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

Jock McFadyen at the Lowry
Activity Until 27 February 2022,

Jock McFadyen Goes to the Lowry

Scottish artist, Jock McFadyen, displays key work from throughout his life at The Lowry Galleries, home to one of his artistic influences, LS Lowry.

Festivals 29–31 October 2021, from £11

Fat Out Fest 2021

This October welcomes the live return of Fat Out Fest, bringing all the noise, queer energy and mayhem to Salford over Halloween weekend.

You Belong Here: Artists Rediscovering Salford’s Green Spaces at Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 28 November 2021, FREE

You Belong Here: Artists Rediscovering Salford’s Green Spaces at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents an exhibition that highlights the city’s green spaces and the stories that they tell.

Activity Until 30 October 2021, from £16

Canal, Coal and Cake

Canal, Coal and Cake is a walking tour that takes you through the industrial past, present and patisserie of Worsley.

Château Ghoul at The Lowry
Theatre 29–30 October 2021, from £18

Château Ghoul at The Lowry

Looking for laughs this Halloween? Check out this haunted house-style comedy from the multi award-winning duo, LipService Theatre.

Comedy 28 October 2021 7:00 pm, from £10.00

Cultural Comedy Tours featuring Hannah Platt and Foxdog Studios

Cultural Comedy Tours offers entertaining guided tours of galleries, museums and other cultural heritage sites, conducted by professional comedians. Thursday’s tours at Salford Museum and Art Gallery are hosted by Hannah Platt and Foxdog Studios.

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…

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