The Quays offer such a broad range of activities for all the family that one day there isn’t really enough so we stayed at the Ramada Hotel, newly opened last year and an integral part of the Quays philosophy and experience. Just a few minutes walk from the hotel, it’s a delight to wander around the Quays and take in the iconic architecture. Having begun life as docks that were central to the industrial revolution in the north west of the UK, The Quays now boast a 21st century design that is simply breathtaking.
One port of call which is a must for any age group is the Imperial War Museum North where you can easily spend a few hours plus take in the impressive views of the rejuvenated waterfront from the café windows and air shard viewing platforms.
Just across the bridge, the Lowry arts centre is home to three theatres and the Lowry Galleries. Salford City Council owns the world’s largest collection (over 300) of drawings and paintings by one of Manchester’s favourite sons, the artist LS Lowry. The Lowry Galleries show this collection in changing thematic exhibits – as well as the work of other artists. Older children might enjoy the tour or the Meet Mr Lowry film.
The Lowry theatres present a varied programme including ballet, drama, opera, music and comedy. We went to the last day of the Cirque de Glace – dazzling ice skating performances by Russian dancers in the huge theatre that has very comfortable seating and access to plenty of loos! The cafés, bars and shop are open to the public and although we didn’t get there we’re assured the Lowry Restaurant overlooking the waterfront is fabulous!
A few minutes walk away is The Lowry Outlet Mall which has 85 top stores – offering up to 50 per cent off high street prices - including Cotton Traders and Marks and Spencer Outlet, Whistles and Karen Millen, sports shops, the Cadbury Factory Shop as well as an Esporta Health Club. There's a choice of family-friendly places to eat from snacks to meals and the Outlet also houses Vue Cinema – again comfortable seats - which has six screens so you are bound to find a film to suit.
One attraction we didn’t have the time to visit is Ordsall Hall – a Grade 1 listed building over six hundred years old which also has a Pottery and the Ordsall Alive event – a unique taste of Tudor life – and reputedly a ghostly inhabitant: The White Lady!
The Quays definitely offer lots to do for families and I'd happily go back for another visit!
For information on what is happening at The Quays visit www.thequays.org.uk