The world’s longest running Soap Opera, Coronation Street, debuted in 1960 and has a rabid world-wide fan base. The show was filmed up until 2013 at the Granada Studios in Manchester. At that point, the sets were recreated and expanded at it’s current home, MediaCity UK, also in Manchester.
When the production vacated Granada Studios, the existing sets opened up for the public to tour. The tour involved a guided tour of the interior sets and props on soundstages. Following the guided portion, guests were allowed to explore all the outdoor sets with no time limit.
During my parents 40th anniversary trip to Europe, I booked us tickets to the tour as a surprise. My mom even asked if we could visit, and I told her the sets were closed to the public. Due to some traffic delays, we arrived right as our tour was starting. I said “Grab your umbrella and bags, we need to run.”
I ran ahead and checked us in, and as my parents caught up, we joined our tour group right as they entered the studio. It was only at this point that my parents realized where we were. My surprise had worked!
The guided portion unfortunately did not allow photos of any of the sets on display, but we saw the interiors from Gail’s house at Number 8, and Jack and Vera’s house at Number 9. The interior of The Kabin shop was also included, as well as some of the dressing rooms and a props room.
The Rover’s Return
The highlight of the interior sets was the famous set of the Rovers Return, the local pub where much of the drama takes place. It was a surreal feeling to step into the pub and sit down at one of the tables. Fortunately, this stop on the tour included a photo op behind the bar.
After visiting the interior sets, the guide gathered the group by a set of doors. Our guide then hit a button, which started the recognizable theme song, and opened to doors to reveal the outside set.
As we walked outside, we were free to explore at our own pace. We were able to explore the exterior sets, including the side streets and the back gardens. It was a pretty amazing experience to walk through The Bistro and onto the cobbled street that held so much history.
The largest part of the street is along the namesake road, Coronation Street. Most of the characters have their homes along this street. The row houses on one side of the street are the oldest houses on the street.
Across the Street are 3 newer, more modern homes. The sets also feature some of the back gardens to these houses, which are frequently seen on the show.
There are numerous businesses along Coronation Street. The Kabin, D&S Alahan’s, Audrey’s Salon, The Underworld Factory, and Kevin Webster’s Garage are all located along this strip.
The most famous business is the Rovers Return. As I mentioned above, this pub is where a lot of drama takes place. Due to this, it has a prominent location at the end of the street.
Rosamund Street is a short street at the end of Coronation Street. It’s home to a couple businesses like For Your Fries Only and Streetcars. The medical centre is here as well, and inside was a gift shop for fans to pick up some souvenirs. This street is also the location for the local bus stop.
Rosamund Street is also home to Tracy Barlow’s shop. It was called Barlow’s Buys at the time, but has transformed into a flower shop.
At one end of Rosamund Street is a large backdrop to make it look like the street continues. It looks good from a distance, but as you get closer, you see a bit of TV magic involved.
Along Victoria Street you find a number of businesses including the popular Roy’s Rolls, along with Prima Doner, and the construction yard. The other shop along this street is a community centre, but was restored to the Elliott & Sons Butchery, a long-time staple of the show run by Fred and Ashley Elliott.
At the end of the street is Victoria Court Apartments, where numerous characters live. On the new set, Victoria Street has been significantly extended, but on this older set, this apartment building was the end of the street.
The New Studio
Sadly, the old set has been demolished. However, the new studio is now open for tours. The tours are less frequent as they have to operate when the show isn’t filming. Nonetheless, it’s wonderful that they are continuing to give fans the chance to walk on the famous cobbles.
I will leave you with a video I took walking through the set.
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