Manchester's not so poor relative has plenty to offer the discerning travellerThe city of Salford lies right in the heart of the region of Greater Manchester, next door to the city centre in fact yet suprisingly is a city entirely its own right. Often overlooked, overshadowed and forgotten, Salford's reputation is one of being poorer with few attractions and little to draw you in. Yet over recent years this reputation has been totally obliterated by the millions that has been invested in brand new deveopments, housing and attractions.
The city is named after its largest settlement Salford but covers a far larger area which includes the towns of Eccles, Swinton and Pendlebury, Walkden and Irlam which apart from Irlam, each has a population of over 35,000. Some parts of the city, which lie directly west of Manchester, are highly industrialised and densely populated, but around one third of the city consists of rural open space.
Although the metropolitan borough of the City of Salford was a 20th-century creation, the area has a long history of human activity, extending back to the Stone Age, thus The Roman Road from Manchester to Bury (Mammucium) passes through the city. With some areas of the city containing some of Manchester's richest residents and most stunning scenery, here are just 5 reasons not to skip Salford on your visit to Manchester.
The Quays is Greater Manchester's unique waterfront destination and situated just 15 minutes by tram from Manchester city centre. It is Britain's hottest short-break destination and packs everything you can do in a big city into one spectacular square mile: Shopping, sport, art, drama, history and truly world-class architecture. As well as a discount designer shopping outlet, the modern and unusual Lowry Theatre boasts Europe's largest stage. Incredible modern architecture, Old Trafford Football ground and incredible bridges and walks are just some of the reasons not to miss this enjoyable and relaxing waterfront.
Centred on a waterfront public realm area twice the size of London's Trafalgar Square, Media City UK is a beautiful waterside destination. Complete with bars, cafes and restaurants there's an emerging cultural flavour behind Salford's newest landmark. Many of the UK's top media companies including the world famous BBC have moved their base here and the area has already become a cultural hub for media technology and entertainment companies throughout the world.
The BBC started its move to Media City UK from their BBC North base which has involved relocating five London-based departments, along with all local and network broadcasting operating out of Manchester city centre. This has provided chance for local residents to watch many of their favourite shows be filmed here and a fascinating tour of the facility is available from the BBC. The BBC will be filming more and more shows in and around Salford over the coming years. Their well-informed and friendly tour guides will entertain and surprise you as you walk in the footsteps of your favourite stars. The tour makes sure that you see the most interesting areas available when you visit them, as well as giving you a fascinating insight into how TV and radio work. You can also have a go at making your own news and weather bulletin in their interactive studio.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery (free)
This small and under-utilised museum presents an exciting programme of permanent displays and changing contemporary exhibitions together with a range of events and activities guaranteed to inspire. The highlight of this museum (and one of Manchester's best kept secrets) is without doubt the Victorian Street which has been completely recreated within the museum. Visitors can wander down the old street, look into all the shops and buildings and experience the same sights and smells as Victorian Britain would have encountered. Children can even dress up in 19th Century clothes so they even look the part! Its permanent attractions include a Picture Gallery where you can relax and enjoy the splendour of the Victorians' passion for painting and the decorative arts. The Salford Museum sits on the Salford University campus.
Imperial War Museum North (free)
Imperial War Museum North is a thing of beauty: a shimmering aluminium building that defies architectural norms, perching proudly on the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal and overlooking the Salford Quays and Media City.
Its design represents a globe shattered by war, with not a right angle in sight. It has a 55 metre-high tower whose open-to-the-elements viewing platform affords spectacular views across the Manchester Ship Canal. Its interior houses a beautifully presented permanent collection and a well thought out series of changing exhibitions that consider the many ways conflict shapes society, as well as uniforms, weapons, medals and photography exploring the horror and heroism of conflict. A busy series of talks and activities make it a popular destination for all ages; the 360 degree Big Picture Show screens films every hour and is completely free.
Ordsall Hall Museum
Situated somewhat suprisingly close to Salford's Quays and at centre of a modern housing development lies Salford's Grade 1 listed Tudor Manor House, first recorded in 1177. Since then, it has been home to medieval gentry, Tudor nobility, Catholics loyal to the crown, butchers, farmers, an Earl, an artist, priests, scout troops, mill workers, cows and several ghosts!
Today, it is an engaging heritage site open to visitors for 6 days a week throughout the year with free entry. Surrounded by landscaped grounds, it boasts hands on exhibitions, immersive room settings and a small cafe. Here you can dress up as a Tudor and enjoy a pretend banquet in the great hall whilst keeping an eye out for residents spooks as the house is also well-known as one of the most haunted in Britain!
If you would like to find out more or visit Salford on your Great British Trip, have a look at Manchester's page and add this to your itinerary.
By Agueda Martinez Sanchez
Date: 2017-11-28 13:17:49