Pier Head & The Three Graces

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Pier Head
Liverpool
Merseyside
L3 1HT
The Pier head at dusk taken with a wide angled lens. The Port of Liverpool, Edwardian Baroque building is on the right and the main focal point for th

About

They define one of the most beautiful skylines in - well we’d say the world - the Three Graces consist of the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building and they situate themselves on Liverpool’s Pier Head.

These majestic buildings were conceived and constructed as visible symbols of Liverpool’s international prestige, proud emblems of its commercial prowess.

The Royal Liver Building the jewel in the crown, adorned by two Liver Birds, is the city’s signature landmark. The Liver birds are the city’s emblem and you’ll find them dotted across Liverpool’s precious architecture.

Designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, construction of the iconic structure began in 1908 and opened in 1911 as the home of Royal Liver Assurance, and became the first major construction in Britain.

The tale of the two Liver Birds relates to the city’s maritime heritage. The Liver bird that looks over the Mersey River is said to represent the wives who stay at home and look out to their sailor husbands out at sea and the Liver Bird that looks over the city represents these sailors out at sea, looking back over to the city and their family.

Local legend also holds that if the two birds were ever fly away, Liverpool would cease to exist. Let’s hope not eh?

The Liver Building remains a working office, home to companies such as Grant Thornton LLP and Princes. The first floor of the venue is home to ‘The Venue’ at the Royal Liver building that often plays host to glitzy parties and corporate meetings.

Next door you’ll see the Cunard building. A Grade II listed building built between 1914 and 1917, with a style influenced by both the Italian Renaissance and Greek Revival.

Since the building first opened and until the late 1960s it was the headquarters of the famous and still-going-strong Cunard Cruise Line.

Liverpool still maintains its close and proud relationship with the cruise line, with the building keeping its original tenant's name and being the host of both the magnificent reuniting of the Cunard Three Queens in 2015 and the Centenary celebrations of the Cunard headquarters in 2016 on the Pier Head.

To the West of the Cunard Building is the Cunard War Memorial, erected in memory of the Cunard employees who were tragically killed during the First World War and later World War II.

The monument itself was sculpted by Henry Alfred Pegram and was designed to match the Greek features of the building.

Now, the former passenger luggage room of the Cunard building has been transformed into a fascinating exhibition on British Popular Music. The interior grandeur of the building has been maintained mind, with the exhibition build complementing the ornate style of the famous building.

The British Music Experience, located on the ground floor of the Cunard is a permanent exhibition dedicated to some of the finest British music artists ever to walk the globe, from 1940 to present day.

The remaining floors of the building are used as office space by local Liverpool businesses.

Finally, is the Port of Liverpool Building also Grade II listed, it was the first of the Three Graces to ‘grace’ the waterfront with its presence, with construction starting in 1904 and opening in 1907 as the headquarters of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. The MDHB housed here for 87 years right up until 1994.

In 2006 and until 2009, the Edwardian Baroque style building underwent a major £10m restoration, bringing many of its original features back to life.

The building’s central dome is the main focal point of the building - though it wasn’t actually part of the original design of the building, it was inspired by an unused design for Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral that was developed several year’s earlier. It’s noted for its ornate architectural features and expensive decorative features that are reflective of Liverpool’s maritime links and importance in maintaining the British Empire.

The Pier Head itself has many other famous attractions and landmarks to visit from The Beatles Statue that was erected in 2015, to the famous Mersey Ferry that docks in front of the Mersey Ferries Building.

Nearer to the waterside you’ll find a Telescope sculpture that commemorates the late Jeremiah Horrocks, a 17th century astronomer from Toxteth - local to Liverpool. You’ll also see a monument of Edward VII, Lambananas, numerous cruise ships docking and not forgetting the Museum of Liverpool.

The Museum of Liverpool is a landmark building, erected on Liverpool’s Pier Head in 2008. The Museum is dedicated to the history of Liverpool City Region and its top floor viewing gallery offers some of the most picturesque views of Liverpool’s beautiful Pier Head.

Book Tickets

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Located on Liverpools Historic Waterfront. Follow City centre signs from any of the accessible routes into the city.

Public Transport Directions

Rail The Nearest station is James Street

TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor Traveller Rating:

4.5 of 5 stars
    • Excellent
      1290
    • Very Good
      609
    • Average
      63
    • Poor
      6
    • Terrible
      4

    Recent Reviews:

    • Christine M
      Southport, United Kingdom
      Steeped in history
      5 of 5 stars
      Tuesday, 3rd May 2022
      The 3 buildings known as the 3 Graces are a feast for the eyes . Such wonderful architecture. These buildings never cease to amaze me . However there are lots of other interesting thing around the... Read full review
    • david n
      Manchester, United Kingdom
      Power architecture
      5 of 5 stars
      Tuesday, 10th May 2022
      Pier Head itself is the ferry terminus and it is a clean, open area looking across the Mersey. The buildings on the "waterfront" i.e. the start of Liverpool "proper" are iconic and a show of the... Read full review
    • 341petes
      Amazing as always
      5 of 5 stars
      Tuesday, 17th May 2022
      As a local, come rain hail or shine I can never ever tire of my regular walks past the Albert Dock down to the Pier Head. It's good for the soul. The three graces standing proudly, the sea air from... Read full review

    Opening Times

    Open (1 January 2022 - 31 December 2022)

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