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

lived-in rooms
Exhibitions 22 November–1 December 2019, FREE

Lived-In Rooms at Tenancy house

Quarantine presents ‘Lived-In rooms’, an exhibition of the seminal June Street portraits of Salford residents by photographers Daniel Meadows & Martin Parr.

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.

He was a wild one at New Adelphi, University of Salford
Exhibitions 16 September–20 December 2019, FREE

He was a wild one at New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery

‘He was a wild one’ draws together British music photography from the 1950s and 1960s, from the Open Eye Gallery archive and University of Salford Art Collection.

Cinema Paradiso: Shorts Programme at Paradise Works
Cinema 28 November 2019, 6:30 pm, FREE

Cinema Paradiso: Shorts Programme at Paradise Works

Cinema Paradiso returns to Paradise Works to launch HOME’s Artist Film Weekender 2019.

‘Out of Place’, a solo exhibition by Sam Porritt at Paradise Works
Exhibitions 7–23 November 2019, FREE

Sam Porritt: Out of Place at Paradise Works

Artist Sam Porritt presents a dynamic new installation informed by contemporary concerns of displacement, surplus and need.

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…

Things to do right now

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The Shadow at HOME
Dance 22–23 November 2019, from £12.00

The Shadow at HOME

lived-in rooms
Exhibitions 22 November–1 December 2019, FREE

Lived-In Rooms at Tenancy house

Eat The City - Scranchester Tours
Food and Drink 27 October 2019–19 November 2022, from £50

Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Family things to do. An art installation at Lightopia.
Families 21 November–31 December 2019, from £11

Lightopia at Heaton Park

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

HOME
Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

Hallé
Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

Manchester Christmas Markets 2020
Families 8 November–21 December 2019, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Cinema 22–28 November 2019, from £7.50

Marriage Story at HOME

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season