Liverpool – the Maritime Mercantile City.

That sounds pretty impressive and indeed, it really is.

The ultimate guide to Liverpool's Maritime

Once one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries, Liverpool was a big player in the British Empire’s global growth as it became a major port for the mass movement of people and goods between Northern Europe to America. Not only that, but we were a pioneer when it came to the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management. All of this has made the geography of our city, and the attractions that you find here, now an integral part of our modern lives.

At the beginning of the 18th Century, Liverpool was becoming increasingly important as a commercial port. The City became geographically advantageous for new navigational routes to settlements on the Atlantic coast of North America, and was relatively unscathed following wars with France, Holland and Spain (that had led to the blockading of England’s south-eastern ports).

When you’re here, you’ll want to make the most of our maritime status, and the relics that the past has left behind - so we’ve created a self guided tour that makes sure you won’t leave any spot unturned. Keep an eye on some of the events we mention here; you’ll definitely want to book your trip to fit them in!

Ideally, your first stop will be aboard a Mersey Ferry.

Where San Francisco has its cable cars and New York has its yellow cabs, Liverpool has its world famous Mersey Ferries. It's the very best way to see and completely enjoy Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and UNESCO world heritage site, and it’ll start you off at the right place for your day. Of course, you can catch the wonderful Dazzle Ferry ‘Snowdrop’, created by Sir Peter Blake, and explore the role of Dazzle Ships in Britain's wartime history. Departing hourly from the Pier Head Ferry Terminal, you can choose to do the return trip from Liverpool, or start off over the water at Seacombe or Woodside to make the voyage.

You can even combine your ticket with a visit to the U-Boat Story at the Woodside Ferry Terminal; where you can follow film archives and interactive displays to witness the dramatic action of life aboard a real German U-boat.  

Whatever you choose, just make sure to sing ‘Ferry ‘cross the Mersey’!

Titanic Memorial

"In honour of all heroes of the marine engine room"

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As you make your way out of the Pier Head Ferry Terminal, head right along the riverfront. Not only will you pass any cruise ships due to dock at the time, but you’ll come across a poignant monument that many don’t get the chance to see. Located on St Nicholas Place stands the granite memorial dedicated to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic. Although it is most strongly associated with the RMS Titanic due to our city’s links to the White Star Line, the memorial stands as a remembrance to all maritime engine room fatalities that occurred during WWI. A moving experience that reiterates Liverpool’s deep-rooted history and respect for maritime.

Museum of Liverpool

Not only is this the place a great starting point to fully get to grips with our city’s history and heritage, but it also houses a very, special window. Awarded ‘most stunning view’ in the UK, you’ll be able to look out onto our jewels in the crown - the Three Graces - and Liverpool’s canal link. During its construction in 2007, the sites of the Chester Basin and Manchester Dock were excavated here, revealing various carved stones in the area which were identified as being from Liverpool's Town Hall in 1673 which was shown on a Time Team Special. It’s a beautiful and equally fascinating part of our rich maritime heritage.

The Albert Dock

The ultimate hub of maritime magnificence, start here to get your fix at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Immerse yourself in tales of Liverpool’s merchant navy and our role in The Battle of the Atlantic in WWII. This is the place where you can also book a tour of the Old Dock - the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock - and the Edmund Gardner pilot shop in the summer months; more on that later though.

After your visit to MMM, take this chance to wander around the Albert Dock itself. It’s a truly beautiful place which began its time back in 1841. Today we can proudly say that its lofty colonnades and statuesque columns make up the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country, and one of the most famous maritime tourist attractions in the country.

Carpathia Rooftop Champagne Bar & Restaurant

Sweet memory of our meeting ... 😍

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Sound familiar? That’s because this restaurant, part of 30 James Street Hotel, was named after RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 RMS Titanic survivors. With delicious food, real White Star line artefacts dotted around the room and unparallelled views out over our waterfront, there really isn’t another place we’d recommend for your lunch.


As you make your way around the city, you might come across a very strange sculpture going by the name of a ‘Lambanana’. Dotted around town decked out in different guises and designs, these unique statues are a cross between a banana and a lamb and were actually designed by Manhattan-based Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. They’re both a comment on the dangers of genetic engineering and also heavily influenced by the history of Liverpool: as historically, both sheep and bananas were common cargos in the city's docks. Interesting, eh?


Pues no está tan mal #Liverpool 🇬🇧

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Bursting with art, music and culture, believe it or not, this area of the city got its name from being once used for rope making during Liverpool’s maritime boom. “Ropewalks” actually takes its name due to the prevalence of ‘roperies’ that were established in the area to service the shipping industry following the construction of the Old Dock.

The streets which stretch between Bold Street and Duke Street are filled with large 18th century warehouses, merchants houses and counting houses and though many have now been turned into bars and shops, you can picture the maritime grandeur of the streets that once was.

Old Dock Experience

#liverpoololddock #olddockundercarparking #olddockexperience #flemishbrickbond #englishbrickbond

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Now, for a little history:

During excavations in 2001, Liverpool’s revolutionary Old Dock was discovered, after being buried since 1826. First established in 1715 in response to unhappy ship owners feeling there was nowhere safe to dock ships carrying valuable cargo into Liverpool, the world’s first commercial ‘wet-dock’ was created. As the volumes of ships entering the area rose, the establishment of adequate buildings and the establishment of businesses suitable to the shipping trade grew too.

In 1826 however, the Old Dock was ‘filled in’, following the expansion of the trade, as its site became too small to contest with the growing levels of trade attracting into the city.

Upon excavation however, the ‘Old Dock’ has been lovingly preserved and now serves as a reminder of Liverpool’s maritime prowess hundreds of years ago.

Now, you can head into the bed of the Pool - the creek that have Liverpool its name - to see this amazing and revolutionary dock. Remember, tickets are bought at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

If you’re lacking time to go into the Old Dock itself, why not peer through the ground into it to catch a glimpse instead? Just to the side of John Lewis in Liverpool ONE - next to the grass steps - you’ll find a square in the ground that gives you an understanding of the exact location of this once incredibly important creation in our maritime and shipping history.  

The Danny

The Daniel Adamson Steam Tug/Tender being repaired at Cammell Laird's No. 4 Dry-Dock

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Back towards the Albert Dock, you’ll find the Daniel Adamson Historic 1903 Steam Vessel - affectionately nicknamed 'The Danny' - that has an incredibly unique story to tell.

As the oldest steam passenger vessel in the UK it's a unique example of interior Art Deco design on a boat that has played many roles - from a working tug boat to a private vessel used to entertain the directors of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Aboard The Danny, you can embark upon day and evening cruises and museum days where you can explore the harsh working conditions of a steam engine room and hear the eleven steam engines and three boilers that are identical to those on the ill-fated Lusitania.

Titanic Hotel

Amazing hotel in Liverpool #titanic #liverpool

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Where else would you want to lay your head than the Titanic Hotel. Part of the historic Stanley Dock complex redevelopment, the Titanic is a luxurious spot that is steeped in Liverpool maritime history; the best of both worlds.

Once part of the life blood of the Port of Liverpool, the warehouses that make up the Titanic Hotel stored imported rum and tobacco and were pioneers in modern dock technology, transport and port management.

Whichever bedroom you stay in, you’ll enjoy original windows, rich and earthy furnishings and and vast views over the historic Port of Liverpool.


Any time of year is good to come and visit our wonderful city, but here’s a few events that we think you might want to make the trip for - so book accordingly!

Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta - May Bank Holiday

Linking a trip of vibrant port cities - Liverpool, Dublin and Bordeaux - with some nail-biting racing across the Irish Sea and Bay of’s going to be spectacular. Get the info here

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Finish - July

You’ve got to be here to witness one of the greatest challenges against one of the world’s most formidable foes – Mother Nature – come to a thrilling climax. Get the scoop (and getting booking) here

Events at the Albert Dock

Throughout the year there’s plenty of festivals to celebrate one of the most beautiful pieces of dockland architecture in Liverpool, such as Pirates on the Dock and Heritage on the Dock. Stay up to date with everything we have on by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Cruise Arrivals

As with past years, our dock is busy once again this year welcoming cruise passengers from all of the world. Disney Magic, Magellan & Europa II are just 3 out of the huge line-up of arrivals - come & see the beautiful vessels as they dock and wave the passengers to shore.

For more cruise ship arrivals, take a look here

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This blog has been written by Lydia Hampson-Delamere, Marketing Executive for Marketing Liverpool. You’ll see her posting everything Liverpool on our Twitter, Facebook & Instagram accounts and on our blogs.

She graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a 1st in English, after travelling around South East Asia.

In her spare time you’ll probably find her looking at food on Instagram, playing with her boyfriend’s dog and looking for her next potential holiday.