Moving up to the North 9 years ago I fully embraced the northern lifestyle from calling rolls, barm cakes and enjoying gravy as an essential part to pretty much every meal.
Manchester for me has been an enigma. I’ve spent years working in the diverse and thriving city with many nights in the Northern Quarter and lots of fun days out for my family. It still always feels like I don’t really know any of it and only really touching the surface of what is Manchester.
So when I was asked to take a family trip out to experience the best Salford Quays has to offer we literally jumped at the chance. I’ve spent hours on end driving past Salford Quays and have had many hours in meetings in and around Media City but for actually doing any thing with the family, this was going to be a first.
If you’ve got children you’ll know that you need to prepare for every occasion and have suitable clothing, lots of bags and leaving on time is never possible. So expecting the worse in terms of traffic and timings, we head out at 8am for the 10am showing of the Smartest Giant at Ordsall Hall right in the heart of Salford Quays.
Ordsall Hall is a historic 750 year old grade 1 listed Tudor mansion house in Salford that plays host to a dedicated team following a £2.5million refurbishment.With beautiful landscaping an orchard and allotment Ordsall Hall was the location for an outdoor production by Folksy Theatre of the Smartest Giant in Town and we couldn’t wait!
If you know the classic Julia Donaldson favourite this is really going to appeal to our youngest daughter Dorothy, at 1 1/2, with songs and actions throughout. We weren’t disappointed and neither was she.
Arriving early and parking for £2 (no new pound coins yet) we had time to experience the best of Ordsall Hall dressing up inside in Tudor clothing, having a brew at their newest cafe and taking time to tend to their allotment.
The show was an absolute blast from the moment we started to the end. There was a time when it was a little too much for Dorothy and she needed a little walk around and an extra dress up session.
Even though the event was for the kids it didn’t stop Mrs P and I having a great time and sharing lots of laughs around the grounds of the hall.
After all that activity in the morning, we wanted to try out the newest name in lunching at Cafe Football Old Trafford. Officially in Stratford, being so close to Salford Quays we couldn’t turn down family lunch time and a chance to eye the view from the top of Hotel Football.
Dorothy clearly had an amazing morning as she was pooped. For those non parents, a sign that your toddler has had so much fun is when they can’t walk or talk anymore and fast asleep. If they’re still asleep when you take them out of the car seat and walk 100m it’s definitely been fun.
On arriving we had problems finding the car park as they’re having a lot of roadworks making it a one way system. But don’t worry. The car park is situated next to the Premier Inn and is complimentary on a first come first served basis. Luckily there was loads of spaces but I’d get there early on match days.
Upon arriving we were amazed at the Stanley Chow artwork being a huge fan and we were greeted by very enthusiastic staff very eager to please our girls with their own menus and colouring book. A high chair was easily accessible and we opted for views across the canal to enjoy while we ate our dinner.
As I was driving Mrs P opted for a Red Devil signature cocktail which looked amazing and hit the spot. Being in a great location outside of the city, she felt it would be an amazing location to enjoy a few cocktails and company before heading into central Manchester on the odd occasion that we get a night off.
Sharing plate of Nachos kept us entertained while we decided what we were eating for mains and I can only say how amazing they were and how big the portion size was. We almost, was too full for the rest 🙂
Dorothy had an amazing menu choice and opted on the sausage and mash choice which also included a drink of choice (milk) and a ice cream from their amazing new Sweet Shop. I on the other hand had to try their take on the Sausage Roll, Beth a pizza lover the Carne and Mrs P had their take on the burger without a bun but wrapped in bacon. mmmm.
The CF Sausage Roll was amazing and had a mixture of meats I even think there was a little black pudding in too. The pulled pork baked beans added something delicious extra to the meal. Rachel’s The ’66 burger, stuffed with stilton and wrapped in streaky bacon without bun just looked amazing and tasted even better. The pizza speaks for itself which had to be carried out in a cute Cafe Football pizza box as it was too much and we were so happy with Dorothy’s meal. To many restaurants just offer nuggets and chips but they went above and beyond.
Finishing up with some desserts, the girls had ice cream with sprinkles while I couldn’t resist the football themed cake with layers of magic in this Chocolate Pistachio Turf. It tasted amazing but was a little bit dry, nothing that couldn’t be cured with a little bit of ice cream too.
To finish off our amazing visit, we were given a tour of Hotel Football and take to Heaven their roof top football pitch and entertaining area. With amazing views including those across Old Trafford I can imagine a night time party being really special.
When you’re in Salford Quays, the Lowry is a place that you’ll need to visit and we needed to walk off of amazing feast.
With the Lowry Outlet holding a number of workshops throughout the school holidays, Dorothy was booked in to the 3pm slot which meant time for shopping. I literally have no jeans now I’ve lost weight and popping in to GAP found a number of pairs at heavily discounted pricing. What made it better was the discount offered in a 2 minute survey which added an extra 20% off. Result.
Dorothy had a fun time dancing and having to get into shapes of animals and then describing what animals they are.
We also enjoyed playing the games they had set out including trying chess, or at least having a look at the shapes, connect 4 and lastly smash Jenga haha. It’s like normal Jenga but you only get to three blocks tall.
Taking a stroll over to the Lowry we went through to the Gallery which was showcasing large scale photos of Mr Lowry himself and a collection of commissions from Clive Arrowsmith capturing Salford’s racial diversity.
Dorothy was absolutely transfixed by the stunning images and sat in front of them just staring up in wonder.
We had an amazing day as a family and I highly recommend searching for things to do in your local areas. I’ve spent so much time looking at places from a car window that you don’t actual realise how amazing they can be.
NB: I was invited to enjoy this day out in order to review but all views and opinions are my own.