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

Theatre 24–25 February 2017, from £5.00

Dance: Sampled at The Lowry

Dance: Sampled is a weekend of amazing acrobatics, sensual strutting and challenging ballet, with taster sessions from the world’s top contemporary dance companies – not to mention a packed programme of workshops and pop-up performances.

Theatre 8–25 March 2017,

SICK! Festival

SICK! Festival makes just the kind of art we like: challenging, entertaining and always aimed at changing the world for the better.

Exhibitions 27 May 2017, FREE

Quays Culture Summer Festival event – Russell Maliphant at The Quays

Quays Culture team up with UK contemporary dance leaders Russell Maliphant Company to reimagine his latest work for the outdoors. With visual design by artists Squid Soup, Salford Quays will be transformed for one night only.

22–23 March 2017, from £12.00

Berlin: Zvizdal

Chernobyl, April 26th 1986.
Due to the failure of a nuclear test and the explosion of a reactor, the life of the people living in and around Pripyat took a drastic turn.

Theatre 18 March 2017, from £12.00

Koen De Preter & Theater Stap: To Belong

We all want to belong – whether to a team, band or a relationship – but what does belonging really mean? A group of performers from Belgian troupe Theater Stap are about to find out.

Exhibitions 29 October 2016–26 February 2017, FREE

Perpetual Movement at The Lowry

A candle infused with 23 unique scents from space – including ‘burnt gunpowder’ for the moon and an ‘old penny’ for Mars – will be burnt at the finale of this major new exhibition at The Lowry. Part of a nationwide programme marking the Rambert dance company’s 90th anniversary, Perpetual Movement brings together work by international artists with objects, footage and costumes from the Rambert archives.

Exhibitions 7 December 2016–24 February 2017, FREE

Not for Navigation at The International 3

This solo exhibition by Hondartza Fraga takes its title from inscriptions found on illustrative rather than functional maps, bringing together works that demonstrate the artist’s exploration of our relationship to landscape.

Theatre 9 March 2017, from £10.00

Liz Aggiss: Slap and Tickle at The Lowry

Slap and Tickle is a dark and ribald physical commentary on cultural mores, forays and sexual taboos.

A billboard and people sitting on the pavement
Music 30 April–1 May 2017, from £23 adv.

Sounds From the Other City 2017

Salford’s Sounds from the Other City festival showcases the best of new and avant-garde music, arts and performance.

Exhibitions 12 May 2017,

Red Cities: A Boundary-Crossing Walk and Pub Quiz

Join us as we walk from central Manchester to the heart of Salford, passing landmarks of the two cities’ radical past and ending with supper and a radical Pub Quiz.

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