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The River Festival, Liverpool

From the opening of the world’s first commercial wet dock in 1715, the River Mersey and Liverpool’s waterfront has played a significant part in the city’s success, even to this day.

In a little over 300 years, Liverpool played a major part in the British Empire’s growth, dominating global trade and the mass movement of people and goods. The city was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, and had huge roles to play in World War II, The American Civil War and The Titanic — to name a few.

In 2004, Liverpool received the UNESCO World Heritage accolade as a mercantile maritime city, remaining an example of one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, today’s World Heritage waterfront doesn’t include hooves, heavy goods and shipyards, but, is filled with magnificent arts and culture. These events, festivals and cultural happenings capture the sense of the sea and embrace the spirit of adventure. They each champion the city’s progressive role in the world, whilst celebrating and reflecting upon its histories.

Liverpool’s waterfront welcomes millions of visitors every year and has played host to fleets of Tall Ships, Clipper Race Yachts, Cruise ships, Three Queens, firework displays, Bordeaux Wine Festival, a Guinness World Record and our very own Fab Four. The three graces (Port of Liverpool, Cunard, and Royal Liver Buildings) each have momentous meanings to Liverpool and are often adorned with light projections, live music events and plenty of Instagram-worthy posts. The Royal Albert Dock boasts the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the UK, housing an array of independent businesses and outstanding museums and galleries.

And of course, the annual River Festival, taking place on 1–2 June 2019, is a much-loved part of Liverpool’s cultural calendar. Each year, visitors flock to the World Heritage Waterfront to be part of this special, family friendly weekend. Inspired by historic and contemporary trading routes such as the Columbia Express, The Silk Road and Incense Routes, The River Festival will celebrate the Port of Liverpool as an arrival and departure base for world class culture, music, food, wine and art.

To learn more about our city’s fascinating, beautiful and brutal maritime history, head to the experts over at Liverpool Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum. There you will find exhibitions, archives and special events around the city’s water and the stories it holds.

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