The Pier Head got to be Liverpool’s most iconic walking spot, and will be the go-to sight for anyone interested in Liverpool’s historic architecture. The river-front Pier Head has a collection of Liverpool’s most famous buildings: The Liver Royal Building, The Cunard Building, and The Port of Liverpool Building – aka ‘The Three Graces’. The Pier Head plays a starring role in Liverpool’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a title the city has had to fight to keep in recent years.
The Pier Head was the focal point of the economic life of the city when Liverpool was the second city of the British Empire. It’s origins- the site dates back to the 18th century- are bound up with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which is inseparable from the history of Liverpool. The legacy of the trading of enslaved people can be seen across the city, with streets such as Parr Street named after slave-traders. Neighbouring the Pier Head is the Royal Albert Dock, home to the International Slavery Museum where the histories and legacies of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade are laid bare.
The Pier Head is also a destination for lovers of contemporary art. Open Eye gallery is just a short walk from the waterfront, where the exhibitions of photography often spill out into the surrounding area. The Liverpool Biennial has unveiled a public, site-specific artwork nearby. Nathan Coley’s From Here sees 20 meters of tube-lighting wrapping the St. George’s Dock Pumping Station with poetry.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, the Pier Head’s broad public spaces, historic buildings, and views out over the River Mersey make for a definitively Liverpudlian walk.