It took me a while to get to grips with what constitutes Greater Manchester, itself an entirely artificial construct.
What I quickly realised were the essentials; Stockport and Manchester are quite different, and Manchester United don’t play in Manchester, or even in Salford.
“That [neighbouring] Stretford and Salford are not administratively one with Manchester is one of the most curious anomalies of England.”
— Nikolaus Pevsner, Lancashire, The Industrial and Commercial South, 1969
Salford is a difficult concept to get your head round. What I always think of as its city centre, between the Salford Arms and the Uni/Crescent is relatively tiny and rundown, though with a few redemptive qualities such as St Philip’s and the New Oxford.
The Quays area, one of the most recognisable parts of “Manchester” for visitors, requires a walk through a depressing wasteland (below), though with some of the best views of the real City from Oldfield Road, and of course an award-winning Holts pub on Liverpool Road.
You then have a vast area of Salford proper to the north and west, taking in a few Holts and Sam Smiths and the UK’s best hospital in Salford.
Keep going west and you get to this;
Worsley Hall is typical Brunning and Price but more Knutsford than Salford, with a smart looking Golf Club sharing an entrance.
The interior is their usual high quality design but the outside garden was the real draw in the northern sunshine (really).
It would still be nothing without a decent beer though. In contrast to my recent experience near Guildford, the Lytham St Patricks beer was a superb rich and dark Stout (NBSS 3.5). I do think B&P show a good commitment to local breweries, but I’d be interested to see how much of their turnover is real ale.
I’ve commented on B&P pricing before; £1.90 was fair enough, if not quite Eccles standard. The house beer (Phoenix still ?) would presumably be even cheaper.
Obviously it’s geared to food, but service was less fussy than in some B&Ps. I was even called “fella” and “luv” in the same transaction. I just need “comrade” to complete the set for the year.
The only downside here was the location, which is slightly less well placed for canal walks than the Greene King and Ember Inn places dotted along the Bridgewater, but I guess you know my feelings on Ember by now.