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Growing up in North Wales, I didn’t spend much time in Manchester. When I was at uni, my best friend lived there so I visited but time spent eating and drinking in town then partying in her student house didn’t give me any idea what the city had to offer.

Now that I have children and we’ve had many day trips, I have had my eyes well and truly opened – and I’m so pleased.

Here are my top five places to visit:

5. Sea Life Centre – at intu Trafford Centre is amazing! They have over 5000 creatures including sharks, seahorses, octopus, jellyfish and rays. There is breath taking introduction featuring sea turtles that makes you feel that you’re actually there, on the beach, watching them. You can get touchy feely at the interactive touchpool where rockpool experts show you how to handle everything safely and you can even take a trek on the sea bed… It really is a fantastic day out and we really enjoyed our visit

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4. Imperial War Museum – it is definitely worth visiting, even if it’s just for the objects that are on display, including a real jump jet that is suspended from the ceiling and a large tangled metal frame from one of the Twin Towers. You’ll no doubt be familiar with the Horrible Histories programme and there is a wonderful film projected onto the walls of the museum with age appropriate language and a liberal amount of toilet humour (always a winner with children!) The Air Shard is a 100ft high viewing platform that gives astounding views of the surrounding area, including Media City which is just across the canal and is worth a look too! Two great places for one.

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3. National Football Museum – you don’t need to be a real football fanatic to visit and it doesn’t have any bias toward any team. It simply catalogues the history of football and the culture that surrounds it. There are wonderful, emotive photographs and memorabilia, facts and figures, taped interviews and I felt particularly moved when we viewed the notable football tragedies throughout the years. There is plenty to keep even the most restless child interested, including a penalty shoot out – although I’m not so sure Mr sixdegreesofharmony liked that bit so much as he was beaten 3:0 by our 12 year old

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2. Museum of Science and Industry – what I like about MOSI is that there is something for everyone; from real history buffs to gadget geeks – and there is plenty to keep children occupied in ‘Experiment’ on the first floor. It is a hands on learning zone. My boys love visiting here, seeing the steam train, the sewers in the Station Building, the Learning Studios (and the cakes are to die for).

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1. Red House Farm – a picturesque farm (not a petting farm) in Dunham Massey with a courtyard housing play equipment suitable for toddlers through to children age 8 including a playground with swings and slides, a sandpit, motorised diggers and tractors, and the ever popular barrel train ride. From July there is also a maize maze (featured on BBC One’s The One Show) The tea rooms have exquisite homemade food (even the ketchup is homemade!) and the farm shop sells  an array of jams, chutneys and cakes.

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