When Tall Boy and I were invited to check out two of Salford’s tourist attractions I realised that I have never spent any leisure time in the City. Yes, it neighbours Manchester, but it hadn’t really crossed my mind to head out that way. And let’s clarify this from the get-go, I am generally happy to go anywhere in Greater Manchester, it’s so easily accessible from the M60.
Like most museums and attractions, both venues had put on a series of summer events to keep the little ones occupied. They have also just launched a “Let’s Explore” trail for children to discover fascinating facts as they hunt round the museums and explore the galleries.
At just two (how did that happen?), Tall Boy is still a little young to get anything out of a museum treasure hunt but we were able to explore all that both venues had to offer.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery
First stop was Salford Museum and Art Gallery. The museum’s main attraction, and the most interesting part for children, is the Victorian Street, which is currently being staged as a wartime street to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The cobbled street is home to several houses and businesses so you can poke your nose in to the “smithy”, the chemist, the music shop and even a toy shop. As you would expect, it’s mostly looking through windows, but kids can get dressed up in Victorian dress, which would help bring the street to life.
Tall Boy could only be persuaded to try on a few hats, but he loved running up and down the street and, at the time of our visit there was a table set up with traditional toys that he could play with. A push along toy and the zoetrope proved to be his favourites.
We enjoyed lunch in the museum cafe. It offers a range of simple, but tasty food, such as soup, panini and jacket potatoes, which made it easy to find something for Tall Boy to eat.
Next, we wandered round the upstairs galleries. They are accessible by lift with a pram but there are several heavy doors between each one, which were a little tricky to negotiate, especially with Tall Boy on foot and me trying to manage the pram and him at the same time.
There was a little desk in one gallery full of hats, cushions and pencils, so we spent some time trying on more hats and making piles of cushions on the floor. Luckily it was quiet so we weren’t disturbing anyone.
Tall Boy also liked looking at the paintings, pointing out lions and various other images while I tried to keep his hands off them.
Next stop was Ordsall Hall, which is an historic house and former stately home. The oldest surviving parts of the house were built in the 15th century.
I love poking round old buildings and Tall Boy seemed excited to explore as well.
Inside the house there were plenty of things for Tall Boy to do. He was able to play with pretend food at a banquet whilst drinking from tankards, he did some colouring, there was a dressing up box, but I think he was hatted out by that point.
Then upstairs he could climb in to the four poster bed, take a bath, and play a selection of musical instruments.
Outside he loved the privet hedges and spent some time watching the gardener prune them. He enjoyed running across the bridges between the gardens, climbing on the wooden swans, and watering the vegetable garden. We were only pretend watering with some little red watering cans he discovered, but the gardener did offer to get us some water, and if it hadn’t been nap time, we’d have taken him up on the offer.
For a young child, Ordsall Hall offers more to do than the museum. Little ones really don’t need much to entertain them and the Hall offered plenty of space to run about. The things that were available to explore with little hands successfully captured Tall Boy’s interest.
A few final thoughts
Both venues together make a fun day out as it only takes a few minutes to drive between them.
Parking at each venue is £2.50 for up to 3 hours.
I’d recommend visiting the museum at lunchtime as it offers a wider selection of food than the cafe at Ordsall Hall, which focuses more on drinks and snacks. Our decision to visit the museum first and then the hall was, in my view, the best way to take in, and get the most out of both locations.
Have you visited any tourist attractions in Salford? If so, let me know in the comment where you went and whether you’d recommend them.
I received a complementary visit to each location, inducing lunch and drinks in exchange for a review. Views are, as always, my own.