Monday, 15 April 2019

Our Visit to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall - A Review

On Sunday we were invited along to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, as well as the beautiful Ordsall Hall, so that we could experience two lovely family friendly attractions and have an enjoyable day out together. We have never visited either of these places before, so we were a little unsure as to what to expect, as we set off on the short journey along the motorway. The best thing about both of these attractions is that they are free places to visit (excluding parking/additional activities) and so they are ideal to keep families occupied during the school holidays.

We travelled to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery first, which opens at 11:30am on a Sunday. We thought that it was easy to find and the post code we entered into the sat nav took us straight there with no issues. I did notice that there were also plenty of signs showing the way as we got closer, so we could have also relied on these if we had needed to. 

We arrived shortly before it opened, so parking in the small pay and display car park was no problem, however there are limited spaces, so I would definitely recommend arriving early during peak periods to ensure that you can park. I do believe that there are alternative car parks nearby, though I am unsure of the exact location of these.

On entering the museum, my son decided that he would like to start upstairs first, so we made our way to the galleries. My daughter is a keen artist, so she was looking forward to seeing some modern art, whilst Riley finds really old paintings fascinating and likes to imagine what the people in the portraits were like. It therefore seemed an ideal place to begin and we entered the first hall.


We thought that this was beautifully presented, with a huge selection of art work featured on every wall. There was also a fun activity for children to enjoy, which involved selecting a hat and then trying to find a painting which had the same hat in it. Riley loved this and it really encouraged him to look at the pictures in detail. It would be great if more hats could be added to the collection as I am sure Riley could have spent quite a long time enjoying this activity.

Riley also spotted a large painting behind the Queen Victoria photo opportunity, which he was mesmerised by. He kept looking at it and noticing something different each time, whilst repeatedly calling me over so that he could show me his new discoveries. I had been a little unsure as to whether Riley would enjoy the art gallery initially, but he really loved it and had much more fun that I had expected him too. This gallery was also the perfect setting for an epic game of eye spy and he loved trying to find something really difficult for me to guess.


We then made our way to the next gallery which had a wide range of different art from over the years. My daughter Emma is a very talented artist, so this part of the visit really appealed to her. The art ranged from the beautiful to the peculiar and again Riley enjoyed looking at everything. One thing that I particularly liked about the museum, was that in each area, there would be a hands on activity for children to enjoy, so Riley liked trying these throughout the morning.


The last gallery we visited whilst upstairs was the A-Z exhibit, which featured a great range of items ranging from A to Z. We had fun looking at them all and Riley found some very fun and strange objects whilst we made our way around the room. It was an easy exhibit for children to understand and we really liked the way that everything had been displayed.


After spending a good length of time upstairs, we made our way down to Lark Hill Place, which is a replica Victorian Street. It really is a treat and my children absolutely loved looking through the shop windows and observing all the objects and clothing on display. As you walk up and down the street there is a great range of shops and living rooms all available to view and you could be forgiven for thinking that you had genuinely travelled back in time. 


My son's favourite part however, was getting dressed up in traditional Victorian clothing and visiting the sweet shop, where a lovely lady weighed out some sweets for us. Riley is really inquisitive so he spent some time asking lots of questions and looking at the weights and the choice of sweets available. He chose some white chocolate mice in the end, whilst my daughter selected a mixture of sweets. There is no specific price for the bag of sweets and instead visitors are asked to make a donation instead, which I thought was a lovely idea.


There were also some other hands on activities such as weighing out fruit and vegetables, but on the most part my children just really enjoyed looking around and imagining what life must have been like in the Victorian era. If you are up for a challenge though, then there are also some activity cards at the entrance to Lark Hill Place that give you some tasks to try and they are a great idea to get children interested and involved.

Once we had finished in Lark Hill Place we decided to enjoy some lunch and visit the onsite cafe, which provided some lovely light bite meal options, such as baguettes, sandwiches, toasties and soup. I chose the tuna mayo baguette with a cappuccino which was absolutely delicious. My husband chose the same, but with a slice of Victoria sponge cake too, whilst my children opted for the kids lunch box pack that included a nice variety of items such as a sandwich, biscuit, fruit juice and crisps.


After leaving the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, we made the short journey to Ordsall Hall. Distance wise, this isn't too far away, but due to the one way system in place and the traffic, it took us approximately 10 minutes to get from one site to the other. Initially I thought we were in the wrong place as it looked like we were heading into an industrial estate, but as we continued, I was very surprised to suddenly see the magnificent building and grounds right in the middle.

The car parking was pay and display again, but there were plenty of spaces available so we had no issue with finding a spot to park. It was then just a short walk over to the main entrance, which allowed us to view the exterior of Ordsall Hall on our way.


As we entered the property we were greeted by a lovely lady who asked us whether it was our first time visiting. She then proceeded to show us a map and also advised us on the best route to take and told us a little bit of history about the hall. However, Riley had decided that he wanted to be our tour guide and so the advised route was soon forgotten, as we were taken on a little adventure by our six year old. 

He absolutely loves pretend play, so he was in his element pretending to show us around and tell us some made up history. Fortunately there were plenty of display boards throughout the property so we were able to obtain the correct factual information in between Riley's little talks. It was great to see him enjoying himself and he had the opportunity to get dressed up again whilst in the great hall and enjoy a pretend feast.


We all found the property really interesting and despite it being busy, we were able to make our way around and enjoy the attraction without any issues. We also saw many families taking part in the Easter trail, where you had to search for some Easter bunnies and win a prize at the end, which we thought was a really good idea.

Once we had made our way around Ordsall Hall, we stopped in the small cafe for a drink and snack. My husband and I both enjoyed a caramel shortbread, whilst the kids opted for a muffin and a cookie, along with some cold drinks. Tables are limited indoors, but in the summer months I  would imagine that you could make use of the seating outside and enjoy the lovely surroundings. 


Overall we had a wonderful day out in Salford, especially as we were visiting two attractions that we had never been to, or actually heard of before. Both sites are places that we would definitely visit again in the future and we would most certainly like to return to Ordsall Hall on a warm sunny day with a picnic. I also believe that there are activities held at both venues throughout the year, so it will be great to see what is on offer during the summer holidays. We would recommend a visit to both venues, for a low-cost and interesting family day out.

For further information on the Salford Museum and Art Gallery or Ordsall Hall, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Address - Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Crescent, M5 4WU
Twitter - @SalfordMuseum
Instagram - @salford_museum

Opening days and times vary, so please check the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information prior to visiting.

Ordsall Hall

Address - 322 Ordsall Lane, Salford, M5 3AN
Twitter - @OrdsallHall
Instagram - ordsall_hall

Opening days and times vary, so please check the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information prior to visiting.


*Disclaimer - This is a collaboration post with Salford Leisure. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. 

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