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.

Music 5 May 2019, from £27.75

Sounds From The Other City 2019

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

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.

Activity 8 January–15 April 2019, FREE

Gallery Interpreter Tour at The Lowry

Join one of The Lowry’s gallery interpreters as they walk you through the collection in more detail, highlighting new works as they are added.

Introduction to Gel Plate Printing with Natural Form / Half Day Workshop
Activity 27 April 2019, from £40

Gel Plate Printing Introduction at Salford Makers

Step into the crafty haven of Salford Makers and learn the basic techniques of gel plate printing to create prints onto fabric, paper and card stock.

Activity 9 April 2019, from £35

Marble Printing / Evening Workshop

Design and print your own marbled textures in this evening workshop at Salford Makers.

Print Your Own Tshirt / Half Day Workshop
Activity 6 April 2019, from £40

Print Your Own T-shirt Workshop at Salford Makers

Create your own bespoke T-shirt or tote bag using lofi screen printing methods with a helping hand from Salford Makers.

Screen Printed Wooden Jewellery / Full Day Workshop
Activity 9 March 2019, from £80

Screen Printed Wooden Jewellery Workshop at Salford Makers

Learn to basic jewellery techniques, screen printing, plywood laser cutting and macramé all in one workshop! With this screen printed jewellery workshop from Salford Makers.

Nwando Ebizie: Distorted Constellations at Caustic Coastal
Exhibitions 17–26 January 2019, FREE

Nwando Ebizie: Distorted Constellations at Caustic Coastal

Distorted Constellations at Caustic Coastal is an immersive sensory environment inspired by artist Nwando Ebizie’s interpretation of the rare neurological disorder ‘Visual Snow’ and her own neuro-divergency.

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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PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

Music 8 January–10 April 2019, from £5

RNCM Spring Season

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange

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

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry
Exhibitions 10 November 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry

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