Day 3. Manchester canal walk – Etihad Stadium to Piccadilly

For our final morning in Manchester we planned a canal side walk that would be new to us.  Making good use of our weekend tram ticket, we caught a service to the Etihad Campus taking less than ten minutes on the Ashton Line.  The Etihad stadium is home to Manchester City football club and was originally constructed as part of the sports facilities for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Etihad Stadium, Manchester
The entrance to the Etihad Stadium

As we arrived,  staff were preparing to welcome back 10,000 spectators for their first home match since lockdown restrictions were eased.  It was to be the final match of the season and a momentous one with Manchester City being crowned Premier League champions.

Lock on the Ashton Canal, Manchester
A narrow lock on the Ashton Canal near the Etihad Stadium

Steps lead down from City Square to the towpath of the Ashton Canal which is 7 miles long and runs from Ashton to the centre of Manchester.  The canal was saved from dereliction in the 1970’s by hardworking volunteers who cleared weeds and rubbish enabling it to re-open to leisure traffic.

Along the Ashton Canal in Manchester
The lock near to where the towpath ahead was blocked

Shortly after passing the second lock from the Etihad we had to do an about turn as the path ahead was blocked due to ongoing demolition work taking place ahead.  It was a little frustrating that there had been no mention of this detour earlier as we had to retrace our steps back to the Etihad stadium and follow a road route away from the canal as far as Holt Town.

Former cotton mills along the Ashton Canal in Manchester
Old cotton mills line the banks of the Ashton Canal

Finally back on the towpath we enjoyed a peaceful stroll along the canal as far as New Islington,  a modern new neighbourhood that the Sunday Times has ranked as one of the trendiest places in the country to live.

New Islington, Manchester
New Islington, Manchester

The area was once the city’s industrial heartland and home to a large number of cotton mills earning Manchester its nickname Cottonopolis.  From the 1960’s the mills started to close and the district soon fell into decline becoming an industrial wasteland.

Canal side homes at New Islington, Manchester
Cutting edge designed homes by the canal in New Islington

The former textile machinery business Joseph Stubbs towers majestically over the development with its mill having been converted into offices and homes complimenting the cutting-edge architecture overlooking the canal.

Pollen Bakery & Cafe, New Islington, Manchester
The Pollen Bakery and Cafe along the waterside

Along the waters edge are shops, cafes and restaurants including Pollen, a scandi-style cafe popular for its excellent brunches and trademark ‘cruffin’, a croissant/muffin combination.

Narrow boats moored at New Islington, Manchester
Narrow boats at New Islington dock basin

Strolling along the footpath we admired brightly painted narrow boats moored in the canal basin and it was so tranquil that it was hard to believe we were just a few minutes walk away from the city centre.

Street Food Market, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
The Piccadilly Gardens Street Food Market

We followed the towpath as far as the Piccadilly canal basin leaving the waterside just beyond the railway station.  From there, we inhaled the heady aromas whilst wandering through the street food market in Piccadilly Gardens before continuing on to Exchange Square to take a look inside the Corn Exchange.

Interior of the Corn Exchange, Manchester
Inside the Manchester Corn Exchange

This magnificent Renaissance style building was originally known as the Corn and Produce Exchange and was a hive of activity until the 1950’s when different ways of conducting business led to its closure.  The building has since spent time as a shopping centre and more recently was converted into a leisure complex featuring a hotel and restaurants.  Diners can either eat beneath the beautiful Edwardian glass domed roof or if weather permits, at one of the tables out in the square, definitely one of the best places in the city for people watching.

Shambles Square, Manchester
Shambles Square

Adjacent to the Corn Exchange lies the Medieval Quarter, home to the historic Tudor buildings of Shambles Square housing four of the city centre’s most popular pubs with a walkway through to the cathedral.

St. Ann's Square, Manchester
St. Ann’s Square

After stopping off for some lunch, we continued our walk around the city centre shops in the attractive St. Ann’s Square which connects through to the elegant Royal Exchange Arcade filled with upscale speciality stores.

Statue of Alan Turning, Manchester
The statue of Alan Turing in Sackville Gardens

On our way back to the hotel to collect our luggage there was just one more place we wished to visit and that was to view the statue of the mathematician Alan Turing.  In 2011 a life size sculpture of Turing was positioned sitting on a bench in Sackville Gardens, close to the university buildings on Whitworth Street overlooking the Gay Village.

Gay Village, Manchester
The Gay Village viewed from Sackville Gardens

Alan Turing is regarded as the father of modern computer science and it was at Manchester University in 1948 that he worked on one of the world’s earliest computers.  His work took him to Bletchley Park during the Second World War where he is noted for uncovering the settings of the Enigma Machine.

Sackville Gardens, Manchester
Sackville Gardens

After picking up our luggage we returned to Victoria Station for our train home.  In one corner of the concourse we paused to view a floral tribute marking the fourth anniversary of the Manchester Arena terror attack where 22 innocent lives were lost during an Ariana Grande concert.

Memorial tribute on the anniversary of the Manchester Arena bomb blast, Victoria Station
The memorial anniversary tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena atrocity 

On a brighter note, we’d enjoyed yet another lovely weekend in one of our favourite cities and come rain or shine we always find plenty of nice things to see and do in Manchester.


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Manchester Ashton Canal, Etihad - Piccadilly



53 thoughts on “Day 3. Manchester canal walk – Etihad Stadium to Piccadilly

  1. Pingback: Day 3. Manchester canal walk – Etihad Stadium to Piccadilly – Knowledge Is Power

  2. Pingback: Day 3. Manchester canal walk – Etihad Stadium to Piccadilly – SHOPPEX NIGERIA

  3. Philip And Helan

    This series of Manchester is very helpful. It almost feels as if we could be able to travel too without even checking up anything else but these posts. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It’s quite remarkable to see such drastic architectures and histories along the same canal, from the modern, block-y buildings in New Islington to the traditional, half-timbered houses in Shambles Square. It would be lovely to grab a coffee to-go and take them all in, especially on a cool, slightly-overcast kind of day, as it appears that you did! Thanks for sharing another adventure in Manchester, Marion. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Another great post Marion. Looks like a great walking city. As to the memorial to the attack 4 years ago, we were in Sheffield with friends when it happened and had to transit through Manchester to Dublin a couple of days later. To say security was tight would be an understatement. Thanks for sharing. Stay well. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

  6. A wonderful tour around Manchester! I find it so interesting that industrial areas are becoming the trendy areas of towns. I think this is happening everywhere. And there’s something great about preserving the buildings while still finding a new purpose for them. I would love to see the look on workers faces if they were to be told that the factory they worked in would someday be considered the hip spot of town 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure our ancestors would be amazed to see how the industrial heartlands have been transformed into swanky neighbourhoods but hopefully they were content with their lives too Meg. Thanks so much for following my weekend in Manchester, it’s been great having you come along. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like you had a lovely stroll along the canal and were able to see some interesting buildings and statues. New Islington definitely looks trendy. I love that they’ve repurposed old buildings and have converted them into offices and homes. Looks like a wonderful spot to work or live.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Manchester is looking better and better with every post. We love a canal walk so that would be perfect (just have to ignore anything to do with City as we swing the other way). The whole city looks well worth a few days exploring.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Another fulsome article Marion. I had to do a bit of Googling on Alan Turing to remind myself of his exploits. It’s a sad story. I already loved the name Shambles Square, but look at the architecture and packed with pubs too… perfect. Really enjoying all the canal walks that Manchester has to offer. As for the Manchester Arena Memorial, I guess that’s a permanent thing? Or was it from the recent anniversary?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This was a temporary memorial marking the anniversary but there is a permanent memorial garden nearing completion by the. Cathedral called Glade of Hope. Turing features on the new £50, not that anyone ever uses cash these days or such a high denomination note! Thanks for taking an interest. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah Marion, I love these canal walks (pity you had to turn around). New Islington surely looks very posh … and never heard of a ‘cruffin’, but that should surely be delicious (as I like both croissants and muffins 😊).

    Liked by 5 people

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