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Exploring Liverpool’s Maritime Industry and its History

The city of Liverpool is proud of its maritime industry and history. Once one of the world’s major centres in the 18th and 19th centuries, Liverpool played a huge part in the British Empire’s global growth and became a major port for the mass movement of people and goods between Northern Europe to America.

The city was also a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management, which all helped to form Liverpool as the historic and fascinating place it is today.

To celebrate the wealth of seafaring history and shipping attractions, here’s a guide to all the best places, venues and events to enjoy if you’re interested in Liverpool’s maritime industry.

Explore Merseyside Maritime Museum

Merseyside maritime museum

Delve into the history of Liverpool’s maritime industry and seafaring past at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Located in the heart of the Albert Dock, this fascinating museum is perfect for those interested in the development of the world famous port, boats, paintings, ship models, ship wrecked objects, uniforms and much more.

Highlights include the Life at Sea display, telling the story of the merchant navy. Plus, children and families can learn about Liverpool’s role in The Battle of the Atlantic during World War Two.

Take a Trip on the Mersey Ferry

Mersey ferries

If you’re a ship fan, taking a trip on the Mersey Ferry is a must. Without a doubt, it’s the best way to see and completely enjoy Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and UNESCO world heritage site.

The ferry starts its journey hourly from the Pier Head Ferry Terminal to Seacombe and Woodside, where you can hop off and enjoy admission to the U-boat story or the amazing Spaceport.

Book a Stay at 30 James Street

liverpool landmarks

For the ultimate watery-themed visit to Liverpool, book a stay at 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic and enjoy a luxurious overnight treat. This hotel offers opulent titanic themed rooms, set within the original building that housed the White Star Line offices and passenger waiting rooms.

Steeped in maritime history, many rooms boast breathtaking views across the River Mersey, Albert Dock and Three Graces. The stunning rooms and suites have been designed to give you more space, luxury and flexibility. You’ll be transported back in time as you immerse yourself in the opulence of our country’s most glamorous era, enjoying surroundings that impressively recreate the experience of first class passengers on the world’s premier cruise line.

30 James Street also offers guests exclusive access to Morgan’s Spa, an opulent city centre haven that is perfect for relaxing. Offering a wide range of bespoke signature treatments and products, the staff will ensure your time spent at the hotel is the most tranquil it can possibly be.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, venture up to the rooftop and enjoy a delicious meal in the Carpathia Champagne Bar and Restaurant. Named after the heroic lifeboat, RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 RMS Titanic survivors, this beautiful restaurant serves tasty food and expertly mixed cocktails in stunning surroundings.

Find the Titanic memorial

Titanic memorial
Source: Titanic Hotel

Located on St Nicholas Place, stands the granite memorial dedicated to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic. It is one of the most poignant and outstanding memorials in the city that really reiterates Liverpool’s deep-rooted history and respect for maritime.

Although it is most strongly associated with the RMS Titanic, due to Liverpool’s links with the White Star Line, the memorial also stands as a remembrance to all maritime engine room fatalities that occurred during World War One.

Explore the Albert Dock

albert dock

When it comes to maritime industry in Liverpool, the Albert Dock is the ultimate hub of magnificence. Take a stroll around this historic area, immerse yourself in the tales of Liverpool’s merchant navy and take in the beauty.

Constructed in 1841, today its lofty colonnade 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.

Discover the Ropewalks


This area of the city got its name from being once used for rope making during Liverpool’s maritime boom. There was a prevalence of ‘roperies’ established in the area to service the shipping industry, following the construction of the Old Dock.

Between Bold Street and Duke Street, the streets are filled with large 18th century warehouses, merchants houses and counting houses, which stretch down the parallel roads.

Enjoy the Old Dock Experience

Old Dock Experience
Source: National Museums Liverpool

Discovered during excavations in 2001, Liverpool’s revolutionary Old Dock had been buried since 1826. Since its discovery, the dock has been carefully preserved and for the first time in centuries the bed of the Pool, the creek that gave Liverpool its name, can be seen.

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. 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.

Today, visitors can view this historic site in all its glory and discover another piece of Liverpool’s fascinating maritime industry and its history.

Visit Cunard House

Cunard House

Last but not least, during your maritime visit to Liverpool you must go and see the stunning Cunard. A magnificent icon that sits in the heart of Liverpool’s UNESCO World heritage site, this Grade II* listed building houses the newly transformed Cunard House, a breathtaking wedding & events venue and exclusive restaurant.

This beautiful building celebrates the city’s strong links with the Cunard and White Star Lines. In the past it’s played host to events for the Tall Ships Regatta, the Three Queens and other maritime occasions.

Keep up with the latest events in this stunning building on Liverpool’s Waterfront by following our Facebook page.

Magnificent Maritime Events

As well as year-round attractions, Liverpool also hosts a range of amazing maritime themed events throughout the year. Here are a few coming up soon!

Cruise Arrivals

When: Various dates

The royal Princess
Source: Wiki Commons / Porth Dinllaen and Royal Princess, River Mersey / El Pollock

This summer celebrate Liverpool’s Maritime industry in style by enjoying the cruise ship season on Liverpool’s Waterfront.

In July, Princess Cruises’ largest ship, the Royal Princess, will be returning to the city. 19 decks high and 330m long, this giant of a ship arrives at 8am on 16th July and departs after 6pm. There is also the spectacular Magellan, heralding from the Bahamas, this ship is coming to Liverpool on 22nd and 29th July, as well as 10th and 25th August.

If you’re a fan of the Cunard Line, the Queen Elizabeth will be putting down its anchor in the company’s historic home on July 23.

Finally, on Friday, September 7th the Disney Magic cruise liner is set to dock at 8am as part of a tour around the UK.  Last year, the arrival of the cruise liner saw hundreds of families head to the waterfront for an afternoon of activities including an open-air cinema.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

When: 28th and 29th July 2018

Clipper Round the World

The Clipper Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world. The race is a record breaking 40,000 nautical miles around the world on a fleet of 12 identical 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

Each yacht is manned by one fully qualified skipper, but the rest of the crew is made up of teams that don’t need to have previous sailing experience. Divided into eight legs and 13 to 16 individual races, the teams can choose to complete the full circumnavigation or select individual legs.

Racing across six continents, they will have faced some of Mother Nature’s toughest conditions before returning almost a year later to Liverpool as ocean warriors. The yachts will return to the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool on 28th and 29th July, following its global around the world.

Daniel Adamson Steam Ship – Canal, River and Docks Cruise

When: Various dates

Daniel Adamson - Maritime industry
Source: Ships Monthly

If you love a boat journey, why not enjoy a canal, river and dock cruise this summer. You and your loved ones can travel in steam driven, art deco splendour along the lower reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal to Eastham Locks, where the tug will exit onto the River Mersey.

Take in the spectacular sites of this busy river, past the amazing Liverpool Waterfront and continue ‘behind the wall’ of the Seaforth dock system. Sure to be a glorious day of sailing, we can’t wait to test our sea legs on this fabulous Merseyside cruise.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the very best ways to discover Liverpool’s maritime industry and its history. From cruise ships, to the maritime museum and once in a life time events, Liverpool is one of the best cities to enjoy all things seafaring.

Don’t forget, Cunard House is now open for events, conferences and weddings, so if you’d like to book a special occasion at our venue, get in touch with our friendly team today on 0151 305 3753.

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