docklands trail

Where it all began...

Docklands Trail Walk

Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head to Docklands Trail, Collingwood Dock.

(Following a section of King Charles III coastal path).

Distance: 1.4 miles

Time to walk: Wheelchair / Pushchair friendly, allow 45mins – 60mins


This self-guided walk will help you discover how the Northern Liverpool and Bootle docks grew rapidly from the 18th century to support Britain’s ongoing industrial revolution. The walk begins at the Pier Head adjacent to the Museum of Liverpool and finishes at our exhibition Centre at Collingwood dock where you can view the docks and surroundings from inside the dock walls, accessible to the general public for the first time.

The Naval Memorial

Lantern-topped stone column dedicated to the memory of British Merchant Navy casualties during WWII.

Monument of Capt. Johnnie Walker

Walker was the most successful anti-submarine warfare commander during the Battle of the Atlantic. He was initially commander of the 36th Escort Group, based in Gladstone Dock, close to the Western Approaches Command. Initially his Group was primarily used to escort convoys to and from Gibraltar but his service also included Arctic Convoys to Russia.

Repatriation Memorial

This memorial is dedicated to the memory of those who served Great Britain during both the World Wars and then were repatriated abroad. It acknowledges the pain of those forced to leave, and that of their families who would never get to see their loved ones again.

Pier Head & Landing Stage

The Pier Head and landing stage. The Pier Head and the impressive buildings which stand in it are relatively modern. This was originally the site of George’s Dock. The dock, which opened in 1771, was named after the reigning monarch, King George III, and played a prominent role in the slave trade between West Africa, North America and the Caribbean. In 1899-1900 the dock was filled in to create what is now the Pier Head, to provide one central place for Liverpool Docks’ offices, which before were scattered across different sites. A section of the original George’s Dock wall is still visible in the basement of the Cunard Building which stands on the site.

The Beatles Statue

A larger than life sculpture by Andrew Edwards and unveiled in 2015 outside the 3 graces (The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building, and The Port of Liverpool Building.) on the Pier Head. A reminder of how music, through the ages, has been an intrinsic part of Docklands life.

British & American Unity Stone

This stone records the accomplishment of British and Americans working together during the dark days of World War II to move troops and cargo through the Port of Liverpool. An effort which ultimately accomplished their mission. The stone was erected by the 15th Port, USA in 1944.

Titanic Memorial

The memorial was intended originally to commemorate all 32 engineers who died in the sinking of Titanic on 15 April 1912. Liverpool was the Titanic port of registry, as well as the home of the ship’s owner, White Star Line. Spaces were left on the monument to record the names of other engineers. Its dedication was broadened to include all maritime engine room fatalities incurred during the performance of duty. Shrapnel damage from bombs that fell during the Second World War can be clearly seen on the monument.

Liverpool Cruise Terminal

Liverpool Cruise Terminal opened in 2007. As part of their plans to increase the number of visitors to Liverpool, the city council unveiled plans in September 2017 for the new cruise terminal that would be situated on the banks of the Mersey at Prince’s Dock. At present the terminal includes a 350 metre long floating stage which allows both Cruise ships and Navel ships to berth right in the City centre without having to enter enclosed docks or anchor mid river.

Princes Dock

It is the most southerly of the docks situated in the northern part of the Liverpool dock system, connected to Prince’s Half-Tide Dock to the north. The dock opened on the Prince Regent’s coronation as George IV on 19 July 1821. Latterly, a number of ferry services operated from the dock. However, sailings finally ended in November 1981 when P&O Ferries closed their Liverpool – Belfast overnight service and the dock subsequently closed to shipping.

The Welsh Patagonia Mimosa Ship Memorial

This memorial that commemorates and remembers the first Welshmen who left for Patagonia from Princess Dock 158 years ago on the Mimosa.

New Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Terminal

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world. On 30 June 1830, the forerunner of today’s Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was born when a brand-new ship, Mona’s Isle, sailed from Douglas to Liverpool on its very first sailing. From the inauguration of the service until 1832, the company was known as the Mona’s Isle Company. Briefly the company then traded as the Isle of Man United Steam Packet, before assuming its present name in July 1832. The new Isle of Man Ferry terminal is due to commence sailings in 2024.

Waterloo Dock

The dock was designed by Jesse Hartley and opened in 1834 as Waterloo Dock, named after the Battle of Waterloo. In 1843 an observatory was built here for astronomical and meteorological observations and to provide accurate time for ships’ chronometers. In 1866, when the dock was redeveloped, the observatory was relocated to Bidston Hill on the Wirral Peninsula. In 1868, Waterloo Dock was split in two separate basins: East Waterloo Dock and West Waterloo Dock. Initially planned eleven years earlier, the lock entrance from the Mersey was finally opened in 1949. Construction was delayed due to the Second World War. The dock closed to shipping in 1988. The entrance channel from the river and part of the dock has since been filled. The extensive Waterloo Warehouse has since been converted into residential apartments.

Trafalgar Dock

Built at the beginning of the age of steam ships by the dock estate engineer Jesse Hartley, and so had a couple of new considerations to take into account. Firstly, the gates had to be wider, as the early steam ships were not only larger vessels but had a paddle wheel on each side. Secondly, Hartley made the simple choice to build them with their narrow sides parallel to shore.

Clarence Dock

Clarence Dock opened in 1830 and was named after William, Duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV. It was built as a self-contained steamship dock facility. This was for safety reasons to keep steamships and sailing ships separate to avoid the risk of fire spreading to timber sailing vessels which at the time were using the other docks. Clarence Dock was also the berth of the Irish ferry ships. During the Irish famine from 1845 to 1852 over 1.3 million Irish men, women and children arrived here. Many would later take a ship to America from Waterloo and Princes Docks. The dock was filled in during 1929 and the site was then used for a power station. Please also note the few remaining pieces of the overhead railway which can still be seen embedded in the Clarence Dock wall.

The Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse

is a grade II listed building and is the world’s largest brick warehouse, with a net floor area of 1.6 million square feet (148,644 square metres. It is adjacent to the Stanley Dock. Standing 125 feet (38 m) high, the building was, at the time of its construction in 1901, claimed to be the world’s largest building in terms of area.

Stanley Dock 'Bascule’ Bridge

The term ‘Bascule’ is derived from the French word for a see-saw – ‘Bacule’. A bascule bridge is one in which the deck or roadway can be raised around a horizontal hinge or axis. At the western end of Stanley Dock, our trail crosses this bascule bridge. The bridge was raised by rocking back under the weight of water-filled counterbalances to allow ships to enter the dock. It does not need to be lifted to allow canal boats to pass, which is just as well, as it is not currently in working order. The bridge was built in 1932.

The Liverpool Overhead Railway

was a train system that worked during 1893 until its closure in 1956 after serious damages caused during the World War II. It was built to make easier the transportation of the workers through the Liverpool docks. However, it rapidly became famous due to its functionality and because of the outstanding views that offered over the Mersey River, the docks and the city. It gained international recognition and was one of the most touristic elements of the city. Little evidence of the railway remains but, in addition to the metal stanchions remains at Clarence dock, the foundations of the double deck swing bridge at Stanley Dock also remain alongside the current bridge.

Titanic Hotel & Leeds Liverpool Canal

The Titanic Hotel is located in the impressively renovated North Warehouse of Stanley Dock. The Dock was designed by Jesse Hartley, and opened on 4 August 1848 and is the only one in Liverpool which was built inland away from the foreshore. A short detour can be made to amaze at the engineering feat connecting Stanley Dock at its East end to the Leeds Liverpool Canal via the Stanley Flight of 4 locks climbing some 44 feet.

Collingwood Dock

is connected to Stanley Dock to the east and Salisbury Dock to the west. Designed by Jesse Hartley, it opened in 1848. Collingwood Dock is part of the Stanley Dock Conservation Area and is on the route of the recent Leeds and Liverpool Canal extension to the Pier Head.