southport guide
Photo by Ronald Saunders from flickr


Creative Tourist

Southport is a large seaside town in the county of Merseyside, which also takes in Formby, West Kirby and Liverpool. Formerly known for genteel ladies of a certain age and crust-less afternoon teas, Southport is subtly and gradually changing from crumbling grandeur and kitsch amusements to an attractive town with a focus on the arts. Take The Atkinson: this determinedly innovative, Grade II-listed arts centre offers a theatre, galleries, museum, deli and an artisan bakery.

There’s also the Waterfront Arts project and excellent architecture, including the wonderful, cathedral-like fernery at the Botanic Gardens and the Belle Epoque colonnades of Lord Street. Legend has it that the graceful boulevards of central Paris were modelled on Southport, after Napoleon spent two years in exile here. Southport does, of course, boast “Britain’s longest overland pier”, a listed structure with its own tramline to carry visitors over a mile between Southport promenade and the pier head.

There’s also Southport Market, a number of good places to eat (if you know where to look) and the Southport Model Railway Village – a pretty unique experience, and yours for only £4.50 entry. Finally, let’s not forget the British Lawnmower Museum, a short walk from the town and everything a specialist museum should be: earnest, interesting and incredibly eccentric.

Discover our top picks

Liverpool Biennial 2020
Exhibitions 11 July–25 October 2020, FREE

Liverpool Biennial 2020 – The Stomach and the Port

Liverpool Biennial has just announced the list of more than 50 international artists that will be taking part in its 2020 edition.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 4 May 2020, from £8.5

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool

Marking his UK debut, Theaster Gates responds to the little-known history of Malaga – a small island off the north east state of Maine, USA.

Literature 26 May 2020 11:00 am, FREE

Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Tuesday morning you’re invited to join the Poetry Walk with The Reader in Calderstones Park. Get into the great outdoors and escape the everyday, while exploring poetry and making the most of the beautiful surroundings.

Activity Until 1 December 2020, from £75

Liverpool Beatles Walk and Ticket to Ride Tour

Immerse yourself in the world of John, Paul, George and Ringo as you walk in their footsteps through The Beatles’ home city in this six-hour extravaganza of a walking tour.

Two hour Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club
Activity Until 1 December 2020, from £20

Two hour Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club

This Beatles Guided Walk & Cavern Club is the perfect way to learn more about The Beatles while discovering the city of Liverpool.

Frances Disley 'Pattern Buffer' at Bluecoat
Exhibitions Until 21 June 2020, FREE

Frances Disley: Pattern Buffer at Bluecoat

Bluecoat prepares to present a new solo show by Frances Disley.

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat
Exhibitions Until 21 June 2020, FREE

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat

Bluecoat in Liverpool presents artist Jonathan Baldock’s first solo exhibition, Facecrime. 

Mindfulness session
Families 8 April 2020 11:00 am, from £3.00

Pattern Buffer Children’s Mindfulness Session at Bluecoat

Be present in the moment and explore the practise of being mindful as a family. 

And Say the Animal Responded? at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 14 June 2020, FREE

And Say the Animal Responded? at FACT, Liverpool

And Say the Animal Responded? at FACT provides a fascinating window into the lives of the other animals that form part of Earth’s total population.

Education 25 April 2020 11:00 am, FREE

Dino Ranger Day at World Museum Liverpool

Live out your long lost palaeontologist dream by being a Dino Ranger for the day! Surely the best thing about having kids is getting to attend events like this?! 

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Liverpool District Guides

Lark Lane, Liverpool

A little way out of Liverpool City Centre, and a short and leafy walk from…

William Brown Street, Liverpool

As city centre districts go, this one is relatively small: a cluster of buildings along…

The ship in Liverpool Sound City

Waterfront, Liverpool

The waterfront, which takes in the Albert Dock and the Pier Head, is an integral…

Ropewalks and Chinatown, Liverpool

The Ropewalks is a part of Liverpool that combines old and new. Once crowded with…

Hope Street, Liverpool

One of Liverpool’s most graceful quarters can be found along Hope Street. Named after the…

City Centre, Liverpool

Here’s the thing. Liverpool dates back to the 13th century but, in the city centre,…

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.