UK's Best Family Venue? Find out more about Manchester's Whitworth gallery

8/11/2020 7:31:42 AM
UK's Best Family Venue? Find out more about Manchester's Whitworth gallery
Fantasic For Families

The Whitworth is one of five family-friendly places in the UK that have been shortlisted for this year's Best Family Venue Award in our annual Fantastic for Families Awards. Here they tell us more about their award winning family event PLAYTIME, and why the Whitworth is a special place for families.

The Whitworth has been shortlisted for Best Family Venue in the Fantastic for Family Awards and we honestly couldn’t be happier.

Together, with our friends and partners we work hard to allow our workshops and activities to be open and accessible to as wide a range of people as possible. In last year’s Fantastic for Families Awards our flagship summer holiday programme PLAYTIME won Best Event. Winning the Best Event Award really gave PLAYTIME the credit it deserved and the whole organisation celebrated the win.


Every summer the Whitworth explores the art of play with a range of free activities for all, from babies and toddlers to teens and grandparents. PLAYTIME adopts a more open-ended approach to family activities that can be enjoyed at a family’s own pace. In 2018 we turned our Clore Learning Studio into a Sand Pit Studio and in 2019 into a Splash Studio. PLAYTIME 2019 engaged a whopping 30,205 participants over the 6 week period.

You can see the PLAYTIME film here:

Obviously, this year’s PLAYTIME looks a little different but nothing, not even a pandemic, will stop play.

We have taken PLAYTIME online and into people’s homes. Each week throughout the summer holidays we are using social media to share MUD themed activities for all the family to do at home.

There are so many benefits to mud play, not least that it’s a free resource that anyone can get their hands on.

If you would like to play along with our MUD activities then check out our PLAYTIME AT HOME films.

Families building with large sponge blocks

Early Years Mondays

Early Years Mondays at the Whitworth are a firm favourite with our most local families. Before lockdown, every Monday under 5s and their grown ups would visit our Early Years Atelier and Art Baby, free drop in spaces, and engage in the Whitworth’s collections through play. Since lockdown the Atelier has moved online. Families can now follow our social media channels and every Monday receive Ideas and suggestions on how to re-create an Atelier environment in their home or setting.

The #AtelieratHome encourages learning through play. Play is not just beneficial to young children it is a key to learning for all ages. The Atelier promotes a play based approached to learning encouraging children to explore for themselves, use their imaginations and be creative with simple materials.

We love doing these activities at home. It feels like lots of us are doing it “together”. I used to love Mondays and I still love Mondays. - Atelier at Home parent

Opening up the collections

The Atelier at Home programme opens up the Whitworth’s collections and allows them to be shared even during this period of closure.

I finally get the chance to join you. I live in Portugal and have admired your programme from afar for a while now. I’m also an atelierista trying to adapt and reflect in ways to stay connected to families so, you are brave and always an inspiration. - Atelier at Home parent

We have explored many themes such as animals, colour, refection, still life and weaving through play based, child led activities and have created themed folders filled with works from our collection to use as inspiration. These and much more are available to view on our website.

Play along

To play along follow @earlyyearswhitworth on Instagram or visit our website.

Although the Whitworth is planning to re-open and welcome back visitors in September 2020, much of our digital activity will continue. The Atelier at Home programme will begin again on Monday 7th September.

There are many more programmes and activities continuing to take place online during this period of closure too.  To see the full list visit our Whitworth at Home page.

What now? Find events near you, online-events, or activities to do at home with kids.

See the full Fantastic for Families Awards shortlist



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