With more museums and galleries than anywhere else in the UK bar London, Liverpool offers visitors a feast of culture. Forget trudging around stuffy institutions - the city leads the way when it comes to giving visitors a thoroughly modern cultural experience. When you’ve had your fill of all the hands-on, interactive museums, it’s time to explore the city’s arty side. Besides the top-name galleries there are two exhibition centres showcasing events year-round, further cementing Liverpool’s role as a hub of creativity. And, because it’s a university town, the city’s art scene is kept fresh with a new influx of students every September. There’s enough here to satisfy even the most voracious of cultural appetites. And when you’ve had your fill of all things arty, there’s a Premier Inn hotel in Liverpool that’s perfect if you wanted to paint the town red afterwards.
Culture in Liverpool
Liverpool has a thriving art community, something that’s reflected in the sheer number of galleries on offer. All forms of art are showcased here, from traditional galleries housing old masters to contemporary spaces dedicated to up-and-coming artists. Art in Liverpool is more than a spectator sport, too. Most of the city’s top-name galleries have activities laid on to get everyone feeling involved and inspired.
In the heart of the bohemian Ropewalks quarter is the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology, known as FACT. It’s popular with the locals because of its four-screen Picturehouse cinema, which shows both indie and mainstream films. You’re even allowed to buy a drink at the super cosy bar and take it in to the film with you. FACT’s art credentials are legendary too, with three galleries showing exhibitions of new media art from around the world.
Forget hushed art galleries where you’re scared in case you breathe too loudly. Tate Liverpool lets you view an array of contemporary and classic art in very relaxed surroundings. Admission is free (although you do have to pay for special exhibitions) and it’s completely family friendly, too. Kids can get creative and let off steam at the Clore Learning Centre, a space reserved for families. Even if art’s not your bag, it’s worth a visit for the amazing riverside view - and our Albert Dock hotel is near to Tate Liverpool, too.
The Walker Art Gallery is a feast for the eyes, both inside and out. You can’t fail to be wowed by the building’s neo-classical architecture, but step through the doors and you’ll find one of the most impressive permanent collections of art in the UK. With works that span every period from medieval to modern, highlights include a room filled to bursting with sculpture, paintings by Rembrandt and Cezanne and an annual exhibition of the winners of the annual Liverpool Art Prize.
Just across the Mersey is the Lady Lever Art Gallery, and it’s one of the loveliest in the UK. Built by soap magnate Lord Lever (of Lever Brothers fame) as a tribute to his late wife, it houses all the paintings, sculpture, furniture and antiques that he collected over the years. But it’s the collection of Pre-Raphaelites paintings that’s the real show stopper, dominating the walls of the double-height main hall. When you need a breather, there’s a well-priced café and art shop, too. It’s lovely to take the ferry across the Mersey to get there, but you could save yourself the trip back if you’re booked into our Premier Inn hotel in Wirral.
The Walker Art Gallery
Mind-blowing displays. Interactive features to keep the kids engaged. Buildings that are beautiful both inside and out. Liverpool does museums incredibly well – and most won’t cost you a penny to enter. For a relatively small city, there are so many to choose from, too.
Dinosaurs, creepy bugs and meteorites from Mars, the World Museum is a total Liverpool must-see – and it’s free to enter. Opened in 1853, it’s expanded over the years to include a planetarium and an aquarium. And while there are activities aimed at younger visitors, there’s plenty to keep the adults entertained.. Not everything is locked behind glass - the museum lets you handle fascinating artefacts from around the world, like an actual mammoth’s tooth. You could easily spend the day here, and booking into the Premier Inn hotel near the World Museum Liverpool will give you even longer to explore.
From the Beatles to the Blitz, Liverpool is a city that’s fiercely proud of its history. Only fitting, then, that it opened the Museum of Liverpool in 2011 - the UK’s first dedicated solely to the history of a city. Free to enter, it’s a truly interactive experience that lets you immerse yourself in local history. Sit on board a carriage of the overhead railway, try on real helmets used by soldiers of the King’s Regiment and belt out a few Beatles classics in the karaoke room.
See Liverpool’s colourful nautical past come to life on Albert Dock at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Highlights include some incredibly moving artefacts from the Titanic (a ship with close links to Liverpool), like a survivor’s life jacket and a first class ticket from a passenger who was lucky enough to miss the boat. The Seized! Gallery is also a real hit. From drugs suits to hollowed out children’s books, it gives a real insight into the lengths smugglers will go to bring contraband across borders.
The Beatles Story is really entertaining, whether you’re a Fab Four fanatic or they lost you at Yellow Submarine. A short walk from our Albert Dock hotel, you do have to pay to enter this museum but you get a headset included in your admission which means you can take the museum at your own pace. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about John, Paul, George and Ringo, expect some surprises as there is so much to see. There’s an exact replica of the Cavern Club, Abbey Road studios and Brian Epstein's office as well as rare footage of the band in action. Make sure you buy tickets in advance.
With its cultural attractions, low cost of living and lively nightlife scene, it’s no wonder Liverpool attracts such a large student population, with 70,000 choosing to hit the books on Merseyside. There’s not one but three universities here, each with its own unique flavour.
A prestigious redbrick institution, the University of Liverpool is highly regarded in academic circles, producing nine Nobel Prize winners. Yet it’s also loved by its student population for having a lively campus life, helped no doubt by its location. Being right in the centre of town it’s super easy to access all the fabulous culture, shopping and nightlife that lively Liverpool is famous for. Coming for a graduation? There’s a Premier Inn hotel near Liverpool University that’ll get your day off to a great start.
With its lush, green spaces, picturesque grounds and stunning listed buildings, you can’t fail to be inspired at Hope University. With just 7,000 students, it’s tiny in comparison with Liverpool University, but what Hope lacks in size it makes up for in atmosphere and community feel. Plus, the city centre is just three miles away from its Creative Campus, and it has superb transport links, too.
Previously Liverpool Polytechnic, John Moores University (LJMU) was granted university status in 1992 and renamed after the founder of Littlewoods. One of Britain’s biggest universities, it has a buzzing ambience and three lively campuses. Two can be found right in the heart of the city, with the third four miles south. Over the last 10 years, there's been a massive investment at LJMU so expect seriously swish buildings and facilities.
Having two exhibition venues has really put Liverpool on the cultural map. Both are found on the historic waterfront area of the city, with its many attractions, shops and bars.
Coming to an exhibition or conference at the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool? Lucky you. Not only will you get to experience the ACC’s cutting-edge design and super swanky facilities, it’s got a stunning location right on the waterfront. No wonder the Labour Party decided to hold its annual conference here. The ACC is actually made up of two big, interconnected spaces – there’s the M&S Bank Arena (known mainly for its spectacular live music shows) and the BT Convention Centre next door.
Further down the Mersey from the ACC is its sister venue, the Exhibition Centre Liverpool. This bright, airy and totally flexible space is mostly used to host the city’s big trade and consumer shows – The Liverpool Wedding Show, MCM Comic Con and RenewableUK have all been held here. While there are reasonably priced food concessions within the Exhibition Centre itself, step outside the venue and you’ll find a wealth of eating and drinking options (as well as our Albert Dock hotel) just a short riverside stroll away.