With its stunning setting on the banks of the Mersey, not to mention its fascinating history, it’s little wonder that Royal Albert Dock is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK.
But the Dock’s many offerings aren’t confined to the tourists; savvy locals know that its wide range of boutique bars, restaurants and shops – not to mention its world-class cultural museums and the prestigious Tate Liverpool art gallery – make it one of the hottest locations in Liverpool.
With trendy restaurant chain Maray launching its third site at the Dock this week (with 50% off food all week, by the way), alongside a whole host of other new retail and leisure offerings, there’s never been a better time to take a trip to one of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks.
So check out our list below to see what’s new, hop on the train to James Street, Moorfields or Central, and walk down to the waterfront to become reacquainted with a very old friend.
Food & Drink
Since opening on Bold Street in 2014, followed by a second restaurant in Allerton in December 2016, Maray has become one of the most popular eateries in the city; and it’s third 65-cover site won’t disappoint either.
Featuring cocktails and small plates inspired by the cuisine of the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa, the Britannia Pavilion restaurant will echo its sister sites in terms of its menu – which will of course include diners’ favourite ‘Disco Cauliflower’, with tahini, yoghurt, harissa, chermoula and pomegranate – and vibe.
Think antique Parisian light shades, reclaimed parquet flooring salvaged from a school gym, and the opportunity to eat at a counter overlooking the chefs in the kitchen and you’ll get a sense of Maray’s stylish dining room.
And with the cocktail bar boasting Insta-worthy views across the Dock too, don’t forget those all-important selfies as you enjoy what will surely be one of your best dining experiences this year.
Rosa’s Thai Café
The first Rosa’s Thai Café to open outside of London, this restaurant is centred around an open theatre kitchen where you can watch in wonder and awe as the chefs rustle up their culinary masterpieces.
Prepared with seasonal British ingredients, these include Drunken Noodles (so-called because they go deliciously either before or after a big night out), Pad Thai, and a wide range of curries too.
And if you’re a student you can enjoy all of this at a reduced cost, with 15% off your total food bill from Monday to Wednesday.
Those who need further persuasion need look no further than the sales of the brand’s cookbooks; with 27,000 sold to date, the figures speak for themselves.
So grab a pal, book your table, and prepare to be wowed London-style by this trendy, tasty culinary treat - located right on your doorstep.
Seasoned city diners will be familiar with Lunya, the Hanover Street, multi-awarding winning deli, restaurant and bar which has brought the Spanish sun to many a miserable Liverpool winter since it opened in 2010.
Now Lunyalita, which builds on its original offering with a wider breakfast menu, an upstairs dining room and a champagne balcony overlooking the Dock, looks set to do the same to the Albert Dock.
With a deli boasting up to 400 tasty Spanish goodies, a policy of making breastfeeding mums welcome (with a free drink courtesy of the management) and special deals for children, Lunyalita is the perfect destination for singles, couples and families in need of a Spanish escape – even if it is just for an hour or two.
Rough Hand Made
If you’ve ever looked at a packet of supermarket, mass-produced, identical bread rolls wrapped in plastic packaging and felt utter despair, then you’ll be in foodie Heaven with this lovely bakery which is dedicated to the art of creating cakes, pastries, breads and buns by hand.
It’s been almost 12 months since the team moved from a small shop on Penny Lane to the site of the former Circo restaurant, and in that time they’ve amassed a loyal following who love having their senses treated to the sights, sounds and smells of a busy working bakery.
The result is a wide range of individual, often South American-inspired baked goods, which are celebrated for their imperfections, their flaws, and their delicious, awe-inspiring taste.
As well as creating fabulous products, these guys are also big on giving back to the community, with anything left over at the end of the day donated to local charities. Which is even more of a reason to support their good work.
Peaberry Coffee House and Kitchen
There are surely few things in life better than an ice-cream in the sun. And thanks to the Dock’s Peaberry Coffee House and Kitchen’s recent expansion, we can now all enjoy a luxury homemade ice-cream, courtesy of their new Italian-style gelato parlour.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with a whopping 22 different flavours of ice-cream to choose from, including Kinder Bueno, blue bubblegum, salted caramel and vanilla bean and – one for the kids – multi-coloured unicorn, which can be combined with a mouth-watering combination of cones, waffles, doughnuts and Eton Messes.
There are even vegan and sorbet options available for those looking for an alternative to the traditional dairy version.
The team will be serving until late, so why not head to the dock after-hours to enjoy an ice-cream at sundown with the other locals.
After an influx of indie retailers in recent years, the Albert Dock is fast becoming something of a hub for small independent businesses who want to sell their wares on a platform that shares their trendy vibe, and The Nest, which sells locally sourced art and gifts, is just one of its success stories.
Since illustrator Katherine Caldwell opened the shop last year, there’s been a real buzz around the unusual creative products on offer, with The Nest even being shortlisted for Liverpool’s Best Independent Shop in the Liverpool Independent Business Awards.
From greeting cards to jewellery, pop along to find a range of gifts to suit even the fussiest recipient – and a wide range of budgets too.
Dock pop-up floating cinema
If you struggle to keep the kids entertained during the holidays, then, for one day at least, the Dock’s pop-up floating cinema could be the answer to your prayers. Take the kids along to the afternoon sessions being held between August 4-10 to enjoy a movie with a difference – it’s being shown outdoors.
There’s a different movie on offer each day, including Finding Nemo, Lady and the Tramp, Jumanji and Matilda, with each of the restaurants taking it in turns to provide front row treats.
Adults can even return without the kids and take advantage of one of the evening sessions showing films aimed at a slightly older audience.
Tickets cost £8 per child and £14 per adult and can be booked here: https://www.skiddle.com/groups/albertdockfloatingcinema/
Keith Haring at Tate Liverpool
If you have even a passing interest in the New York of the 1980s, you’ll be fascinated by the latest exhibition at Tate Liverpool which shows the work of someone who was at the very heart of the Big Apple’s art scene at that time.
Keith Haring, artist and activist, was hugely inspired by underground club culture, graffiti and pop art and wanted, alongside fellow collaborators Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to bring art to the many rather than the few.
It was a goal he conquered through designing record covers for RUN DMC and David Bowie, directing a music video for Grace Jones, and developing a fashion line with Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, but also by responding to issues such as homophobia, racism, drug addiction and AIDS awareness through his art.
Check out his powerful artwork at the first major exhibition of his work at Tate Liverpool until November 10, 2019. Tickets cost £12.50 (£10.50 concs) and can be booked here: https://shop.tate.org.uk/ticket/date?cgid=6953