Where can families enjoy free puppet shows or entertainment in Manchester?

In the vibrant city of Manchester, England, a treasure trove of family-friendly activities await you. From wide green parks to interactive museums, there's no shortage of fantastic things to do. However, if you're looking for a treat for your kids, puppet shows and other forms of free entertainment have a special appeal. In this article, we'll be exploring a collection of places in Manchester where you and your kids can relish these amusements at no cost. So, read on and start planning your next family day out.

Manchester Central Library

The iconic Manchester Central Library is much more than a vast repository of books. It's a community hub, offering a variety of free events and activities for people of all ages.

Designed in a circular fashion, the library serves as a beautiful backdrop for events and gatherings. For families, the Children's Library holds a wealth of opportunities for fun and learning. Beyond the shelves teeming with children's literature, it also organizes a range of activities throughout the year.

The library's regular "Storytime" sessions are particularly popular among the younger crowd. These feature lively storytelling and interactive puppet shows, captivating children with tales of adventure, fantasy, and more. You should check the library's event calendar regularly to keep abreast of upcoming puppet shows and other activities.

The library also hosts workshops for kids to make their puppets or masks, adding a crafty dimension to your visit. It's an excellent opportunity for your kids to tap into their creativity while having a load of fun.

Platt Fields Park

Spread over a vast area of greenery, Platt Fields Park is a gem in Manchester's heart. This park is known for its lake and the beautiful, historic Platt Hall. But what makes Platt Fields Park a fantastic destination for families is its range of free activities and events.

Several times a year, the park transforms into a festival ground, hosting joyous events filled with music, dance, food, and, of course, puppet shows. These events are out in the open, allowing you to bask in Manchester's weather while your kids enjoy the performances.

Moreover, the park's Eco Garden sometimes serves as the stage for puppet shows and storytelling sessions. These shows often have an environmental message, making them both fun and educational.

The Manchester Museum

The Manchester Museum is undoubtedly a beacon of knowledge, displaying millions of artifacts and specimens from around the world. But the museum also goes beyond static exhibits to offer interactive activities for children and their families.

Often, the museum hosts puppet shows related to its exhibits. Kids can watch puppets of dinosaurs, ancient Egyptian gods, or endangered animals come to life, making their museum visit even more engaging. These puppet shows are typically free, although some might require prior booking.

In addition, the museum also organizes "Magic Carpet" storytelling sessions, which often incorporate puppetry. These sessions transport children to different times and places, enriching their imagination and understanding of the world.

The People's History Museum

The People's History Museum is a unique institution in Manchester, focusing on the city's social history. While the museum's exhibits might seem more geared towards adults, there are plenty of activities that kids can enjoy too.

The museum frequently organizes puppet shows based on historical events and characters. These shows bring history to life in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for children. Plus, they provide a great opportunity for your kids to learn about Manchester and its past.

Aside from puppet shows, the museum offers a range of other free activities for kids. These include craft workshops, storytelling sessions, and interactive guided tours.

Heaton Park

Heaton Park, one of the biggest parks in Europe, hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year. Whether it's a food festival, a funfair, or a sports event, there's always something happening here.

Among these events, puppet shows hold a special place. Often conducted in the park's lovely garden areas, these shows are a delightful treat for children. They feature a variety of puppets, from traditional hand puppets to large, intricate marionettes.

In addition to puppet shows, you can also enjoy other free entertainment like concerts and outdoor movie screenings at Heaton Park. It's an ideal place to spend a whole day with your family, enjoying the park's beauty and its lively events.

Remember, Manchester is a city that is alive with culture and entertainment. No matter where you turn, you'll find something interesting and enjoyable for your family. So, get ready to explore, have fun, and make lasting memories with your loved ones in this vibrant city.

Whitworth Park and Art Gallery

Located in the heart of Manchester's bustling city centre, Whitworth Park is a public garden that offers a calming respite amidst the city's hustle and bustle. Adjacent to the park is the Whitworth Art Gallery, making this an ideal cultural spot to explore with your family.

Whitworth Park often serves as a stage for free puppet shows, particularly during the school holidays or half term. These shows are typically held in the park's open-air theatre, providing a wonderful opportunity for your children to engage with storytelling in a fresh and lively way.

The puppet shows at Whitworth Park are a blend of classic tales and new stories, all infused with humour and creativity. From adaptations of The Jungle Book to original stories created by local puppeteers, these shows offer a wide variety of entertainment options for your family.

And that's not all. The Whitworth Art Gallery hosts the 'Art Baby - Music Baby' sessions that open the window to an art-filled experience for the younger ones. This unique programme uses music, movement, and sensory play to introduce infants to the world of art. Do remember to visit their website to stay updated with the upcoming sessions.

Aviva Studios

Aviva Studios, located in Manchester's vibrant city centre, is known for its creative workshops and performances. The studio opens its door to the public for free puppet shows and other entertaining performances, particularly on the weekends.

The puppet shows at Aviva Studios are diverse, incorporating a range of puppet styles and storytelling techniques. From traditional hand puppetry to shadow puppets and marionettes, these shows are a feast for the senses.

The studio also offers free puppet-making workshops. These workshops allow children to learn about the art of puppetry, create their puppets, and perhaps even put up a show! Check their website regularly or click 'share' on their social media platforms to stay informed about their upcoming events.


Manchester, the city where Manchester United is more than just a football team, it's a way of life, is also a treasure trove of free family entertainment. Public libraries, parks, museums, galleries and even studios across the city centre and greater Manchester are host to free puppet shows and other engaging activities.

Whether it's the Boston Public-inspired storytelling at the Central Library, the nature-infused puppet shows at Platt Fields Park, or the historical performances at The People's History Museum, Manchester offers a rich selection of puppetry entertainment. Don't forget to explore other offerings like the 'Art Baby - Music Baby' session at the Whitworth Art Gallery or the creative workshops at Aviva Studios.

Tickets to these shows usually cost nothing, although some venues might require prior booking. Remember to visit the respective websites or click 'share' to stay updated on upcoming performances.

While most of these shows are scheduled during the school holidays or half term, some venues, like the Central Library and Heaton Park, offer regular performances throughout the year.

So, why wait? Dive into the vibrant world of puppetry in Manchester. Enjoy a day out at the park, a visit to the museum or a session at the library. After all, who said that memorable family fun has to come with a hefty price tag? In Manchester, the best things in life are indeed free!