Salford museum and art gallery exterior

Salford, Greater Manchester

Creative Tourist

Cross over the River Irwell, and you’ll find yourself in another city entirely – Salford. You’ll barely feel the transition, though; despite locals who are fierce about the fact that Salford is a city in its own right, it’s only separated from Manchester by the width of the river, distance-wise. Which is not to say that you won’t see differences between the two.

Gritty urban realism has been this city’s stock in trade since L.S. Lowry painted his very first matchstick man. Some will have read about it in Love on the Dole. Some will have seen it depicted in kitchen sink dramas or Corrie. And others will forever associate the city with John Cooper Clarke rasping his way through ‘Evidently Chickentown’, or the dystopian anthems of Joy Division.

Now, however, Salford has an up-and-coming feel; the Chapel Street area of the city, the focus of an ongoing regeneration project, is home to a creative community including Hot Bed Press and over 100 artists and 50 innovative businesses at Islington Mill. If you’re visiting around May, look out for the highlight of Salford’s strong music scene, Sounds from the Other City festival, which brings an incendiary mix of live bands, literary readings and art hi-jinks to an eclectic selection of venues.

The Council-run Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a friendly city museum with special appeal to families, and the nearby Working Class Movement Library provides a fascinating look at the past. The personal collection of labour historians Ruth and Edmund Frow, it’s a veritable treasure trove of material dating back to the 1760s. Ordsall Hall, the city’s beautifully restored (and supposedly haunted) Tudor mansion, has a busy programme of events and activities all year round, including events as part of horror film festival Grimmfest.

Salford inspires fierce loyalty among its inhabitants. Spend any significant period of time here, and you may begin to understand why.

Discover our top picks

The Smartest Giant in Town at The Lowry
Childrens 21–26 February 2023, from £18.00

The Smartest Giant in Town at The Lowry

Kids and adults alike will be entertained by Little Angel Theatre’s heartwarming and moving adaptation of The Smartest Giant in Town.

The Makings of a Murderer at The Lowry
Theatre 4 February 2023 7:30 pm, from £32.00

The Makings of a Murderer at The Lowry

A thrilling evening for fans of true crime and those with inquisitive minds. Join The Scottish Detective, David Swindle, to explore the mind of a serial killer.

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead at The Lowry
Theatre 25–29 April 2023, from £16.00

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead at The Lowry

Any new show by Complicité is a pretty big deal so we’re thrilled that 2023 will see the company bring a new work to The Lowry’s stage.

Akram Khan's Jungle Book reimagined at The Lowry
Dance 13 May 2023 3:00 pm, from £15.00

Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined at The Lowry

Akram Khan injects urgent choreography, a blistering original score and cutting-edge visuals to reinvent Mowgli as a climate refugee.

Music 30 April 2023, from £29.95

Sounds From The Other City

SFTOC has announced its hotly anticipated return with a compelling 2022 edition on May Day Bank Holiday. We explore the line-up.

The Zoom Tours Series
Activity Until 31 July 2023, from £6

Jonathan Schofield Walking Tours

Jonathan Schofield Is well known for his expertly informed, charismatic and intriguing guided tours, join him on one to find out why.

A still from the animation 'Hole' by Rachel Goodyear, depicting two hand-drawn female figures wearing pink dresses on a black background.
Exhibitions Until 26 February 2023, FREE

Rachel Goodyear: Stirrings at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents a ‘homecoming’ exhibition – the first major solo show in the North by the Salford-based, internationally renowned artist Rachel Goodyear.

Catherine Cohen: Come For Me at The Lowry
Comedy 5 February 2023 8:00 pm, from £32.00

Catherine Cohen: Come For Me at The Lowry

Fresh from her critically acclaimed Netflix special The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous, the Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner tours the UK – for the first time – with a brand new show.

Manchester District Guides

Medieval Quarter, Manchester

The Medieval Quarter, or Cathedral Quarter as it is sometimes known, is one of the oldest parts of Manchester and home to some historic gems and cultural must-sees.  

Photo of a handwritten label in a cafe that says "Ring for service with a smile"

Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester

Burton Road is the heart of West Didsbury, a beautifully maintained leafy hubbub of shops,…

Beech Road Chorlton, Manchester

A laid-back mix of gift shops, independent outfitters, restaurants, pubs and parks, on a sunny weekend afternoon it’s heaving.

The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

Didsbury, Manchester

Follow Oxford Road South through the Curry Mile, along Wilmslow Road, past Platt Fields Park…

Chorlton, Manchester

Chorlton is a left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only…

Cheetham Hill, Manchester

As an area, Cheetham Hill gets a pretty bad rep. The foreboding architecture of Strangeways…