One of the most impressive urban regeneration projects in the country – Salford Quays is a beautiful area of Manchester that combines waterfront peacefulness with all the benefits of the city.
Stunning views of the Manchester Ship Canal (trust us, it looks much prettier than it sounds) make Salford Quays one of the most visually distinct areas of Manchester, but you’re also just a stone’s throw away from iconic attractions like Old Trafford and Victoria Warehouse.
In terms of entertainment, a collection of trendy bars and restaurants provide plenty to do, there are enough shops for any dedicated retail fiend, and the aquatically-minded can relax with boat-tours and even open water swimming.
Tranquil when you need it to be but also able to cater for fast paced modern life, Salford Quays is perfect for professionals looking to escape the city without losing any of the excitement or convenience.
Salford Quays is an area of the larger City of Salford, less than 2 miles south-west of Manchester City Centre. Based on the bank of the Manchester Ship Canal, it sits right where Salford Docks used to be.
It’s flanked by Old Trafford to the south, Eccles to the west, and the city centre to the east.
There are three main tram stops that serve Salford Quays – Broadway, MediaCityUK, and Harbour City. That means you’re only ever a 20-minute tram ride from the dead centre of Manchester. There are also lots of bus stops in the area with regular services heading towards the city centre and other nearby satellite towns like Didsbury.
If public transport isn’t really your thing and you feel like getting active instead, you can ride your bike to the centre of Manchester from one of the 300 bike racks in Salford Quays in less than 20 minutes, saving money on tram fares AND a gym membership! If you’re a driver then you’re just three minutes from Junction 2 of the M602 which connects you to the rest of the country through the M60 and M62.
Salford Quays is on the site of the now-disused Salford Docks, part of the larger Manchester Docks area. These docks were in operation from 1894, when Queen Victoria herself officially opened them, and they were at one point the 3rd busiest docks in the country. The Manchester Docks closed in 1982, and the Salford Quays Development Plan came into play in 1985. This plan involved cleaning the water in the canal, introducing fish to liven up the ecosystem, and linking Salford Quays up to the city centre.
Because of its importance in the media industry, Salford Quays is home to lots of young professionals who work in MediaCityUK. As of the last census in 2011, it was one of the fastest growing residential areas in Manchester, with the population up 23% from 2001.
The strong transport links to the city centre and the appeal of the waterfront location means that Salford Quays is also becoming a hot spot for commuters into the city centre.
Salford Quays is one of the more expensive areas in Greater Manchester to rent, with average monthly rental costs of about £675. This makes it cheaper than the city centre, Trafford, and Stockport, but more expensive than other less desirable boroughs and towns.
Rental prices in Salford Quays are increasing as Manchester continues to grow, and limited property in the area means opportunities to rent there can be hard to come by.
The price you pay in Salford Quays makes sense when you see the residential developments, with modern high-rise buildings like Imperial Point, the NV Buildings, and City Lofts offering great views and high-quality interiors.
Alongside all the chains you’d want – Nandos, Harry Ramsden’s, and Pizza Express are all present – Salford Quays is home to some lovely independent restaurants which are full of character and, of course, great food.
Credit: The Lowry
Pier Eight is The Lowry’s restaurant and bar, overlooking the canal and MediaCityUK. It serves quintessential British fine dining dishes (pigeon, anyone?), with the majority of the ingredients coming from local suppliers in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, and Cheshire.
If you’re looking for great quality food with a view, Pier Eight is the place to be in Salford Quays.Lime
A family-run restaurant and bar that’s served Salford Quays residents and visitors since 2000, Lime is a great spot for lunch or dinner. It’s located on the edge of the Lowry Outlet Mall and boasts a large terrace so you can eat and drink your summer days away in the sunshine.
More of a bar than a restaurant, but too good a restaurant to not include here, Craftbrew is a hip independent space serving up tapas, artisan deli boards, and some not-to-be-missed sandwiches.
True to their name, they also stock a changing menu of craft beers from around the world, ideal for beer enthusiasts looking for some variety.
While you’ll have to venture into the city centre for nightclubs, Salford Quays is populated with more than enough bars to keep your thirst at bay. There are the regular drinking fixtures such as a Wetherspoons and Harvester, but we’re more interested in the unique spots on offer.
Lime also has a pre-theatre menu which is perfect if you’re looking for a two or three course meal before catching a show at The Lowry.
Credit: The DOCKyard
Self-coined as a ‘rustic ale house’, The DOCKyard has been a fixture of MediaCityUK since 2013 and offers a fantastic selection of craft ales and beers. The bar staff here live and breathe beer and can offer recommendations, and there’s also a casual dining menu to soak up some of the alcohol.The Alchemist
Credit: The Alchemist
With 14 bars across the UK as of early 2019, and more on the way, The Alchemist is practically an institution at this point. The MediaCityUK venue is a striking gold building, and within you can experience the eclectic mix of mind-bending cocktails/chemistry experiments that The Alchemist has become known for.Reflexion Lounge
If you’d rather blow smoke rings than sip cocktails, then Reflexion Lounge is where you want to go. This shisha lounge offers a VIP smoking experience, with great views of the quays to ponder life’s mysteries over. They also offer a shisha hire service within a 5-mile radius of the lounge.
There’s no shortage of shops in Salford Quays, so a refreshing bout of retail therapy is more than viable when Manchester’s weather isn’t playing nice.Lowry Outlet
The Lowry Outlet shopping centre in MediaCityUK is a large indoor retail space with outlet stores from some top brands. The variety of shops means you can buy almost anything you need, so you don’t even have to venture into the city centre to spend your hard-earned money.
Because a lot of the shops in the Lowry Outlet shopping centre are outlet stores, you can also save up to 70% on regular store prices.
Brands that have stores in the Lowry Outlet include:
- Cadbury Factory Shop
- GAP Outlet
- M&S Outlet
- Next Outlet
- The Body Shop
There’s also a seven screen Vue cinema inside, so you can keep up with the latest film releases.
If you’ve got the shopping bug but are getting tired of the same old shops, The Lowry Outlet Maker’s Market is right up your street. On the last weekend of every month, the Maker’s Market pops up on the Piazza of the outlet mall, bringing with it the best in local street food and drinks, as well as stalls for art, design, and craft shops.
Open from 10am-7pm on the last Saturday of the month, the Maker’s Market is the perfect way to spend a weekend, with music and performances keeping things entertaining throughout the day.
Aside from the views, restaurants, bars, and shops (as if you needed more!), Salford Quays holds a cluster of some of the most visited cultural locations in Manchester.The Lowry
Credit: Manchester Evening News
The Lowry is a mixed-use complex in Salford Quays, named after iconic painter L.S Lowry and containing a theatre and art gallery. The theatre hosts touring productions of blockbuster shows, as well as more modest productions that showcase local and regional talent. It’s also often used as the shooting location for TV shows such as Mastermind. The Lowry Gallery features around 400 works from Lowry himself alone and there are also regular temporary exhibitions, from photographers and fine artists.
BBC And ITV Tours
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A phrase that here means: when in MediaCityUK, take a BBC or ITV tour. The BBC Tour at MediaCityUK gives you the opportunity to get behind the scenes of your favourite shows, including Match of the Day, Blue Peter, and Mastermind. There’s also a CBBC interactive tour for the kids to enjoy.
If you want to go a step beyond being behind the scenes, you can always take the Coronation Street tour. This experience takes you onto the real street set of Coronation Street where you can walk the famous cobbles for yourself.
When the weather is right and you feel like some invigorating exercise, there’s no better place in Manchester than Salford Quays. Open water swimming in the quays themselves will get your blood pumping, with both 300 and 500 metre water tracks. The water is clean and watched closely by qualified water safety staff, so it’s the perfect spot to get some open water swimming practice in before your next holiday.
You can also get some high-octane action with water sports offerings from the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre. Activities you can take part in include sailing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding.
While not strictly in Salford Quays, Old Trafford is close enough that it might as well be. Just across the canal, a short 20-minute walk from The Lowry, the home ground of Manchester United sits proudly. If you’re that way inclined, you can take in the history of the club by going to watch a game or by taking the Manchester United Museum & Stadium Tour.
Moving To Salford Quays
If you’re looking for a place to live outside of Manchester’s centre that doesn’t leave you detached from the excitement of the city, you can’t go wrong with Salford Quays. A mini-skyline reflected in the water, all the amenities you could possibly want, and some of the city’s most adored attractions reside in this relatively young area, and you can too. Not your place? You can always find our other guides.