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 June
  • 20th July
  • 15th September

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.

Creative thinking and art making have a transformative power, enhancing wellbeing and improving lives.  In the Clore Art Studio you can try out activities for families to be creative together. Using our collections of paintings, fashion and design as inspiration you can draw, build, dress up, play or just relax and chat. The space includes:

  • Dressing up area
  • A giant black board
  • Watch a film about Manchester made by artist-filmmaker Andrew Brookes
  • Draw and making table
  • Building with soft blocks

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

This space is a continuation of Speech Acts.


Family in the Clore Art Studio

Holiday Activities

Carnival of Creatures – Family protest

Join Rising Up Manchester Families and other environmental and community groups at the Carnival of Creatures on 1 June to raise awareness of the loss of wildlife and the need to protect it. With costume, music and circus we will take to the street in a riot of colour to make our message heard. Let’s love nature, not lose it!

Creative free family sessions

Artists Carly Bainbridge and Jayson Gylen will be on hand to help you make a parade-worthy prop that can be used at the Carnival of Creatures parade or can be used at the next Climate Change protest or just taken home to display.

A climate change researcher will be joining us to answer your questions about climate change.

Free, drop in.

Other dates

29, 30, 31 May – making at Manchester Art Gallery – 1–3 pm
1st June – Carnival of Creatures Parade at Manchester Museum, 11am–3pm

Sessions at other venues

Hulme Community Garden Centre Monday 27 and Wednesday 29 May 12-3pm

Come and make a fabulous headpiece for the Carnival of Creatures from recycled and natural materials.

Hulme Community Garden Centre / 28 Old Birley St / Manchester / M15 5RG

People’s History Museum Wednesday 29May 1-3pm

Join artist-led session to make beautiful things for the ‘Carnival of Creatures’ using fabric pens and patch making techniques.

People’s History Museum / Left Bank / Spinningfields / Manchester / M3 3ER

Manchester Museum Saturday 1 June 11-12:45

It’s a jam-packed session with nature, art, face painting, a chance to make wings to wear in the Carnival of Creatures, storytelling and play. Plus come and meet Rising Up! Manchester Families.

Manchester Museum / The University of Manchester / Oxford Road / Manchester / M13 9PL


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.

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.