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

Jonathan Baldock Facecrime
Exhibitions Until 1 November 2020, FREE

Jonathan Baldock: Facecrime at Bluecoat in Liverpool

Inspired by ancient forms of written communication, encounter Jonathan Baldock’s towering ceramic sculptures that stand whispering among themselves in Bluecoat’s main gallery.

Gold Maria Akanbi at OUTPUT in Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 27 September 2020, FREE

Gold Maria Akanbi at OUTPUT in Liverpool

LAST CHANCE. OUPUT presents a solo exhibition of work by Gold Maria Akanbi – an artist whose practice is shaped by her interest in Afro-futurism and her perception of reality as a neurodiverse person, among other things.

Mikhail Karikis: Ferocious Love at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 22 November 2020, FREE

Mikhail Karikis: Ferocious Love at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool reopens this July with a new immersive installation by Mikhail Karikis imagining the possible future of our planet.

Liverpool Biennial 2020
Exhibitions 20 March–6 June 2021, FREE

Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port

Liverpool Biennial has been rescheduled for 2021 – better late than never we say! We cannot wait to see what they have planned.

Literature Until 29 October 2020,

Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Thursday 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 in a safe and socially distanced way.

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 1 November 2020, FREE

Frances Disley: Pattern Buffer at Bluecoat

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

And Say the Animal Responded? at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 13 December 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.

The Time We Call Our Own at Open Eye Gallery
Exhibitions Until 23 October 2020, FREE

The Time We Call Our Own at Open Eye Gallery

The Time We Call Our Own at Open Eye Gallery foregrounds nightlife and the visual culture surrounding it as a rich site for exploration.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

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