Chapel Street, Salford

Creative Tourist

Chapel Street is Salford’s historic heart: laid back, spread out and under the radar. Running physically parallel to Deansgate, but contrasting with its urban straightness, architectural pomp and familiar brands, Chapel Street has the different counter-cultural feel of another city: still industrial, more casual, temporal. Mind you, Chapel Street is at the centre of a £650m regeneration project that includes new housing, shops and cafes being set up, so things are gradually changing are here.

One would like to think, though, the area will always make for rich pickings culturally. One highlight is Islington Mill, a deceptively large complex of old industrial buildings that is home and workplace to a diverse range of artists and creative. Another is the Working Class Movement Library, an homage to Salford’s rich political history. Even the pubs are creative hubs; handsome Victorian gem The King’s Arms boasts a decent stage space, as does The Old Pint Pot, a key player in Salford’s annual and excellent Sounds From the Other City music festival.

Taking in all of the above and more, here are our favourite spots on Chapel Street.

Our top picks

Islington Mill

Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 5HW - Visit now

Operating under a steadfast belief in the DIY maxim, Islington Mill is fiercely independent, supportive to artists of various disciplines, and creative in every respect. The building and its host of itinerant creatives foster new and unexpected things from any given project. This multi-use space has served as as gig venue, gallery, performance space, school, studio and residence and is considered an exemplary piece of 19th Century mill architecture.

Working Class Movement Library

Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WX - Visit now

The Working Class Movement Library is a singular establishment, a Tardis of loosely left-leaning histories. It somehow encompasses not only 30,000 books and over 200,000 pamphlets, but also an array of sometimes unexpected memorabilia and a fascinating history of its own. The Working Class Movement Library’s invitation is succinct and urgent: explore the past, change the future.

Working Class Movement Library
Richard Rogerson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

GK Gallery

GK Gallery, 272 Chapel Street, Salford, M3 5JZ - Visit now

A family venture that combines a love of art with coffee, tea and cake, this Chapel Street gallery and tea room hosts 8-12 week long exhibitions giving emerging artists a chance to showcase their work. The tea room offers freshly-made hot drinks, cakes and savouries in a bright and relaxed space, where dogs are welcome.

Image courtesy of GK Gallery.

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester, M3 1SX - Visit now

Manchester Cathedral is, according to the Pevsner Architectural Guide, “one of the most impressive examples in England of a late medieval collegiate church”. Open all year round, and now a toasty warm venue for worship and music events alike, this is a medieval monument to all of Manchester’s saints and sinners – the past and present, the dead and buried and, occasionally, the breaking and entering kind.

Manchester Cathedral. Illustration by Simone Ridyard.

Vero Moderno

Vero Moderno, Unit 4 Vimto Gardens, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 5JF - Visit now

Described by the Sunday Times as ‘one of the top three modern Italian restaurants in the UK’, Vero Moderno is a simple space with an inviting menu that boasts a contemporary twist on classic Italian dishes. It’s still welcoming enough to drop in for just a coffee and a snack rather than a full meal though, and for those with a sweet-tooth the trio of cannoli is heartily recommended.

The New Oxford

The New Oxford, 11 Bexley Square, Salford, Manchester, M3 6DB - Visit now

One of Salford’s finest boozers, The New Oxford has an award-winning selection of 40 ever-changing draught items including 20 real ale pumps, and a similar spread of drinkers (from old school Catweazle regulars to snazzily-dressed movers and shakers from the nearby new-build apartments).

The New Oxford

The Kings Arms

The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom street, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 6AN - Visit now

The Kings Arms is a cultural hub, just off Chapel Street in Salford, which offers great real ale and hearty pub food. The main bar is cosy and comfortable with trusty original pub furnishings. Off to the side is the snug complete with a piano for those capable of conducting a pub knees up and a knitting club regularly meets here too.

The King's Arms pub in Salford.
David Dixon

Salford Makers

Salford Makers, Islington Mill, James Street, Salford, M3 5HW - Visit now

Salford Makers gets a special mention here, though the organisation can be found in the aforementioned Islington Mill. This is a collective of artists, designers, educators and makers who run regular workshops spanning a vast range of disciplines. Really, one of the best grassroots creative forces in the area.

Salford Makers

The Deli Llama

The Deli Llama, 220 Chapel Street, City of Salford, M3 5LE - Visit now

The Deli Llama is a cosy and fully licensed cafe in Salford that, during the day, is a great spot for a light lunch and suitable for vegans. On Thursday nights this unassuming spot also becomes a hub of Jazz.

Deli llama Jazz

Black Friar

Black Friar, Blackfriars Rd, Salford, M3 7DH - Visit now

Salford’s Black Friar is lauded far and wide, and rightly so. A recent visit from the son of 1980s agony aunt Claire Rayner merely sealed the deal. So we know it’s good, but how does it stand up under the real test of British cooking: the Sunday roast?

Ian Jones

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