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

Bale to Yarn

Fri 18 Oct 2019
In this exclusive out of hours tour, discover how 800 shirts could be made from a single bale of cotton.

Mill Trail: Become a Factory Inspector

Fri 18 Oct 2019
Become a factory inspector and have a go at our family trail around the mill created by children’s author Philip Ardagh.

Exhibition: A Healthy Profit

Sat 19 Oct 2019
In a new exhibition we explore the physical, mental and emotional toil of working in a mill.

October Half Term: People? Pah, profit!

Sat 19 Oct 2019
This October half term, discover how mill work impacted the human body. How did the apprentices feel after a long day at the mill? What did working 12 hours a day really do to your body?

Nature Walk

Mon 21 Oct 2019
Join one of our ranger team every Monday and experience Quarry Bank's seasonal sights and sounds.

Water Power Tour

Wed 23 Oct 2019
Join one of our expert team for a specialised tour on all things water power.