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 2021 – The Stomach and the Port
Exhibitions Until 6 June 2021, FREE

Liverpool Biennial 2021 – The Stomach and the Port

The 11th edition of the UK’s oldest and largest festival of contemporary visual art is about to open, with work by over 50 artists.

Montse Mosquera - Too Foreign
Festivals Until 6 June 2021, FREE

Liverpool Independents Biennial

Independents Biennial has revealed a packed programme that will celebrate Merseyside’s creative talent and cast a fresh eye on how we see, make and use art. The festival, which runs alongside Liverpool Biennial, puts the spotlight on the region’s grassroots creative community, many of whom have been hardest hit by lockdown.

Artwork by musician Ed Dowie
Exhibitions 15–18 July 2021, from £5.5

Super Cool Drawing Machine

Artwork by jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Mercury-nominated singer Cate Le Bon, and folk musician Richard Dawson, will feature in the touring exhibition at Birkenhead’s Future Yard.

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.

John Moores Painting Prize 2020 – Online and at Walker Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 27 June 2021, FREE

John Moores Painting Prize 2020 – Online and at Walker Art Gallery

The prestigious John Moores Painting Prize moves online for the first time, featuring the best in contemporary British painting.

Aliza Nisenbaum at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 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.

Orrell Hill Wood
Festivals 17–18 July 2021, from £71.75

The One In The Woods

New for 2021, The One in the Woods music festival will bring giants of the techno and drum & bass scene to Orrell Hill Wood, near Liverpool.

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.

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