I ventured into Manchester yesterday afternoon to get some things done. Thanks to the pandemic, I was fairly limited as to where I could stop for a sit down with twin toddlers.
I’ve always had a very love hate relationship with Manchester, but since having babies, I’ve truly come to appreciate how the city isn’t a child-friendly space. Thankfully, I was able to make use of the hidden toddler-friendly spots I know about to make sure our day went smoothly.
It’s probably worth pointing out the obvious here: having twins makes things harder. If I had just the one toddler, I’d be happy to let them out more often and wouldn’t need to rely on baby rooms so much, but being able to let both toddlers out at the same time in a lockable safe room makes my life a lot easier!
We had a quick picnic lunch on the grass outside Chethams, but there were cigarette ends and glass everywhere so packed up and carried on as soon as we were done.
I had brought toddler reigns and thought I’d try having one toddler walking at a time. After about five minutes of me having to constantly steer my daughter away from broken glass, I admitted defeat and put her back in the buggy.
I had a shopping list of things to get from the big boots that’s in the Arndale and on market street. Once I’d got everything I needed, the toddlers were getting restless and needed to stretch their legs, so I headed to toddler-friendly destination number one.
Upstairs in the big Boots is a baby room, intended for parents with small children and anyone who needs to breastfeed. It’s equipped with plasticy, wipe clean armchairs, changing mats, a sink, and nappy bins. Fairly sparse, but great for us to use for ten minutes.
I took the opportunity to change both toddlers then popped them on the floor to run around and stretch their legs while I sat and drank the coffee that I’d bought earlier. After a little run around they were happy to go back in the buggy.
Another hour of getting things done around Manchester, and it was time for another toddler break so off I went to toddler destination number two: M&S!
Upstairs near the toilets in the big M&S on Market Street are a few feeding rooms. Much like the Boots baby room, the rooms are equipped with changing facilities and a big comfy armchair. They’re also decorated beautifully, making them a really nice place to sit for a few minutes. These rooms are lockable and a totally safe space which made them perfect for us. I could have a quiet few minutes while the toddlers toddled around the room!
Later on, the last great space we visited was the Waterstones in Deansgate. There’s a huge children’s section on the first floor and it was empty when we arrived. Here, I could get the toddlers out safely, one at a time, and they could have the run of the floor and look at all the lovely books – we chose a couple to buy and take home too! Usually, there are toddler friendly readings and sensory sessions here, so it’s a very child-tolerant space!
And there you have it – three quiet toddler-friendly spaces that made my daytrip to Manchester with toddlers pretty stress-free, even in the midst of a global pandemic.