southport guide
Photo by Ronald Saunders from flickr

Southport

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

Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 14 June–10 November 2019, FREE

Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents a new commission by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based artist Sol Calero, whose brightly coloured, large-scale immersive installations offer a sharply satirical critique of the surreal set of stereotypes and clichés attached to different cultures.

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.

Exhibitions 6 June–25 September 2019, FREE

LOOK Photo Biennial — Chapter One: Transplant

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 – a major programme of photography-based exhibitions taking place across Liverpool, the Wirral and Shanghai – opens this June.

Little Miss Sunshine at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 24–28 September 2019, from £10.00

Little Miss Sunshine at Liverpool Playhouse

Thirteen years after its cinematic release, the cult classic returns in a musical adaptation by a Tony-Award winning team.

Tabby McTat at Liverpool Everyman
Families 10–12 October 2019, from £13.00

Tabby McTat at Liverpool Everyman

Help Tabby search for his long lost friend in this heart-warming musical tale based on the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 11–16 November 2019, from £10.00

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at Liverpool Playhouse

Adapted by award-winning writer, Rona Munro, this is the 1818 seminal gothic horror novel as you’ve never seen it before.

Amélie The Musical at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 14–19 October 2019, from £10.00

Amélie The Musical at Liverpool Playhouse

Enchanting, witty and gorgeous, boasting huge public and critical acclaim, the story of Amélie translates beautifully for the stage.

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 present one of the blockbuster exhibitions 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.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman
Families 23 November 2019–18 January 2020, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman

Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to see Liverpool’s jukebox-sensational Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, would it?

Cinema 11 August–1 September 2019, from £8

EMPIRE 30 at FACT, Liverpool

Picturehouse Cinema is teaming up with the UK’s best-selling film magazine for a joint 30th-anniversary celebration.

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