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Travel & Holidays in later life


Entrance to The Lowry on Salford QuayManchester is ideal for a city weekend break without leaving the UK. Go by train to Manchester Piccadilly, and you're then within a MetroLink tram ride of the action. 

Most of the locals agree that there's far more to their city than Manchester United. 

Within the past few years, a huge construction programme has brought an upsurge of world-class attractions.

Of course, Manchester is famed for its sport facilities, especially after hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

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Tickets for international or Lancashire cricket games can be bought online or from the ticket booking line (24hr) Tel: 08 444 999 666 . 

Entry to Urbis, The Lowry galleries, Imperial War Museum, Manchester City Art Gallery, and the Museum of Science and Industry are all free. 

More information: Marketing Manchester, Carver's Warehouse
77 Dale Street
M1 2HG. Tel: 0161-237-1010 . 

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That was the biggest international sporting event in England since the 1948 Olympics of 1948. It introduced the world to the stunning architecture of the Stadium, which is now the 49,000-seat home ground of Manchester City.   

Close by is the Velodrome, home of the National Cycling Centre, and purpose-built Centres for Indoor Tennis and Squash.

Over at United's home at Old Trafford, a guided tour takes you through the Players Tunnel, the Dug Out and the Dressing Room and other backstage areas. You can have a drink in the Red Cafe, and visit a Museum of the club history and its famous players.
Manchester City's new Stadium features un-obscured covered seating
If cricket is your scene, a close neighbour along Warwick Road is the 'other' Old Trafford, the setting for Lancashire County and Test Matches

Only a few minutes' from United's ground is Trafford Wharf, facing the Salford Quays across the Manchester Ship Canal. Just a few years ago, all this was a derelict industrial and warehouse zone - the sad remnants of the 19th century when Greater Manchester was Britain's powerhouse of textiles and shipping.

The Quays have been utterly transformed into a unique waterfront focus for leisure. Even people who don't usually visit museums and art galleries are probably familiar with the drawings and paintings of J.S. Lowry who worked as a clerk and rent collector in Salford.

His style is easily recognised, with 'matchstick people' in the foreground, overlooked by the smoking factory chimneys of cotton mills. Today the grim smokestacks have disappeared.

The centrepiece of The Quays is The Lowry - a gallery where the artist's works are gathered together in a superb modern building which forms part of a new cultural enclave built along the Salford wharves. 

Rated as 2001's "Building of the Year", The Lowry includes a range of galleries and restaurants, bars and cafes. Two theatres within the complex stage world-class ballet, opera and theatre, besides pop music and comedy. The broad open space at the entrance, called The Plaza, can hold an audience of 7,000 for open-air events.

Just opposite is The Designer Outlet, offering a wide choice of famous shopping names at discount prices, nine ultra-modern cinemas with dolby surround sound, restaurants and a health and fitness centre.

Regeneration funds were devoted to cleaning up the dead, polluted waters of the Canal. Today, the enclosed basins of the Salford Quays are used by anglers, who try for roach, perch and carp. 

Across the Canal, Salford is linked to Trafford by a gleaming new footbridge which rises on towers each side so that ships can pass through. It offers great views of The Lowry on one side, and the Imperial War Museum North on the Trafford Wharf. 

View of the Imperial War Museum North, from The Lowry side of the Ship CanalThe startling design of the War Museum, sheathed in metal, represents a globe shattered into pieces to represent conflict on land, air and sea. The design was by the famed international architect Daniel Liberskind, who has since won the contract for New York's Ground Zero skyscraper.

Opened in 2002, the museum is the fifth element of London's Imperial War Museum. The display techniques are mind-boggling. 

The heart of Manchester itself has been totally transformed since devastation by an IRA bomb in 1996. The most outstanding feature of the rebuilt centre is a dramatic glass building called Urbis, towering high above the Arndale shopping complex. 

Urbis tells the story of modern cities. You take a one-minute sky glide in a glass elevator to the fourth floor, and then work down through exhibition floors at your own pace. It highlights the global styles of urban living. 

In 1800, only 5 per cent of the world's population lived in cities. The top floor of Urbis is called 'Arrive', recreating the shock for a yokel, arriving in any city for the first time. By 2020, forecasters predict 75 per cent of the world population with be city dwellers. Urbis focuses on how cities have grown, and displays the contrasting life-styles of Los Angeles, Manchester, Paris, Sao Paolo, Singapore or Tokyo. 

Adjacent to Urbis is The Triangle - a converted Victorian building which formerly was the Corn Exchange, selling fruit and veg. Today it's Manchester's prime centre for shopping, entertainment and nightlife. 
Across the Canal from Salford to Old Trafford by footbridge
Finally, just a suggestion: spend a whole day, morning to night, around the Salford Quays; and another whole day around the rebuilt centre. Sport, shopping, museums, galleries, music, architecture, food, night-clubs - everything is within walking distance. Totally United. 


Consider these other destinations in the North West

CHESTER - going for Romans, shopping & bats

LANCASHIRE COAST - Turning the tide

LIVERPOOL- Beyond the Fab Four 

SHIP CANAL - Cruising on the Manchester Ship Canal

"Books to read - click on cover pictures" or click on the links below

L.S.Lowry  - edited by Michael Leber and Judith Sandling - Read this account of the artist's career, admire the pictures of Salford's prewar industrial landscape and see the difference today.

Itchy Insider's Guide to Manchester - by Statham, Gray and Newton - an insider look at all forms of eating, drinking, entertainment and attractions.   

Manchester United: The Untold Story  by Ned Kelly 
- An enthralling account of life on and off the pitch at United. 

Francis Frith's Around Manchester (Photographic Memories) - A nostalgic publication based on prints from the Frith archive of city views from Victorian and Edwardian times.

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