With Storm Hannah blowing a gale and rain hammering down, a friend and I joined a group of other hardy tourists for a tour around the Coronation Street set in MediaCityUK, Salford. Sadly, the tour doesn’t include the indoor sets, so we were a bit wet and windswept by the end of the tour! Never mind, our tour guide and Pat Phelan look-alike, Alan, kept us entertained with his cheesy Coronation Street themed jokes.
I’d previously been on a tour of the old Coronation Street set at Quay Street, Manchester in the late 1990s, but it was sadly demolished in 2017 after Granada Studios moved to Media City at the end of 2013. There are a few differences between the previous set and the current one, for a start, this one is much bigger and extends well beyond Coronation Street and neighbouring Rosamund Street, and there is an extra window above the Rovers Return. The old set was used for many years, but it was not the original set. The original 1960 wooden set was initially entirely indoors before being moved outside and shortly afterwards reconstructed in brick.
Tours of the current Coronation Street Set run between 9am and 6pm on selected weekend days only and cost £35 per person (tickets have to be pre-booked). Lasting around 80 minutes, the guided tours give plenty of time to take photos, but beware! The tour groups are quite large (around 40 people in each group), so you’ll find others getting in the way of your selfies or other shots. So not only were we battling the wind and rain, we were battling the other tourists too! We also kept catching up with the group in front of us (understandable due to a few of them being in wheelchairs) and the next group was never far behind.
I have read on some other reviews that people had the opportunity to have an “official” photo taken outside the Rovers Return. This was not on offer the day we had our tour, which was probably just as well because we looked pretty damp and windswept!
Anyone unsteady on their feet or with mobility problems will need a wheelchair or scooter as it’s a long time to be on your feet with no opportunity to sit down for a rest (and you might want to stick to the pavement down Coronation Street as I would image the cobbles would be a little rough if you were on wheels!).
Corrie fans will love the tour. After all, it’s not often you get the opportunity to walk down those famous cobbles. However, I thought the £35 ticket price was a little steep for what we got. A tour of the old set would have set you back half that price.
I do think that more could be done with the Coronation Street tour… After all, with a tour lasting nearly an hour and a half, it would be nice to be able to stand at the bar of the Rovers Return and sup a pint or have a sit down in Roys Rolls at the end. I understand it is a working set, but the addition of a working replica somewhere on-site or just off-site would just top it off nicely. Also, the limited merchandise on sale was available at the start of our tour where we collected our passes (which was temporarily in the nearby shopping centre). I’m more likely to buy something like that afterwards, but that would have meant a further walk and the limited items available weren’t worth it.
All in all, it was nice to walk down those famous cobbles (again) and see the newer parts of the set, but I won’t be rushing back.