Home Things to do UK Liverpool Best Free Things to Do with Kids in Liverpool
LiverpoolThings to do

Best Free Things to Do with Kids in Liverpool

liverpool uk

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.


Known for being one of the most independent-minded cities in the United Kingdom, with a very strong sense of identity, the “People’s Republic of Liverpool” is famous for the Beatles and many other entertainers. Mix in centuries of seaboard history, the Titanic, often stunning architecture, suffering extensively during World War Two, and its mix of different cultures, and every day’s a school day in the best possible way.

There are plenty of cathedrals and churches, a well-regarded orchestra, and two popular football teams, Everton and Liverpool. There’s also plenty for families to do all over the city and nearby, with the regenerated dockside a great place to start. 

Table of Contents

Royal Albert Dock

Royal Albert Dock

What it is: Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert opened this attraction in 1846, and the architecture and atmosphere are unique. In the mid-nineteenth century the warehouses were very different from what had gone before – the fireproofing was just one of the aspects that was dramatically improved.

Special events and exhibitions take place in the area all year round, so it’s always worth a stroll along the dockside. It was abandoned in the 1970s but was later redeveloped, and in the late 1980s when the Tate Liverpool followed in the wake of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, it soon became a “must see”. It isn’t the only dock, but it is arguably the most famous. 
Why we liked it: If you’re looking for a great place for a family stroll, in gorgeous surroundings, with plenty of interesting and free tourist spots to explore, the Royal Albert Dock has to be one of the most iconic locations in Liverpool. Annually, around six million people visit the dock, coinjoin which is Grade I listed. Depending on what’s going on, you might even come across live TV broadcasts at this location, and if you’re here in summer, look out for the giant deckchairs or other summer-themed attractions.

More information about the Royal Albert Dock
Address: 3-4 The Colonnades, Liverpool L3 4AA
Opening hours: The docks are accessible 24/7 throughout the year; opening times of venues vary, so check directly with the museums and other attractions. 

Liverpool Cathedral

liverpool cathedral

What it is: One of the most important buildings in Liverpool, the cathedral has come through two World Wars, depression and recession, regeneration, storm damage, and now the COVID-19 pandemic of the early 2020s. The cathedral itself is a work of art, as well as providing a home to paintings, statues, and installations by world-famous artists. The stained glass windows are glorious, with a gloriously photogenic background in the form of the neon sign below the West Window. And here’s a fact you might not know already – this is the UK’s largest cathedral. 

Why we liked it: This is so much more than a cathedral, it’s a real community space, with special events and exhibitions taking place all the time. The chapter house is pretty unusual as it has eight sides, and some of the stained glass windows in this place of worship are awe-inspiring. There’s a special chapel devoted to children, and if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet to let you regroup for a few minutes, then the Holy Spirit chapel will almost certainly appeal. There are also plenty of activities aimed at families going on throughout the year, including crafting, wildflower workshops, and exploring with the Derby Mouse (he’s especially active around Easter).

More information about the Liverpool Cathedral
Address: Liverpool Cathedral, St James’ Mount, Liverpool L1 7AZ
Opening hours: Opening hours do vary slightly depending on what special events are taking place in the cathedral, so double check the website for this week’s schedule. Typical opening times are from 10am to 5pm or 6pm. 

Museum of Liverpool

museum of liverpool

What it is: One of the numerous free attractions in the dockside area, there’s something in the Museum of Liverpool to keep all the family entertained. If you feel like finding out more about how the Blitz of World War Two affected the city, you can start here. If you want to find out more about the many different communities that have shaped the city’s destiny, you can start here. And if your group has fans of land transport, they can take a look at over 200 vehicles, including the Range Rover Evoque (2011 vintage) and the Lion locomotive (dating from 1838). 

Why we liked it: It’s probably one of the most randomly laid out museums we’ve ever visited – it was literally like wandering through a miniature world. There’s a special children’s gallery area which is aimed at children under six, and all around the building you’ll find plenty of interactive displays, models, and exhibits. There are obviously Beatles exhibits – look for the Russian dolls in Sgt Pepper gear! Our favourite part of the whole museum, though, was standing against the life-size reconstructions of the Liver Birds to see how tall or small we were, looking down on the Three Graces, and watching the sun go down over the Mersey.

More information about the Museum of Liverpool
Pier Head, Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1DG

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday as well as bank holiday opening (check website or with venue for details). 

Beatles Trail

beatles trail

What it is: The Beatles really helped to put Liverpool on the map in the 1960s, and it’s apparent wherever you go in Liverpool just how important they were. We loaded up a couple of playlists on our phones and set off in search of statues, gates, and other landmarks that shaped the work of the Fab Four – and so much music since. We got hold of a map, started at Penny Lane, and wandered on, in no apparent order, to the Eleanor Rigby Statue, took selfies with the bronze statues of the lads striding forth by Pier Head, and made sure we “met” the John Lennon statue outside the Cavern club where they used to play. 

Why we liked it: The Beatles were such icons of ‘60s music, and such great ambassadors for the city, we loved the thought that we were walking in their footsteps. Our favourite section was probably the gate at Strawberry Fields – when the boys were young, it was a derelict Salvation Army children’s home where Lennon used to play. There are some free guided tours, or do what we did, get hold of a map, and make your own. Even so, we only scratched the surface – though we did learn it’s a good idea to wear sturdy shoes in Liverpool if you’re planning on walking any distance!

More information about the Beatles Trail or Liverpool Beatles Trail Tour
All over Liverpool, Penny Lane is located at 70 Penny Lane, Liverpool L18 1BW; Strawberry Fields is at Beaconsfield Road, Liverpool L25 6EJ; the Beatles statue is at Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1BY; John Lennon Statue, Statue of John Lennon, Mathew Street, Liverpool L2 6QU; Eleanor Rigby Statue, Stanley St, Mathew St, Liverpool L1 6AA
Opening hours: 24/7 all year round (self-guided trail); check with free tour guides for specific dates. 

Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Piermasters House

Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Piermasters House

What it is: Housed in another of the rejuvenated buildings by the Albert Dock in Liverpool, you can explore the importance of seafaring to the city of Liverpool, from tall ships to the Lusitania, from shipwrecks to models and paintings. Liverpool was a crucial strategic target in World War Two, and the city played a vital part in the Battle of the Atlantic. There are also special sections for the UK Border Force and the third floor is home to the International Slavery Museum. 

Why we liked it: We loved finding out more about the Titanic as well as the merchant navy in the Lifelines section. We had great fun following various trails through the museum too. Free events regularly take place aimed at families and little ones, the information desk was great at helping us find out what was suitable for us. Our favourite part, though, was definitely the Piermasters House at 9 Albert Parade – it was the only house of four on the site that was left standing after the bombings of World War Two. Since 2003 it’s been laid out to give an idea of what it looked like in wartime, complete with ration books and gas masks and other everyday items that really bring it all to life. It really was like stepping back in time.

More information about the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Piermasters House
Address: Merseyside Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4AQ; Piermasters House, Pier Head, Kings Parade, Albert Dock, Hartley Quay, Liverpool L3 4BB

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday (museum); 11am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday (Piermasters House). Check directly with venue for holiday opening times. 

Liverpool Central Library

Liverpool Central Library

What it is: So much more than a library, this gorgeously re-modelled building is one of the unsung beating hearts of Liverpool. There are rooms that are used for drama in the round, storytelling sessions, flamenco, special exhibitions…not to mention some of the rarest books in the world on display in the Oak Room and the Hornby Library. If you have family links to Liverpool, or even if you don’t the archives are yet another fabulous special section to explore – though you will need to get in touch a couple of weeks in advance if there are documents you’d like to view as some of the items are extremely rare and fragile. 

Why we liked it: It’s a stunningly lovely mix of old and new, there are activities going on all the time aimed at different members of the family, and every room we saw was lovelier than the last. If we had to pick a favourite, it would have been the Picton Reading Room, which really did look like something out of Beauty and the Beast.

When we visited there was a special Dr Who exhibition in place, showcasing documents and replica artefacts that would have been encountered by some of the historical figures the doctor met on his adventures. There’s also a discovery area for children that’s especially designed for the under 5s. There are so many parts of this library that are beautiful simply to look at – the circular reading room, the parquet floors, the glass-fronted bookcases, and the view of the city from the terrace at the top.

More information about the Liverpool Central Library 

Address: Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EW

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 12 noon to 8pm Tuesday and Thursday. 

Rice Lane City Farm

Rice Lane City Farm

What it is: This is exactly what it says on the tin, this is the farm – in the city. It’s been around for more than 40 years, and covers over 24 acres of woodland and fields. There are sheep (Ryeland), pigs (Berkshires), and goats (pygmy). The star of the show, though, is possibly Ping – just 3 years old, this Indian crested runner duck comes complete with a pompom that he proudly sports on his head. The paths are all wide enough to take buggies and wheelchairs, although when it’s wet and cold they can get a bit muddy.
Why we liked it: We loved seeing the animals, especially the pygmy goats and the calves, and there are events throughout the year. We’re absolutely determined we’ll see the Great Spotted Woodpeckers next time we visit. This time round, we enjoyed the children’s play area – the slide had been reinforced and repaired fairly recently, and the swings are great too. There are also various activities throughout the year, including spinning, painting, and walks. Depending on the time of year, you might see lambs, ducks or piglets.

More information about the Rice Lane City Farm

Address: Rice Lane City Farm, Rawcliffe Road, Walton, L9 1AW. 

Opening hours: 10am to 3.30pm every day; times are usually restricted at Christmas and New Year to 10am to 12 noon. 

Calderstones Park

Calderstones Park

What it is: If you’re looking for something to do in South Liverpool, then check out the thousand year old oak tree in this 94 acre park, as well as the old English and Japanese gardens. The name of the park actually hints at its deep, dark secret – there are megaliths in this park. (Think Stonehenge. Only in a park in Liverpool.) There’s a lake with ducks and geese, and the Botanic Gardens if there are any budding horticulturists in the group. (Or experienced ones too!)
Why we liked it: Miniature railway, interactive storybarn, and toddler and young children’s playground with a special climbing frame area for older children – what’s not to like? We were also taken with the Liver birds on the gates. It’s nicely laid out but you do need to double check parking if you’re driving as it can get very busy.

More information about the Calderstones Park

Address: Allerton, Liverpool, Merseyside, L18 3JD

Opening hours: 24/7, all year round. 

Birkenhead Park

Birkenhead Park

What it is: Since technically this lovely park is on the Wirral, you could also argue this isn’t exactly in Liverpool, but the People’s Garden is known for its accessibility – all of the paths, entrances, and facilities are wheelchair and buggy friendly. There’s a visitor centre, a gallery showcasing the work of local artists, and a permanent exhibition showing what the park looked like in days gone by. There’s a children’s play area with options to suit various ages.

The park was officially opened in 1847 and it was the first purpose-built park designed for everyone, not just the wealthy. Look out for the Roman Boathouse, Swiss Bridge, and the little island on the lake that is home to several bird varieties. If you’re really lucky you might see a turtle or two. 

Why we liked it: We really liked the fact there are Park Rangers about in the Visitor Centre, which is open every day except a couple of days over Christmas. We settled down with various bird spotting books and apps and had a great time ticking off the permanent residents and one or two visitors.

We also saw squirrels and various water birds, and the rangers assured us that the wildlife changes across the year, with bats and owls amongst the creatures enjoying their lives here. The children’s play area is close to the Visitor Centre as well, and the scramble nets, slides, swings, and the old-fashioned traditional roundabout were really popular.

There are also Junior Ranger programmes on offer in the school holidays, with options for crafts, family activities, and games.

More information about the Birkenhead Park
Address: Park Dr, Birkenhead CH41 4HY
Opening hours: 24/7, all year round (park); 9am to 4.30pm, 7 days a week; closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day. 

Crosby and/or Formby Beaches and Reserves

Crosby and/or Formby Beaches and Reserves

What it is: Okay, technically neither of these beaches are Liverpool itself, but if you’re in the area, these two locations make a great day out. Formby is the quieter of the two beaches, with soft, golden sand for what seems like miles and miles, and a pine forest right next to the beach.

There’s also one of the very few red squirrel reserves in the UK nearby. Crosby, meanwhile, is known for the Anthony Gormley iron men statues looking forlornly out to sea – official title, ‘Another Place’; you really do need to pay attention to where you’re walking at Crosby, however, as much of the mud and sand is extremely soft and the tides can change very quickly, so it’s a good idea not to let younger family members go exploring too far.
Why we liked it: Liverpool might look as it’s near the sea on a map, but in fact Crosby and Formby are two of the nearest seaside locations. The iron men in Crosby – all 100 of them – are quite surreal, and they’re not the only art installation in the town.

The artists in the family enjoyed looking at the detail in the Seaforth Docks mural, and we were all quite astonished to discover the town’s link to the Titanic. (Captain Smith hailed from this neck of the woods.) For us, our visit was a great mix of countryside, with the woods, and coast, with the beach. 

More information about the Crosby and/or Formby Beaches and Reserves

Opening hours: 24/7 all year round; check tide times.
Address: Crosby Beach, Merseyside, UK, L23 6SX; Formby – Victoria Rd, Formby, Liverpool L37 1LJ

Honourable Mentions

Walker Art Gallery

Although the Beatles are the most famous musical act to come out of Liverpool in recent years, the city doesn’t lack for celebrities. Look for the Cilla Black Statue on Mathew Street, Billy Fury at the Albert Dock, or Queen Victoria pretty much everywhere. Nelson and Wellington are also in evidence, and you\re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to parks. Just a handful of the parks and green spaces in or near the city are Newsham Park, Stanley Park, Chavasse Park, Everton Park, Princes Park, Sefton, and Croxteth. 

If your interests tend more towards the world of Art, then Walker Art Gallery, Tate Liverpool, and generally going in search of some of the great street art in the city will keep you entertained for hours. And while Liverpool Cathedral is one of the great buildings of the city on the Mersey, the city is packed with beautiful churches full of character – including the Bombed Out Church, which gets its name from the fate that befell it in World War Two. 

Several venues put on free events at the weekend, including the Bluecoat and Sefton Park Palm House, while Chinatown Arch in early February is the location for all kinds of Chinese New Year related events.

Written by
David Prior

David Prior is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and the editor of Big Family Breaks. He is also a father of five and an experienced traveller, especially with kids.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Aerial View Photography of a High-rise Building in Oxford
OxfordThings to doUK

The Very Best Free (or Cheap) Things to Do for Families in Oxford this Summer 2023

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Nestled in...

A couple strolling along Hadrian's Wall, North East England
Things to doUK

The Very Best Free (or Cheap) Things to Do for Families in the North East this Summer 2023

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Summer is...

Landscape photo of the Newcastle castle
NewcastleThings to doUK

The Very Best Free (or Cheap) Things to Do for Families in Newcastle this Summer 2023

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Looking for...

The Walls in Chester
Things to doUK

The Very Best Free (or Cheap) Things to Do for Families in Chester this Summer 2023

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Summer is...