The Quays, Greater Manchester

Creative Tourist

The Quays is an area that’s gone from busy industrial dock to culture, media and tech hub within the space of 120 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 recommend Pier 8 at The Lowry), bars (try The Botanist) 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…

Our top picks

Imperial War Museum North (IWM North)

Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 1TZ - Visit now

Designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to represent a globe shattered by conflict, IWM North boldly punctuates the Salford Quays waterfront, and houses a permanent collection, special exhibitions and events that explore the many ways in which conflict shapes society.

Imperial War Museum North exterior shot - host of story seekers
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

The Lowry

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Salford, Greater Manchester, M50 3AZ - Visit now

With two theatres, galleries and a studio space, The Lowry combines the performing and visual arts to impressive effect and is loved for both its famous LS Lowry Collection and the dizzying array of productions it hosts year on year.

The Lowry Theatre and Gallery in Salford Quays Manchester.
Image courtesy of Visit Britain

Pier Eight at The Lowry

Pier Eight at The Lowry, Pier 8, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, M50 3AZ - Visit now

Helmed by the talented head chef Oliver Thomas, The Lowry’s in-house fine dining restaurant is all about fresh produce and bold British flavours.

Coronation Street (Media City)

Coronation Street (Media City), Media City UK, The Studios From Dock 10, Manchester, M50 2EQ - Visit now

Immerse yourself in seven decades of history and drama on the nation’s most famous street, which is new shot at Trafford Wharf in MediaCityUK, where ITV run fully guided tours of the outdoor sets.

Visit Manchester, Coronation Street The Tour

Central Bay

Central Bay, Quayside MediaCity, Salford Quays, M50 2EQ - Visit now

A new, waterfront dining and drinking destination at MediaCity is set to be launched as Central Bay – and will become the first of its kind in Salford and one of the biggest in the region.

Central Bay

The Empty Space at Footlights House

The Empty Space at Footlights House, 48 Kansas Avenue, Media City, Salford, M50 2GL - Visit now

The Empty Space is an intimate black box theatre space. Situated close to the MediaCityUK studios, with free parking and good transport links, the theatre hosts plays, comedy, musicals, performance poetry, recitals and showcases. An ideal venue to present creative work of all kinds and a party or event space.

The Empty Space at Footlights House
Image courtesy of Footlights Theatre.

The Botanist Media City

The Botanist Media City, Media City, Salford, M50 2HE - Visit now

Featuring high-class herbal-infused cocktails and a variety of world cuisine – including those impressive hanging kebabs – The Botonist commands striking views over The LowryImperial War Museum and the reclaimed industrial landscape of the Quays themselves.

Ian Jones

General Store MediaCityUK

General Store MediaCityUK, 2 Blue, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2AD - Visit now

The two-storey General Store MediaCityUK is a one-stop-shop for retail and dining, showcasing some of the North’s best independent food brands, from Nell’s Pizza to The Great North Pie Company, while providing convenience store essentials.

General Store MediaCityUK
General Store MediaCityUK

Ordsall Hall

Ordsall Hall, 322 Ordsall Lane, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 3AN - Visit now

A stone’s throw away from the Quays, Ordsall Hall is a spectacularly-preserved Tudor mansion and museum – one of only eight such houses in Lancashire – and is supposedly haunted by the broken-hearted White Lady.

Ordsall Hall

More The Quays events

Aakash Odedra - Mehek at The Lowry
DanceThe Quays
Aakash Odedra – Mehek at The Lowry

An enchanting exploration of the human heart masterfully danced by Aakash Odedra and Aditi Mangaldas, the great South Asian dancers of their respective generations.

from £16.50

Where to go in Manchester

caprismcr - restaurant
City Centre
Capri’s Cucina Italiana

The King Street area isn’t short of popular Italian restaurants, but none strike quite the same note as Capri’s, where you’ll be greeted like family and served some of the most authentic Neapolitan food in Manchester.

The Feel Good Club exterior
Event venue
Feel Good Club

Our flagship Feel Good Club in Manchester, open 7 days a week, providing a beautiful friendly environment for coffee, brunch, lunch, cocktails and beers with an amazing selection of non alcoholic beverages too.

Bar or Pub
Finders Keepers

Welcoming waterside bar in New Islington Marina, serving a wide array of carefully-curated cocktails.

City Centre

Highly-regarded wine-led, French-leaning wine bar and rooftop restaurant in the city centre.

City Centre

Elegant cocktail bar in the centre of Manchester, with a relaxed atmosphere and wonderfully friendly staff.


Stylish modern bar serving sophisticated cocktails in the Northern Quarter.

Breakfast Shot
Bondi Bowls

Bondi Bowls is the perfect spot to grab a healthy lunch without compromising on flavour.

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UNITOM bookshop
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Photo of the Halle orchestra at Bridgewater
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Manchester District Guides

actor with pig puppets The Three Little Pigs at Waterside Arts
Spotlight on

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Take me there

Culture Guides

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