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

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?

Peer to Peer at Open Eye Gallery & St. George's Hall, Liverpool
Exhibitions 17 October–22 December 2019, FREE

Peer to Peer at Open Eye Gallery & St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

Featuring 14 artists deemed on the verge of major international recognition, Peer to Peer at Open Eye provides a snapshot of the state of art in the UK and China today.

Miracle on 34th Street at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 7 December 2019–4 January 2020, from £10.00

Miracle on 34th Street at Liverpool Playhouse

Featuring timeless festive songs like It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street is set to get the whole family into the festive swing of things.

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.

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season
Theatre 24 September 2019–18 January 2020,

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season

A busy and brilliant season, expect award-winning musicals, stage adaptations of revered literary classics and celebrated cult films, alongside high-quality family shows. There is plenty to enjoy in Liverpool’s theatres this autumn.

Music 12–14 December 2019, from £12

Stealing Sheep at Kazimier Stockroom

A triumphant final call on their extensive nationwide tour, Stealing Sheep’s tryptic of homecoming shows in Liverpool will be something special.

Alexis Teplin: It’s My Pleasure to Participate – exhibition at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 26 October 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

Alexis Teplin: It’s My Pleasure to Participate at Bluecoat

Encompassing performance, film, sculpture and installation, Alexis Teplin’s expanded painting practice bursts with a seductive theatricality. See her work on show at Bluecoat.

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–16 March 2020, FREE

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool

Drenched in the rich beauty of the Guatemalan rainforest, Tate Liverpool presents the first UK solo exhibition of work by the Swiss-Argentinian artist, Vivian Suter.

Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 December 2019–4 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.

Elizabeth Kwant: Am I not a woman and a sister at Merseyside Maritime Museum & International Slavery Museum, Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 November 2019–15 February 2020, FREE

Elizabeth Kwant: Am I not a woman and a sister at Merseyside Maritime Museum & International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ is a new moving image installation by Manchester-based artist Elizabeth Kwant, co-created with female survivors of modern-day slavery.

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