paradise!

Legoland insider tips:

➡️ Arrive early to avoid crowds and make the most of shorter queues for the most popular rides and activities.
➡️ Look out for special events and themed days that may be happening during your visit.
➡️ Bring socks or be prepared to purchase them, as they are required for some of the play areas.

road map of the location of legoland discovery centre in manchester, england

Address: Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester M17 8AS
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm
Price: From £20 per person, children under 3 free. Book your tickets in advance HERE
Getting There: Located inside the large Trafford Centre shopping mall just off Junction 10 of the M60

2. Manchester United Museum – Great for Sports Lovers

Manchester is known for being the most famous footballing city on earth – and football-mad families will love the pioneering, interactive Manchester United Museum at the iconic Old Trafford stadium, regardless of which club they follow.

view of the statue of three footballers facing towards the front entrance of manchester united's football stadium

Take a self-guided tour and learn all about the history of this legendary club through exhibits of trophies, memorabilia and life-size player figures. You can even take part in skill challenges like dribbling and shooting in the interactive zone, and walk through the player’s tunnel out onto the hallowed Theatre of Dreams for that money-can’t-buy experience!

Alternatively, you could book the Manchester City Stadium Tour at Man Utd’s rival football club, or even the National Football Museum in the city centre – whichever you choose, you’re spoilt for choice!

My best insider tips:

➡️ Book tickets online in advance to skip the queues at the entrance.
➡️ Download the free Manchester United app for a self-guided audio tour and additional content.
➡️ Time your visit to catch a behind-the-scenes stadium tour if possible.

road map of the location of manchester united museum in manchester, england

Address: Sir Matt Busby Way, Old Trafford, Manchester M16 0RA
Opening Times: Daily 9:30am-5pm except match days
Price: Adults £21, Kids £14
Getting There: Next to Old Trafford stadium, accessible via tram

3. Knowsley Safari Park – Thrilling Outdoor Adventure

For a wildly exciting family day out, Knowsley Safari Park is pretty tough to beat. Drive your own car through expansive animal enclosures and get up close views of tigers, rhinos, giraffes, zebras and tons more.

Close up of a young deer at knowsley safari park, england

With an enormous range of species, there’s plenty of amazing wildlife spotting to be done to keep the kids busy for hours, indeed Knowsley Safari Park is rated among the top zoos and safari parks in Britain!

Other park highlights include walkthrough lemur and wallaby areas, sea lion shows, and exhilarating rides like Baboon Towers. Truly an unmissable outdoor adventure!

My top insider tips:

➡️ Bring your own food and drinks to save money, as the on-site options can be expensive.
➡️ Make sure to keep windows and doors closed when driving through the animal enclosures.
➡️ Consider booking a guided safari tour for a more informative and engaging experience.

road map of the location of knowsley safari park near liverpool, england

Address: Prescot, Merseyside L34 4AN
Opening Times: Daily from 10am, closing times vary
Price: Online saver £29 adults, £22 kids, Under 3s free
Getting There: Located between Liverpool and Manchester, accessible from M57

4. World Museum in Liverpool – Best Indoor Option for Rainy Days

When the weather turns wet, the World Museum in Liverpool city centre is a superb indoor attraction that doesn’t cost a penny. Spanning Natural History, World Cultures, and Space & Science, there’s an incredible array of exhibits to spark kids imagination and expand their knowledge.

This picture: A dinosaur skeletons statue inside the museum.

The most standout displays include towering dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies, a planetarium, and live insects. With free admission (yep!) and a hands-on kids zone too, it’s an absolute gem you can’t miss!

Some useful tips:

➡️ Arrive early to beat the crowds and have more time to explore the museum’s vast collection.
➡️ Look out for special events, workshops, and demonstrations that are sometimes held.
➡️ Don’t miss the free daily planetarium show for an immersive space experience.

road map of the location of the world museum in liverpool, england

Address: William Brown St, Liverpool L3 8EN
Opening Times: Daily 10am-5pm
Price: Free admission
Getting There: Short walk from Liverpool Lime St station

5. Sefton Park in Liverpool – Top Budget Day Out

One of the best free family days out in the North West is the gorgeous 235-acre Sefton Park in Liverpool. With a huge variety of sights and activities, you can easily spend a whole day here without spending a penny!

the palm house at sefton park near liverpool, england

The kids will love its playgrounds like the Fairy Glen, boating on the lake, and riding the miniature railway. Meanwhile, walking trails, rolling parklands, and attractions like the Grade I listed Palm House offer plenty of joy for adults too. An ideal spot for a picnic or casual playtime outdoors.

Top tips and advice:

➡️ Pack a picnic and find a nice spot in the park to enjoy a relaxing family lunch.
➡️ Explore the lesser-known areas of the park, such as the Fairy Glen and the Palm House.
➡️ Rent a pedal boat or join a guided walk to learn more about the park’s history and wildlife.

road map of the location of sefton park near liverpool, england

Address: Ullet Road, Liverpool L17 1AP
Opening Times: Open daily
Price: Free entry
Getting There: Situated around 5 miles from Liverpool city centre

6. Chester Zoo – Ultimate Wildlife Experience

Consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the world and the UK’s number one zoo, Chester Zoo is the ultimate northwest England family day out. Home to over 21,000 creatures across 125 acres, it provides the most incredible up-close experience with exotic wildlife.

This picture: A leopard lying on a rock

Stroll through spacious enclosures like Islands with komodo dragons and orangutans, and the Monsoon Forest with crocs and tigers. With feeding talks, kids play areas, and even an overnight zoo sleepover option! Chester Zoo promises a truly memorable top-notch adventure for the whole family.

My best insider tips:

➡️ Book tickets online in advance to get discounted prices and skip the queues.
➡️ Plan your visit around the daily animal talks and feeding times to see the creatures at their most active.
➡️ Consider upgrading to a VIP experience for behind-the-scenes access or a guided tour.

road map of the location of chester zoo near chester, england

Address: Upton-by-Chester, Chester CH2 1LH
Opening Times: Daily from 10am, closing times vary
Price: From £29.70 adults, £23.74 kids, Under 3s free
Getting There: 15 minutes’ drive from Chester city centre

7. The World of Beatrix Potter – Perfect for Peter Rabbit Fans

Having grown up reading the beloved Peter Rabbit books, your kids will truly appreciate the opportunity to step into the magical world of Beatrix Potter at this charming attraction in the Lake District.

This picture: Peter Rabbit with some little rabbits at garden figurines.

Meet Peter Rabbit and friends as you explore recreated scenes from her classic tales. Highlights include Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’s kitchen, Jemima Puddle-Duck’s glade, and Mr McGregor’s greenhouse.

With a tea room, gift shop and outdoor play area too, it’s ideal for fans of the beloved author. Bring her stories to life on this literary day out.

My 18-month-old toddler loves the Peter Rabbit left-the-flap books that I read her at bedtime, and the way her eyes lit up with excitement when we brought her here truly made our (and her) day.

Things to know:

➡️ Time your visit to coincide with one of the daily storytelling sessions for a more immersive experience.
➡️ Explore the outdoor play area and trails around the attraction to fully immerse yourself in the natural setting.
➡️ Stop by the tea room for a traditional cream tea or Beatrix Potter-themed treats.

road map of the location of the beatrix potter world in barrow-in-furness, england

Address: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3BX
Opening Times: Daily 10am-5.30pm
Price: Adults £8.55, Kids £4.30, Under 3s free
Getting There: Situated in the Lake District National Park

8. Ice Cream Farm – Most Fun for Play Time

For family fun with lots of playing, swinging, sliding and jumping, Ice Cream Farm is an excellent value attraction. As the name suggests, treat yourselves to the farm’s legendary ice cream flavours before burning off all that energy on huge indoor and outdoor play frame structures.

This picture: The giant ice cream tree outdoor.

Other highlights include pedal tractor rides, go-karts, sand pits, and interactive experiences like feeding lambs or meeting farm animals. With picnic areas too, it’s such a delightful place to enjoy simple messy playtime as a family.

My top insider tips:

➡️ Arrive early to avoid the crowds and ensure you get the best pick of the legendary ice cream flavors.
➡️ Bring a change of clothes or swimwear for the kids, as the play areas can get quite messy.
➡️ Take advantage of the free entry and pay-as-you-go pricing to customize your day based on your budget.

road map of the location of the ice cream farm near tattenhall, chester, england

Address: Drumlan Hall, Newton Lane, Tattenhall, Chester CH3 9NE
Opening Times: Daily from 9.30am until 6pm
Price: Entry free, pay-as-you-go
Getting There: 10 minutes south of Chester city centre

9. SEA LIFE Blackpool – Suitable for Kids of All Ages

Sea Life Blackpool provides an entertaining underwater day out for kids young and old. Walk through interactive rock pools and get up-close views of everything from sharks to clownfish in massive tanks. A clear underwater tunnel puts you right amongst the action – it’s mesmerising watching rays gracefully glide overhead!

the bright blue front entrance of the sea life centre in blackpool, england

With talks, feeds and opportunities to touch starfish and crabs, this engaging aquarium brings marine life close for an eye-opening family experience.

We’ve been to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham before, and this one is just as good but also very different – our little one absolutely loved both attractions so I cannot recommend Sea Life Blackpool enough for families with young kids.

To complete your day, why not take your kids to the Gruffalo & Friends Clubhouse on the Promenade? This is perfect for toddlers and small children!

Best insider advice:

➡️ Book a slot for the Shark Voyage VR experience for an additional thrill.
➡️ Look out for scheduled talks and feeding demonstrations to learn more about the marine life.
➡️ Upgrade to a 2-day ticket if you want to revisit and explore the attraction in more depth.

road map of the location of the sea life blackpool on the promenade in blackpool, england

Address: The Promenade, Blackpool FY1 4SA
Opening Times: Daily from 10am
Price: From £16.20 adults, £13 kids, under 3s free. Book online in advance for discounted tickets HERE
Getting There: On Blackpool seafront, just off the central pier

10. Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester – Top Budget Indoor Attraction

Covering Manchester’s rich industrial heritage, this fantastic museum offers a wealth of hands-on science displays that will utterly fascinate kids and adults alike. Interactive exhibits let you experience the power of electricity, vibrations and vacuum technology.

front entrance of the red brick building of the science and industry museum in manchester, england

There’s even vintage vehicles like steam engines and trams to ride, and iconic Manchester sights like the 1830 warehouse and 1830s street to step back in time on.

With thought-provoking exhibits on textiles, communications and more, it illuminates the city’s past in a practical, engaging way while providing a wealth of educational knowledge for the kids – bonus!

Things to consider:

➡️ Plan to spend at least half a day to fully experience all the interactive exhibits and historical displays.
➡️ Check the website for upcoming special events, workshops, or exhibitions that may be of interest.
➡️ Explore the outdoor area and historic buildings to get a sense of Manchester’s industrial heritage.

road map of the location of the science and industry museum in manchester, england

Address: Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP
Opening Times: Daily 10am-5pm
Price: Free, charges for special exhibits
Getting There: Situated about 1 mile from Manchester city centre

👉 Read more: How to get from Birmingham to Alton Towers

🚅 Best Northwest England Day Trips For Families By Train

Many of the top family-friendly days out from Manchester and Liverpool are accessible by direct train. 

Here are your best options to visit by train instead of car, due to faster travel time and convenient train station access:

➤ Legoland – you can get the train (Blue Line) from Picadilly then change (Red Line) to the Trafford Centre
➤ Manchester United Museum – train and buses to Whardfside then 11 minutes walk, or to MediaCity then a 20 mins walk
➤ World Museum Liverpool – trains arrive at Liverpool Lime Street then its an 8 min walk through the city centre
➤ Chester Zoo – bus number 1 from Chester is 23 minutes and takes you straight to the zoo entrance
➤ Sea Life Blackpool – arrive at Blackpool North station and walk 17 mins along the Promenade or get the tram
➤ Science and Industry Museum – from Manchester Picadilly its 15 mins ride on the Free Bus that stops right at the Science Museum

The train is a super option that allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery en-route – something the kids will love! Plus, you avoid the parking and traffic headaches at busy tourist spots.

🚗 Best Northwest England Day Trips For Families By Car

The following places are better suited for visiting by car due to convenience, quicker duration, and parking facilities:

➤ Manchester United – plenty of car parks around Old Trafford
➤ Legoland – you can park at the Trafford Centre
➤ Knowsley Safari – plenty of car parking on site
➤ World Museum Liverpool – park at one of the car parks in the city centre and then walk to the museum
➤ Sefton Park – drive up to the park (parking on Moseley Hill Drive)
➤ Chester Zoo – plenty of car parking on site
➤ World of Beatrix Potter – there’s a car park on Rayrigg Road (or park on the street) alternatively park around the corner on Crag Brow
➤ Sea Life Blackpool – Central car park or Chapel Street car park are the nearest parking options

Renting A Car In England For Day Trips

Don’t have your own car? renting a vehicle for the day or a weekend is a convenient way to explore the region on a family day trip. Here are some tips:

➡️ Book in advance for the best deals and availability of family-sized vehicles. Weekends tend to book up fast.

➡️ Consider renting a minibus or people carrier style car if you have a bigger family group. These often come with sliding doors and ample luggage room.

➡️ Compare prices and read reviews across rental companies like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise Sixt, and local providers. Sometimes an independent local company may be your best bet.

➡️ If using a car seat, request this at booking and double check it will be provided or if you have to bring your own.

➡️ Ask about inclusions such as unlimited mileage, collision damage waiver, theft protection and roadside assistance. This can influence the price.

➡️ Try to pick up and drop off from the same location to avoid extra fees. City centre branches (Manchester, Liverpool etc.) can be easiest.

➡️ Allow extra time at pickup for paperwork, inspections and fitting child seats. Have your credit card and driver’s license ready.

Travel Tips For Northwest England Day Trips

To make your days out stress-free and fun for all ages, here are my top Birmingham day trip tips:

☑️ Pack plenty of drinks, snacks, and a rain jacket – be prepared for unpredictable weather
☑️ Consider discounted entry tickets if visiting several attractions
☑️ Arrive early, attractions tend to get busier at noon
☑️ Bring a stroller for little legs – many sites have trails between attractions
☑️ Travel midweek if possible – weekends tend to get crowded
☑️ Mix high energy activities with relaxing spots to recharge
☑️ Book theater shows or event tickets well in advance
☑️ Make the journey part of the adventure – kids love trains!
☑️ Stop by farm shops and cafes in country villages enroute
☑️ Have a backup indoor option if the weather gets worse
☑️ Capture the moments on camera – there’s so much to inspire great photos!

🏨 Where to Stay in Northwest England?

Below are my top recommendations on where to stay in Manchester:

📍$ Budget option: Stylish Holiday Home in Salford Quays Manchester (2 bedroom, family-friendly) – Superb 9.0

📍$$$ Luxury option: Hyatt House Manchester (Family room, 2x extra large double beds) – Superb 9.1

Northwest England Day Trips with Family FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about family days out in the North West:

What are the best family days out in the North West?

Some of the top family days out in the North West include Chester Zoo, Knowsley Safari Park, Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, Sea Life Blackpool, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

What is there to do on a rainy day in the North West with kids?

Great rainy day options include the World Museum in Liverpool, the Manchester United Museum, and the Legoland Discovery Centre. Indoor attractions like trampoline parks and soft play centres are also good wet weather picks.

Where can we go for a budget family day out in the North West?

Some of the best budget options include Sefton Park in Liverpool, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, and the World Museum, which all offer free admission.

What are the best outdoor family attractions in the North West?

Top outdoor family days out include Knowsley Safari Park, Chester Zoo, Ice Cream Farm and Sefton Park.

Are there any good interactive museums for kids in the North West?

Yes, the Manchester United Museum, Legoland Discovery Centre and Museum of Science and Industry all offer hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences perfect for kids.

Where are the best places to go for kids activities and soft play areas?

Some great options with play zones include Legoland Discovery Centre, Sea Life Blackpool, Ice Cream Farm and kids activity centres like Flip Out and Jump Nation.

What attractions give you the chance to see and feed animals in the North West?

Knowsley Safari Park, Chester Zoo and Ice Cream Farm all offer chances to get close to and feed a range of animals.

Conclusion: Family Days Out North West

With so many incredible attractions from adrenaline-packed adventure parks to hands-on, interactive museums, the North West of England truly is an underrated destination for the most unforgettable family days out.

There’s exciting wildlife encounters, evocative heritage sites, and paradises for interactive playtime perfect for creating magical memories together.

You can be on a tight budget or looking to splash out on a special day, the options are there for everyone. So get exploring this diverse and fascinating region by road, rail or tram – amazing family adventures only a short trip away!

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