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Best museums in Liverpool that are worth your time

If you’re looking for cultural activities on your Mersey vacation, check out this guide to the 15 best museums in Liverpool for a fun and educational trip.

Liverpool is a city that’s brimming with world-class museums. Its long and rich history as a center of commerce and trading port means it has absorbed many cultures into its diverse cultural life. This diversity is reflected in its range of museums: these include historical institutions, an impressive range of art galleries, and some excellent science museums. There’s something for everyone here: whether you’re on a family trip or traveling solo, visiting the city’s museums is one of the most fun things to do in Liverpool.

On any list of the best places to visit in Liverpool, the city’s museums are a stand-out addition. From the excellent art collections at the Walker and the Tate to the fascinating historical stories at the WWII Museum and the International Slavery Museum, this guide to the best museums in Liverpool will help you to plan an itinerary for an unforgettable trip.

Best history museums in Liverpool

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1. Explore a secret bunker at the WWII Museum

Experience a slice of real-life history with this Western Approaches WWII Museum Ticket. The museum is located in a genuine WWII underground bunker, where you can see where the British Armed Forces had their Operations Room and learn about life in Britain during this dramatic period of world history.

Highlights:

Discover a recreated war-torn street to get a sense of what life was like for civilians in Liverpool during the war.

Address and opening hours:

1-3 Rumford Street, L2 8SZ. Open daily 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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2. Learn all about the city’s history at the Museum of Liverpool

Anybody curious to learn more about the city’s fascinating history should head straight to the Museum of Liverpool, a well-curated collection of different aspects of Liverpool’s rich and colorful culture and history. From real-life stories of Liverpool’s communities to archaeological finds, this museum is a must-visit.

Highlights:

Check out the examples of early steam locomotives, which first connected Liverpool and Manchester.

Address and opening hours:

Pier Head, Mann Island, L3 1DG. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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3. Learn about the history of the slave trade at the International Slavery Museum

The philosopher George Santayana famously said: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Facing up to its unsavory past as a central port in the slave trade, Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum is one of the most important museums in Liverpool and a sobering and informative experience.

Highlights:

Combine the museum visit with a Guided City Walking Tour, which takes you to the Royal Albert Dock, where the museum hosts exhibitions, art, and events centered around topics of racial discrimination, human rights, anti-racism, and modern-day slavery.

Address and opening hours:

Royal Albert Dock, L3 4AQ. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Best art museums in Liverpool

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4. Don’t miss a visit to the Tate

For art lovers, the Tate is the most famous museum in Liverpool. This contemporary art gallery, like its counterparts in London and Cornwall, is always worth a visit, both for its permanent collection and its temporary exhibitions.

Highlights:

Head to the Democracies collection, a showcase of artworks from around the world.

Address and opening hours:

Royal Albert Dock, L3 4BB. Open daily 10:00 AM-5.50 PM.

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5. Take a walk around the Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery is another of the best museums in Liverpool. Famous for its extensive collection of art that spans the 12th to the 21st century, art lovers will be delighted by the wide range of paintings by famous artists on display.

Highlights:

Make sure to see the famous painting Dante’s Dream by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Address and opening hours:

William Brown St, L3 8EL. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

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6. See a working artists’ space at the Bluecoat

Housed in one of Liverpool’s most beautiful buildings, The Bluecoat is a contemporary art center that functions both as a gallery and a working space for artists. With a dynamic events program and constantly changing exhibitions, this is a museum with a difference.

Highlights:

The Bluecoat's events calendar is buzzing with workshops, art exhibits, theater shows, and concerts — be sure to check it out.

Address and opening hours:

50-51 College Lane, L1 3BZ. Open Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM-5:30 PM, Sundays 12:00 PM-5:00 PM.

Best design museums in Liverpool

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7. Immerse yourself in architecture at RIBA North

RIBA North is the Royal Institution of Architects’ national architecture center and is a fascinating experience both for architecture experts and newcomers alike. Based on Mann Island and surrounded by iconic buildings, this museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in design, architecture, or urban planning.

Highlights:

There are plenty of resources for those hoping to learn more about architecture, including tours, exhibitions, and talks.

Address and opening hours:

21 Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1BP. Open Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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8. See the design of tomorrow at the Atrium Gallery

The Liverpool John Moores University is home to the Atrium Gallery, where you can see the work of graduate and postgraduate Art and Design students. These exhibitions are often cutting-edge and inspiring: you never know what you’re about to see.

Highlights:

Check the website for upcoming exhibitions, and use the Liverpool City Sights 24hr Hop-On Hop-Off Open Top Bus Tour to get around town and see the workspaces where studio classes are held.

Address and opening hours:

The John Lennon Art and Design Building, 2 Duckinfield Street, L3 5RD. Open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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9. See design as it’s happening at the Invisible Wind Factory

Located in a former warehouse on the docks, the Invisible Wind Factory is an exciting multidisciplinary art space, which houses a whole range of working artists’ and designers’ studios. There are frequent concerts and events, and there’s a great café serving homegrown food.

Highlights:

The former industrial space makes for a fun and diverse range of nighttime events.

Address and opening hours:

3 Regent Road, L3 7DS. Opening hours vary.

Best science museums in Liverpool

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10. Travel back in time at the Garstang Museum of Archaeology

Live your childhood Indiana Jones fantasy at the fantastic Garstang Museum of Archaeology, located at the University of Liverpool. Founded in 1904, the museum houses an exceptional collection of artifacts from Egypt, Sudan, and the Near East.

Highlights:

Make sure you see the 3500-year-old "Garstang Mummy" in the Egyptian Afterlife gallery.

Address and opening hours:

14 Abercromby Square, L69 7WZ. Open Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 AM-4.00 PM. Closed Friday-Tuesday.

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11. Explore five floors of science and culture at the World Museum

One of the most famous museums in Liverpool, the World Museum has it all, from an Aquarium to a Planetarium, and everything in between. With extensive collections on natural and physical sciences, this is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in science.

Highlights:

The museum boasts a scientifically and historically important natural science collection of over a million specimens.

William Brown St, Liverpool L3 8EN. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

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12. Let your kids fall in love with science at Eureka! Science Museum

Geared towards children up to the age of 14, the Eureka! Science Museum is designed to introduce young people to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mechanics (STEAM). With fun, interactive exhibits, this is sure to spark curiosity in young minds.

Highlights:

There are always new exhibits and workshops taking place: check the website to see what’s coming up.

Address and opening hours:

Victoria Place, Wallasey CH44 6NR. Open Tuesday-Friday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, Saturday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

Alternative museums in Liverpool

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13. Rock out at the British Music Experience

Over the decades, many of the world’s most beloved musicians hailed from the small island of Britain. From David Bowie to Queen, from the Sex Pistols to Adele, explore this fantastic musical legacy with this British Music Experience Ticket. You’ll be inspired to embrace your inner rockstar.

Highlights:

For aspiring musicians, there’s an interactive section where you can play musical instruments.

Address and opening hours:

Cunard Building, Pier Head, L3 1DS. Open Saturday-Thursday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Closed Fridays.

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14. Try something completely different at the Quirky Quarter

For all lovers of the offbeat, the outré, and the outlandish — the Quirky Quarter Museum is sure to tickle your funny bone. Visit one of the most fun museums in Liverpool to challenge yourself, solve puzzles, and get some truly quirky photos.

Highlights:

Take photos of yourself standing on the ceiling in this topsy-turvy fantasy world. Combine this attraction with a Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Highlights Tour for more fun.

Address and opening hours:

The Arch, 142 Duke St, L1 5DR. Open Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday 11:00 AM-6:00 PM, Thursday-Friday 11:00 AM-9:00 PM. Closed Tuesdays.

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15. Learn the history of the Fab Four at The Beatles Story Museum

No trip to Liverpool is complete without an immersion in the history of the city’s most famous sons, and The Beatles Story is undoubtedly one of the best museums in Liverpool. The Fab Four played an important role in shaping the city’s cultural identity: learn all about the extraordinary history of the world’s most popular band with this Beatles Story Ticket.

Highlights:

Get your friends all aboard, and take an underwater trip on the Yellow Submarine.

Address and opening hours:

Britannia Vaults, Royal Albert Dock, L3 4AD. Open daily, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

FAQs

What are the must-visit museums in Liverpool?

Liverpool is filled with world-quality museums. The World Museum, The Tate, and The Walker Art Gallery are all unmissable cultural experiences.

Are there any free museums in Liverpool?

Many of Liverpool’s major museums are free, at least for entry to their permanent collections (there is often a fee to enter the temporary exhibits). The Tate, the Walker Art Gallery, the World Museum, and the Museum of Liverpool all offer free admission: it’s worth checking the websites of individual museums.

Are there any museums in Liverpool that are suitable for children and families?

Children of all ages love the World Museum, with its Planetarium and Aquarium. The Museum of Liverpool offers a fun interactive exhibit called Little Liverpool for children under six.

For which museums in Liverpool are guided tours recommended?

A guided tour can help you to learn more about the most interesting exhibits in a museum and make sure you don’t miss anything of note. This is especially helpful in the bigger museums, such as the Walker Art Gallery or the World Museum, where there is too much to take in on one visit.

Are there any museum passes or discount cards available for visiting multiple museums in Liverpool?

Yes: get your hands on this 1-Day Liverpool Pass for Top Attractions to get access to many of Liverpool’s must-visit museums and landmarks.