Discovering a new part of Manchester

Walking along Manchester’s canals towards Salford is like walking from the past into the future. I had never been further than the YHA at Potato Wharf. I stayed there for a couple of days almost 20 years ago but never wandered along the canals and the River Irwell back then. First of all there wasn’t much to see yet and second when you’re in your early twenties on holiday on your own and it’s your first stay ever in Manchester, you’ve simply got better things to do.



Starting on the tow path along the Rochdale Canal which officially opened in 1804.

It was finally time to change that and take a closer look at The Lowry, Imperial War Museum and Media City as well. And what better way to end the day than on the German Christmas Market with a hot mulled wine.

I started off at Oxford Road station and made my way along the canals and the river to Salford and then back into the city centre. I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic as I passed the YHA on my return way and walked the same streets I did back then when going into the centre. Things have certainly changed.

rochdale canal bridge

They don’t build bridges like these anymore.

rochdale bridgewater canal

The Rochdale Canal meets the Bridgewater Canal in Castlefield. I did remember that distinctive foot bridge – I think.

bridgewater canal

Bridgewater Canal with the YHA in the background. The Bridgewater canal is often considered the first true canal in England and was opened in 1761.

bridgewater canal2

A lot of “bridging” going on.


You don’t mind your job displayed on the door if it’s done in such a beautiful way.

georges island

St George’s Island – a locks junction once formed an important connection between the Bridgewater Canal and the River Irwell/Manchester Ship Canal here.


Leaving the canals behind the next stretch of the way took me along the shore of the River Irwell.

green bridge1

Crossing the river from St George’s Island

And then I entered the world of graffiti. Literally everything was covered. On my way back I saw some of the sprayers applying a new coat of colour as a fresh canvas. Kind of recycling available wall space…

Passing an old Colgate Palmolive factory and the Trafford Road Swing Bridge (not swinging anymore) I slowly made my way towards the Salford Quays.

The Lowry with its very recognisable features is a theatre and gallery complex and was opened in 2000. The architect is Michael Wilford.

The Lowry footbridge is a lift bridge, that means it lifts vertically to provide clearance for ships using the canal.

The Imperial War Museum North opened in 2002 and is often photographed for its shapes and contours. Architect is Daniel Liebeskind.

A quick look at Media City before returning via Exchange Quay.

Ordsall Hall is a formerly moated Tudor mansion. The oldest parts were built during the 15th century.

ordsall hall

The hall was the setting for William Harrison Ainsworth’s 1842 novel “Guy Fawkes”

Sunset over the River Irwell.

Time for that mulled wine now!


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