You will never be stuck for a fun day out again – even if you are a little strapped for cash – because we have found 40 free things you can do in Merseyside this Spring/Summer. So, instead of hemming yourself in, you can enjoy a fun day out in the city, come rain or shine, and it won’t cost you a penny for the pleasure.
1. Watch the Destination Space Show at World Museum
When: 19th, 20th, 27th & 29th March
In celebration of Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station, World Museum has teamed up with the European Space Agency’s first British astronaut to offer various events that are simply out of this world.
Families, schools and anyone interested in our solar system are welcome to enjoy a number of space events at the World Museum, including Stargazing, Sunshine Show and We Are Aliens. One of the most exciting events has to be the Destination Space Show, which offers numerous science demonstrations on how to train like an astronaut, how to visit space and what it’s like to work and live in space.
2. Take a Walk Along Crosby Beach
Crosby Beach is just breath-taking, whatever the weather. There’s no better place to visit in the scouse sunshine, as you can spend the day basking in the sun or walking hand-in-hand with your partner as you stroll across the sand.
When the clouds descend onto the sky and the rain starts to pour, nothing can quite compare to the drama of Antony Gormley’s Another Place, which offers 100 cast-iron figures spread along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching nearly one kilometre out to sea. So, make sure you grab your camera to take some fantastic shots – and you can always send them to us here at Signature’s Liverpool for us to share with our readers.
3. Visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum
Now this one is a pretty standard family day out – but it is still as enjoyable as ever. Whether you’re a keen history lover, want to educate your child about Liverpool’s maritime history or simply want to take a look at unusual artefacts, the Merseyside Maritime Museum will be just for you.
You can view genuine items from RMS Titanic, including lifejackets and a first class ticket. You can also view various ship models, full sized ships and maritime paintings. Your seafaring experience doesn’t have to end at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, either, as you can head on down to the third floor to walk through the International Slavery Museum, which offers an insight into historical and contemporary slavery.
4. Retro Sundays at Leaf
When: 24th April 2016
Retro Sundays at Leaf happens to be just one of many retro fairs held across Liverpool throughout the year by Pillowbox Vintage Fairs. You don’t have to have money to browse the diverse stalls, but you might want to take a little cash with you should you see anything you like.
The fair is ideal for both men and women, as you can view vintage clothing, superb jewellery and accessories, decorative items to make a house a home or even retro cakes and bakes.
5. Create Your Own Star at FACT
When: 19th March, 16th & 30th April, and 11th June
FACT offers some of the most experimental, innovative exhibitions in the city, which is why Star Lab might be the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Not only can you contribute to scientific research through a variety of games and activities, but you can also boost your understanding about the night sky. You can even create your own star in the galaxy, before checking back in later that day to learn its fate.
6. Catch Liverpool LightNight 2016
When: 13th May 2016
Nothing quite compares to the magic of Liverpool LightNight. The one-night arts and cultural festival takes place annually, illuminating the city through stunning light projections, as well as street performances, exhibitions, activities, walks and talks.
There really is something for everyone at Liverpool LightNight 2016, which is delivered across various galleries, museums and public spaces across the city. So, clear your schedule on Friday 13th May 2016 to enjoy everything from science demonstrations, dance workshops or epic parties.
7. See Historic Art at The Walker Art Gallery
The Walker Art Gallery is one of the most popular galleries in the city – and that’s because it is home to a wide collection of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts that span a whopping six hundred years. Where else can you go in the city to view works from Monet, Rembrandt, Poussin and Lucien Freud?
8. Smithdown Road Festival
When: 20th April to 2nd May 2016
You would have to be crazy to miss the Smithdown Road Festival between Saturday 20th April to Monday 2nd May. After all, you really cannot beat a bank holiday weekend of free music, art and food, spread out across some of Liverpool’s best bars and cafes. So, you will have the chance to try scrummy dishes from local eateries, whilst enjoying amazing music and art.
9. Enjoy a Picnic at Croxteth Park
Croxteth Park is the perfect place to spend a beautiful day in the sunshine. Not only can you grab your partner, best friend or the whole family to enjoy a picnic across the 500-acre park, but you can stroll through the grounds of the country estate, which was once the proud home to the Earls of Sefton.
In addition, the children can have plenty of fun at the adventure playground or feeding the ducks. You can also take the whole clan along an orienteering trail or you can even pay a small fee to enter the historic Croxteth Hall, which can also deliver tea parties and murder mystery evenings.
10. Little Liverpool at Museum of Liverpool
If you have a little one under the age of seven years old, we recommend taking them along to Little Liverpool at the Museum of Liverpool. Children can enjoy free hands-on activities that last up to 30 minutes, which can encourage their creativity, interactivity and socialising skills.
The museum also encourages parents to bring along children with disabilities, who may benefit from a supported, interactive environment. You can attend Little Liverpool at various intervals throughout the day, and you simply collect a free ticket from the information desk on the day.
11. International Mersey River Festival
When: 3rd-5th June 2016
The International Mersey River Festival offers three fantastic days of music, entertainment and plenty of family fun. Not only will 60 narrow boats and four tall ships make their way to the festival, but you will also see Royal Navy diving tanks, whilst the Royal Marines delight the crowd with unarmed combat and weapons displays.
You can also enjoy one of the many water sport sessions at the Salthouse Dock, or you can take the kids along to the dedicated children’s area where they can have fun with arts and crafts or street theatre. There will also be plenty of music on offer at the Main Stage at the Pier Head, the Sound Waves stage at Mann Island, and the Ship Stage aboard a ship at Harley Quay. You can enjoy performances from a number of household names, as well as community choirs, local talent, Irish bands and the Royal Marine Band. All for free and taking place from 3rd to 5th June 2016 along the Liverpool waterfront.
12. See a Squirrel at the National Trust Formby
For a fun day out in the great outdoors, look no further than the National Trust Formby. You can discover beautiful red squirrels and natterjacks that are scattered across the miles of coastal walks. You can also cycle, run or walk whilst enjoying stunning sea views.
13. View Uncommon Species at Hilbre Islands
How would you like to see uncommon bird species at Hilbre Islands? You can take a stroll along to the three tidal islands that are situated on the mouth of the Dee Estuary, which are known as Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre. Since the foundation of the Hilbre Island Bird Observatory in 1957, birds migrate to the Local Nature Reserves twice per year.
It’s not just birds you can find at Hilbre Islands. You can also talk to the Friends of Hilbre who can provide helpful advice about how to go seal watching on the sandbank. However, before you pack up the car and hit the islands, we recommend planning your visit in advance, as the islands are cut off from the mainland due to the tide for up to five hours out of every twelve.
14. Take the Family to the Lady Lever Art Gallery
Did you know you’re not too far away from one of the finest art galleries in Europe: Lady Lever Art Gallery? The 19th century gallery offers magnificent works, including Pre-Raphaelite paintings from Rossetti, Millais and Holman Hunt.
There are also plenty of activities for young visitors, as they can enjoy all sorts of arts and crafts, storytelling and dressing up. The gallery is open from 10am to 5pm every day and entry is completely free.
15. Make Sandcastles at Southport Beach
Grab your bucket and spade and head to Southport Beach when the sun starts to shine. Take the kids along to the beach to make amazing sandcastles they’ll have plenty of fun creating, play a game of Frisbee with your friends or even enjoy a pony ride for a small fee.
16. Step Inside the Historic St George’s Hall
St George’s Hall and Heritage Centre allows you to visit the cells used by prisoners who were once awaiting trial at the hall. You can also walk around the newly-refurbished Criminal Court and Judge’s Robing Room, learning more about the intriguing history of the building.
That’s not all, you can walk across the mosaic floor made up of 30,000 tiles, which was uncovered in 1954 to mark the hall’s centenary. You can also view the largest tunnel vaulted ceiling in the world, and one of the greatest brick arches on the planet.
17. Tickle Your Tastebuds at the Southport Food and Drink Festival
When: 3rd – 5th June 2016
How does three days of delicious food and drink sound? Pretty amazing, we bet! That’s why we recommend taking a trip along to the Southport Food and Drink Festival, which offers a day full of street food stalls, local and regional beer, chef demonstrations, a children’s marquee, food challenges, local and continental producer and, of course, cocktails.
The festival is free to enter but we recommend bringing some cash along for a bite to eat and something to drink. You really can bring the whole family along to Victoria Park, even the family pet, as dogs are allowed but must be kept on their leads.
18. Stroll Through Birkenhead Park
Do you dream of strolling through New York’s Central Park? Well, why not enjoy a wander through its inspiration Birkenhead Park. Frederick Law Olmsted, an American landscape architect, was so impressed with Birkenhead Park, which he called “a model town”, that he and Calvert Voux entered and won a competition to design Central Park based on the park. With the romantic Swiss Bridge, a beautiful country landscape and a superb glass pavilion with a café, there’s no better place to enjoy the spring or summer sun.
19. Dance at Africa Oye
When: 18th-19th June 2016
Clear your diary for the 18th and 19th June because Africa Oye will once again return to Sefton Park. Seriously, this is one festival you won’t want to miss, as it is the UK’s largest free celebration of African music and culture. Entrance is free for everyone, and on top of great music, you can head to the street food traders to buy and try various dishes from across the globe.
20. View Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool
Modern art might cost a bundle to buy, but its free for everyone to enjoy. Tate Liverpool offers free entry to experience their art collections for themselves, and there is a reason it is one of the most visited galleries outside of London.
You can view works from artists such as Matisse, Hepworth, Duchamp or Cezanne – and the experience won’t cost you a thing. You can also pay a small fee to attend one of their many temporary exhibitions. For instance, from May to September, you can attend the largest Francis Bacon exhibition ever staged in the north of England.
21. Browse the Summer Arts Market
When: 25th – 26th June 2016
The Summer Arts Market at St George’s Hall is free to attend and features arts and craft stalls from over 100 North West artists, designers and makers. It won’t cost you a penny to browse the market, which offers items you won’t find elsewhere in the city centre – which is why it’s worth taking a little cash with you, if there’s an item you just have to have.
22. Experience Art at Liverpool Biennial 2016
When: 9th July-16th October 2016
You don’t have to travel the world to experience international contemporary art – because it is brought to you thanks to the Liverpool Biennial 2016. A series of narrated stories will take place in fictional worlds, showcased in museums, galleries, pubs, shops, parking lots, hotels and unused spaces. The events will take place over 14 weeks – and the free festival is even available online!
23. View the Cumbrian Mountains from Formby Beach
Formby Beach offers the ultimate family day out, offering an amazing beach, dunes, woods and picnic areas. Not only can you enjoy the sunshine, but you can enjoy remarkable views of the Irish sea – and you can even see the Cumbrian mountains on a clear day after rain.
24. Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF)
When: 21st-24th July 2016
Music and sunshine go together like cheese on toast – and what a summer soundtrack we’re in for at LIMF 2016 – because the line-up looks better than ever before.
Some superb artists will take to the stage between 21st and 24th July, including Sigma, The Wombats, Maverick Sabre, Ms Dynamite, Lianne La Havas, Gilles Peterson, John Power Band and China Crisis. In addition to the free Sefton Park festival, you can pay to attend various events at The Palm House at Sefton Park, Buyer’s Club and the Music Room at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
25. Walk Along the Botanic Garden’s Winding Pathways
Walk along the winding pathways of the Botanic Gardens, taking in the stunning Victorian fernery, lake and arboretum. Located just two miles north of Southport, in the historic village of Churchtown, you will find the 19th century gardens that offer an explosion of colour in the form exquisite flowers – which is why the garden is particularly beautiful during spring and summer.
26. Liverpool Loves
When: 4th-7th August 2016
Liverpool Loves is a celebration of the city’s fantastic music, business, food and culture – and let’s face it, we have plenty to celebrate. The three day festival offers everything from tasty food and drink from the city’s best bars and restaurants, family activities that are fun for everyone and the promotion of local organisations, independents and social enterprises. So, take yourself along to the Pier Head this August for a fun and free day out that all ages can enjoy.
27. Visit the World Museum’s Aquarium
World Museum’s Aquarium offers a superb variety of fish from as close as Anglesey to as far as Australia. View colourful tropical fish that will delight your little ones, including the false clownfish that inspired Nemo. You can also view mangrove and native fish in clear tanks, whilst learning more about them. What’s more, you can take children along to the Living Laboratory, which allows younger ones to get up close with sea life in lower level tanks.
28. Have Fun at Rice Lane City Farm
Visit various farmyard animals at Rice Lane City Farm in Walton. Both young and old will fall head over heels in love with the animals, including Ryeland sheep and Red Poll cows, as well as rabbits, geese, pony, ducks, goats and chicks. There is no entrance fee to Rice Lane City Farm, but they do welcome donations.
29. Walk Through the Japanese Garden at Calderstones Park
As soon as the sun starts cracking the flags, you just have to take yourself along to Calderstones Park in Allerton. Spread across 94 acres of land, you can take a walk along through the beautiful Japanese garden and Harthill Botanical Gardens. You can also take a trip along to The Mansion House, which features a gallery, café, tennis courts, a lake and a child-friendly play area.
30. Take a Stroll Along Otterspool Promenade
Enjoy a fantastic riverside walk along Otterspool Promenade in Aigburth, strolling along the banks of the River Mersey, north of the Garston docks. You can wander through the narrow footpath or cycle to the Albert Dock along the cycleway. Children can also spend hours of fun at the spacious children’s playground, and you can enjoy a spot of kite flying on the hills and parkland.
31. Cycle Through Childwall Woods
There is so much to see and do in Liverpool – and no better way to do it than on a bike. One of the best cycle routes in the city has to be the Childwall Woods, which is free to enjoy. As you cycle, you will be flanked by magnificently tall trees and you may even spot a grey squirrel or two along the way.
32. Enjoy the Seaside at New Brighton
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, which is why we recommend a trip to New Brighton when the sun raises its head. Enjoy an ice cream on the beach, play Championship Adventure Golf or show off your skills at the bowling alley.
There’s also an Aviation and Archaeology Museum, a small fairground and you can even visit Vale Park that’s a little bit further along the promenade. So, while it won’t cost you a penny to stroll along New Brighton, we do recommend either taking a picnic or a little cash for some food and activities.
33. View Famous Artwork at Sudley House
Sudley House is home to some of the finest masterpieces in art, as you can view the art collection that once belonged to George Holt, a Victorian merchant ship owner. View works from renowned artists such as Burne-Jones, Romney, Landseer, Gainsborough and Rossetti.
You can also experience the audio-visual displays located on the ground floor, which recreates Victorian family life, which young and old can enjoy. Once you’ve explored Sudley House, you have the option to visit the extended tea room for a cuppa, or you can take a walk along the property’s stunning grounds.
34. Experience the Beauty of Liverpool Cathedral
Sir John Betjeman once called Liverpool Cathedral “one of the greatest buildings in the world” – and us Liverpudlians have the luxury of having the cathedral on your doorstep. You don’t have to pay a penny to enter Liverpool Cathedral at your leisure, and attraction tickets are available for a small fee.
35. Love the Liverpool Waterfront
One of the city’s most beautiful attractions is sitting right in the city centre, and you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket to experience it. We’re talking about the Liverpool waterfront, of course. On a sunny day, there can be no greater pleasure than just walking along the Liverpool waterfront, experiencing the beauty of the Three Graces, the history of the Albert Dock or catching a glimpse of stunning buildings such as 30 James Street – which was RMS Titanic’s port of registry.
36. Broaden Your Mind at Liverpool Central Library
You won’t be short of books to read at Liverpool Central Library, because it is one the largest in the UK. Not only can you take your pick from contemporary fiction and non-fiction, but you can browse collections the library has built up over the past 150 years, including many rare book illustrations and fine printing.
37. Go Fishing in Stanley Park
Stanley Park offers the perfect place to enjoy a spot of fishing, offering some fantastic fishing lakes for you to enjoy whilst taking in the beautiful scenery. The 110 acre Grade II* listed park dates back to 1870 and also features the Isla Gladstone Conservatory.
38. Take a Photograph of the Dream Sculpture
You can guarantee you haven’t seen anything quite like Dream in St Helens. The sculpture is simply a work of art and takes the form of a young girl’s head, with her in a seemingly in a dream-like state. What’s remarkable about the sculpture is that its contours will change, depending on the time and weather. So, grab your camera and head to the former Sutton Colliery to take a photo in front of this amazing landmark.
39. West Kirby Marine Lake
The picturesque West Kirby Marine Lake will make you feel like you’re enjoying a fantastic holiday abroad, as you’ll be surrounded by water on three sides. Be sure to take your camera, because you can experience breath-taking views of the Dee Estuary and Welsh Hills on a clear day.
Those with cash to spend and an adventurous nature should embark on a course with the Wirral Sailing Centre, as they’ll help you find a fantastic new hobby sailing, windsurfing or kayaking.
40. Experience the Beauty of the Sefton Park Palm House
The crown jewel of Sefton Park has to be the Sefton Park Palm House, which you can visit every single day of the week. The Grade II* listed Victorian glasshouse is worth a visit to during every weather, but its exquisite design is most definitely accentuated in the summer sun – and admission is free.
You can enjoy the beauty of the building and the park on a bench either inside or outside the Palm House, and you can also book tickets for one of the many events that regularly take place over the course of the year, including the Free Sunday Concert.
Liverpool has it all: beautiful architecture, amazing attractions, fun and free events and some pretty amazing people. What else does it have? Well, it’s actually the home to some pretty famous faces that you didn’t know are from Liverpool.