Riverside Stroll to the Liverpool Festival Gardens / by Andrew Wilson

The Liverpool Festival Gardens on the Mersey river-front was a place I'd been curious to check out for a while. People had told me a bit about it's past and how it featured Japanese and Chinese gardens - that was enough to pique my interest!

Sadly the Festival Gardens went through a state of ruin until some TLC restored it. Here's the story behind it from the Festival Garden's website

The International Garden Festival took place between May and October 1984 and attracted 3.8 million visitors. The specially commissioned entertainment complex was the centrepiece of the city’s early regeneration efforts following industrial decline in the preceding decade.

When the festival closed its doors, a large part of the site was developed into residential housing, while the remainder experienced various incarnations as leisure and entertainment facilities, until it was left derelict in 1997 to fall into disrepair.

Now, after many years and numerous failed attempts to breathe new life into the historic site, the future of the restored Festival Gardens is secure, and the gates are well and truly open.
— www.liverpoolfestivalgardens.com/about

So on a warm summer's day off together in August, Hannah and I decided to go for a stroll to the Festival Gardens. Have a look through the photos to see the journey there and back.

The view along the Mersey at the back of the Albert Dock buildings.

Crossing the bridge of a dock gate.

Behind the Brunswick business park.


Rock and rope along Otterspool promenade. The rope is embedded in the rock, peaking out the bottom.


A towering buoy.


Arriving at the Festival Gardens – a circular arch features in the Chinese Garden…

…as does a pagoda and seating area.

The seating area looks out over this pond. On this day a herron was doing a spot of fishing.


In the Japanese garden were Tanzaku (wish making on colourful strips of paper) as part of the Tanabata Festival.

This one says, “I wish for the garden to be restored to its former beauty for all to enjoy!”

The one on the right (red writing on white paper) says, “I wish to become Batman’s ally, only to later betray him and have him killed by Two-Face. Later on I will become friends with the Joker, and marry Harley Quinn. Happiness is fleeting. Death is inevitable.”

The green writing on pink paper says, “I wish to be always in good health and have success in everything in my life and I wish my son be successful and to love me always…”

A circular stone carving in the Japanese Garden.

Looking across at the Chinese pagoda from the Japanese Garden platform.


A spiralling sculpture, made up from many sections of wood.


Peering out across the Mersey to the Wirral from a viewing point.

Leaving the Festival Gardens to head back along the Mersey.

Dramatic clouds above the angular Chung Ku Chinese restaurant.

Old dock structures show up in the Mersey when the tide is out.

Behind a boat yard.

Looking out towards an industrial part of the Wirral.

Returning back to the Salthouse Docks…

…we stumbled across the Tri Liverpool triathlon event. This cyclist digs deep to power out of the bend...

...and on to Strand Street, looping back past the Hilton Hotel/Liverpool ONE.

...and that was our stroll to the Festival Gardens. After this walk and a few bike rides along Otterspool promenade I can see potential in capturing a decent series of photos from this stretch of the Mersey. A project for next year perhaps!

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