Best art museums in Liverpool: discovering the city's artistic wonders

Immerse yourself in culture with this list of the best art museums in Liverpool. From medieval painting to modern art: you're guaranteed an inspiring time.

Liverpool is known for its vibrant cultural identity, its lively nightlife and its wide range of fun things to do. It's also a great destination for culture lovers. Liverpool has the highest number of art galleries of any UK city outside of London and is full of exciting artistic spaces. From collections of classical paintings to contemporary art hotspots, this guide to the best art museums in Liverpool will ensure you make the most of your trip.

Whether you're interested in architecture or photography, Pre-Raphaelite painting, or cutting-edge contemporary creations, you'll find fantastic art in Liverpool to suit everybody. The city has always been a haven for artists, and many of its galleries double as creative spaces. This makes for a dynamic atmosphere, plenty of hidden gems, and a destination that is heaven for culture vultures.

Best art museums in Liverpool

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1. Make a pilgrimage to the Tate Liverpool

First on any art lover's list of art galleries in Liverpool has to be the Tate Gallery, which is one of Europe's major venues for modern art. With well-curated temporary exhibitions and an extensive permanent collection, this is a must-visit.

Highlights:

Make sure to see Joan Miró's spectacular painting, 'The Great Carnivore,' part of Tate Liverpool's permanent collection.

Address and opening hours:

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

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2. Take a walk around the Walker Art Gallery

Part of the National Museums Liverpool group, the Walker Art Gallery is home to the country's largest art collection outside of London. In terms of art galleries in Liverpool, this is one of the best. It's home to paintings from the 12th century up to the modern day.

Highlights:

For fans of 20th-century art, the gallery includes work by Lucien Freud, Gilbert and George, and David Hockney.

Address and opening hours:

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

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3. See something different at OUTPUT Gallery

OUTPUT Gallery is an artists' collective championing and exhibiting Merseyside-based artists. The gallery works closely with other contemporary art spaces in Liverpool, including Bluecoat and Bridewell Studios, to host exhibits and run artist development programs. Go on a private walking tour with a local and take in this excellent museum.

Highlights:

OUTPUT runs a postal exhibitions scheme, which commissions artworks and sends them to people by post.

Address and opening hours:

32 Seel Street, Liverpool L1 4FD. Open Wednesday-Sunday 11:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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4. Enjoy the impressive collection at Sudley House

Formerly a grand private house, Sudley House is home to the private collection of George Holt. The house, with its beautiful furniture, is well worth a visit in its own right. Why not make a day of it in this area of South Liverpool and visit Sudley House and nearby Strawberry Field?

Highlights:

Sudley's collection includes important works of the Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite movements, including paintings by Turner and Rossetti.

Address and opening hours:

Mossley Hill Road, Liverpool L18 8BX. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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5. Allow yourself to be surprised at the Bluecoat

Liverpool's famous center for contemporary art, the Bluecoat is a training and working space for artists as well as a gallery. With a dynamic program of exhibits, workshops, and events, there's always something new to experience in this exciting space.

Highlights:

The building is one of the most beautiful in Liverpool. Why not catch a poetry recital or take a creative workshop while you're there?

Address and opening hours:

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

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6. Have your eyes opened at the Open Eye Gallery

An independent museum dedicated to contemporary photography, the Open Eye Gallery is situated in a unique building that's a piece of modern art in itself. Fascinating exhibitions display rich, experimental work.

Highlights:

The archive collection is also well worth a visit. They include work dating back to the 1930s and 40s and feature photographs by world-renowned photographers.

Address and opening hours:

19 Mann Island Liverpool L3 1BP. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Best design museums in Liverpool

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7. See cutting-edge art in a disused police station

The Bridewell Studios and Gallery is located in an old police building, which has been home to an artists' collective since the 1970s. It currently houses 35 working artists, who have their studios in the building, as well as an innovative, diverse gallery space. One of the best art galleries in Liverpool.

Highlights:

Frequent temporary exhibitions, talks, and readings push the boundaries of conventional artistic expression. See what's on the Bridewell's schedule during your vacation.

Address and opening hours:

1 Prescot St, L7 8UL. Open daily 8:00 AM-10:30 PM. Event times vary.

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8. Discover the design of the future at LJMU's Atrium Gallery

For the very freshest trends in contemporary design, take a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour and head to the Atrium Gallery, part of Liverpool John Moores University, where you can see exhibitions of graduate and postgraduate design work.

Highlights:

You never know what you're going to find in this groundbreaking space: you may just be seeing the work of the great designers of tomorrow.

Address and opening hours:

2 Duckinfield Street, Liverpool L3 5RD. Open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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9. Get a feel for architecture at RIBA North

Take a Mersey Cruise and disembark on the docks, where you'll encounter the impressive RIBA North building. The Royal Institution of Architects' center is a great place for enthusiasts and newcomers alike to learn about the history of architecture and the principles of great design.

Highlights:

The futuristic flanks of the RIBA North building reflect the iconic buildings surrounding it. It's a breathtaking sight.

Address and opening hours:

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

10. Explore a truly multidisciplinary art space at the Invisible Wind Factory

Located on Liverpool's docklands in a repurposed factory building, the Invisible Wind Factory is one of Liverpool's most inspirational art and design spaces. Make a trip to the Baltic Triangle district, stop off at Cains Brewery Village, then head to this Liverpool art hotspot.

Highlights:

Alongside the artists' workshops and studios, the building contains a Factory Garden and Kitchen café serving delicious snacks.

Address:

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

FAQs

Are there any free-entry days for art museums in Liverpool?

While there is no dedicated free-entry day, many of Liverpool's best art galleries and museums are free to enter. Check on the website of the individual gallery.

What are some unique and lesser-known art museums worth visiting in Liverpool?

Check out the Whitewall Gallery, MerseyMade, and the Oratory, for lesser-known gallery spaces that exhibit interesting artists.

Which art museums in Liverpool have works by famous artists?

The Lady Lever Art Gallery houses many famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Sudley House is home to important paintings by Turner and Rossetti, and the Walker Art Gallery boasts countless famous works that are must-sees.

Are the art museums in Liverpool wheelchair accessible?

The museums in Liverpool are generally good regarding accessibility. Many galleries have improved in recent years, so most are wheelchair accessible. Check galleries' websites for more information.

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

The Walker Museum runs a program called Big Art for Little Artists, introducing children to art in an interactive, fun way.