Although Liverpool may be more known for its thriving independent arts and music scene, it’s rich and historical heritage is second to none. We’ve put together some of Liverpool’s best art galleries and museums for you to submerge yourself into the history of Liverpool.
Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool is the UK’s first museum dedicated to the history of a city. Situated on Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site waterfront, the museum is housed within a striking modern structure overlooking Pier Head. The glass viewing platform offers fantastic views across Liverpool’s stunning Victorian skyline.
Find out what it means to be Liverpudlian in the People’s Republic Gallery. Here, you can discover 200 years of social history which helped shape the city, find out the significance of the Liver birds and even learn about the origins of the Liverpudlian accent.
On the first floor, you can discover the history of Liverpool transport. Hop on the Overhead Railway, the world’s first elevated railway built in Liverpool in 1893 to ease congestion along seven miles of the Liverpool docks. It became a tourist attraction thanks to the glorious views across the River Mersey.
At the Port Gallery on the second floor, you can find out how Liverpool transformed from small waterside town to one of the world’s largest port cities, or as some like to call it, the Second City of the Empire. At the other side of the museum, you can learn more about the British Empire, and how it led to Liverpool becoming a global city.
Liverpool’s World Museum is the city’s only museum dedicated to the natural world – and it’s one of the UK’s most popular! The museum is housed within a stunning Victorian building located right in the heart of the city centre, making it the perfect destination when visiting Liverpool.
Inside, be sure to check out the planetarium, blasting you off into space in one of their spectacular shows. In the Clore Natural History Centre, discover some of the wonders of the natural world with more than 20,000 prehistoric objects and artefacts.
In the Weston Discovery Centre, you can find out how life was across various stages of human life, from Ancient Greece to the 20th century onwards.
The World Museum also recently opened a new exhibit exploring Ancient Egypt, offering an insight into this fascinating period when Pharaohs rules supreme. With this, and much more, it truly is one of the standout attractions in Liverpool.
Open Eye Gallery
The Open Eye Gallery is a hugely influential photography museum and gallery in Liverpool, located a stone’s throw from Tate Liverpool and the Albert Dock. The museum is the only one dedicated to photography and related media in the North West.
Opening in 1977, the Open Eye Gallery has become one of the preeminent centres for photography as an art form in the UK, championing the medium and hosting a continuous calendar of talks, workshops and events.
The gallery and museum are run as a not-for-profit and, according to the gallery, act as a place to “explore photography’s unique ability to connect, to tell stories, to inquire, to reflect on humanity’s past and present, and to celebrate its diversity and creativity”. They aim to put socially-engaged photography at the heart of their activity and work with artists, academic and communities to ensure that photography makes a meaningful contribution to the world.
It's a truly insightful experience and a must-see for photographers and novices alike.
The Tate Liverpool is a museum created to display work from the Tate Collection which contains the national collection of British art from the 1500s to present day and includes international modern art.
Since the gallery was first opened on 24th May 1988 by HRH Prince Charles, it has displayed over 150 different exhibitions and collections on display created by hundreds of different artists and continues to play an active role in the Liverpool Biennial.
During summer and autumn, the gallery is open every day while in winter and spring the gallery opens Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free except for major exhibitions.
While walking around admiring the artwork around the museum, if you begin to feel a bit peckish you can visit the Tate Liverpool Café for some fresh treats and marvel at the designs, and vibrant colours of British pop artist Sir Peter Blake used to decorate the room. Or pop into the museum shop, located at the ground floor of the gallery for some unique gifts and souvenirs
Walker Art Gallery
The Walker Art Gallery houses one of the largest collections of art in the UK outside of London and has housed Liverpool’s most outstanding art collection for over 130 years. The gallery's collections date back to 1819 when 37 paintings were acquired by the Liverpool Royal Institution from the collection of William Roscoe.
The collections featured within the Walker Art Gallery includes Netherlandish and Italian paintings from the 1300-1550s, 18th and 19th-century artwork by Degas, Poussin and Rembrandt, a major collection of Victorian pieces and 20th-century works. In 2011 the gallery received a new addition to their collection, a statue of a priest vandalised by the famous Banksy.
The gallery is free to enter, but donations are welcomed with the only exceptions of special exhibitions which will have special admission fees. The gallery is open all year round, Monday to Sunday everyday with times varying during the Christmas holiday season.
Liverpool certainly packs a punch when it comes to art galleries and museums. Plus, with a dining scene and nightlife to rival all other major UK cities, not to mention plenty to do for the kids, there’s plenty of reasons to visit. If you’re still looking for somewhere to stay, Village Hotels has everything you need under one roof. Our Liverpool hotel is conveniently located just off the M62 in the east of the city.