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 6–9 October 2022, from £5.00

Paines Plough Roundabout at Prince’s Park

Bringing the magic of live performance to Salford, there are four brand-new works playing at the Paines Plough Roundabout this autumn.

The Color Purple at The Lowry
Music 11–15 October 2022, from £15.00

The Color Purple at The Lowry

With a soulful musical score and a jaw-droppingly talented cast, this moving musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning novel should definitely be on your radar.

Red Squirrel at Lightwaves
Festivals 2–11 December 2022, FREE

Lightwaves at Salford Quays

An unmissable ten days of luminary adventures. Interact with boundary-breaking new commissions, create your own digital masterpieces and take a selfie with a Dalek. Yep, really.

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.

A still from the animation 'Hole' by Rachel Goodyear, depicting two hand-drawn female figures wearing pink dresses on a black background.
Exhibitions Until 26 February 2023, FREE

Rachel Goodyear: Stirrings at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents a ‘homecoming’ exhibition – the first major solo show in the North by the Salford-based, internationally renowned artist Rachel Goodyear.

Nick Sharratt's Halloween Drawalong
30 October 2022 2:00 pm, from £16.00

Nick Sharratt’s Halloween Drawalong at The Lowry

This Halloween, children and their grownups are invited to sketch spooky characters with Nick Sharratt at The Lowry.

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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