Liverpool may have dramatically changed over the years – but one thing has remained the same and that’s the city’s festive spirit. As the jolly holly season is officially here, we thought it was high time to show 46 amazing Christmas photos of Liverpool throughout the years. Everything from the earliest Liverpool Christmas Markets, to the amazing festive decoration the city has adopted over time, Liverpool loves Christmas time and does it well.
Liverpool’s Sefton Park is one of the city’s most beautiful gems, and this photo of the cafe in the park was taken circa 1900, offering visitors a comfortable place to warm up after a stroll in the snowy setting.
Some much needed Christmas cheer was given to those in Liverpool Royal Infirmary during the festive season. These round wards were always beautifully decorated by those who worked there, bringing as much cheer for the holidays to those who were unfortunate enough to be in hospital at the most magical time of the year.
The above photograph was taken outside Coopers on Church Street back in the 1930s. Coopers was a luxurious food store that was quite popular during the festive season and was the equivalent to Fortnum & Masons.
However, its popularity didn’t last following the emergence of supermarkets, and so Coopers closed its doors in the 1970s to be replaced with WH Smiths, with the building now serving as River Island.
At one time, Bon Marche was the poshest shop in Liverpool, remembered by many as a great place to pick up quality goods as far back as the 1900s. This image from the 30s showcases the most magical grotto including a makeshift glimmering, fairytale castle and Santa himself with sacks full of presents.
Anderson shelters were installed in homes in vulnerable areas of Merseyside during World War II. Here a young child sleeps in a small, festive Anderson shelter in December 1940.
The shelters were designed to fit up to 6 people at a squeeze and would become cold and draughty once they were sealed. Due to the lack of warmth and air, many people opted to only use their shelters as soon as the air raid siren was sounded.
These huge trees were set up annually in front of what became known as ‘blue movie’ theatre, “The Jacey”, with an accompanying nativity scene including a manger. It turns out however that before gaining such a reputation the theatre screened constant cartoon reels, and intellectual movies as well.
The Salvation Army band filled the city with seasonal cheer on 20th December 1954, as their carol singers sang underneath the Christmas tree on St George’s Hall plateau, and you can even see Lime Street Station in the background.
On 20th December 1955, the children of Liverpool could visit Father Christmas at Santa’s grotto at the Fairyland. It truly was a winter wonderland, as snow fell onto the festive hut, as well as the Christmas tree and sleigh in the background.
Call us biased but we think Liverpool is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet – and it looks even better during Christmastime. A perfect example is this photo that was captured on 25th November 1962, with a double-decker bus on its way to Green Lane.
Lewis’s Department Store was once the place to go when the festive season reared its merry head, but it sadly closed its doors once in 2010, after 114 years of trading in the city. Not only did Lewis’s offer everyone’s Christmas presents all under one roof, but it was also the home of the world’s very first Christmas grotto, with people visiting Santa Claus for the first time at the department store.
The above snap was taken in Lewis’s on 2nd December 1966, as festive shoppers made their way through the busy crowds to find gifts for their loved ones.
We don’t know what we love more about this photo: the amazing street decorations or the retro cars. We’re also pretty surprised to see cars driving down Church Street.
One thing has never changed over the years, and that’s the popularity of Liverpool’s Church Street, which is as busier than ever before. This photo was snapped on 22nd November 1968, with busy shoppers looking to bag a bargain on the high street.
This was the day when well-loved comedian and his band of Diddymen switched on the Christmas lights in Liverpool. Doddy was, at the time, an incredibly famous comedian who had brought the mythical Diddymen to life in his stage performances and later on TV.
They were the tiny people who lived in Knotty Ash and worked down the jam and treacle mines.
Floral designs and illuminated angels were the festive themes found on Bold Street in 1972, as merry folk shopped at stores lining one of Liverpool’s most loved streets. Take a look at more historic photos of Bold Street.
Christmas started in Liverpool’s Church Street as early as 29th October 1976, as this photo proves. Here the city’s lighting engineers began putting up the Christmas decorations to get the city into the festive spirit before Halloween!
We’re all dreaming of a white Christmas this year just like the ones we used to know. Like in 1977 when there was a good 6 inches sticking to the ground as this image of the old bus station shows.
A picture perfect white Christmas in Liverpool, must have been fun sliding down that hill in one of the old double deckers.
Sefton Park is one of the best attractions in Liverpool, and offers a number of superb events each and every month. Many people will remember the pirate ship in the water, which was sadly left to rot during the 1980s and removed from the park sometime in the 1990s.
So, for those of you who never got to experience it, just take in the beauty of the remarkable pirate ship during winter 1979.
The 1985 scene doesn’t look much different to nowadays, does it? 20 years ago, it looked as though the whole of the city turned out to enjoy a bit of festive shopping, watch some Christmas entertainment from the stage or take in the bright lights on the high street’s Christmas tree.
Take yourself back nearly 20 years ago with this amazing photo of Liverpool city centre in Christmas 1986. Apart from the dodgy perms, you can see heart-warming festive decorations, as well as stores that no longer feature on the city’s street, such as Littlewoods.
It looks as though the whole city turned out to see the Christmas lights turned on at Church Street on 27th November 1986 – and offers a different angle of the street from the early photo taken the same year.
People flock to the city centre to experience the wonder of the Liverpool Christmas markets – and you only have to take a look at this photo, taken on 14th December 1987, to see how much far they’ve come on.
Liverpool city centre is currently bursting with activity, with people flocking to the shops to buy the perfect gift for their loved ones. Compare this to this years Black Friday crowds and the scene doesn’t look that much different.
Mother and daughter enjoy a spot of late night festive shopping in Liverpool city centre on 22nd November 1991. Here Mrs Vanda McDonough and her daughter Chloe take in the beauty of the festive lights on Church Street. There’s nothing like the magic of Christmas when you are young and the look on this little girls face just says it all.
Clayton Square was once a magical place during the Christmas holiday, with all sorts of decorative characters adorning the shopping centre. The above photograph was taken back in 1991, when the centre turned into a truly remarkable winter wonderland.
Christmas is a magical time for the young, and you can see the wonder on the little ones’ faces as they stop to take in the Christmas lights on Church Street, back on 19th November 1993. We’re loving the kids’ retro coats, which are just as colourful as the decorations.
Many Liverpudlians turned out to see the Christmas tree lights turned on at Church Street back in 1995. One thing that’s more colourful than the festive decorations has to be the C&A sign, which was once a staple shop on the high street store before it closed its doors five years later in 2000.
The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral has to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – and its architecture is wonderfully accentuated during the festive season.
In 1997, the public turned up to watch a traditional nativity performance, telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Today people attend annually to watch Christmas carol performances on Christmas Eve and to do a spot of Christmas shopping in Liverpool at the Winter Arts Market.
The Church Street Christmas tree took a rather peculiar turn in 1998, by the looks of it. The public could experience the tree by taking a walk inside, Liverpool always thinking outside the box and stepping away from the traditions.
We think it’s pretty fair to say the tree looks a whole lot different nowadays – thankfully!
The Albert Dock offers plenty of festive fun for the city – and the Christmas tree on Chavasse Park brought a touch of colour to the city in 1999. You have to admit, the tree looks a whole lot more traditional than the one erected in Church Street in 1998, and once again in 1999!
The nativity lights came to Liverpool’s high street in 2004 – and if you look a bit down the quiet road, you can spot the bright blue Church Street Christmas tree. Bet that went down well with LFC fans!
Liverpool doesn’t do events by halves – and that’s why the switching of the Christmas lights in 2006 was particularly colourful with a mesmerising firework display outside St George’s Hall.
Rain couldn’t deter festive shoppers during Christmas 2007, as they made their way to and from shops, taking in the festive lights as they went. Even in miserable weather the city still manages to have a magical glow at Christmas.
St George’s Hall looks magnificent every single day of the year – but more so when it was covered in snow in 2009. The view was emphasized with beautiful lights, with two gorgeous blue Christmas trees flanking the building. Now home to the Liverpool Christmas Markets, St Georges plateau is a part of everyone’s Christmas in Liverpool.
Before the arrival of the colour changing Christmas tree made entirely of LED love hearts, the epicentre of Liverpool ONE was dominated by what can only be described as a grounded festive UFO.
A domed skeletal frame was topped by a Christmas tree that changed colour every 10 seconds, perhaps the inspiration for what was to come.
Santa came to Liverpool in 2013, along with the Liverpool Christmas markets and thousands of people came into the city centre to splash the cash on some festive gifts for their loved ones. Making their way through the busy crowds has been made somewhat easier with the move of the markets but the shops still draw in the largest crowds at Christmas.
Some things never change, hey!
Adults and children turned out to see the amazing lantern parade across the city centre, with famous characters depicted for the Christmas season. Children’s faces lit up when they spotted Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and the Big Bad Wolf walking through Liverpool ONE and Church Street.
Before moving to St George’s plateau the Liverpool Christmas Market stalls took over Church Street and Williamson Square for three months out of the year. This made Christmas shopping in Liverpool a bit cramped as thousands came to buy presents whilst weaving in and out of the busy stalls.
Between raiding the shops for last-minute presents and Christmas sale bargains visit Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE as it’s transformed with Bavarian style huts and bars. Enjoy a glass of hot mulled wine, cider or tasty hot chocolate to warm you up on the chillier months.
2016 was the first year The Lego Santa Express was seen outside of London, unveiled to the public on the 29th November. The installation was built from over 500,000 individual Lego bricks and had three carriages, a driver and a Christmas tree.
Liverpool ONE lights up every year with twinkling silver lights and huge artistic structures. A stark contrast to the historic Albert Docks in the background of this photo taken at Christmas in 2016.
This image was captured on Christmas Eve 2016 and shows a little girl completing the Snowflake Trail in Liverpool. Twelve fibreglass sculptures, created by local artists were placed all over the city alongside multisensory displays to encourage exploration of the city at this most magical time of the year.
Fairy lights make everything look festive and that’s why we love this image of the mast at Albert Dock against the night sky. The mast and rigging mark the sea entrance of Albert Dock and harkens back to the landmarks past when it was the busiest working dock in Britain.
In 2017, throughout December Albert Dock was a canvas for a remarkable lights display. The presentation was projected onto the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building and incorporated origami in the style of a giant pop-up book.
Much more than the most magical time of the year, in 2017 the Liverpool Ice Festival brought a whole new thrilling concept to the city. Popping up all along the World Heritage Waterfront were exciting fairground rides, an ice rink and death-defying ice slide. This alongside traditional Bavarian bars and huts selling delicious food and we have the Christmas markets of the future.
Now in their new home, the Liverpool Christmas Markets are a sight to behold as soon as visitors enter the city from Limestreet train station. The two-tier popup bar and Rudolph’s Rest bookend a selection of international stalls selling everything from tasty food to unique arts and crafts.
The perfect place to pick up a Christmas gift or enjoy some warming winter drinks with colleagues and friends during the festive season.
The tallest city Christmas tree in the UK is certainly a sign that Christmas has started. The Liverpool ONE Christmas tree was launched in 2015 as part of the campaign to promote #OneMagicalCity now it has become an icon of the city and marks the start of the exciting festive season in Liverpool.
Christmas is just getting better in Liverpool, now offering over 40 festive stalls at Liverpool Christmas markets, the tallest Christmas tree in the UK and more amazing shops, bars and restaurants than ever before. In addition, there are plenty of festive events for all ages in the city centre, Albert Dock, Sefton Park and St George’s Hall. Read our guide for an amazing Christmas in Liverpool for 2018.
Have you got a favourite festive experience in the city? Remember some of the moments displayed above? Drop us a comment and tell our readers about them. We’d love to hear your stories.