Salford Quays is part of Salford in Greater Manchester and is easily accessible from Manchester city centre via public transport. For us, Salford Quays is basically through the middle of Manchester and out the other side, taking about half an hour when there’s no traffic.
We were invited to visit Salford Quays for a family day out to see what the area had to offer. With being fairly local we were already quite familiar with Salford Quays but we tend to pop over for something specific – a quick trip to the outlet for school shoes, a visit to Media City or a show at the Lowry and then home again. Until now we’ve probably not really seen Salford Quays as a destination in itself for a day out.
We arrived at the Lowry Outlet mid-morning and had no trouble parking in that there were plenty of spaces – that said, the spaces are quite narrow in places and there’s a lot of posts on the ground floor which made me quite nervous in our large family car! Parking is paid for on exit which means you pay for exactly what you use rather than having to guess how long you’ll be there for and then worrying about getting back to your car on time.
Top job for us at The Lowry Outlet was to pop to Clarks and see if we could pick up some new school shoes for Ben. As is usually the case, the store was quite busy but we didn’t have to wait too long to get all three children’s feet measured. Luckily the girls didn’t need new shoes this time round (big sigh of relief there!). We’ve been to the Clarks outlet lots of times and it can be really hit and miss – it is of course just pot luck if you can find something in the right size in a style that suits. We don’t always win but it’s worth a look as the savings can be huge. This time round we managed to pick up Ben’s new school shoes at around 30% off – and nobody is going to sniff at that are they!
Shoes bought, we carried on browsing the Lowry Outlet. We had a good nose around GAP (where there were some huge discounts but nothing we fancied), picked up some Cadbury’s misshapes and some bargain Sensationail polishes at two for £10 (they’re normally about £15 each!). As you can imagine, shopping isn’t really top of our children’s list of things they enjoy doing so we didn’t spend all that long in the outlet before making our way out for lunch – Amy had been claiming she was starving from about 5 minutes after we’d arrived which is usually a sure sign she’s bored! (Clearly if we’d been shopping for things for her she might have been a bit more invested!)
We arrived a little early for our lunch booking at Lime but they were able to get us seated so it didn’t matter. The children’s menu offered a drink, main course and ice cream for £5.50 which is great value – especially considering the size of the main courses. Often now we find that a children’s meal isn’t quite big enough for Ben but that really wasn’t the case this time. All three children were thoroughly satisfied with their meals. Dave and I both ordered sandwiches (club for him, reuben for me) with a side of onion rings. Our sandwiches were really tasty and made for a lovely lunch time treat. Because we had plenty of time to enjoy our meal ahead of our theatre trip we were able to enjoy an extra round of drinks and we didn’t feel at all rushed by the Lime staff who were really lovely.
The highlight of our Salford Quays adventure was a trip to The Lowry theatre to watch Billionaire Boy. We’ve been to The Lowry quite a few times over the past decade – I think the first time we went Dave took me to see The Gruffalo when Ben was just a baby (and yes I mean me – we were absolutely there for my benefit), Dave and I have been to see Dave Gorman, I went to see The Curious Incident with Kirst, and Amy and I have been for The Hungry Caterpillar and The Gruffalo too. It’s such a lovely venue – easy to get to, easy parking and everything is modern and comfortable – definitely one of my favourite places to watch a show – especially with the kids.
Ben and I saw Gangsta Granny at the Opera House a while back but the girls have only really watched pantomime or shorter performances so Billionaire Boy was quite a step up for them – especially Amy. Each half of the show was almost an hour long with a 20 minute interval so Amy did really well to sit through it. I think it helped that she had watched the BBC adaptation so had a good idea of the story already – Dave on the other hand hadn’t seen it on TV or read the book so he had no idea what it was about! The whole family absolutely loved the performance, the music was great, the set and story spot on. Although there’s no doubt that a theatre trip is expensive, I think the experience is invaluable for children – seeing their favourite books brought to life on stage can’t be beaten.
By the time we got home from Salford Quays it was practically bedtime and we had nicely filled a full day out – getting jobs done and enjoying quality time together as a family so an all round win!
*We paid for our shopping ourselves but our lunch at Lime was subsidised and our theatre tickets complimentary*