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Ok so I’m not Carrie Bradshaw and this is certainly not Sex in the City – rather than a round up of naughty gossip, it’s a round up of sensory sessions within the City Centre. I have very sadly had to swap martinis for decaf tea whilst on this quest but will bring the low down on the best brews – and cake – that we found along the way.
We have tried out a variety of sessions in Manchester Centre and although they are similar in content, we have found the little things make all the difference. All of these sessions are in beautiful buildings within the City Centre and I would recommend taking the time to enjoy the buildings as well as the sessions they provide.
Manchester National Football Museum has a great sensory room and I previously blogged about it here:
Although there is a cost (£3) there is a limit to the number of spaces which we have found to be very important. Also you can go around the rest of the museum and in addition to that the cafe is accessible for lots of buggies. We would recommend this session which is on alternate Mondays and Thursdays – make sure you book in advance. (See my blog for further details)
The Royal Exchange Theatre has family sessions on Sundays with a variety of activities for different age groups. We went to sensory storytelling with Nicola Worthington which was excellent. It was incredibly well prepared and the materials used to accompany the story were of high quality. Nicola was wonderful with the babies and a superb story teller. It was £3 for a 45 minute session which was money well spent. With only 5 babies in the group it was a lovely experience and we would recommend highly. The cafe is spacious – and serves beer which is a bonus! Family activities are on every Sunday but they change each week – check out the Royal Exchange website for more details.
We have also been to Baby Explorers in Manchester Museum. We went to the drop in session on Tuesday afternoon which takes place within a ‘nature’ area of the museum and is closed to the public. Unfortunately it was a bit busy for us with lots going on. The room has many brilliant resources for the babies but on the day we went, it was very popular. As Rita is only 4 months old it was all too much and as she was unsettled we left early. I would go back to this session but I would definitely go to one of the morning sessions where you have to book in advance and there is a limit to how many babies can attend. There was a cellist there playing and the babies could stand on the cello to feel the vibrations which was a great idea and definitely something we will be going back for. It is worth noting that all of the sensory sessions at the Museum are free of charge. Tea and coffee is served on the ground floor via Teacup from the Northern Quarter who have a pop up cafe – as always the cakes were amazing!
Last on our list is Art baby – Music baby at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Again this was a free session but we had to book on – it is very popular and spaces fill up quickly. The Whitworth use a large open space within the exhibitions with lots of resources and materials for the babies to explore. Although there were lots of babies there, it did not feel claustrophobic due to the spaciousness of the room. We all had a great time here with different areas set up for the babies to enjoy. In addition there was a harpist providing gentle and relaxing music for the babies. The set up changes week to week so when you go back, there is often something different. The Whitworth itself is a beautiful building and the restoration has been incredible. The cafe is not large but is accessible for buggies and there is decaf tea and delicious cake – hurray! It is also worth mentioning that the cafe stretches into the beautiful Whitworth Park and the walls are made of glass – the babies loved it in here. We will go back to this session – also worth noting that parking is free in the side streets by The Whitworth if you get there early enough to nab a space.
Looking for something else to do? Check out my guide to our favourite parks and green spaces around Manchester
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