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.

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.

Families 3–4 August 2019, from £25

BBC Summer Social at Croxteth Hall and Country Park

Two days of music, live performance and creative and sporting prowess in beautiful, historic parkland.

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.

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.

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.

Cinema 22 May–13 July 2019, from £8

Headline Acts: Summer of Music at FACT, Liverpool

This Summer, Picturehouse brings some of the biggest voices back to the big screen as part of Headline Acts: Summer of Music.

Serena Korda: Under the Rose at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 10 March–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: Under the Rose at Speke Hall

Following on from her enchanting installation ‘The Bell Tree’, Serena Korda launches a second sound work, ‘Under the Rose’ at Liverpool’s Speke Hall.

Grace Ndiritu: The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 6 July–13 October 2019, FREE

Grace Ndiritu: The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation at Bluecoat

Grace Ndiritu’s new exhibition at Bluecoat is based on research created before, during and after her ambitious research/live art project – The Ark: Centre For Interdisciplinary Experimentation – which took the form of an experimental scientific and spiritual community formed at Les Laboratories Aubervillers in Paris in 2017.

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 1 October 2019–1 February 2020, FREE

Alexis Teplin at Bluecoat

This solo show of new work at Bluecoat marks artist Alexis Teplin’s largest major UK exhibition. Her work crosses between painting, performance and film, drawing parallels between the process of each art form.

Liverpool District Guides

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William Brown Street, Liverpool

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The ship in Liverpool Sound City

Waterfront, Liverpool

The waterfront, which takes in the Albert Dock and the Pier Head, is an integral…

Ropewalks and Chinatown, Liverpool

The Ropewalks is a part of Liverpool that combines old and new. Once crowded with…

Hope Street, Liverpool

One of Liverpool’s most graceful quarters can be found along Hope Street. Named after the…

City Centre, Liverpool

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