Our team took a trip to Salford Quays to see if the Media City home has weight as a tourist attraction for simplistic weekend breaks against North West competitors.
Salford Quays is establishing itself as an up and coming spot to spend your time and perhaps even set up shop in recent times considering the influx of industry professionals.
Having visited many times previously, our team were not unfamiliar with Salford Quays, however it was interesting to come and visit from the perspective of a tourist. Salford Quays has much more to offer than offices and our team has reviewed the main attractions from their own point of view.
The Light Festival really is something to stop and see if you are in the area, beautifully lit and adding charm to the vicinity, the arrangements bring further aesthetic value to this already pretty city location.
Easily visible from afar, the lights present this Christmas at Salford Quays offered a gorgeous backdrop to encourage further time to be spent strolling around the waterside. This year’s Lightwaves Festival promised 198 Origami Boats lit up, an interactive heartbeat and the best of the Blackpool Illuminations.
The venture marks the beginning of a collaboration between Quays Culture and Amsterdam Lights Festival and certainly added an extra attraction to Salford Quays. The Lights show has now ended but keep an eye on the website for any future activity.
A vast space incorporating interesting and inspired architecture, the Quays are ideal for creative souls looking for modern day muses in building form. Each building has it’s own influence, befitting of it’s maker. Highlights to be sure to see include the Imperial War Museum, Millenium Footbridge and the Lowry Theatre.
Summer is the ideal time to visit to allow weather permitting exploration and making the most of Salford’s exquisite views at their best. The implementation of Media City over recent years has added to the general footfall, in addition to activity on offer with deck chairs and beer gardens aplenty when the sun shows itself.
Intrigued to try Lime having passed it several times and not getting chance in previous trips to the Quays, our expectations were mixed as to what to expect. The restaurant was extremely busy on the evening of our visit which contributed to excess noise which made it difficult to hear our waiter. The furnishings were modern, befitting of the outer surroundings architecture, but we felt the tables would benefit from a little further spacing apart to give more privacy for diners.
Despite the noise we managed to order, opting for the Pulled Pork Chinese Style Pancakes to start, Malaysian Style Curry and Classic Christmas Dinner for main and a Chocolate Fondant to finish. The food flavour made up for the earlier bustle and we were pleasantly surprised by the taste of our dishes.
The all-encompassing menu allowed both of us to opt for different food fusions under one roof, with our editor going traditionally British and photographer going more Asian inspired.
It is worth noting at the time of our visit it was the busiest time of year and the fact the restaurant was bustling was a testament to the popularity of its mixed cuisine. The menu itself did offer a vast choice of dishes, labelling itself ‘Modern British’ to cater to the diversity of our nations tastes, which is a plus if you are dining with a large group and can’t decide on one theme of food. For under £60 two of us dined adequately, making the menu competitive against similar food establishments.
Upon arrival on a Friday night we found parking to be a bit of a struggle, the lot designated for the hotel was completely full and we were advised to park across from the hotel in the food outlet car park which would be at a cost. Luckily a resolution was speedily offered with a tiny space becoming available to leave the car, albeit not an official parking space but this was the service desks suggestion (luckily we were in a mini and not a 4×4).
After securing a space, we made our way to the room, which was situated on a higher floor to give better view of the street below. Draped in beige hued fabrics around, our abode set a neutral colour scheme and was inviting and warm. The furniture was more modern than classic yet still had a comfortable vibe to relax within.
The little things were all catered to in advance, with complimentary drinks left in the fridge and disposable bathroom products offered to make life a little easier during the stay. A USB charger was also allocated by the bedside which turned out to be a godsend considering neither of us had remembered to bring the plug counterpart to our smartphone cables.
Bathrobes, towels and all the usual amenities were provided and the service desk was helpful with the little enquiries we had. A late open bar is accessible from the foyer and miniature shop available all hours for those fancying a late night bite (ourselves).
The rooms really are the selling point of this hotel, providing peaceful escape from busy city life and we found the bed extremely comfortable and inviting. This is ideal if you want to be close to the Lowry, at just a five minute walk away.
Over the Christmas period the Lowry was decked out accordingly with festive lights and baubles strewn across banisters, giving a little sparkle to the usual decor. The long established outlet stores were ever present, for those not in the know that includes discount opportunities to shop Clarks, Clintons, H Samuel, AX Paris, Dickies and a few other familiar names.
Inclusive of out of season products and sale stock, some outlets also offer exclusive items which can only be found at the Lowry Outlet. The Mall is an original fixture to Manchester’s shopping scene, refusing to show signs of danger despite fierce competition from online and bricks and mortar sales stores across the region.
In addition to fashion, the Outlet Mall also offers a decent selection of fast food, hosting it’s own food court which houses Harry Ramsdens, Burger King and Subway. Those wishing to dine in and use proper cutlery will appreciate the inclusion of Cafe Rouge, Harvester and Pizza Express (always a winner) to spend a little more time indulging in.
Across the road from it’s name-sharing retail sibling, the Lowry Theatre has a different agenda, to entertain. The Theatre hosts a variety of shows and performances to suit a wide range of ages and tastes. On our particular visit comedian Tommy Tiernan was doing a show so we decided to trial it for ourselves.
Struggling with Political Correctness, Tommy toed the line of offending some but his audience seemed not to mind, revelling in his age old anecdotes and anticipating every punchline with enthusiasm. Two Hecklers even got involved in the show, declaring love for him and providing a springboard for him to improvise from.
Our team had ventured to the Lowry a few times and always enjoyed the hospitable atmosphere. The staff have always been accommodating and friendly and this visit proved no exception to this.
The Theatre also offers a gallery (with some parts free to the public) to visit, with interchangeable art exhibitions available from well-known artists both old and new. Of course, one common feature is that of the venues namesake L.S. Lowry, who has clearly had huge influence on the area in general.
To find out more about Salford Quays visit them online.