A firm Liverpool family favourite is back for Christmas with the return of Blacker’s Giant Santa at the Museum of Liverpool from 7 November.
Giant Santa, who towered over shoppers in Blackler’s department store each winter from 1957 until 1988, first went on display in the Museum of Liverpool’s atrium in 2016 and has returned for Christmas almost every year since. His super-sized arrival ushers in seasonal festivities across National Museums Liverpool’s venues.
Staying at Museum of Liverpool the popular waterfront museum recently won a Kids in Museums national Family Friendly Museum award, making it the most wonderful time of the year to call in and check out the smash-hit exhibition Happiness!, which explores the life of Liverpool icon, Sir Ken Dodd. For Doddy, famously busy all year round, Christmas was a particularly special time with pantomimes and his legendary marathon new year shows.
At World Museum, bookings are open for a tradition spanning almost 200 years, as the Royal Institute’s Christmas Lectures come to Liverpool’s World Museum for the first time ever. Inspiring children and adults with mind-expanding talks and hands-on science, the lectures will be livestreamed to the museum, as one of the only 16 livestream partners. Over three gripping presentations – on 12, 14 and 16 December – from robots to gaming and more, Professor Mike Wooldridge will explain Artificial Intelligence (AI) – how it works and affects us all.
Sudley House is hosting a traditional Victorian Christmas with all the trimmings on 2 and 3 December. Spend quality time with friends and family enjoying carols, festive crafts and cosy storytelling in the beautiful setting of this Victorian merchant’s home.
While you’re enjoying the exhibitions, collections and festive fare at National Museums Liverpool’s venues why not tick some names off your shopping list? There are gifts for the whole family with a wide range of presents across fashion, culture, books, football and more. Browse the online shop for gift ideas here.
You could also give the gift of a National Museums Liverpool Membership and give a loved one a whole year of incredible free experiences, new discoveries and discounts. Find out more here.
More Christmas highlights across National Museums Liverpool (also available here):
Return of the Gods
Until 25 February 2024
Adults £8 (concessions available), children under 17 free
Prepare for the high drama of the ancient world as we meet the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus. Their lives were packed with great loves, greater feuds and the powers to influence, save or condemn human lives forever. This family-friendly exhibition dives into ancient Greek and Roman mythology to expose the original ancient characters of the heroes and heroines of our time. This boldly designed exhibition allows you to step inside the stories, as two-metre-high statues tower above you. Featuring a stunning collection of over 100 sculptures and objects, displayed together for the first time, experience the luxury of a Roman villa, before journeying into the underworld to meet Hades.
Return of the Gods: Wining and Dining like the Gods
Saturday 2 December
The ancient Greeks were known for their lavish lifestyle and complicated family relationships, so what did a family get-together look like in ancient times? How would the Greeks and Romans have celebrated their holidays and what did feasting really look like? Join Dr Chrissy Partheni, Curator of Classical Antiquities, and explore the favourite food and drink of the distant past.
Festive Wreath Making (for young people aged 16-24 years old)
11 and 1.30
Adult (25 and over) £15, young people (16-24) £3
Join artist Sarah Randle and get creative this festive season. During the workshop you will learn several sewing techniques and be able to design, make and take home your very own unique handmade textile wreath. All materials are included and no previous experience needed.
For young people aged 16-24 years old.
Royal Institute Christmas Lectures
12, 14 and 16 December
Adult £8, child (6-17) £5. Concessions available
The world’s longest-running science lecture series comes to Liverpool, when filming of the 2023 Christmas Lectures will be livestreamed from the Royal Institution’s iconic theatre to World Museum (one of only 16 livestream partners). For 2023 Professor Mike Wooldridge will tackle the most important and rapidly evolving field of science today – Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Throughout the three lectures, Mike will explore the big questions facing AI research and unravel the myths about how this ground-breaking technology really works.
How can a machine be taught to play a game or translate from one language to another? He will show how computer programmes inspired by the human brain can be taught and even teach themselves. And he will tell the surprising story of how tools like the latest chatbots work and illustrate the mind-boggling scale of modern AI systems – that can be used in everything from gaming to movie-making to designing drugs.
Walker Art Gallery
Photie Man: 50 years of Tom Wood
Until 7 January 2024
Adults £9, children 6 – 17 £2, children under 6 free. Concessions are available.
Last chance to see a major photographic exhibition from Tom Wood at Walker Art Gallery, showcasing 50 years of the artist’s work. Photie Man celebrates the acclaimed Irish-born artist Tom Wood with a comprehensive survey of work spanning 50 years since the start of his career. The exhibition brings together photography from the 1970s to the present day, many of which are being displayed for the first time in Liverpool – where a large number of Wood’s iconic photographs were taken.
John Moores Painting Prize 2023
Until 25 February 2024
Adults £5, children under 17 free. Concessions are available
The John Moores Painting Prize is the UK’s most well-known painting competition, bringing together the best contemporary painting from across the UK to Liverpool.
Christmas Craft printmaking
Adults £3, children £2
A fun and festive family workshop to design and handprint your own Christmas cards and tissue paper gift wrap to take home. Families will be shown how to draw a design of their choice onto safe print foam printing sheets, which are a great way to introduce children and beginners to the block printing method.
Please wear old clothes as printing inks may stain.
Suitable for children aged 7+ and their grown-ups.
Beyond the Label: Renaissance Rediscovered
The Walker’s Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque galleries reopened in July 2023 after a major refurbishment. The suite of rooms also includes a brand-new Prints and Drawings gallery, the Walker’s first dedicated display space for its outstanding collection of works on paper.
Join Curator of International Fine Art, Kate O’Donoghue, to learn more about these new displays and fresh discoveries around the collection. The tour will look at old favourites, including works by Holbein and Rembrandt, as well as exciting new acquisitions and previously unseen works.
Craft and Create
4 January 2024
Free, family friendly workshop
Escape the house and come along to craft and create at the gallery. Be inspired by our wonderful collections to make your own artwork.
Please note that our creative family sessions are very popular and operate on a ‘drop in’ basis at busy times, so you may be asked to come back later on in the session.
Museum of Liverpool
Until 3 March 2024
Adults £5 (concessions available), children under 17 free
Introduce the kids to the whimsical, surreal and theatrical humour of Sir Ken Dodd. From the Diddymen to the Broken Biscuit Factory, Ken’s imagination was both endless and infectious and transformed the UK comedy scene. Through never-before-seen personal objects, film, photography, digital interactives and of course many, many jokes, this tattyfilarious show is guaranteed to raise a smile!
Until 7 Jan 2024
The 18-foot jolly giant greets visitors to the Museum of Liverpool during the festive season.
This special Father Christmas was originally made in 1957 by artist, Peter Blazey and his colleagues in the Blackler’s display studio. Blackler’s was a well-known and loved department store in Liverpool, famous for its elaborate Winter Wonderland Grotto and its giant Santa Claus. More than 10,000 visitors a week marvelled at the magical scenes and told Santa what they’d like for Christmas.
Soap and Smiles
23 Nov and 7 Dec
11 and 1:30pm
Adults £5 (includes entry into Happiness! exhibition)
Why not combine a visit to the museum’s Happiness! exhibition with the opportunity to learn a new skill and make a Christmas gift? Enjoy sharing memories of Doddy while making soap, followed by the opportunity to have a look around the exhibition.
Lady Lever Art Gallery
Family art club: Christmas candle holders
Saturday 25 November
11am – 12.30pm
Adults £3, children £2
With the festive season just around the corner decorate a Christmas candle holder, re-using jars with your own design. Take your creation home to decorate your own home or give as a Christmas gift.
Craft and Create
3 January 2024
Free, suitable for all ages
Blow away the cobwebs by getting creative at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Be inspired by the wonderful artworks around and make your own to take home.
A Sudley Victorian Christmas
2 and 3 December 2023
Free, suitable for all ages
Join a traditional Victorian Christmas at Sudley House. Enjoy heart-warming Christmas Carols, crafts and storytelling events all set against the backdrop of the beautifully decorated home. A wonderful day out to make memories, discover local history, and enjoy the excitement of preparing for a traditional Christmas.