Weekend Wandering: Liverpool's Waterfront

The start of our waterfront walk in Liverpool

It's nine years since our last visit to Liverpool and my postcard, and the building work along the waterfront which was much in evidence at that time is now complete. Those familiar with previous times may mourn the loss of the old character of this part of the city, but for this visitor it made for a magical Sunday morning stroll.

We were staying in the city centre, so it's just a 5 minute walk to reach the start of our weekend wander at Albert Dock. I love strong shapes and combined with their reflections, I spent a while trying to do these justice with my camera.

Laurel and Hardy were one of my surprise finds on the day

'Laurel and Hardy' were being briefed outside the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Their day had just started when I strolled by.

'Liverpool Mountain' by Ugo Rondinone

Sadly I didn't have time to go into Tate Liverpool, but that didn't matter as there is plenty of public art on view outside. This is the Tate's latest by Ugo Rondinone. Like The Guardian, I'm not so sure about this one, but that's one of the strengths of being bold with public art. It makes the viewer - well this one anyway - think.

The Beatles, looking like they've walked straight out of 'A Hard Days Night

Further along the walk, you'll find the Fab Four going for their Sunday morning stroll close to The Beatles Story. Judging by the number of people posing for selfies and family photos, this piece of public art is a popular one.

The Royal Liver Building playing 'peek a boo' with the Museum of Liverpool

But I'm getting ahead of myself in our wander. One of the criticisms I heard during our previous visit to Liverpool was the possibility the iconic waterfront would be spoiled by the newer buildings. I for one enjoyed this juxtaposition of the new Museum of Liverpool and the Royal Liver Building.

A new Superlambana outside the Museum of Liverpool - one of several sited there

Then I was delighted to find the museum has several Superlambananas outside...

From left to right: the Royal Liver building, the Cunard building, and part of the Port of Liverpool building aka Liverpool's 'The Three Graces'

... and unlike London, it's possible to get a good view of Liverpool's historic buildings which give this area World Heritage status.

Many UK city centres are currently undergoing regeneration of one kind or another. What struck me about Liverpool's is the lack of trendy residential development along its waterfront, unlike Bristol. Instead it's museum after museum, lots of public art, Grade I historic buildings, and an incredible buzz even on a gentle Sunday morning stroll. I loved it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Bristol's harbourside as well. I wonder how much being European City of Culture in 2008 (and 1984's International Garden Festival) set Liverpool's waterfront regeneration along a slightly different path.

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The new Mersey Ferries building

I have an increasing collection of Liverpool photos over at Sign of the Times. This includes some from our visit in 2009, when we took the ferry across the Mersey from the Wirral and explored more widely in the city. This is well worth adding to your itinerary, or you can take a river cruise instead to give you a thorough overview and another great view of Liverpool's waterfront.

Garden lovers may like to note that across the Mersey is Birkenhead Park, the world's first publicly funded civic park, which was the inspiration for Central Park in New York.

A trip to nearby Crosby is well worth the effort to view Antony Gormley's awesome Another Place.

With just a couple of posts from me I hope you can see Liverpool is a fab place for a long weekend.

A night time view of Liverpool's waterfront


  1. Well, that was a trip down memory lane, and then some!
    I lived in Birkenhead ( backing onto the now famous park where my brother and I used to play!) but worked in Liverpool, crossing the Mersey in the summer by ferry boat. This was in the 1960s, when the ferry was made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers. I worked at a bank in the centre of town and opened the first bank accounts for the Fab four, Gerry and Cilla!
    I have a very fond spot for the Liver Buildings and have a pendant with a Liver Bird on it which I often wear. Did you know one is male and one female? The female looks out to see to watch for sailors returning home and the male looks inland to see when the pubs are open!
    I like the new buildings on the waterfront but am glad that they don't spoil the view of the old buildings along side.
    Thanks for bringing back so many memories.

    1. Oh wow, what memories Pauline! I'm envious of your encounters with the Fab Four! When we took the ferry across the Mersey 9 years ago, they played Gerry and the Pacemakers on the way over. I didn't mention that the Anfield tour bus waiting at Albert Dock was playing 'You'll never walk alone' as I went past a few weeks ago. I love the extra information you've given on the Liver Birds - they were still firmly attached to the building when I was there, so Liverpool is still set to prosper :)

  2. The balance of the Fan Four is amazing.

    1. I hadn't thought of that Sue, but now you mention it... I also saw a giant impossibly balanced horse's head sculpture in London near Marble Arch last week.

  3. Fabulous photos VP. I think that I will pass on 'Liverpool Mountain' which for some reason is bringing Liquorice Allsorts to mind. I would love to visit Bristol which I have only ever passed through and caught brief glimpses of from train windows. The allotments look fabulous :)

    1. I love Bristol now I don't work there! Let me know if you make it down this way, it's far too long since we last met up :)


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