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

Poet Eleanor Rees. Photo by Elly Lucas
Literature 20 February 2020 6:30 pm, from £4

Other Cities/Other Lives Eleanor Rees, Zoë Scolding and Helen Tookey at the Bluecoat

Three leading contemporary poets Eleanor Rees, Zoë Skoulding and Helen Tookey read from their new collections.

Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool Valentine's Day Manchester
Exhibitions Until 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 Until 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.

Visual Rights at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 22 March 2020, FREE

Visual Rights at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool

How do we visualise power? What does it look like, and for whom is it visible? Visual Rights looks at how images can expose uneven distributions of power, and shape the way we understand a place’s geography.

Amy Romer - The Dark Figure* at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool
Education 20 February–22 March 2020, FREE

Amy Romer: The Dark Figure* at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool

The Dark Figure* at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool confronts us with the pervasive though often overlooked presence of modern slavery in the UK.

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.

Literature 14 April 2020 11:00 am, FREE

Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Tuesday 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.

Cinema 16–30 March 2020, from £7.7

Culture Shock/ David Lynch Mini Season at FACT

Picturehouse at FACT’s cult strand goes back to the 80s with a mini season of films by cult auteur, David Lynch.

Alexis Teplin: It’s My Pleasure to Participate – exhibition at Bluecoat. Part of the Family Weekend activities.
Exhibitions Until 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.

you feel me_ exhibition at FACT, Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 23 February 2020, FREE

you feel me_ at FACT, Liverpool

A new exhibition at FACT explores the utopian potential of the virtual realm as a space where we can begin to heal the power inequalities of society.

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