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

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

To mark its 250th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London has launched a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, tours, talks and one-off events. Here we take a look at what’s going on in Salford – home of RA LS Lowry and now a growing independent art scene.

Families 6 February–31 December 2018, FREE

Lark Hill Place 1918 at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Investigate the brand new 1918 setting for atmospheric street installation Lark Hill Place, then let loose in Peel Park.

RA Takeover Groundbreakers at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Exhibitions 28 November 2018, from £4.5

Danny Morrell: RA Takeover Groundbreakers at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

For RA Takeover Groundbreakers at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, art historian Danny Morrell focuses on some of the groundbreaking artists featured in the Royal Academy Takeover exhibition.

Danny Morrell focuses on some of the groundbreaking artists featured in the Royal Academy Takeover exhibition.

Supported by the Friends of Salford Museums Association.

Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Exhibitions 11 February 2019, from £8

Wonders and Horrors of the Royal Academy Collection at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Join Head of Collections at the Royal Academy, Maurice Davis, for a fascinating look at some of the most remarkable items included in the world-renowned institution’s vast collection. Presented at Salford Museum & Art Gallery.

William Roberts RA, Combat, 1966. Image courtesy of Art UK
Exhibitions 30 June 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

The Royal Academy Takeover: The Exhibition

Salford Museum & Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall delve into their collections to present a two-part exhibition featuring significant prints, drawings and sculptures by former Royal Academicians as part of a nationwide programme marking the institution’s 250th birthday.

Screen Printed Silk Scarf / Full Day Workshop at Salford Makers
Activity 24 November 2018, from £70

Screen Printed Silk Scarf / Full Day Workshop at Salford Makers

You will be guided through experimental and expressive design approaches to design and print your own, one of kind large silk scarf.

Print Your Own Tshirt / Half Day Workshop at Salford Makers
Activity 17 November 2018, from £35

Print Your Own Tshirt / Half Day Workshop at Salford Makers

Using silk screens, water-based inks and hand-cut stencils, you will have the opportunity draw and screen print your own designs to create your own bespoke t-shirt.

Activity 3 November 2018, from £60

Perspex Jewellery / Full Day Workshop at Salford Makers

Learn the basics of manipulating perspex to make your own amazing art jewellery.

Emma Talbot - 21st Century Sleepwalk at Caustic Coastal
Exhibitions 25 October–1 December 2018, FREE

Emma Talbot: 21st Century Sleepwalk at Caustic Coastal

21st Century Sleepwalk is a large-scale installation of new work by artist Emma Talbot, which will be presented across all three exhibition spaces and the exterior of Caustic Coastal in Salford.

Manchester District Guides

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

This left-leaning suburb a few miles south of Manchester’s city centre (and only ten minutes…

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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Death of a Salesman at Royal Exchange
Theatre 11 October–17 November 2018, from £10.00

Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange

Contact at STUN Studio, Z-Arts
Theatre 16–27 October 2018, from £6.00

CONTACT at STUN Studio, Z-Arts

The Royal Exchange Autumn Winter SeasonThe Royal Exchange Autumn Winter Season
Theatre 21 September 2018–12 January 2019,

The Royal Exchange Autumn / Winter Season

Music 11 October 2018–22 May 2019,

The Hallé 2018-19 Season

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

Families 5 May–28 October 2018, from £Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Journeys of the Imagination at Quarry Bank

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival
Festivals 15–22 October 2018, from £3.00

Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum - Distortions in Spacetime by Marshmallow Laser Feast
25 September 2018–28 April 2019, FREE

Autumn at the Science and Industry Museum