In recent years, the city has shed its hardscrabble past, with new museums and redevelopment projects breathing new life into the city center, and today there are many exciting things to explore. Since every great city requires great green spaces, urban parks form a core part of Scouse’s ongoing appeal. Here’s our list of the best city parks in Liverpool.
Learn about notable Liverpudlians while enjoying a break in St John’s Gardens
A short walk from the World Museum and the Walker Art Gallery, St John’s Gardens is a great spot to stop and relax for a while. Close to Liverpool Lime Street station, it’s also a lovely alfresco waiting room if you’re early for your train.
Formerly a church and cemetery, the space is today a beautiful formal garden with seating and sculptures. Part of the William Brown Street conservation area, the garden also serves as a memorial to some eminent Liverpool denizens of the past, including William Gladstone (the famous 19th-century PM was born on Rodney Street) and William Rathbone, founder of Liverpool University. Among the impressive plantings, you’ll also find trees dedicated to the Beatles’ John Lennon and George Harrison.
Enjoy a bit of serenity by Liverpool Cathedral in St James’ Mount and Gardens
Liverpool Cathedral delights with its Gothic revival architecture, vaulted ceiling and spectacular views over Merseyside from the tower. Whether a visitor or local, on a clear day it is well worth scaling the many stairs to the top to see the cityscape sprawl below you.
You’ll also notice a park seemingly tucked beneath the church. Previously a stone quarry and the cathedral cemetery (with 57,839 recorded burials when it was closed), this hidden gem is St James’ Mount and Gardens – a welcome green space in a busy city.
Exploring the garden, you should look out for Tracey Emin’s Roman Standard, a statue of a 4-inch bird on a tall pole outside the Oratory. Commissioned in 2004, it’s so popular that it’s been stolen – then returned – twice.
Chill out at Chavasse Park, atop Liverpool ONE’s parking garage
If you’re in the city for shopping rather than sightseeing, you can relax after a spree at the sprawling Liverpool ONE complex at the lovely green space atop its multistory car park. The current development was built on the city a grassy space toward the Dock Road that once displayed a Yellow Submarine created for the Garden Festival of 1984 (the vessel can be seen today Liverpool John Lennon Airport). When the shopping complex was constructed in 2004, the park simply rose a few stories.
Always busy, Chavasse Park offers a program of events and activities throughout the year, from culinary festivals to a Christmas market, with plenty of food and drink options if bringing a picnic is not your kind of thing.
Sidestep the pubs and bars for a bit of peace in Roscoe Gardens
Amid the raucous bars and restaurants along Mount Pleasant in the Knowledge Quarter, find some solace in this quiet park set back from the street. Formerly a graveyard for the Renshaw Street Chapel, Roscoe Gardens is named for a chapel parishioner who campaigned against the slave trade.
Enjoy the fine Georgian architecture surrounding Falkner Square Gardens
Anyone who loves historic architecture should head up the hill to enjoy well-tended order of Falkner Square Gardens, in the heart of Liverpool’s historic Georgian Quarter. Among the park’s cobbled paths, seek out a period beach and enjoy a picnic, as well as a bit of history, as you admire the rows and rows of charming row houses.
Enjoy a lakeside walk in splendid Princes Park
Fancy escaping the city and venturing a little further? Head up the hill to Princes Park.
Opened in 1842 to commemorate the birth of Edward, Prince of Wales, this green space was designed around a large serpentine lake and circular carriage drive, and set a high new bar for Victorian landscape design. (Princes Park inspired Joseph Paxton’s plan for Birkenhead Park across the Mersey – which in turn inspired Frederick Law Olmsted’s world-famous work at New York’s Central Park.)
There are delights after every turn of Princes Park’s winding paths, from tree-lined avenues to the grave of Judy, a donkey who gave rides to children in the park for over 20 years. And needless to say, you’ll find plenty of space to sit, relax or enjoy a picnic for a while.