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

SICK! Festival SICK FESTIVAL 2019 MANCHESTER SICKFEST SICKFESTIVAL
Theatre 18 September–15 October 2019,

SICK! Festival

Challenging, entertaining and always trying to change the world for the better, SICK! Festival makes just the kind of art we like.

Trojan Horse at The Lowry
Theatre 8–12 October 2019, from £12.00

Trojan Horse at The Lowry

This vital verbatim show, by LUNG, uses real-life testimonies to examine the damage caused to Birmingham communities following the 2014 government inquiry.

The Nature of Why at The Lowry
Dance 21 September 2019, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm, from £5.00

The Nature of Why at The Lowry

In a blend of dance and live music, this performance features a cinematic live-score, four extraordinary dancers and an ensemble of musicians from the British Paraorchestra.

Theatre 25–26 September 2019, FREE

The Director at The Lowry

Balancing macabre reality, high-energy and the tragic elements of death, The Director explores end-of-life and the death industry.

Under Three Moons at The Lowry
Theatre 24–28 September 2019, from £10.00

Under Three Moons at The Lowry

The brilliant Manchester-based theatre company, Box of Tricks will open their new show in Salford before embarking on a full tour of the north.

Exhibitions 16 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

A-Z of Salford’s Collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.

Exhibitions 4 July–3 November 2019, FREE

Everything I Have Is Yours at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Everything I Have Is Yours at Salford Museum and Art Gallery is a major new moving image and sound artwork exploring the first decade of the UK charts.

Jazz at the Deli llama
Music 16 May–17 October 2019, FREE

Jazz at the Deli llama

Every Thursday join some of Manchester’s freshest players, for Jazz at the Deli Llama, a cosy deli on a corner in Salford that comes alive with vibes.

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Shelagh Delaney’s British classic is an exhilarating depiction of working-class life in post-war Salford.

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.

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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…