Originally opened in 1846, Albert Dock was considered revolutionary due to the loading systems it introduced to British docking. As years passed into the Second World War, Albert Dock served as a base for ships serving in the Royal Navy – and much of the complex was seriously damaged during air raids over Liverpool – notably, the May Blitz of 1941 which also destroyed St. Luke's Church. After the war, the city faced many years of financial decline which lead to the official closure of Albert Dock in 1972.
However, after almost a decade of disuse, Albert Dock began redevelopment in 1981. By 1984, the docks reopened – and today it is an extremely famous tourist attraction – with people travelling from over the world to visit it. And, with the country's' highest number of Grade 1 listed buildings in a single complex, it's not hard to see why! This is an excellent destination to show off to visitors of the city.
The Three Graces
Close to Albert Dock is the Pier Head, previously known as St. George's Dock. Lining the periphery of the Pier Head are three magnificent sights, the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. These buildings are recognised for their impeccable architecture - representative of Liverpool's prestige and status as a commercial powerhouse. Atop the Royal Liver Building are the famous Liver Birds. The huge copper birds are affectionately named Bella and Bertie by locals. They stand over the two clock towers of the building. Around the city, there is a myth that if the birds were to ever leave their perch, the city would cease to exist. As one of the most recognisable sights defining Liverpool's fame – this is one of the best Instagram spots in the city!
Merseyside Maritime Museum
This museum, established in 1980, takes focus on the role of Liverpool as a major dock of the United Kingdom in its history. With a harshly truthful account of Liverpool's partaking in the international slave trade (in the International Slavery Museum), emigration and the construction of the famous RMS Titanic – the Merseyside Maritime Museum is the perfect day to introduce newcomers to the influential Albert Dock.
The Beatles Story
Follow the journey of four young lads that embarked on a journey that changed the face of international music forever. John, Paul, Ringo and George all get their own stories told in this incredible museum dedicated to Beatlemania. With historically accurate reconstructions of the Casbah, Matthew Street and The Cavern you get transported back to the 60s, and follow the lives of the members of one of the greatest bands in history – from humble beginnings to the vertiginous heights of fame.
The home of the National Collection of Modern Art in the north, Tate Liverpool is especially popular to lovers of contemporary and modern art. Tate Liverpool houses photography, paintings of national and international origin and sculpture that are all sure to inspire thought and reflection. Special exhibitions often come to the gallery, some of which have included: Transmitting Andy Warhol, the Turner Prize exhibition, Klimt, Picasso and Chagall retrospectives. Galleries stretch over four floors, and the views of the Mersey from the top is said to be one of the best throughout the whole city – a true hidden gem. Once your done taking in all the breathtaking art, there's also a small cafe where you can regroup and grab a bite to eat before heading back out for more of what Albert Dock has to offer.
Museum of Liverpool
The newest museum in the National Museums Liverpool group – the Museum of Liverpool was opened in 2011 to replace the Museum of Liverpool Life. The Museum of Liverpool takes a unique look at the social and urban history of the city. Through exhibitions of decorative art, costumes, archaeological material and photographic archives – the history of Liverpool and its inhabitants is documented with a poignant accuracy. The Museum of Liverpool truly captures the essence of being a resident of this fantastic city – and should be seen at least once on your journey in Liverpool as a student.
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
On Sunday, 2nd July 1766, a town meeting at small Bradford inn changed the trading in the north west of England forever. This was the initial meeting that would lead to the construction of the 109km long canal that now connects Liverpool to Leeds. The needs of the traders of yesteryear to optimise the transport of limestone and textiles to and from Liverpool from the towns of Yorkshire has provided us with one of the most beautiful canals the world has to offer today. Along the canal, Kirkstall, Saltaire, Bingley Five Locks, East Marton, Wheelton, Burscough, Burnley and Wigan can all be found between the two main docks of Liverpool and Leeds.
Liverpool Comedy Central
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a cycle of four of Liverpool's best local comedians come to Albert Dock to bring barrels of laughs in the space previously known as the world famous 'Baby Blue' basement club. VIP Packages are also available, which include discounted prices at some of Albert Dock's best restaurants.
The Gallery Cafe - £
Proud of its humble service, The Gallery Cafe is a perfect pit-stop for a light bite of a slice of cake during a day out on Albert Dock Built on the fame of serving one of the city's best breakfasts – which is made to order on site every day – The Gallery Cafe offers a fantastic spot to calmly take in the buzzing atmosphere of the docks with a light meal.
Revolucion de Cuba - ££
A rum bar and cantina at heart, Revolucion de Cuba boasts a menu of Cuban delicacies – ranging from large hearty sandwhiches to burrtos to tapas. With an exceptionally stunning view of the docks, this spot is perfect to end a day out exploring the city with a refreshing drink from the menus wide variety of fruity, rum-based cocktails.
Gusto - ££
This elegant, Italian restaurant and bar prides itself on the mantra ‘Con Amici’ - translated to “eating with friends”. Welcoming parties of up to 40 people at a single table whilst still delivering an intimate experience to each and every diner, this restaurant promises a glamorous and opulent beginning to a special night out. With a wide selection of complex and stylishly designed cocktails – this is truly the destination for a high brow night.
Maritime Dining Room - ££
Based on the top floor of the Maritime Museum, the Maritime Dining Room is one of just ten Michilin recommended restaurants in Liverpool. The venue of the dining room is embraced and reflected in the menu that refreshes to capitalise on the flavours of each season whilst simultaneously mirroring the produce that used to pass through the very dock in which the Maritime Museum is situated. Whether you wish to choose from their extraordinarily fantastic wine menu, or to try the delicate patisserie and modern savoury favourites on offer at the exemplary afternoon tea – the Maritime Dining Room will never disappoint.
Puffle Waffle - ££
Puffle Waffle is a new addition to Albert Dock that has the city wild! A spin on the Japanese street dessert, puffle waffles are made up of up to 30 crunchy waffle “pockets” - each of which can contain an individual filling such as banana and berries for the sweet tooth – or even pizza and mozzarella for the savoury lovers out there. Add toppings to finalise the ultimate snack to take with you on your discovery of Albert Dock.
Revolution - ££
This vodka and cocktail specialised bar belongs to wider chain of Revolution bars – however, Revolution Albert Dock provides a truly unique drinking experience. With a focus on nautical décor and the possession of an incredible outside terrace and sky booths – Revolution Albert Dock is fantastic for a chilled drink after a long day of exploring – or for that pre-night out cocktail. Food is also served between the hours of 10am and 9pm, with a particular focus on fish based, large meals.
Spice Lounge - ££
With the succulent, spicy flavours of Indian herbs and spices incorporated into each dish, Spice Lounge boasts an authentic taste of India in the heart of Albert Dock. With one of the very few traditional Tandoori ovens outside London in the kitchen of Spice Lounge, and only the best Indian chefs with true passion for Indian cuisine in the kitchen walls – Spice Lounge is not a place to miss.
The Pump House - ££
Built in 1870, the pump house of Albert Dock has been gently renovated into a homely pub. Serving humble and hearty dishes, as well as a range of draught beers. Food served ranges from the traditional treasures such as Gloucestershire Old Spot sausages and haddock and chips to dishes of foreign influence such as butternut squash risotto and paneer and vegetable skewers – all of which can be enjoyed on a stunning outside patio.
What’s Cooking? Bar & Grill - ££
The oldest serving restaurant at Albert Dock, What's Cooking? Bar & Grill overlooks The Three Graces and sits in the Grade 1 listed Queen Elizabeth Hall. This restaurant focuses on the provision on traditional, hearty meat based dishes and cocktails that are promised to pack a punch. All ingredients on the menu are carefully curated from only the best local sources to ensure that the food is of the highest quality.
Teddy's Coffee and Wine Bar - ££
If you're looking for a small coffee and wine bar to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – Teddy's Coffee and Wine Bar will deliver this; with a touch of opulence. A wide selection of specialist coffees and wine choices are available while you absorb the stunning sights of Albert Dock. With a light bites menu that includes options of cakes to match your coffee or sandwiches and paninis for a savoury palette – there's something for everyone.
The Smugglers Cove - £££
The Smugglers Cove finds it foundations as a haven to those searching for intrigue and excitement. With a passion for rum, The Smugglers Cove delivers a huge choice in Caribbean influenced cocktail concoctions. Contrasting the drink menu, the food menu at The Smugglers Cove promises home comforts in a hearty meal with undeniable British influence. Live music fills the brick walls of the cove nightly, to ensure every visit leaves you in good spirits.
Miller & Carter - £££
True steak specialists, Miller & Carter serve only hand-cut, 30-day aged British & Irish steaks. The restaurant itself is designed without flaw – large glass panels allow you to look out over the dock as you enjoy your succulent steak, and the wooden beams add a touch of rustic elegance to the atmosphere. Also famous for it's wine selection, Miller & Carter is a perfect fit for a family celebration such as a graduation or an exceptional exam result.
PanAm, Restaurant & Bar - £££
Located within the Grade 1 listed Brittania Pavillion, PANAM provides a plush experience alongside an exquisite menu with influences ranging from all over the globe. PANAM also boasts an unbelievable cocktail menu, so you can sit in awe of the dock visible through the large glass windows of the building, whilst enjoying a refreshing, Caribbean influenced drink. PANAM is perfect for a sophisticated meal before a high brow night out, perhaps for a graduation celebration.
Utility Pop-Up Store
At Albert Dock, you can find a pop-up store of the Liverpool-based independent store Utility. With a focus on selling unusual gifts – Utility has a particular eye for quirk. If you’re looking for that perfect gift for the difficult-to-buy-for friend, or the ultimate souvenir to document your visit to Albert Dock - this store will have you covered!
With a huge jellybean murals of the Fab 4 and Paul O'Grady – Quay Confectionery is hard to miss! A candy shop selling the best sweets from all decades of British history. With a section devoted to confectionery of the United States, Quay Confectionery is always a fun stop to try some new flavours!
An independent art gallery that specialises in modern and historical prints, paintings and photographs of Merseyside. Works on display include the Royal Liver Building, the waterfront, Albert Dock, Liverpool Overhead Railway and Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ Crosby Beach. With stock refreshing continually, a poignant portrait is always bound to catch your eye.
An independent store with a range of exclusive, affordable jewellery and mineral gems on show, Nature's Treasure is a much of a hidden gem as those it sells. A store in love with its own quirks, this is a great stop to get an unexpected choice in birthday present for a friend or family member.