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

Festivals 10–11 September 2021, from £16.75

Positive Vibration, Festival of Reggae

Positive Vibration 2021 will feature performances from a stellar line-up of the world’s most important and vital reggae artists including General Levy, Hollie Cook, Mad Professor, Gentleman’s Dub Club, The Nextmen, Tippa Irie, The Neville Staple Band, Don Letts, General Roots, Levi Tafari and many more.

Professor Brian Cox - Horizons
Education 13 October 2021 7:30 pm, from £43.25

Professor Brian Cox: Horizons

Using state of the art LED screen technology, Horizons will fill the M&S Bank Arena with images of far-away galaxies, alien worlds, supermassive black holes and a time before the Big Bang.
Horizons is a celebration of our civilisation, of our music, art, philosophy and science; an optimistic vision of our future if we continue to explore Nature with humility and to value ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Festivals 1–3 October 2021, from £22

Liverpool Sound City

The first wave of artists to play Sound City 2021 include Rejjie Snow, Red Rum Club, The Snuts, The Lathums, The Mysterines, The Murder Capital, Lanterns On The Lake, Abbie Ozard, Brooke Combe, Hello Delaware, Miss Tati and Isabel Neib.

Literature Until 26 August 2021,

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.

Liverpool Theatre Festival at St Luke's Bombed Out Church
Theatre 1–12 September 2021, from £10.00

Liverpool Theatre Festival at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church

A 12-day theatre festival packed with live outdoor performance featuring musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, monologues, and children’s shows. We’re awaiting the full line-up.

POSTPONED – AI: More than Human at World Museum Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021, from £5

AI: More than Human at World Museum Liverpool

Barbican’s major exhibition, AI: More than Human, comes to Liverpool, offering a tantlising look into the future.

Kiara Mohamed: Soft Boys at FACT in Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 29 August 2021, FREE

Kiara Mohamed: Soft Boys at FACT in Liverpool

Kiara Mohamed’s film Soft Boys explores highlights how conservative perceptions of masculinity still remain, even within the Trans community.

Liverpool Biennial 2021 at FACT
Exhibitions Until 29 August 2021, FREE

Liverpool Biennial 2021 at FACT

Part of Liverpool Biennial 2021, FACT presents new work by Zheng Bo and artist collective Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S).

Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 16 January 2022, from £5

Lucian Freud: Real Lives at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents the first major display of portraits by Lucian Freud in the North West in over 30 years.

The Last Bohemian: Augustus John at Lady Lever Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 30 August 2021, FREE

The Last Bohemian: Augustus John at Lady Lever Art Gallery

The Last Bohemian at Lady Lever Art Gallery explores the life and work of one of the UK’s most iconic and controversial artists – Augustus John.

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