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

Words Weekend at The Lowry Author Emma Jane Unsworth.
Literature 27–29 March 2020, from £10

Words Weekend at The Lowry

This new festival celebrates the power of words and stories; championing diversity, social inclusion, and the North’s rich literary and musical history.

Literature 28 March 2020 6:30 pm, from £7.5

Emma Jane Unsworth at The Lowry

To mark the release of her third novel, Adults, Emma Jane Unsworth invites you to join in a frank discussion about how to be adults in today’s society.

Author Okechukwu Nzelu.
Literature 29 March 2020 6:00 pm, FREE

Okechukwu Nzelu at The Lowry

Join Mancunian writer and teacher Okechukwu Nzelu as he discusses his acclaimed debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney.

Literature 29 March 2020 1:30 pm, from £5

Louise Hare and Beth Morrey at The Lowry

A must for aspiring authors, hear Louise Hare and Beth Morrey discuss their novels and the journey that brought them to the point of publication.

Literature 29 March 2020 6:00 pm, from £15

A Celebration of Shelagh Delaney with Selina Todd at The Lowry

Join historian and academic Selina Todd as she discusses her book Tastes Of Honey – The Making of Shelagh Delaney and a Cultural Revolution.

Literature 27 March 2020 7:30 pm, from £5

Gerry Potter and Friends at The Lowry

Join Manchester and Liverpool’s favourite son Gerry Potter alongside his friends Chanje Kunda and Dave Viney for an outspoken evening of performance poetry.

Literature 28 March 2020 1:30 pm, from £10

On Dystopia at The Lowry

Sophie Mackintosh, Jane Rogers and Francine Toon have written several highly acclaimed novels – at this event, they will discuss dystopian fiction.

Literature 29 March 2020 5:00 pm, FREE

Joseph Knox in conversation with Jake Kerridge at The Lowry

Waterstones crime fiction buyer turned crime fiction author discusses his work and why Manchester is the perfect backdrop to his books.

Literature 29 March 2020 5:00 pm, FREE

Nikesh Shukla at The Lowry

Join writer Nikesh Shukla for an intimate autobiographical performance in his new show Salt In The Sugar Jar, as part of Words Weekend.

Social 27 March 2020 8:00 pm, from £5

Kerry Daynes: The Dark Side of the Mind at The Lowry

Kerry Daynes’s frank and blackly funny memoir The Dark Side of the Mind is an unforgettable journey into the life of a forensic psychologist.

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The front of Didsbury restaurant Volta.

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