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

Open doors is a creative workshop especially for autistic children and children with other social communication issues, their families and carers. We open our doors early just for you so that you can come enjoy and explore art together as a family. We have a designated Quiet room in the gallery, a space away from everything to feel safe and calm. For children and young people aged 5-16.

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

Drop by the third Saturday of every month, 9.15am – 12.15pm

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.

World Autism Awareness Week 2018

For Autism Awareness Week, we are partnering with Grange School; a school which serves Manchester’s autistic community.

On March 29th, 4:30pm- 6pm we will be hosting a celebration event at Manchester Art Gallery as part of World Autism Awareness Week. At this event children from Grange School will be performing alongside artist Nicola Smith. There will be a film made by the school that highlights the wonders and struggles of being autistic and shares the young people’s personal experiences.

The event’s aim is to raise awareness, understanding and change perceptions of autism in Manchester.


Child in the Clore Art Studio

Clore Art Studio

A space for families to be creative together.

We know that we learn more when we have fun and explore ideas actively. This studio is currently designed to be a celebration of children and play. We hope you enjoy looking at art from our collection that depict children leading their own play.

In this space you can make sculptural hideouts, using our den making blocks.
Create your own games on the games table using the counters provided.
Play hopscotch – can you see yourself projected on the gallery wall?

Please post images of your creations at #MAGfamilies

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 has been inspired by the photographs of Shirley Baker.



Glow in the Dark Park family workshop

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. Keep an eye on this website for more details.

Easter art sessions for families

This Easter join us for creative activities linked to our new mindfulness exhibition And Breathe…

In these artist led sessions you will create tactile taking notice tools to take home. And if you’d like too, learn how to practice fun mindfulness techniques together as a family.

We will have two studios open for you to explore, one for early years children and one with activities for older children.

All sessions are free.

Drop in anytime between 1-3pm.

Sessions run Wednesday – Saturday.

April: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th

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.

To see photographs of our February half term workshop, visit our Flickr page.


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.