City centre staycation Salford Quays
There are many reasons you may consider a staycation in Manchester, here's a couple
Who knew that the new home of the BBC and ITV studios could make such a great destination for a family city break? The waterfront destination for Manchester, may be for media moguls in the week but come the weekend it’s totally got leisure at its heart and becomes a thriving cosmopolitan tourist haven on the weekend.
The Helly Hansen watersports centre offers a great opportunity for kicking off the outdoor fun. From sailing, wake boarding and water-skiing for the ‘big kids’ to more laid-back canoeing and kayaking up the canals for those seeking a gentler more relaxed take on aqua fun. The staff were friendly and offered bucket loads of encouragement for novices of all ages and the equipment high quality - with decent wetsuits to boot!
The square often has weekend events that draw throngs of families to enjoy the bars and eateries around about so always worth checking out what’s on whilst you there. We lucked out and enjoyed the CBBC Summertime Social. All laid on free of charge, this TV festival for kids included appearances from their CBBC favourites including live broadcasting from Hacker T Dog, a kick-about with CBBC presenter and football freestyler, John Farnworth. Plus science experiments from CBBC’s Ultimate Brain and the Terrific Scientific a spot of mini-tennis and to top it off, a heart thumping bungee slide across the canal.
The recently open Hotel Football (owned by footballers Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt) right next to the Manchester’s Old Trafford football stadium is a brilliant choice for keeping all the family happy. Its attention to detail in the football theme is fabulous. We especially loved the football shirt sachets of toiletries, the footy sticker wallpaper and the rooftop football pitch room.
Yet it still feels classy and not too over the top, so the kids and footie fans will love it, but you’ll still feel spoilt by its luxury if footy is not your thing. As well as a free mini bar of retro sweets and pop, the hotel boasts refreshingly helpful staff and a breakfast cooked to order - from a menu that includes the finest smoked salmon and eggs benedict muffin for mum through to a breakfast pizza – delicious homemade pizza dough topped with sausage, bacon, cheese and even a “fried” egg.
As an all-in destination the waterfront location of Salford Quays just keeps giving. There’s a cinema, outlet shopping centre and the breath-taking building that is the Lowry theatre, complete with its piazza of eateries for pre-theatre supper.
We chose dinner at LIME (pictured below). It had a buzzy yet relaxed vibe, that could dial itself up or down whatever you’re dining occasion. Great kids menu that you might not expect in a trendy restaurant and the grown-up menu was of equally amazing quality. Definitely, recommend eating here before taking in a show at the Lowry which sits on its doorstep.
At the Lowry theatre (pictured below), we caught up with the Fantastic Mr Fox tour and were all amazed at how this brave take on the Roald Dahl favourite managed to offer something for everyone. Featuring equally brilliant witty animal characters and a three-tiered set which imaginatively adapted throughout to tell the story of why every animal has its purpose, the small cast made each character distinctive. The show was littered with laughs and jaunty songs – a real crowd pleaser and a moral tale that we are stronger together than alone.
A city break can mean a lot of walking for little (and longer!) legs so before you head home take some time out to soak up the city aboard a canal cruise with City Centre Cruises.
A lazy Sunday lunch, with a splash of cultural commentary on the history of Salford Quays and the shipping canal added an interesting and historic flavour to our trip and the superb four-course lunch and service exceeded expectation.
Exceeding expectation is what Salford Quays does – this waterfront location certainly excels at short-break sophistication on many levels.