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Leeds, Saturday 13th August – Sunday 4th September, 10.30am-7pm
Feel the sand between your toes at this unique installation, which is returning to Millennium Square for its fourth summer season. This year it’s ‘cocoa cabana’ themed to celebrate the Olympics, and they’ll be a big screen showing all the major events, as well as refreshments and summer tunes to get you into the Rio spirit. Entry to City Beach Leeds is free; you just have to pay for any rides or games you’d like to try.
York, Sunday 28th August
Watch homemade soapbox carts race their way down the ancient cobbles of Micklegate ins this super fun bank holiday activity that’s definitely a bit different to your usual family days out! There’ll be live music, street food stalls and children’s events there too so you can really make a day of it. It’s free to watch the Micklegate Run Soapbox Challenge – and, of course, when you grab a train to York rather than taking the car, you can save even more pennies.
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, until 4th September
You’re never short of family-friendly things to do in Manchester, and, unsurprisingly, given its reputation for rainy weather, its especially strong on indoor attractions! The Museum of Science and Industry is packed with educational yet fun exhibitions that will really get your brain going. This summer, they’re running the ‘Imagine it, Make it, Move it’ programme full of hand-on activities to really get stuck into. Entry is free, but donations are appreciated.
Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Thursday 25th August
The Royal Armouries ‘Saxon Summer’ programme of action-packed events is taking place throughout August and September, and this awesome Chariot Racing Show is sure to be a highlight. The Atkinson Action Horses will be performing two shows – one at noon and one at 2.30pm – and a family ticket (two adults and two kids) will set you back just £12.
Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th September, 11am-5pm
This annual festival – where Albert Dock is overrun by eye-patch-wearing, sword-brandishing pirates – returns for 2016… The whole family will love watching the theatrical scenes and swashbuckling stunts unfold right before their eyes, as a slice of fascinating (and cut-throat) pirating history is brought to life. Best of all the Liverpool Pirate Festival is totally free to attend, so the only costs you’ll have to cover are your train tickets to Liverpool, refreshments, and perhaps a pirate hat or two for the kids.
Heaton Park, Manchester, Sunday 21st August, 11am
If you and your family are fitness lovers, this one’s for you... The Big Fun Run is suitable for all ages, and you’re encouraged to take things totally at your own pace. The entry fee varies depending on whether you’re running for charity, and under 5s go free. When you’re buying your train ticket to Manchester, don’t forget to pick up your PLUSBUS ticket too – it gives you unlimited bus and tram travel around the city you’re visiting for just £2, which makes getting to Heaton Park (which is a few stops out of town on the Bury Metrolink line) cheaper for you.
If you go along to any of these events, be sure to tag us on Facebook (@TPExpressTrains), Twitter (@TPExpressTrains) or Instagram (@tpexpresstrains) and use the hashtag #TPEsummerinthecity.
And remember: when you stick to town for your adventures, it’s easier, less stressful and often much more affordable to travel by train – you can save up to 50% by booking your train ticket in advance online, and if you use your family rail card, you can save even more.