Stunned by Salford Quays

Having never visited Manchester, except it's airport, before meeting Sean he made it his mission to show me around his home town. In general, I fell in love with Manchester, it is everything the exact opposite of where I live. His town has several pubs, and shops and buses that go to town (the city centre) every 7 minutes. You can get anywhere pretty quickly and easily, with no need for a car or anything. That said the place I loved visiting the most was Salford Quays.

Lowry Centre, Salford Quays via John Hickey- Fry creative commons

It's been said that, with regards to Salford if it's good, it's part of Manchester, if not it's part of Salford, and Sean himself admits that this area is pretty good (with the exception of the football stadium, that is in Salford- my boy is blue). The Quays are awesome to walk around, everything is big, and spaced out. Known more these days as Media City, with the new BBC and ITV studio's up here-- including Coronation St! There's tons to see and do. You can get on studio tours of the sets and studio's for a start. Coronation St is a bit of a British institution and getting a picture pouring a pint in the Rover's Return is definitely a popular past time.

Salford Quays has been a joint redevelopment venture between Salford City Council and Trafford Borough Council. The quays are at the eastern end of the Manchester Ship Canal on the site of the former Manchester Docks. It's one of the first, and become one of the largest, rejuvenation projects in the UK, since the the dockyards shut down in 1982. Encompassed in this redevelopment is Old Trafford, Media City, the Lowry Centre, and The Imperial War Museum North.

BBC Media City Olympic Broadcaster
Media City via Graham C on Creative Commons

It was a bit chilly the day we were there, however there was an open air food festival going on, and I love food, if it weren't for Sean being ill (more than we realised at the time), we would have hung around there longer. I was fascinated to see that you can go open-swimming there. I've become a bit obsessed with the idea of swimming out in the sea, so seeing people in their wetsuits braving the Quays at the end of April was something else- and I definitely plan on giving it a go next time I spend a chunk of time in Manchester. Even if I can't talk the boy into it. 

Another place worth checking out is the Lowry Arts Centre, right next to the shopping Outlet. It is a centre with a theatre and gallery, and was opened in 2000 by The Queen. It takes its name from L.S. Lowry, the painter, who was known for his paintings of industrial scenes in the North West of England. Inside the centre, that are around 400 items collected of Lowry's work throughout his lifetime in pastels, watercolours and oils on display.

We meandered around a fair bit outside, even in the typical cold drizzly Northern weather. Mostly because Sean smokes, and as we meandered along the waterfront we came across the Imperial War Museum in the North. First up, its FREE to get in, secondly, it's amazing! The building itself is pretty impressed designed by Polish architect Daniel Libeskind, his first in the UK. He said he'd designed it as "a constellation composed of three interlocking shards" each remnant to show how the globe has been shattered by conflict. You should totally go! I loved it, and so did Sean, not only did it tell the story of the War's and how they affected us and our country, it told it from the point of the North.

Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays
Imperial War Museum North via Tom Heyes creative commons

This impressed Sean the most because it didn't just concentrate on what happened in London, which you hear a lot of because, obviously it's the capital. As well as that, there were biographies on certain soldier's who'd been awarded medals from the North around the museum, too. I loved that it told the story of how war affected women, and their role in the war, from attempting to deal with feeding their children on their rations to working bullet manufacturing factories. The main exhibition space is pretty awesome, not only does it have a Harrier Jet hanging from the ceiling, you can watch different short films at various points in the day, too. We watched one on rationing, they're great because they cater to everyone- Sean & I, older folks, children. Everyone stopped reading or looking at the exhibition and watched the screens. The only thing we didn't do, because it was raining and we didn't think we'd see far, was the Air Shard & Viewing Platform, it costs £1,20 to go up.

All in all, there is something for everyone at Salford Quays, whether you want to visit the TV studio's, it's War Museum, or get active joining the swimmers' in the Quay. It's definitely worth a visit whilst you're in Manchester.

Have you visited Salford Quays, what did you think?


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