Image courtesy of Visit Britain Liverpool Playhouse / Brian Roberts

City Centre, Liverpool

Creative Tourist

Here’s the thing. Liverpool dates back to the 13th century but, in the city centre, you’ll struggle to find anything much older than 200 years. The creative hub that is the Bluecoat, a former school dating back to 1716, is one exception. Alongside an excellent gallery, café and courtyard garden, the complex boasts independent craft shops and the rated Bluecoat Display Centre. Another architectural OAP is the Town Hall, which dates to 1754 and stands at the centre of the seven streets that made up medieval Liverpool. Keep an eye out for the other beautiful structures in the area, including the Grade I listed Bank of England building, The Royal Insurance Building and the immense glass panes of Oriel Chambers.

Aside from architecture, the main attractions here are eating, shopping and theatre. Our top picks include Delifonseca, which boasts good food, fine wines and locally-brewed beer, the hard-to-find Jenny’s Bar, hidden beneath what appears to be a fish restaurant, and the Liverpool Playhouse, sister to the Everyman theatre on Hope Street.

Discover our top picks

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool prepares to present its blockbuster exhibition of 2019, dedicated to the life and work of the Glaswegian artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – father of the UK’s part in the international Art Nouveau movement.

Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions 29 March–16 June 2019, FREE

Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT

A duo-exhibition of work by the eminent American filmmaker Ericka Beckman and rising London-based video artist Marianna Simnett marks a strong start to FACT’s year-long season focusing on identity, representation and gender.

Capturing Chambré Hardman – Developing History at the Hardmans' House, Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 March–26 October 2019, FREE

Developing History at the Hardmans’ House

As one of Liverpool’s lesser known gems prepares to reopen its doors for 2019, we look forward to encountering a rare series of photographs only recently discovered by chance in the cluttered darkroom of the Hardmans’ former, perfectly-preserved home.

John Beck and Matthew Cornford: The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 17 November 2018–31 March 2019, FREE

The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat

There were over 150 art schools in England in the mid-1960s; now most of them are closed or absorbed into other institutions. Bluecoat’s new exhibition, ‘Art Schools of North West England’, asks: What did it mean to have an art school in every town and what can we learn by discovering their fate?

Instituting Care: Jade Montserrat at Bluecoat, Liverpool
Exhibitions 17 November 2018–31 March 2019, FREE

Instituting Care: Jade Montserrat at Bluecoat

Bluecoat in Liverpool presents a solo exhibition by Scarborough-based artist Jade Montserrat, who will transform the gallery walls with huge charcoal wall drawings comprised of quotations and responses to key texts on decolonisation and decolonising knowledge.

Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson: Studio Me at Bluecoat, Liverpool
Exhibitions 17 November 2018–31 March 2019, FREE

Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson: Studio Me at Bluecoat

Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson, who have developed their practice as members of Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts programme, embark on their first studio residency, ‘Studio Me’, sharing work from their individual practices.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Exhibitions 1 February–6 May 2019, FREE

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at Walker Art Gallery

‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing’ at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool explores the diversity of subjects that inspired the Renaisance master’s creativity across 12 drawings, from botanical and anatomical studies to the design of theatrical costumes, hairstyles and ferry-boat plans. 

Serena Korda: Under the Rose at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 10 March–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: Under the Rose at Speke Hall

Following on from her enchanting installation ‘The Bell Tree’, Serena Korda launches a second sound work, ‘Under the Rose’ at Liverpool’s Speke Hall.

Survey at Bluecoat, Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 April–23 June 2019, FREE

Survey at Bluecoat, Liverpool

Survey at Bluecoat will offer a major study of new work by early career artists from across the UK. The exhibition is the largest review of contemporary art practice in Jerwood Visual Art’s 12 years of programming, spanning a breadth of disciplines including film, performance, and painting.

Grace Ndiritu: The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 6 July–13 October 2019, FREE

Grace Ndiritu: The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation at Bluecoat

Grace Ndiritu’s new exhibition at Bluecoat is based on research created before, during and after her ambitious research/live art project – The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation – which took the form of an experimental scientific and spiritual community formed at Les Laboratories Aubervillers in Paris in 2017.

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