Travel journalist, David Powell, reports for Where and Now on a short break to Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, a unique destination ....
It’s great to relax and ‘recharge the batteries’ on a UK break and Salford Quays is a perfect destination to do just that. Only 15 minutes by tram from Manchester City Centre, The Quays, as it’s now known, has become a tourist hotspot in itself. Shopping, sport, art, drama, history and wonderful world class architecture can all be found around a unique waterfront setting.
Salford Docks, Manchester’s waterfront district, were at one time one of the busiest ports in the UK. After going into serious decline in the 70’s the docks finally closed in the 1980’s. Since then the area has undergone outstanding regeneration, a credit to all involved, and is now an awe-inspiring waterfront forming part of the Manchester Ship Canal. Just a few minutes from the famous Old Trafford, home of Manchester United and the Lancashire County Cricket Club, you’ll find The Lowry, Lowry Outlet Mall, MediaCityUK and the Imperial War Museum North, all set in a modern, exciting environment.
The Lowry is the centrepiece of The Quays. This stunning, award winning building houses two vibrant theatres. The building has a ship-like appearance and the use of glass and stainless steel were designed to reflect the sky and water. Inside The Lowry you’ll find art galleries, cafes, bars, a restaurant, gift shop and the Tourist Information Centre. As you would expect there are exhibitions of L.S. Lowry’s paintings and various changing exhibitions which on my visit included an ‘Invitation to the Ballet’ and an excellent portrayal of photographs by Harry Hammond entitled ‘The Birth of British Rock’. The superb 1730 seat Lyric Theatre hosts a wide range of shows all year round. You can find out full details of what’s coming up by looking on their website www.thelowry.com .
Picture: The Lowry Cruise
Imperial War Museum North
Linked by a wonderful pedestrian bridge from The Lowry, the Imperial War Museum North is an excellent free day out. The building, designed by the famous architect Daniel Libeskind, is intended to represent a globe shattered by conflict. Powerful and striking exhibitions, including a regular 360 degree Picture Show, reveal how war and conflict have shaped people’s lives since 1914. The museum has won a number of visitor attraction awards over the last few years. There’s three galleries and a 29m high viewing platform for spectacular views of The Quays and Manchester.
The Lowry Outlet Mall is a big attraction for bargain hunters. With the main entrance situated just across a courtyard from The Lowry, here you can enjoy shopping for bargains at up to 60% off high street prices all year round. Spread over two floors with plenty of car parking you’ll also find the Vue cinema, cafe bars and restaurants. Whilst on the subject of food and drink, there are plenty of restaurants in the area including those at the Lowry Outlet Mall. I found a stylish restaurant and bar on the terrace called LIME. Popular with theatre-goers and football fans on match days, this restaurant offers an excellent menu choice and great service!
A key feature of any break is the hotel. There’s a good choice in the area including Ramada Manchester Salford Quays and Holiday Inn MediaCityUK. I stayed at the Old Trafford Lodge part of Lancashire Cricket Club. With 68 bedrooms the Lodge is a good choice. Here you’ll find affordable, comfortable accommodation with the executive rooms overlooking the famous pitch!
There’s good access by road and rail to The Quays and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. There’s plenty to see and do and you’re sure to get a friendly Manchester welcome wherever you go.
All in all, Salford’s looking good!
For further information:
www.thequays.org.uk - official site
www.oldtraffordlodge.co.uk - accommodation
www.ramadasalfordquays.com - accommodation
www.holidayinn.com - accommodation
www.limeuk.com - restaurant
An interesting video review of The Quays showing details of David’s trip can be seen by visiting: http://bit.ly/salfordq