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

Dance 28–30 September 2017, from £12.50

Rambert – Ghost Dances Plus Other Works at The Lowry

Spirits of the dead take over the stage in an electrifying dance piece at the centre of this unmissable triple bill at The Lowry.

Dance 28–29 September 2017, from £16.50

Bayadère – The Ninth Life at The Lowry

A new set has been created by the theatre designer who collaborated on the poppies at the Tower of London for this stunning dance piece, which interrogates perceptions of ‘the east’.

Exhibitions 10 June–24 September 2017, FREE

Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 – Unseen photographs by Clive Arrowsmith at The Lowry

What can we tell of a man from his kitchen sink or old-fashioned cooker? A great deal it would seem judging by a new exhibition of rare, previously unseen photographs at The Lowry…

Dance 14 September–1 November 2017,

The Lowry Autumn Season 2017

The Lowry’s Contemporary season pays scant regard to the traditional genre boundaries of dance, theatre and visual art.

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North

IWM North turns its attention to one of the most controversial figures in British art.

Theatre 26–27 October 2017, from £12.00

Superposition at The Lowry

Chanje Kunda unpacks female identity by asking some tough questions…in a strip club.

Dance 19–20 October 2017, from £12

Andante at The Lowry

Igor and Moreno want to make life changing works. They also want to dance around a lot.

Dance 10 October 2017, from £16.50

Alexander Whitley – 8 Minutes at The Lowry

ancers perform in front of a magnificent visual installation in this acclaimed, cosmos-inspired dance piece at The Lowry.

Theatre 6 October 2017, FREE

Hush Hush at The Lowry

Hush Hush is a night where you don’t know who the performer will be, and you can pay what you decide.

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.

Manchester District Guides

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

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

Burton Road is the heart of West Didsbury, a beautifully maintained leafy hubbub of shops,…

Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

It may not quite have the reputation of Benefits Street, but Beech Road in Chorlton…

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

Follow Oxford Road South through the Curry Mile, along Wilmslow Road, past Platt Fields Park…

Chorlton, Manchester

This left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only ten minutes…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

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

Things to do right now

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Theatre 22 September–7 October 2017, from £10

People, Places and Things at HOME

Sports 20–23 September 2017, from £10:00 - 15.00

We’re Not Really Here – A Football Opera at Contact

Theatre 14 September–14 October 2017, from £10.00

Our Town at the Royal Exchange

Exhibitions 22 September–5 November 2017, FREE

AND A 123 at Castlefield Gallery

Theatre 6–23 September 2017, from £13.00

Rita, Sue and Bob Too at Octagon Theatre

Dance 14 September–1 November 2017,

The Lowry Autumn Season 2017

Cinema 14–30 September 2017, from £5.00

Not Just Bollywood at HOME

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Festivals 22 September 2017–31 March 2018,

HOME Autumn/Winter Season

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North