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What do you do when you have a rare weekend off and fancy an adventure?

Book a UK getaway, of course!

Through my freelancing work, I was asked to go check out Salford Quays, an area just outside Manchester. After the docklands closed back in the 1980s, the area was redeveloped into a place for tourism. Today, the site is home to shops, museums and an arts venue – all snuggled up closely together.

On Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I, rather bleary-eyed and in need of some more sleep, caught a Virgin train at silly-o-clock, arriving at Manchester Piccadilly in just over 2 hours. We settled into our hotel overlooking the Old Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground, before quickly setting out to explore.

If you fancy a Salford getaway, these are the things I would recommend doing:

The Lowry
An award-winning theatre venue, The Lowry also doubles up as an art gallery. Can you guess which famous painter’s work is on display? (Hint: the clue’s in the name.) L.S. Lowry’s work is on permanent display at the centre, while other exhibitions also make an appearance throughout the year. You can even catch a show, with big names such as Jimmy Carr and Midge Ure just some of the acts on in the coming months.


Cost: The art gallery is free, while ticket prices for show range. Check www.thelowry.com for more details.

Imperial War Museum North
Chances are, if you’re a museum buff and you’ve been to London, you’ve made a stop at the Imperial War Museum. That museum is closed until July to make way for a new WW1 exhibition, but its sibling in the North is still going strong. With exhibitions on Syria and the First World War, Imperial War Museum North is the perfect way to while away a few hours. It’s also possible to head up the Air Shard (via 180 steps or a handy lift), an iconic viewing platform for stunning views across the Quays. 

Cost: Free to enter the museum, but a visit up the Air Shard is £1.20 for adults and 60p for concessions.



Manchester Cruises
Let’s face it – sometimes, pavements are boring. The best way to explore the Quays is undoubtedly with a boat trip, which combines a nice little sit down with a tour around the historic waterways.  

Cost: £10.50 for adults; £7.50 for concessions; £6 for children



Lowry Outlet
Who knew? Cities up North have shops too! We were a bit underwhelmed with the shops at first (Tefal plus Black and Decker stores?!) until we realised every store had up to 70% off retail prices. We stocked up on food in the Cadbury Factory Outlet which lets you do a pick n’ mix of your favourite Heroes and Roses chocs – lush)

Cost: Free upwards… 



Manchester United Old Trafford tour
This is something we didn’t do – mostly because our idea of a good sport is a quick game of Frisbee in the park on a summer’s day, followed by a little nap. Nonetheless, if football’s your thing, a trip to Old Trafford (just a few minutes walk from the Quays area) can’t go amiss.

The museum is open seven days a week, while stadium tours run when there’s not a match fixture. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Wayne Rooney or Ryan Giggs (Definitely did not have to Google the names of players, ahem…)

Cost:  £18 for adults; £12 for children and concessions.

Disclaimer: The activities described here were all part of a press trip over Easter Weekend, 2014. However, all opinions and views are my own!