A group day out at the Albert Dock
Date Posted: 28/04/2011
Following the March launch of its new groups programme, Group Leisure takes a closer look at what Liverpool’s Albert Dock can offer to visitors.
Liverpool has undergone something of a rebirth in recent years - a proud cultural legacy and rich history are coupled with the excitement and energy of a vibrant contemporary city, making it a great destination for a group visit. At the heart of the city is the Albert Dock, sitting on the banks of the river Mersey. An integral part of Liverpool’s World Heritage waterfront, it is architecturally stunning, boasting world-class attractions, restaurants and bars - and one of Liverpool’s most enduring and timeless images.
The brainchild of Jesse Hartley, who designed and oversaw the development of the dock in 1846, today it is one of the north-west’s most-visited free tourist attractions and a must-see destination for your group, blending its innovative heritage with award-winning cultural attractions. The scale of the area and range of attractions means that group visitors of all sizes and interests can be catered for. There’s a host of galleries, museums, land and water tours, restaurants and bars, hotels and shops - all located within the architectural setting of what is reportedly the UK’s largest collection of Grade One listed buildings. And, having recently launched its new and improved groups offer, there’s a range of incentives for group bookings, appealing to both day and night time visitors.
A favourite of the dock’s attractions is the world famous Beatles Story, which leads groups on a magical mystery tour of the lives and times of Liverpool’s favourite sons. Tate Liverpool is the northern home of the national contemporary art collection, with a diverse range of exhibitions planned for 2011, including The Pleasure Principal; a collection of the less explored works of René Magritte; followed by a collection of 150 artistic works inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The Merseyside Maritime Museum documents and explores the city’s maritime past, from Liverpool’s ports, to life on board the most famous ship to set sail from Liverpool - Titanic. The International Slavery Museum concentrates on the untold stories of enslaved people from both historical and contemporary slavery, while the adjacent Museum of Liverpool - due to open on 19th July - will reveal the tale of the city’s rich heritage over the last 800 years.
A range of tours at the dock also celebrate Liverpool’s heritage, exploring the city by both land and water, and are ideal for group visitors. The Yellow Duckmarine is one of the city’s much-loved icons, running daily tours of the city centre, with the iconic architecture of the cathedrals and cultural quarter, before finishing with a splash into Salthouse Dock. The Yellow Boat Cruise takes visitors on a heritage tour of the connecting docks along the Liverpool waterfront, including a sail through the Queens Wapping Passage. There are also daily open top bus tours, which start and end at the Albert Dock.
The restaurants, bars and cafes at the dock offer plenty of choice for groups, plus create a lively evening destination, which is a huge draw for visitors as well as locals. The dock caters for all tastes with a variety of eateries, many of which offer special group menus and offers. What’s Cooking? has a child-friendly menu and fun-filled atmosphere, while Gusto is a hotbed of Italian culture; Nosh has a fine selection of teas, coffees and cakes with views across the water. The dock comes to life at night at Circo, Miller & Carter Steak House, PanAm, and Blue Bar and Grill, all offering great cocktails and a lively atmosphere. Revolution is a good venue for groups, with its cocktail-making masterclasses; while Vinea offers a top quality selection of wines from around the world, and tasting sessions with expert sommeliers.
Groups can also plan their visit to include a number of event highlights throughout the year, including the Mathew Street Festival in August, and traditional British holidays throughout the summer, with a programme of three-legged races, knobbly knee competitions, ice cream, deck chairs, and fish and chips.
Those wishing to extend their stay can take advantage of the site’s two hotels housed within the Grade One listed Dock buildings. Premier Inn and Holiday Inn Express offer guests views of the waterfront, plus great incentives for group bookings. Both are also ideally located for groups planning to make the most of the dock’s attractions.
In order to continually renew its offering to groups, the Albert Dock is working alongside local blue badge guides, developing special offers and introducing a coach welcome scheme with coach driver refreshments courtesy of the dock’s restaurants. The Albert Dock’s official website provides plenty of useful information and contact details, aiding GTOs looking to plan their group visit.