The £10 challenge: Enjoy a slice of British history at Imperial War Museum North

By Matt Simpson

When searching for something cheap to do in Manchester which is both entertaining and educational, look no further than the Imperial War Museum North.

Situated on the banks of the Ship Canal at the Quays, the museum is Manchester’s very own slice of 20th century British military history.

And with only an optional donation required for entry, history buffs can visit some excellent educational exhibitions without having to break the bank.

The main exhibition hall is where you will find marvellous enduring exhibits such as a Harrier Jump Jet, impressive pieces of artillery and a Second World War-era fire-fighter pump used during the Manchester Blitz.

Surrounding the displays is a timeline beginning with the origins of the Great War, before it chronicles the major conflicts and incidents of the last century and ending with the rise of terrorism following the tragic events of 9/11.

The museum also houses special exhibits, and this year is no different:

Saving Lives: Frontline Medicine in a Century of Conflict

Running through to September 1, 2013, this exhibit uses personal stories to examine medical care on the frontlines, from the First World War to modern day conflicts in the Middle East.

The Falklands, 1982

Beginning last year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of one of Britain’s major post-1945 conflicts, IWM has created an outdoor photographic display – ending on February 24, 2013 – looking at the casualties, heroes, dangers and challenges from the Falklands.

Oskar’s Journey

From January 12 to 26, 2013, families can sit down to a tale of adventure in a divided city, told through the eyes of Oskar, a charming cat puppet, as he seeks out a friend on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

The AirShard

Standing almost 100 feet tall, the iconic Air Shard is a jagged cut through Manchester’s skyline and offers those brave enough to venture up impressive views of MediaCity UK, the Quays and even a sneak peek into the construction site of the new Coronation Street.

And for those who will get lost in the fascinating history here, IWM North also has a place to refuel, in the shape of the WaterShard Café overlooking the Quays.

The café will close on January 14 to be refurbished and will reopen on January 27, offering a further range of sandwiches, soups cakes plus hot and drinks at reasonable prices.

And with the Lowry Gallery and shopping centre and Manchester United’s Old Trafford within a 15 minute walk, IWM North is at the centre of a cultural, historical and sporting hub near Manchester’s waterfront.

So with free entry (plus an optional donation) and refreshments and souvenirs available reasonably cheaply, the Imperial War Museum North is an excellent day out in Manchester for under £10.

The museum opens from 10.00am to 5.00pm every day with last admissions half an hour earlier.

Picture courtesy of Xavier de Jaurauiberry, with thanks.

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