In Manchester on a city break? A trip to The Lowry will tick a lot of sightseeing boxes. Not only does this glittering arts and entertainment complex house three theatres, several art galleries and an award-winning restaurant, it also has a terrific location, right on Manchester’s buzzing Salford Quays area.
Visually stunning, the building is a treat for the eyes. Finished in 2000 as part of the Salford Quays regeneration, it recently had a £3m overhaul to extend the onsite bar. The finished result, a restaurant called Pier 8, is well worth a trip on it its own, if only to admire the panoramic riverside views from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Once you’ve finished gazing at the view, it’s time to soak up some culture. Art lovers will enjoy a mooch around the 2,000 square metres of gallery space, with its ever-changing programme of contemporary art, as well as a permanent exhibition dedicated to the work of LS Lowry. There are 400 of the beloved British artist’s paintings here, spanning the whole of his fascinating career.
But the biggest draw here has to be the theatres. There are three in all - the enormous Lyric which boasts the largest stage outside of London; the more intimate Quays theatre and a separate performance space for workshop. Together they’ve given The Lowry a great reputation for hosting world-class shows that span almost every conceivable genre, from pantos and West End musicals, to ballet and stand-up comedy.
If you’re heading to The Lowry to catch a show or art exhibition, why not make a weekend of it, by booking into a Manchester hotel? There’s a Premier Inn at Salford Quays that’s a short walk away from Lowry, which puts you right at the heart of all the drama of this stunning waterside area.
Whether you want to book tickets for an evening performance or fancy a guided tour of The Lowry exhibition, you’ll always find something to enjoy.
Its largest theatre, the Lyric, has welcomed huge shows such as the stage version of War Horse and and the West End hit musical Wicked, which sold out every day of its two-month stay. There's also the Quays Theatre, which is the perfect setting for more intimate plays and dramas. Past performances include a well-received production of the Ted Hughes play Gaudete.
LS Lowry exhibition
The Lowry has the world's largest public collection of paintings and drawings by one of Britain’s best-loved artists, LS Lowry. There are free gallery tours every day at 12pm and 2pm - your tour guide will discuss the artist’s life and work and highlight new works that have joined the display from private collections, which these change regularly.
Children’s shows and activities
From pantomimes to sing-along showings of Disney classics, there are plenty of shows aimed at little ones. But even visiting the building is fun! Pick up the free Hide and Seek Trail or join one of the Family Building Tours on the last Sunday of every month. Turn up on any Saturday morning between 11am and 12.30pm for a free kids’ activity in the dedicated family Lookout space.
Thinking of driving to see a performance at The Lowry? Check to see if your visit coincides with a match at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium as getting parked and making your way into the venue can take longer on match days.
Help your visit to The Lowry go smoothly with our guide to all the facilities on offer.
You’ll find The Lowry at Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ. The building is free to enter and opens every day at 10am. If there are no performances scheduled, the building closes at 6pm. The gallery is open at 11am from Sunday to Friday, but opens at 10am on Saturday. It closes at 5pm every day. The Meet Mr Lowry film is shown at 10am every day. The gallery is free to enter too, but there’s a suggested donation of £3.
Visiting The Lowry with little ones? You can stow your pushchair in the cloakroom for free. Then head to the Lookout, opposite the entrance to the galleries. This dedicated family area is packed with books, games and craft supplies. If you’re watching a show, a limited number of booster seats are available on a first come, first served basis. These can only be used in the Stalls of both The Lyric and Quays Theatres.
The gift shop is packed with Lowry-themed gifts and goodies to take home. Look out for prints, accessories and stationery. There are also homewares, from mugs to cushions to more unusual pieces, such as beautiful solid silver brooches depicting the artist’s matchstick men characters. You’ll find it in the foyer, opposite the Tower Coffee Shop.
The Lowry has a Silver award from access campaigner group Attitude is Everything in recognition for their dedication to ensuring all are welcome at the venue. The Lowry has lifts to all floors, wide access routes and accessible toilets. Three wheelchairs can be hired for free - book through the Box Office. The gallery offers audio and sign language tours once a season. Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.
The Lowry is right in the middle of Salford Quays, Manchester’s unique waterfront destination and as such, it’s packed with things to do.
Take time before your theatre trip to visit the Imperial War Museum North. It’s full of interesting artefacts, film-showings and memorabilia that bring the history of the Second World War to life.
If you’re mad for Manchester United, you’ll be pleased to hear that Old Trafford is also one of The Lowry’s neighbours. Home to the legendary Manchester United, the sheer scale of the place is mind-blowing, but a tour gives you unrivalled behind-the-scenes access to all the best bits, like the players’ dressing room, manager’s dugout and the tunnel. No time for a tour? Pay a visit to the Old Trafford Museum with its United memorabilia and interactive displays.
Alternatively, you could head to the BBC studios at nearby MediaCityUK. Tours last 90 minutes and cost around £12 - and you also get the chance to make your own news and weather bulletins in the interactive studio.
Situated in the middle of the buzzing Salford Quays area, there’s no shortage of options for pre or post theatre dinner or drinks.
Love fine dining with a side helping of fantastic waterside view? The Lowry’s restaurant, Pier Eight, won’t disappoint. It boasts some glorious vistas of Salford Quays, the Imperial War Museum and Old Trafford through its panoramic windows. Once inside, the food is just as spectacular - think twists on classics with ingredients that are as British and traditional as they come. Although hearty, local meat like braised beef and lamb shank may be the order of the day, there’s a good balance of fish and vegetarian options, too. Coming for a show? The pre-theatre dining options are excellent value at £22 for two courses or £27 for three.
If you just fancied a quick cuppa and a bite to eat, The Lowry has its own cafe, tucked away in the foyer. Open every day at 10am, the Tower Coffee Shop has terrific teas and coffees, cold drinks and plenty of tasty pastries and cakes if you’re feeling peckish. Fancy something more substantial? There are breakfast rolls in the morning, and at lunch you’ll find an extensive hot and cold food menu with quiches, salads, paninis and Pieminster pies the order of the day. Plus, the Tower Coffee Shop also has its fair share of fabulous quayside views, too.
Craftbrew is an independent bar-cafe tjhat's just a stone’s throw from The Lowry and is perfect for a pre-theatre drink and bite to eat. There’s outdoor seating for when the sun’s out but Craftbrew also feels super cosy on a winter’s evening when it’s all lit up by candles. Choose something from a menu that’s made for all-day grazing - there’s everything from delicate tapas to whole artisan deli boards bursting with delicacies. There’s an extensive wine list, but if you love beer you’ll be in heaven thanks to hand pulled ales and a vast selection of craft beers.
Start your evening in style, with pre-theatre drinks and a meal at The Alchemist. You can’t miss it because this funky bar and restaurant looks truly spectacular from the outside, with a golden roof and a sun terrace overlooking the Manchester ship canal. Besides sensational views, there’s a vast cocktail menu and exquisitely presented food - the Reuben salt beef sandwich always wins rave reviews. It’s also very family-friendly, so a great choice if you’re here with little ones.
Just a 15-minute tram ride away from the city centre, The Lowry is well served by both public transport and road, making it easy to visit wherever you're coming from.
From the M60, take Junction 12 for the M602, exit at Junction 3 and follow the signs for The Quays. Parking is available at the Lowry Outlet. Pre-booked your parking? You can get into the car park from 5pm for evening performances and from 12pm for matinees.
You have a number of options if you’re travelling by bus. There’s the 250 or X50 from Piccadilly Gardens or the 50 from East Didsbury via Albert Square, Salford Crescent and Salford Shopping Centre. The 79 and 245 also stop nearby.
From Oxford Road station, walk up Oxford Road towards Deansgate and get the Metrolink tram from here. From Piccadilly or Victoria stations, there are clearly signposted Metrolink stations nearby, allowing you to get off your train and hop on a tram practically to The Lowry’s door.
Take either the Eccles or the MediaCityUK line. On the Eccles line, get off at the Harbour City stop for a 10 minute walk. On the MediacityUK line get off at the a MediacityUK stop and it’s just a five-minute walk to The Lowry.
To improve and personalise your visit we use first and third party marketing and analytical cookies. By using this site you agree to this. You can withdraw your consent at any time. See our Cookie notice for information on how to block or disable cookies.
Cookies, pixel tags and similar technologies we use
First and third party cookies and similar technologies are used on this site to provide a personalised online experience, commercial messages tailored to your interests, advertising based on your browsing habits and for measurement purposes to improve our site, services and interest based content and adverts. By using our site, you agree to cookies and such technologies being used and the sharing of your data with our trusted affiliates and partners. You can find out more and withdraw your consent at any time.
See our Cookie Notice for full information including how to block or disable them. To accept cookies, click I consent.