The Police Museum and Pretend Play

There is a Police Museum in Manchester that only opens on a Tuesday. It only opens until 3pm on a Tuesday too, so there’s no visiting after school. This week we’re on half term, I have the boys (I don’t always have them on a Tuesday) and we were at a loose end so we decided to go into Manchester to the museum.

I wasn’t sure whether to drive or not since I’m so, so, SO bad at directions (ask any of my unfortunate friends) but the trauma of taking two kids on the tram during half term when they’re super excited just tipped my decision towards driving. To my utter astonishment I only had to turn around once and we even parked in the closest car park to the museum (though that was complete fluke).

On arrival at the museum we were greeted by a friendly fellow dressed in a uniform from days gone by. He welcomed us and showed us through to the first part of the museum. There is no entry fee so you just go in and start soaking up the information. There is a collection box should you wish to donate to the upkeep of the museum, which of course we did.

The boys were a bit keen when we arrived so I had to take a photo of the entrance when we left.

Police Museum 1


When you approach the museum it looks quite small really, nestled in the midst of a terraced row, but once inside you soon realise that it’s quite a little tardis!

There really is a plethora of information on offer throughout the museum. The walls are covered with snippets of information, the cabinets filled with artefacts from times gone by and there are old motorbikes on display too. There is an area for the children to dress up, a room with a big screen showing films of police officers from years ago, and a real courtroom too!

Here are a few photos from our visit, though you really must visit yourself if you get the chance.

Police Collage 1
Information plaques, an old motorbike and a baby’s gas mask

Louis in particular found it hilarious that people living in England who hailed from enemy countries during the war were known as Enemy Aliens. We talked about how scary it must have been for the children who had to wear a gas mask and took bets on how fast each motorbike could go.

Police Collage 2
Old police helmets in a display case, some for the children to try on and a large collection of toy police cars

The kids were being spoil sports and wouldn’t dress up for a photo using the coats in the museum, but they did each humour me enough to don a hat. Rowan was especially enamoured with the toy cars. He has a police car at home like these and says he’s going to bring it to the museum, bless him.

Trying out the GMP CCTV smart car
Trying out the GMP CCTV smart car

Rowan decided at this particular moment that he is going to be a police officer when he grows up. Louis enjoyed giving the camera controls a whirl while Rowan drove them somewhere. I had to ask them to get out of the car after quite a while because they were holding up the queue!

Police Collage 4
Getting booked in, sitting as a magistrate, awaiting sentence in the dock and being thrown into the cells

The boys’ favourite part of the Police Museum was definitely seeing the courtroom and the cells. The staff were brilliant and allowed the boys to stand in the dock and sit at the bench. They read out their oath and had their day in court but I’m sorry to have to report that they spend a night (okay, a minute) in the cells. Apparently, those beds aren’t at all comfortable.

There is much more to see and to learn at the Police Museum than I can cover in a blog post.

I can’t complete my post of the museums highlights though without mentioning the Roll of Honour board. Hopefully Fiona and Nicola’s names will be added in due course.

Lest We Forget
Lest We Forget

Once we got home, all the boys wanted to do was pretend to be officers and ‘baddies’. I took the opportunity to encourage some imaginative role play and used these fabulous twinkl resources to set up the home corner (I used to have a lounge, once upon a time, instead of a toy room) as a police station. The boys haven’t stopped playing in there since!

The notice board
The notice board

The keyword cards, the large sign and the wanted posters are all part of the Police Station Role Play Pack. There are other resources that compliment this one too, like the challenge cards which are great for older children.

Always on duty - even in PJs!
Always on duty – even in PJs!

We set up the nest of tables as desks and a seat, and sellotaped the paperwork to my already paint chipped walls (that’s what you get when there is serious play to be done!) and we were away! Including searching, printing and laminating I’d say the set up took around about 90 minutes. A mere snippet of time in comparison to the time they’ve spent playing there already.

Two jolly policemen
Two jolly policemen

And of course no station would be complete without the best bobbies on the beat. Inspector Toby and Chief Inspector Luca (I don’t know why they changed their names, I quite like the ones they have!) reporting for duty!

Everyone has to carry ID
Everyone has to carry ID





  1. I adore your Police Station at home, it looks fantastic. It’s a brilliant game to play and the addition of those printables really does make it special 🙂
    The museum looks great. I’ve heard realy good things about it before 🙂

  2. How fantastic. That looks like an amazing museum to take children to, so much see and learn. My son would love it, but sadly it’s too far for us to visit.
    Great that it has inspired play at home too!
    Thanks for sharing #LetKidsBeKids

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