The Albert Dock is a hugely important part of Liverpool that draws thousands of visitors to the city every year. It is the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the UK and has fast become one of the most visited, too! The Albert Dock has come a long way and its history has been full of ups and downs during the almost 200 years the site has been active. It now stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beacon of brilliance on Liverpool’s stunning waterfront.
A Brief History of the Albert Dock
The build of the dock began in 1841 after plans were originally submitted by engineer and architect Jesse Hartley to the Liverpool Dock Office. To make way for the now legendary dock, all the buildings in the designated area had to be demolished, including a dockyard, houses and a pub. Neighbouring docks were drained to make way for entrance passages, and then in 1846, the dock complex was opened.
Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, was in attendance to officially open the dock that bore his name and thousands of people turned out to witness the first official state visit to the city by a member of the Royal Family.
In the Second World War, the Albert Dock was requisitioned and used as a base for the British Atlantic Fleet, including warships, landing crafts and submarines. As a result, it was hit heavy by air raids with almost 15% of the floor space being out of use due to bomb damage! Following the end of the war, major players in the management of the Albert Dock were in financial crisis and much of the wartime bomb damage went unrepaired. Following failed bids for redevelopment, the Albert Dock sadly, and officially, closed down in 1972.
Regeneration of the Albert Dock
In September 1983, a deal was signed between private partners to create the Albert Dock Company, tasked with the process of regenerating the once thriving dock into something that could be enjoyed by all.
The first success of the new Albert Dock was the 1984 Cutty Sark Tall Ship Race, which brought over one million visitors into Liverpool over the four-day event. The International Garden Festival followed soon after, which brought a further 2.5 million people into the city. In 1986, Merseyside Maritime Museum took up residence in a former warehouse, depicting the importance of our nautical links. 1988 saw the official reopening of Albert Dock by Prince Charles. This was at the same time when the Tate Liverpool was completed – the only gallery outside of London dubbed ‘Tate of the North’.
Exploring Albert Dock Today
Every year, the Albert Dock tops the list of most popular tourist attractions in Liverpool and once you visit, it’s clear to see why! Stunning in all weathers and with a plethora of activities, restaurants and attractions, it’s the perfect place to spend many an evening or daytime.
If you’re looking for things to do at the Albert Dock, you won’t be short of options. For fans of The Beatles, Liverpool’s first dedicated Beatles museum, The Beatles Story, calls the famous dock home. With a comprehensive history of the Fab Four and artefacts from their lives, there’s no better place to visit in Liverpool than The Beatles Story if you’re a music mogul.
If you’re more interested in the nautical history of Liverpool, then why not delve into the archive at Merseyside Maritime Museum? With the chance to explore tales of our watery past from pirates to slavery to trade, it’s a fascinating look into one of the most important aspects of our history.
If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, then pay a visit to the legendary Tate in the North – the first of its kind outside of London – where pieces from the National Collection of Modern Art are displayed in an ever-changing repertoire of displays and exhibitions. The child-friendly atmosphere means that even the little ones won’t get bored with exciting workshops and craft days.
You don’t even have to leave the area if you want to grab a bite to eat or fancy a tipple. Most of the Albert Dock is inhabited by independent businesses and big name chains. The Smugglers Cove has become widely known across the city for its incredible range of rum, while The Pump House has been serving up the best pub food and drinks for a number of years. Whatever your spice or poison, the Albert Dock has something for you.
Albert Dock Top Picks
If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration before you head down to the Albert Dock, we have you covered. Here are our top picks of the best restaurants, bars and attractions on the Albert Dock:
Rosa’s Thai CAfe
Opened in February 2019, this addition to the plethora of amazing food spots across the Albert Dock is not one to be missed. This lovely restaurant features brilliantly fresh South-east Asian cuisine set amongst some pretty stunning interiors. It is actually the first Rosa’s Thai Cafe to open outside of London and takes over two floors in the historic Britannia Pavillion.
Rough Hand Made
Foodies, rejoice! After originally setting up shop and finding great success on Penny Lane, Rough Hand Made have branched out into the city centre to bring tourists and locals alike a taste of boutique baking. From rye to pita, cakes to croissants – we definitely recommend paying this place a visit.
This art and gift shop showcases the work of Liverpool’s artists, designers and makers. They give shoppers the chance to treat themselves – or their loved ones – to something unique, without breaking the bank. Pay them a visit next time you’re on the Albert Dock- they’ve even got sparkly Liver Bird pin badges!
Liverpool Pictures has been an inhabitant of the Albert Dock for more than 25 years, and it’s not hard to see why it still continues to thrive. They have a gallery full of prints, photographs and artwork of Liverpool’s iconic landmarks, locations and hotspots. They showcase plenty of local photographers’ and artists’ work, capturing the soul and essence of Liverpool life.
Stay Near the Albert Dock
While there is a number of great hotels and accommodation near the Albert Dock, there is nowhere quite like 30 James Street. Channelling all the glitz and glamour from The Titanic, our rooms are the epitome of decadence on Liverpool’s waterfront.
Dine With a View
Carpathia Champagne Bar & Restaurant in the 30 James Street hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy some first-rate cuisine alongside a breathtaking view. After your visit to the Albert Dock, why not admire it’s beauty from the rooftop terrace as you sip on a delicious cocktail?
With rooms and suites suited for couples, families and large groups, everyone can find a bed that’s perfect for them, no matter the size of your group or nature of your stay. What’s more, 30 James Street is so close to the Albert Dock, you’ll be able to explore all it has to offer within a few minutes walk. Call us now on 0151 236 0166 or email email@example.com to arrange an unforgettable stay! Make your reservation to stay at 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic today.