Image courtesy of Visit Britain

The Quays, Greater Manchester

Creative Tourist

The Quays is an area that’s gone from busy industrial dock to 21st century cultural hub in just over 100 years. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1894, the Salford Docks (as they were then known) became the busiest in the UK, serving the ships that came up the Manchester Ship Canal, a waterway built in order to escape the hefty charges levied by Liverpool’s dock and rail companies. Today, The Quays is home to MediaCityUK (the largest media hub in Europe) and studios purpose-built for the BBC’s move up North in 2011.

Two major cultural institutions – Imperial War Museum North and The Lowry – also straddle the Ship Canal, connected by a pedestrian bridge. The Lowry boasts two theatre, galleries, a studio space, restaurant and shop; IWM North’s fragmented design represents a globe shattered by war (inside, it’s completely devoid of right angles) and houses a beautifully-presented permanent collection and series of changing exhibitions that consider the many ways conflict shapes society. Restaurants (we highly recommend Pier 8 at The Lowry),  bars and even high-end supermarkets (the family-run Booths) complete the offer in the area.

With good transport links to the city centre, The Quays is the sort of place where you could happily lose half a day; or some of your sanity, if you choose to complete the ‘dock to dock’ course of the Great Manchester Swim.

Discover our top picks

The Lowry - Spring Summer Season. Image courtesy of Ed Waring.
Festivals 1 January–11 May 2019,

The Lowry Spring Summer Season

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Opera North, Northern Broadsides and Matthew Bourne’s stunning choreography are among our top picks of The Lowry’s new season.

Music 5–9 March 2019, from £20

Opera North: The Magic Flute at The Lowry

Opera North presents a vibrant new production of Mozart’s evergreen opera ‘The Magic Flute’, coming to The Lowry very soon.

Music 7 March 2019, from £20

Opera North: Katya Kabanova at The Lowry

A tale of temptation, passion and guilt, Janáček’s wildly beautiful ‘Katya Kabanova’ is coming to The Lowry, courtesy of Opera North.

Music 8 March 2019, from £20

Opera North: The Rite of Spring and Gianni Schicchi at The Lowry

A double bill of a revolutionary ballet and a wickedly funny operatic short: Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ and Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi’.

War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North. Lest We Forget
Exhibitions 27 July 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North

Lest We Forget marks the first instalment of a major new season of exhibitions, music, dance, talks and events at IWM London and IWM North exploring how the First World War has shaped society today.

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry
Exhibitions 10 November 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry in Salford provides an unexpected insight into the artistic imagination of one of the UK’s most popular artists.

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North

Make and feature in your own mini-documentary at IWM North.

Music 16 March 2019, from £37.95

Anderson .Paak at Victoria Warehouse

In support of his new album ‘Oxnard’, Anderson. Paak is heading out on a world tour. He’ll be stopping by Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on the 16 March.

Activity 8 January–15 April 2019, FREE

Gallery Interpreter Tour at The Lowry

Join one of The Lowry’s gallery interpreters as they walk you through the collection in more detail, highlighting new works as they are added.

Bimingham Royal Ballet: Beauty and the Beast at The Lowry
Dance 20–23 March 2019, from £19.00

Bimingham Royal Ballet: Beauty and the Beast at The Lowry

Birmingham Royal Ballet return to The Lowry with David Bintley’s glorious, gothic adaptation of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in his farewell season.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

The Medieval Quarter, or Cathedral Quarter as it is sometimes known, is one of the oldest parts of Manchester and home to some historic gems and cultural must-sees.  

Photo of a handwritten label in a cafe that says "Ring for service with a smile"

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

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Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

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The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

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Chorlton, Manchester

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Cheetham Hill, Manchester

As an area, Cheetham Hill gets a pretty bad rep. The foreboding architecture of Strangeways…