Art Galleries in Manchester & Salford

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Away from the buzz of London, between them Manchester and Salford arguably have one of the highest concentrations of fantastic art galleries in England. Featuring our pick of larger institutions and smaller independent spaces, here we scrape the surface of what both cities have to offer. And it’s all free.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Whitworth

    The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

    The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

    Winner of Visit England’s gold prize for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2016 and Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2015 following a major £15m redevelopment, the beautifully designed Whitworth Art Gallery is a true gem of a place. Its internationally important art collection is presented alongside a changing programme of contemporary exhibitions and outdoor sculpture, whilst the spectacular ‘café in the trees’ is well worth a visit alone.

  • 2. Manchester Art Gallery

    Manchester Art Gallery. Photo by Andrew Brooks
    Andrew Brooks

    Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3JL - Visit now

    Positioned at the very heart of the city, Manchester Art Gallery houses six centuries worth of fine art, ceramics, glass, furniture and costume, and presents a year-round programme of contemporary exhibitions by world-leading artists. The Grade I-listed building’s neo-Classical design is also by the same architect behind Highclere Castle (or Downton Abbey).

  • 3. Castlefield Gallery

    Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
    Castlefield Gallery

    Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4GB - Visit now

    “Castlefield Gallery is the centre to the periphery, which in my thinking is the best position” according to artist Ryan Gander. The small but influential gallery that presents thought-provoking work by local, national and international artists at key stages in their career. Its alumni include Turner Prize winners.

  • 4. The Holden Gallery

    The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art

    The Holden Gallery, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6BR - Visit now

    Part of Manchester School of Art just off the city’s lively Oxford Road, Holden Gallery presents a critically-engaged programme of exhibitions focusing on thematic ideas explored through the work of key contemporary artists.

  • 5. Caustic Coastal

    Caustic Coastal art gallery and studios, Salford
    Courtesy of Caustic Coastal

    Caustic Coastal, UNIT 2, Regents Trading Estate, Oldfield Road, Salford, M5 4DE - Visit now

    An independent art label neighbouring Mr Cook Chinese takeaway in Salford, Caustic Coastal provides a curatorial platform for contemporary artists from across the UK.

  • 6. Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art CFCCA by Michael Pollard
    Photo by Michael Pollard

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EU - Visit now

    Tucked away at the end of Thomas Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, CFCCA is the number one place for experiencing Chinese contemporary art in the UK. Its dynamic programme of events and exhibitions explore and question the notion of ‘Chineseness’ in today’s world.

  • 7. HOME Manchester

    Paul Karalius

    HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

    HOME is an arts complex that includes 500 square metres of gallery space in its £25m building. The visual arts team has continued the innovative programme of exhibitions that became the Cornerhouse’s trademark.

  • 8. The Turnpike

    The Turnpike, Civic Square, Leigh, WN7 1EB - Visit now

    An independent arts organisation occupying the first floor of an iconic 1970s brutalist building in the centre of Leigh, Greater Manchester. Managed by the former fine art curator at Whitworth Art Gallery.

  • 9. Paradise Works

    The Published Image

    Paradise Works, East Philip Street, Salford, M3 7LE - Visit now

    Paradise Works is an artist studios and gallery committed to sustaining artist-led activity in Greater Manchester. Its exhibition space is a platform for an ongoing programme of critically engaged exhibitions, film screenings, projects and events.

  • 10. Touchstones Rochdale

    Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, OL16 1AQ - Visit now

    Touchstones Rochdale’s Contemporary Forward programme presents an ambitious series of exhibitions, commissions and off-site projects by female artists.

  • 11. Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester

    Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester
    Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester

    Bankley Studios and Gallery Manchester, Bankley Street, Manchester, M19 3PP - Visit now

    Housed in an old factory just off Levenshulme’s main high street, Bankley is an independent artists’ studios and gallery space, which presents work by creatives based in Manchester and beyond.

  • 12. Salford Museum and Art Gallery

    Salford museum and art gallery exterior
    Tom Jeffs

    Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WU - Visit now

    Once a favourite haunt of the great LS Lowry, Salford Museum & Art Gallery is a friendly destination with special appeal to families. Its collections focus on Victorian art and local social history.

  • 13. Rogue Artists’ Studios

    Rogue Artists' Studios. Photo courtesy David Gledhill.

    Rogue Artists’ Studios, Former Varna Street Primary School, Openshaw, Manchester, M11 1WP - Visit now

    Now based in a former Victorian primary school in Openshaw, Rogue is one of the largest independent studio groups in the North West and runs a programme of temporary exhibitions, residency projects and one-off events in its Project Space.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
The Maids at HOME
Theatre 16 November–1 December 2018, from £10.00

The Maids at HOME

Cinema 2–23 November 2018, from £5

Peterloo at HOME

A Virus Walks Into a Bar, John Walter: CAPSID at HOME, Manchester
Exhibitions 10 November 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

John Walter: CAPSID at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

Photo of the festive display outside the Corn Exchange
Families 9 November–23 December 2018, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

The Lowry at Christmas
Theatre 5–18 November 2018,

The Lowry at Christmas

The Royal Exchange Autumn Winter SeasonThe Royal Exchange Autumn Winter Season
Theatre 21 September 2018–12 January 2019,

The Royal Exchange Autumn / Winter Season

Death of a Salesman at Royal Exchange
Theatre 11 October–17 November 2018, from £10.00

Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

Burgerz at the Royal Exchange
Theatre 14–17 November 2018, from £13.00

Burgerz at the Royal Exchange