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

Peer to Peer at Open Eye Gallery & St. George's Hall, Liverpool
Exhibitions 17 October–22 December 2019, FREE

Peer to Peer at Open Eye Gallery & St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

Featuring 14 artists deemed on the verge of major international recognition, Peer to Peer at Open Eye provides a snapshot of the state of art in the UK and China today.

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.

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.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein at Liverpool Playhouse
Theatre 11–16 November 2019, from £10.00

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at Liverpool Playhouse

Adapted by award-winning writer, Rona Munro, this is the 1818 seminal gothic horror novel as you’ve never seen it before.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman
Families 23 November 2019–18 January 2020, from £15.00

Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto: Sleeping Beauty at Liverpool Everyman

Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to see Liverpool’s jukebox-sensational Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, would it?

Blood Runs Deep at The Epstein Theatre
Theatre 29 October–2 November 2019, from £15.00

Blood Runs Deep at the Epstein Theatre

Following its sell-out pilot production at the Unity Theatre in 2018, acclaimed new psychological thriller Blood Runs Deep premieres in Liverpool this Halloween.

The gripping production from Break A Leg Productions in association with Bill Elms is guaranteed to have audiences on the edge of their seats.

Single mother Karen Richards is on the run with her unsuspecting son, praying she can hide their chilling family secret and live a normal life. But when an unwelcome visitor arrives at her home, the truth catches up with her, resulting in terrifying consequences. When the truth surfaces, there is no escape!

Starring actor and singer Antony Costa as Greg in the lead role

Also starring Emma Vaudrey as Karen, Brandon McCaffrey as Jake and Alice Merivale as Zoe.

Written by Emma Culshaw and David Paul | Directed by Margaret Connell

WHAT THE PRESS SAID…

★★★★ “Intense, thrilling and brilliantly performed” – North West End

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season
Theatre 24 September 2019–18 January 2020,

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season

A busy and brilliant season, expect award-winning musicals, stage adaptations of revered literary classics and celebrated cult films, alongside high-quality family shows. There is plenty to enjoy in Liverpool’s theatres this autumn.

Literature 7 November 2019, 7:30 pm–10:30 pm, from £15

Roger McGough at Liverpool Playhouse

Roger McGough launches his new collection joinedupwriting in his home town of Liverpool. Described as ‘exuberant’, the poems within range from forgotten friendships and the idiosyncrasies of family life to the trauma of war and contemporary global politics.

Alexis Teplin: It’s My Pleasure to Participate – exhibition at Bluecoat
Exhibitions 26 October 2019–23 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.

Exhibitions 14 June–10 November 2019, from £12.5

Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool

Featuring more than 70 artworks, Tate Liverpool presents the first major UK exhibition of work by the legendary New York artist and activist Keith Haring.

Liverpool District Guides

Lark Lane, Liverpool

A little way out of Liverpool City Centre, and a short and leafy walk from…

William Brown Street, Liverpool

As city centre districts go, this one is relatively small: a cluster of buildings along…

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

Here’s the thing. Liverpool dates back to the 13th century but, in the city centre,…

Things to do right now

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Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 14 June–10 November 2019, FREE

Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season
Theatre 24 September 2019–18 January 2020,

Everyman & Playhouse Autumn Season

Suli Yoga
Activity 11 September–30 October 2019, FREE

Yoga and Mindfulness with Suli Yoga

the night sky as explored in the planetarium shows
Education 1 January–30 December 2019, from £2

Planetarium Shows at World Museum Liverpool

Exhibitions 14 June–10 November 2019, from £12.5

Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool