Manchester Art Gallery


All families are welcome at Manchester Art Gallery.

We offer playful activities for all ages. Our Clore Art Studio is an interactive family space developed by artists, which you can access every day. Borrow an explorer toolbelt to help you look and connect with our collection artworks. During the school holidays, we run award-winning artist-led workshops for families – keep an eye on the website for more details. We are dedicated to being accessible to all our family audiences. Please ask a member of staff if you need any assistance.

Mother and child at Open doors

Open doors

A creative workshop especially for autistic children

Since 2014 Manchester Art Gallery has been holding monthly autism friendly sessions on a Saturday morning aimed at children with autism and their families. Features include:

  • Galleries open at 9.15 so you can experience the gallery at a quieter, calmer time
  • Artist led workshops and activities
  • Staff trained in Autism Awareness
  • A quiet room available for moments that might be a bit difficult

Next sessions are 9:15-11:15 am on:

  • 15th September
  • 20th October
  • 17th November
  • 15th December

Please feel free to call Katy McCall on 0161 235 8869 if you have any questions or would like to find out more.

Manchester Museum also offer Autism Friendly Early Openings on the second Saturday of every month, 9.15-10.30am. Visit their website for more information.

In the Clore Art Studio

Clore Art Studio

An interactive space for everyone to play, experiment and enjoy.

Our Clore Art Studio has been transformed into a magnetic playground inspired by the children’s art room at the LYC Museum & Art Gallery in Cumbria. The LYC Museum was established by artist Li Yuan-chia, who believed that art was all about social interaction. We think this concept is really important so our Clore Art Studio has been designed to spark curiosity and encourage visitor participation. Come and be creative in the space!

  • Play the hexagonal table-tennis game
  • Explore colour, shape and pattern in the artworks from our collection
  • Watch the film made by artist-filmmaker Helen Petts of footage of the LYC Museum’s site
  • Draw imaginative patterns at the table
  • Use the magnetic shapes to create patterns and display your artwork

Please note that the Clore Art Studio will be closed on 18-19 and 24 September as we install and de-install The Other in Mother exhibition. Opening times go back to normal on 25 September.

Keep your eye on our website for other free workshops for families, including our monthly workshop for autistic children; Open doors.

Our cafe now offers a pay-as-you-feel deal for children.

This space is a continuation of Speech Acts.


Family in the Clore Art Studio

Holiday Activities

Family workshops

During most school holidays we offer free artist led workshops for families. These sessions are suitable for all ages; we always work with 2 artists, one with an early years specialism and one who develops activities for older children.

October half term workshops for families

Please keep an eye out here for information about our October half term workshops.

Don’t forget our Clore Art Studio is open daily and that you can borrow a tool belt to explore the gallery anytime.

If you want to draw, just ask our VS team if you can borrow a drawing pack from the front desk.


Mother and toddler

Healthy Child drop in clinic


In partnership with Martenscroft Sure Start Centre and the Manchester Health Visiting Team, we offer a free Healthy Child drop in clinic for 0-5 year olds every Wednesday, 1.30 – 3pm.


Family friendly café

Our gallery café is great for families. Food is served throughout the day (hot dishes between 11am and 3pm). Children’s menus are available.

We offer a pay-as-you-feel menu for children – delicious, healthy meals that are affordable for all families. Simply pay what you feel at the till or by using the donation box in the kitchen.

By sourcing ingredients from The Real Junk Food Project Manchester we can help make family visits that bit easier.

High chairs are available, just ask a member of our café staff.

Getting around

For buggies, there’s a ramp leading to the main entrance on Mosley Street. There are lifts to all floors or you can leave your buggy in the ground floor cloakroom.

For more information about physical access to Manchester Art Gallery see our access page.

Explorer toolbelts

Our family explorer toolbelts are back!
This activity pack will help you and your families make connections with the artworks, exhibitions and the building in a playful way.

Pick one up from the front desk and start your journey of discovery at Manchester Art Gallery.

Baby changing and toilets

There are baby change facilities on the ground floor in both men’s and women’s toilets next to the entrance hall. We also have accessible toilets in the ground floor atrium and on the first floor.