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

River of Light Festival – Liverpool
Activity 21 October–6 November 2022, FREE

River of Light Festival – Liverpool

Unexpected Twist is the theme of this year’s River of Light Festival, taking place in the Liverpool City Centre.

Cinema Until 13 October 2022, from £10.40

Bowie: Sound and Vision at Picturehouse at FACT

A chameleonic force of nature both on screen and on stage — FACT present some of Bowie’s most famous film roles.

Literature Until 15 December 2022, FREE

Poetry Walk at The Reader in Liverpool

Every Thursday 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 in a safe and socially distanced way.

Exhibitions Until 9 October 2022, FREE

My Garden, My Sanctuary at FACT Liverpool

Visit the tech-enhanced environments of ‘My Garden, My Sanctuary’ where wellness, water and K-pop all intertwine to create the summer exhibition at FACT.

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Liverpool’s Zap Graffiti teaches all the basic skills and techniques you need to make a street-style creation you’ll be proud of.

Exhibitions Until 8 January 2023, FREE

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool at Walker Art Gallery

‘Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool’ at Walker Art Gallery celebrates local talent with an exhibition of paintings by 21 Merseyside artists alongside a publication.

Cream shoes which belonged to Lady Lever, on display in the new exhibition 'Inspired by Lady Lever'
Exhibitions Until 29 January 2023, FREE

Inspired by Lady Lever at Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight’s exhibition ‘Inspired by Lady Lever’ aims to reveal a little more about the lady herself, with the help of valuable artefacts, while celebrating 100 years of history at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, and the life of the woman it is named after.

Still from a film by artist Sin Wai Kin, A Dream of Wholeness in Parts (still) 2021 © the artist. Courtesy the artist, Chi - Wen Gallery, Taipei and Soft Opening, London. Produced by Chi - Wen Productions, Taipei. Supported by Hayward Gallery Touring for British Art Show 9
Exhibitions 20 October 2022–19 March 2023, FREE

Turner Prize 2022 at Tate Liverpool

This year, Tate Liverpool will have the pleasure of hosting what is possibly the most important event in contemporary art in the UK – the Turner Prize.

Exhibitions 27 September 2022–4 June 2023, from £5.00

JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters at Tate Liverpool

See JWM Turner’s work like never before paired with Lamin Fofana’s immersive exhsound environment in ‘Dark Waters’, a very special exhibition at Tate Liverpool opening this September.

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