Correlative microscopy is the application of two or more distinct microscopy techniques to the same region of a sample, generating complementary morphological, structural and chemical information that exceeds what is possible with any single technique. As a variety of complementary microscopy approaches rather than a specific type of instrument, correlative microscopy has blossomed in recent years as researchers have recognised that it is particularly suited to address the intricate questions of the modern biological sciences. Specialised technical developments in sample preparation, imaging methods, visualisation and data analysis have also accelerated the uptake of correlative approaches. In light of these advances, this critical review takes the reader on a journey through recent developments in, and applications of, correlative microscopy, examining its impact in biomedical research and in the field of plant science. This twin emphasis gives a unique perspective into use of correlative microscopy in fields that often advance independently, and highlights the lessons that can be learned from both fields for the future of this important area of research.