If you’re anything like me, you struggle to find activities to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays. And any ideas my children have cost an absolute fortune. So how about a free day out in the North West? An exciting, fun-filled, educational free day out! Well, look no further than these two wonderful attractions – Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery is only a mile away from Ordsall Hall. You can enjoy the two sites on the same day, as we did. Both attractions are free to enter, however, donations are very greatly received.
Salford Museum and Art Gallery
I have lived in the Oldham/Manchester area all of my life. And to my shame, I had not visited Salford Museum and Art Gallery until last week. How this wonderful place has eluded my list of things to do with the kids, I will never know!
The Museum is comprised of a number of different galleries each housing there own exhibitions. And when I say there is something for everyone here, there really is! Each gallery contained a totally unique exhibition.
The A to Z of Salford’s Collections was a fascinating exhibition which my daughter Aurelia and I loved exploring. Some great curiosities were on display as well as some interesting facts.
Not only was Aurelia captivated by all the objects, but she also took part in some of the children’s activities on offer.
For instance, she selected a card which gave her a series of clues. These clues led Aurelia to Quen Victoria’s stockings which were on display!
Whilst following the alphabet, I happened to find some rather unusual, old dolls. To my delight, I spotted a Henry VIII doll standing beside his father, Henry VII! These little figurines are amazing.
Next, we ventured into The Superlative Artistry of Japan exhibition. This collection showcased Japanese inspired art. Some of these pieces on display were created by students from the University of Salford. You can only really appreciate the sheer amount of work that has gone into each piece when viewed up close.
The Museum’s collections change regularly so there’s always something new to see here.
I could have spent days in the Victorian Gallery! This permanent exhibition houses a selection of incredibly fine artworks.
The gallery intends to replicate a Victorian art gallery. These were filled with paintings and sculptures.
The Museum has certainly done a remarkable job in this reconstruction. It truly feels as though you have stepped back in time and are viewing all these Victorian and pre-Victorian masterpieces through the historic lens of a bygone era. The gallery feels so different from contemporary white, clinical art galleries.
Lark Hill Place
I visit museums and galleries often, yet I have never seen an exhibition quite like Lark Hill Place.
If the museum’s aim was to transport you back in time 150 years, they have most certainly achieved their aim. I think this is the closest we will get to time travel! A reconstruction of a Victorian Street is most excellently done! Lark Hill Place enables visitors to experience a snippet of Victorian life. Peering through the shop windows gives you a glimpse of what products were on offer in the Victorian era.
Aurelia could have spent hours weighing all the goods outside the grocers.
You get a sense of a Victorian tavern as you look through the windows of the Blue Lion. And we’re reminded just how much times have changed!
Part of this remarkable display includes a blacksmith’s workshop.
Parked on the cobbled street, carriages add to the atmosphere.
The low lighting replicates the dark and gloomy streets of Salford, a result of smoke coming from the chimneys of the local mills. Lark Hill Place is so authentic, it was easy to imagine the street coming to life!
During the school holidays, Salford Museum and Art Gallery hold a number of children’s events. Aurelia took part in leaf printing.
Sticking paper and cardboard leaves to her sheet of paper, Aurelia used her imagination to create leaf animals. Not one to go for the traditional and easier animals to create, such as owls and foxes, Aurelia instead opted to create a penguin! Along with his polar bear friend.
This was a great activity which Aurelia absolutely loved! All the materials were provided and she could create something messy after which I didn’t have to clean up at home!
Check the website for forthcoming events.
Throughout the building, located within the various exhibitions and galleries, there were plenty of activities for children.
We found lots of little activities to keep Aurelia occupied and interested. And lots of opportunities to dress up!
We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the cafe. There was a good selection of food and drinks and the prices were extremely reasonable.
I can certainly recommend the cheese and ham toasties!
Also (importantly) Salford Museum and Art Gallery had an excellent children’s menu. Aurelia said her sandwiches and snacks were delicious!
The little gift shop was well stocked with lots of lovely gifts and reasonably priced toys!
Why I Recommend Salford Museum and Art Gallery
There are so many things to see and do at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, and importantly, so many activities and exhibitions to keep the children entertained and engaged. All the family will leave this attraction having learnt something and, more importantly, have had a fun time. There are various events and activities held throughout the year. We will certainly be keeping an eye on these as we plan our return visit.
On a practical note, the Museum is ideally located, next to Salford University so it has great transport links. If you’re arriving by car, there is also a carpark on the grounds too. This is great for any disabled visitors who can park in the disabled bays close to the doors.
After spending a fantastic morning at the Museum, we spent the afternoon at Ordsall Hall, for part 2 of our free day out in Salford. You can read about the rest of our day here.
* This is a collaborative post, however, as always, all opinions are my own.