Manchester is the largest city in North West England, and the second most visited city in the UK, after London. If you've only got a few days in Manchester and it is raining the entire time, don't despair. From escape rooms, rock climbing clubs and all sorts of indoor activities, to shopping malls, art galleries and museums, you are sure to find something fun to do when it's raining cats and dogs. Find a recommended brunch spot and relax over a meal to plan your rainy day.
Whether you are traveling alone or with kids, there are tons of things to do in Manchester to escape the rain. Don't let the weather affect your day; instead, take advantage of this list of fun things you can do and make your visit to Manchester the trip of a lifetime. You won't even remember it was raining!
But store your bags first and keep them safe and dry with Bounce luggage storage in Manchester. This way you'll also have a free hand to hold your umbrella.
Manchester Art Gallery
This absolutely stunning art gallery is one of the best things to check out on a rainy day in Manchester. Spread across two floors, Manchester Art Gallery houses historic and contemporary collections of fine art including 19th-century British paintings, the most famous being the Pre-Raphaelites.
Located on Mosley Street in Manchester City Centre, there are 94 galleries to explore over an 807,000 sq ft area. From collections of ceramics, silver, and glass, to furniture, costumes, and paintings, there is a bit of everything for every art lover out there. The entrance is free, which is another great reason to stop by and hide from the rain.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm; Closed on Mondays
Just north of Piccadilly Gardens and the City Centre is Northern Quarter, the trendiest and busiest area in Manchester. This vibrant neighborhood makes for an excellent getaway when it's pouring down. From boutiques, bars and restaurants, to music venues, and department stores, this is the place to stop by and look for amusing indoor activities to shelter from the rain.
If you are good with darts, check out the Dead Eye Darts Club. Besides darts, you'll find plenty of ping pong tables and arcade machines, or you can sit back and enjoy a movie played on a massive screen. If you are looking for something to cheer you up, there are more than enough comedy clubs in this vibrant neighborhood. However, most comedy shows start around 7 pm. Whatever you decide to do to stay away from the rain, the Northern Quarter in Manchester will surely keep you entertained for hours.
Manchester Climbing Centre
What better way to get out of the rain in Manchester than to do some indoor sports activities, like climbing walls. Manchester Climbing Centre or Parthian Climbing is located on Benett Street, housed in a converted Victorian church. Parthian Climbing offers training with professional and experienced instructors for all beginners, of all ages and abilities. Climb the impressive 65.5.ft lead wall or test your endurance on one of the 75 climbing lines of all shapes and sizes.
Once you are done you can grab a drink at the little cafe near the reception. Entry starts at about $7. 50 for juniors and $11.50 for adults. Bring your group of friends and family along and make the most out of the gloomy weather outside.
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 am-10 pm; Saturday&Sunday 10 am-6 pm
When visiting Manchester, a trip to the Manchester Museum is highly recommended. Housed in the University of Manchester on Oxford Road, this is the biggest University Museum in the UK. The 155 years old Museum has a fascinating collection of about 4.5 million items from all over the world.
The highlights of the extensive collections of anthropology, archeology, and natural history include a T.rex, fossils, skeletons, live reptiles and amphibians, too cool to miss out on. Most of the displays are interactive, which makes it a fun way to learn, not only for kids but for adults too. When you are done exploring, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at the cafe found on the third floor.
Note: The Museum is temporarily closed for renovation until February 2023.
One of the most fun rainy day activities you could do in Manchester is trying to get out of a locked room full of puzzles and mysteries. Whether you are traveling with kids or a group of friends, a few hours in the popular Crystal Maze escape room will get your adrenaline high trying to escape the room on time.
The Crystal Maze escape room is inspired by the 90s TV show. However, you don't need to watch the show, as they explain everything to you before your time starts. Each game has a different theme, scenery, and props just like the TV show. Do you think that you have what it takes to crack the Crystal Maze LIVE Experience? Head down to Lower Byrom Street, right next to the Museum of Science and Industry and find out for yourself.
Hours: Monday-closed; Tuesday-Friday 1.30 pm-9 pm; Saturday 9 am-9 pm; Sunday 9 am-6 pm
Manchester Trafford Park
When you are looking for things to do on a rainy day in Greater Manchester, Trafford Park offers a variety of things. Whether you are into sports and adventure or want to do a little shopping, or maybe you just want to sit down and eat, you'll find all that here.
Trafford Park is home to tons of amusement centers. You can start your day with an adrenaline rush at iFLY Manchester Indoor Skydiving. If you have highly energetic kids, your best choice would be the Inflata Nation Inflatable Theme Park. Another great family amusement center for kids of any age is Play Factore, located near the Trafford Center.
Upside Down House is in the area too, where you can have a giggle and tons of fun photos. Last but not least, is Old Trafford Stadium on Sir Matt Busby Way, where you can get a behind-the-scenes stadium tour.
Manchester Trafford Park is a must-visit, whether it's raining or not.
Imperial Wall Museum
While you are still in the neighborhood, you should make time to visit the IWM North and discover details and stories of over a century of war. Though much smaller than its London counterpart, the Imperial Wall Museum is home to tons of equally engaging exhibits. There is a permanent exhibition space dedicated to war and conflicts from 1900 to the present day and another space full of smaller exhibits.
The museum has a panorama platform at 95 ft high, boasting wonderful views of Salford Quays and Manchester City Centre. Whether you are a history buff or just passing time till the rain stops, you will certainly enjoy your time here. Once you are done exploring, check out the gift shop, or visit the cafe for a cup of tea or coffee.
Note: Keep in mind if you are traveling with young children as there are graphic images of the horrors of war you may not want them to see.
Hours: Monday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm
Junkyard Golf is the perfect spot to shelter from the rain in the city, if you like golf that is. In just a short walk from Deansgate Train station, you can have the craziest golf adventure in your life. It doesn't matter who you are traveling with. Anyone can have some fun here.
This crazy golf venue has bars selling alcohol across all three courses. Yes, drinking and playing golf at the same time is acceptable, as long as you know your limits. The courses have different themes, like Circus, Jungle, and Scrapyard.
If you are not sensitive to flashing lights, UV lights and loud music, this is one of the best ways to spend a few hours when trying to hide from the rain in Manchester. Have a blast at a great price of about $10 for a round of off-peak golf!
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 4 pm-12 am; Thursday 2 pm-12.30 am; Friday 12 pm-12.30 am; Saturday 12 pm-12 am; Sunday 12 pm-10 pm
When the rain takes you indoors, why not try to ski instead? Yes, you heard that right. Chill Factore is the longest indoor ski slope in the United Kingdom and a great place for fun family adventures. Located in Trafford Park, the attraction is 590 ft long and 330 ft wide, being the widest in the world when it first opened in 2007. It produces 19,000 pounds of real snow every day.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced skier, there are slopes for everyone. Children, adults and everyone who enjoys the snow get to spend the entire day skiing and snowboarding in a fun and safe environment. If this is not the best way to escape the rain in Manchester, what else is? Even if you are not even near Trafford Park, getting to Chill Factore is worth your time and money. Just make sure you dress warmly as the indoor temperature in Chill Factore is 25 F.
Hours: Monday 10 am-10 pm; Tuesday 10 am-6 pm; Wednesday 7.30 am-10 pm; Thursday&Friday 10 am-10 pm; Saturday&Sunday 8 am-10 pm
One of the best places to be when you are hiding from the rain in Manchester is the spectacular Trafford Centre. This is one of the largest indoor shopping malls located in Greater Manchester, England, five miles from central Manchester.
The mall consists of over 200 shops, over 60 restaurants, plenty of cafes and bars, kid's areas, as well as leisure venues. Popular brands to find in the mall include Primark, Victoria's Secret, Selfridges, Next, Zara and many others.
There are tons of things to do here. From bringing your creativity to life at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre to discovering the underwater world at the SEA LIFE aquarium, you can easily spend an entire day in the Trafford Centre. Perfect place to escape the rain!
Hours: Monday to Friday 10 am-10 pm; Saturday 10 am-9 pm; Sunday 12-6 pm
Manchester Central Library
One of the must-see attractions when visiting Manchester is the Central Library. Located near the City Centre, facing St.Peter's Square, in just a 3-minute walk from Manchester Art Gallery, the Central Library is a place where students come to study, and visitors read the daily newspaper. Even if you decide to explore, rest assured you will be entertained for at least a few hours. Check with the information desk to get the most from your visit.
The building modeled on a Roman Pantheon was completed in 1930. You can even walk 360 degrees on the 4th floor. The Library holds an impressive collection of books, most with a focus on Manchester, but you will find all kinds of genres too. When you are done reading or exploring, head down to the ground floor for a cup of tea or coffee and check out the small shop before you leave.
Hours: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday 9 am to 5 pm
Rainy Day in Manchester
Whether you want to go shopping and museum hopping or get an adrenaline rush with rock climbing, skiing, or solving mysteries to escape a locked room, the choices for Manchester on a rainy day are many.
Luckily, most places on the list are easy to access, and some are within close distance, so the pouring rain won't be much trouble.
Looking for even more things to do in Manchester on a rainy day? Check out these other guides: