Flagship arts venue The Lowry was at the heart of 1990s’ plans to breathe new life back into Salford Quays. Now in its third decade, it’s maintained its reputation as one of Greater Manchester’s top visitor attractions thanks to a lively, ever-evolving programme of art, music, theatre, comedy and more.
Perched on the edge of the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays, this distinctive building is home to two theatres, art galleries, a cafe, a bar and a restaurant – and deserves to be included in any cultural weekend or family trip to Manchester. Trams from the city centre take about 15 minutes on the Eccles or Media City line.
The galleries host a permanent, free-entry exhibition of works by LS Lowry. One of the UK’s most popular artists, Laurence Stephen Lowry is best-known for his “matchstick men” cityscapes showing everyday life in Salford and Manchester, where he spent much of his life. It’s a thrill to see these expansive, iconic works up close but it’s the less familiar paintings – the seascapes and portraits – that really bring this artist’s work into focus.
The second gallery hosts regularly changing special exhibitions – check the website to see what’s on. Next to the galleries is The Carole Nash Lookout, a space for kids to “unwind, get inspired, and be creative”.
The two theatres at The Lowry host a busy and varied schedule of shows ranging from musicals to comedy to serious drama. They often have events for kids and families in the school holidays.
For food and drink, you’ve got a choice between the elegant Pier Eight Restaurant, and the more casual Tower Coffee Shop. There’s also Pier Eight bar which is open before shows in the evenings and on weekends.