Summer days out at Quarry Bank

Children playing on the mill meadow at Quarry Bank

Step into summer at Quarry Bank and join in with a jam packed programme of summer activities all inspired by the great outdoors. With a complete industrial heritage site to discover, acres of gardens and woodland to explore and two play areas, there are plenty of places to play.

Situated just south of Manchester, Quarry Bank is one of Britain's greatest industrial heritage sites, once home to a community of cotton mill owners, mill workers and child apprentices. Explore the family homes of owner and worker, run wild on the mill meadow and enjoy the summer gardens which are bursting with summer blooms, fruit and vegetables. Go on a nature adventure in the woodland estate, or join in with our summer activities to learn new nature skills.

And on those rainy days, step inside the huge Industrial Revolution cotton mill to hear the clatter and roar of the machinery, and watch the looms in action as the floors shake beneath your feet.

Father helping daughter to balance on log in the woods

Learn new nature skills

Come to Quarry Bank this summer to uncover new skills and explore nature, music and more. With activities, games and workshops, there’s something new for you to learn every day. Try your hand at new, exciting skills in forest school, discover more about the life of trees and size up your age with the rings in their trunks, or explore new ways to create music inspired by Quarry Bank’s machines and the River Bollin. Scroll down to the Whats On section at the bottom of this page for activity dates and times.

Family looking at the vegetable patch in the kitchen garden

Play out in the great outdoors

Visit the kitchen gardens to see what grows here, from potatoes, to onions, garlic, runner beans and strawberries. Have a game of Pooh sticks on one of the bridges, spot butterflies on the mill meadow, and bring along a picnic to enjoy the summer blooms. Follow the River Bollin and stretch your legs on a walk through the estate, join in with garden games or let off steam in one of our two play areas

Children watching the machinery in action in the mill

Rainy day discoveries

We can’t promise sunshine, but at Quarry Bank you can enjoy a full day out whatever the weather. On those drizzly days, step inside the mill to watch the machinery thunder into action. Head back to the 19th century and follow the new story trail to become a factory inspector and learn more about the dangers of working in a cotton mill. Don’t forget to collect your stamps in your factory inspector’s booklet as you go! Or join a guided tour of the apprentice house to discover where the child apprentices lived, ate and slept after a long day’s work.

Family enjoying ice creams at Quarry Bank

Enjoy ice creams, hot lunches and picnics

After a long day exploring cool off with ice creams, refuel with sandwiches, hot snacks and freshly prepared hot lunches, or treat yourself to one of our cakes and bakes. Choose from our child friendly menu, or bring along a picnic to soak up the summer sun.

Upcoming events

Mill Trail: Become a Factory Inspector

Thu 22 Aug 2019
10:30-16:00
Become a factory inspector and have a go at our family trail around the mill created by children’s author Philip Ardagh.

Rights of the Child

Thu 22 Aug 2019
10:30-17:00
In this new exhibition, explore the experiences of the hundreds of children who worked at Quarry Bank and discover how children's rights have changed over time.

Glorious Phantoms

Thu 22 Aug 2019
10:30-17:00
200 years after the Peterloo Massacre, two films created by artist family Gary, Grace, Hope and Merrick will inspire conversations about rights and responsibilities, freedoms and the power to create change. Shown at Quarry Bank and Dunham Massey

Summer holidays: Strike a chord

Thu 22 Aug 2019
11:00-17:00
Quarry Bank’s machines and River Bollin form a unique rhythm. Come along this summer and explore new ways to create and enjoy music with us.

Conservation in Action

Thu 22 Aug 2019
11:30-12:30
Come and join our dedicated conservation team as they help to care and conserve Quarry Bank so it is here for years to come.

Steam Power Tour

Thu 22 Aug 2019
14:30-15:00
Join us for a specialised tour to find out why steam power was so important and how it changed the very fabric of Quarry Bank.