Imperial War Museum North in Manchester


Imperial War Museum North in Manchester is one of the most exciting free destinations for families, thanks to its interactive exhibitions and events.

Families can explore the smells and creatures of a First World War trench, escape from a prisoner of war camp through a tunnel, find out what life would have been like as an evacuee and get a handle on history by handling real objects every day.

From the huge T34 tank and AV8 Harrier jump-jet, to the little things which have meant so much to people, letters, photographs and toys, the Museum has it all.

For a more touchy feely experience, children and parents should head for the museums’ Action Stations where they can see, touch and even smell a number of wartime experiences and test their skills to the limit.

Families can get creative with the interactive HotSpots every Sunday, giving them the chance to try their hand at designing their own postcard to send to a friend or keep as a souvenir.  And if that wasn’t enough, the museum has an array of fun free workshops and highlight events including:

  • What a Performance – Focuses on the museum’s Captured: The Extraordinary Life of Prisoners of War exhibition, bringing it to life for families through a series of drama and musical performances.
  • Billy’s War – An Evacuation Story – Discover Billy’s tales of adventure, courage and daring through this lively and engaging new session, using a range of visual materials, sound and replica objects.

Free daily events

Timestacks, Children & War Big Picture Show

  • Activities and tours take place every day – great for those wanting an introduction to the Museum, or to find out more.
  • Main Exhibition Space daily at 12.30pm and 3.30pm
  • Imperial War Museum North’s collections are opened up in these themed 20-minute object handling sessions. Join an Interactor for an opportunity to handle items from the TimeStack and discover the stories behind the artefacts.

The Big Picture Show

  • One of the highlights of any visit is the Big Picture Show. This 360° light and sound show projected onto the walls, floor and even visitors themselves will leave you spellbound, The Children and War Big Picture show is on at 11am,,2pm and 5pm daily and weaves together images and personal testimonies to explore what it’s like to be a child in war.
  • Your History (ground floor)
  • Play online games and quizzes about themes explored in the Museum.

Visiting Imperial War Museum North with your family

  • We offer a great day out for all the family all year round with FREE ENTRY to the Museum, all our exhibitions and a wide variety of family friendly activities. We have free floorplans, trails, and regular tours to help you navigate our fascinating building.
  • We also have regular events aimed specifically at families including TimeStack Handling Sessions where you can get hands-on with the objects, and HotSpot craft activities, helping you to explore the Museum in more detail.
  • Within the Main Exhibition Space we have nine Action Station interactives and on the ground floor, our online area Your History offers more information about the Museum’s collections, including games and personal stories.
  • We have free, self-operated lockers for your bags, lifts to all floors, accessible ground floor toilets and baby changing facilities. The WaterShard Café offers children’s portions and lunch bags, and colouring sheets are always available. An indoor picnic area is also available at weekends and in the school holidays for visitors to bring their own refreshments.
  • The Museum Shop offers a range of pocket money purchases including souvenirs and stationery items.
  • Imperial War Museum North is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford, in a spectacular award-winning building designed by the internationally
    renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind.
  • The Museum tells the story of how war has affected the lives of British and Commonwealth citizens since 1914. It is the 5th branch of the Imperial War Museum and the first outside the South East of England.

7 days a week from 10am – 6pm (Nov to Feb 10am – 5pm) with free admission

The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1TZ
(Close to Harbour City Metrolink and Junction 9 of the M60)

For more information