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

Activity 10–11 September 2022, FREE

We Invented The Weekend

Expect everything from community feasts, vintage markets, water sports, live music and performance, right across MediaCity and Salford Quays this September. A new free festival for everyone.

Rambert - Dance
Dance 25–27 May 2022, from £15.00

Rambert – Dance at The Lowry

Always forward-thinking, entertaining and provocative, the ever-brilliant Rambert invite audiences to change their perception of the world. And we’ve got a special ticket offer for Creative Tourist readers too.

Bridgewater Lates at RHS Garden Bridgewater
Activity 9–30 June 2022, from £6.50

Bridgewater Lates at RHS Garden Bridgewater

This June, head to RHS Garden Bridgewater for a weekly series of entertaining and thought-provoking after-hours talks, discussions and workshops.

Everything I Didn't Say at The Lowry
Theatre 27 May 2022 8:00 pm, from £10.00

Everything I Didn’t Say at The Lowry

Written and performed by Hannah Moss, Everything I Didn’t Say is a one-woman show exploring non-violent domestic abuse and coercive control.

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at The Lowry
Music 6–11 June 2022, from £30.00

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at The Lowry

Upbeat and inspirational, this production is set to delight Salford audiences with its big heart, sparkle and spirit.

Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers
Families 29 May 2022 11:00 am, from £7.00

Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers at The Lowry

Head to The Lowry from Sunday 26 May to Wednesday 1 June to experience Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers; a family show inspired by the extraordinary works of much-loved author, Roald Dahl.

Zog and the flying doctors at the lowry
Families 28 May 2022 4:00 pm, from £17.00

Zog and The Flying Doctors at The Lowry

Are you ready for a roar-some adventure with your favourite dragon? On 28 and 29 May, families of the North are invited to experience the heart-warming journey of Zog and The Flying Doctors at The Lowry.

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry
Dance 22–26 November 2022, from £17.00

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at The Lowry

Celebrating 10 years since it first premiered at Sadlers Wells, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty reawakes in 2022.

Families 19 June 2022 10:30 am, from £19.50

Fireman Sam at The Lowry

On Sunday 19 June join Fireman Sam at The Lowry, for an all-singing, all-dancing, fun-filled live show for families and people of all ages to enjoy.

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