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, 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

Theatre 27 May–16 July 2017, FREE

IRIS by Marshmallow Laser Feast at The Lowry

The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre is set to be taken over by a stunning spectacle of lasers, light, sound and colour from leading creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. Audiences will experience IRIS – a unique digital art installation created using laser technology.

Exhibitions 1–9 July 2017, FREE

MIF17: HOME1947 at The Lowry

Two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy reflects on the experiences of people who left their homes during the Partition of British India in 1947, the largest mass migration ever witnessed, in this world premiere at The Lowry.

Music 28–29 October 2017, from £20.00

Transformer 2 at Victoria Warehouse

Event series Transformer returns to Victoria Warehouse for its second one-day festival outing – featuring Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Liars, Ben Frost and Omar Souleyman across two stages, plus cinema, digital funfair, record stalls and food trucks.

Music 1 July 2017, from £12

MIF17: Sangam 2017

Sanam Marvi and Harshdeep Kaur perform an evening of Sufi music in celebration of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s HOME1947.

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