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

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.

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.

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 9 May 2021, from £11

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents a major retrospective of work by Don McCullin, widely considered to be one of the greatest photojournalists of our time.

Linda McCartney Retrospective at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 10 January 2021,

Linda McCartney Retrospective at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

This major exhibition of Linda McCartney’s photography includes more than 200 iconic images, from the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul.

Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 December 2020–27 June 2021, FREE

Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool

International portrait artist Aliza Nisenbaum will present a new painting at Tate Liverpool this winter, depicting members of the city’s key workers.

Augmented Empathy at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 13 December 2020, FREE

Augmented Empathy at FACT, Liverpool

From face filters to world lenses, Augmented Empathy at FACT in Liverpool explores how AR technology can be used to create a fluid space of possibility.

Sean Edwards: Undo Things Done at Bluecoat in Liverpool
Exhibitions 5 December 2020–21 February 2021, FREE

Sean Edwards: Undo Things Done at Bluecoat in Liverpool

Undo Things Done, a poetic inquiry into place, politics and class intertwined with personal histories, takes as its starting point Sean Edwards’ experience of growing up on a council estate in Cardiff in the 1980s.

Tony Phillips: 12 Decades at Bluecoat in Liverpool
Exhibitions 20 March–6 June 2021, FREE

Tony Phillips: 12 Decades at Bluecoat in Liverpool

Tony Phillips’ 12 Decades continues a survey of modern history that has occupied him over the last 40 years. The series will go on show at Bluecoat in 2021.

German Revolution Expressionist Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery
Exhibitions 3 December 2020–28 February 2021, FREE

German Revolution Expressionist Prints at Lady Lever Art Gallery

Schiele, Munch, Picasso – Lady Lever Art Gallery’s latest exhibition features some of the most influential European artists of the early 20th century.

Cinema Until 28 February 2021, from £3.49

The Apartment – Streaming on YouTube

One of the quintessential New Year’s films, The Apartment is also one of director Billy Wilder’s best-loved and most acerbic works.

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