The Old Dock

The Old Dock Tour in Liverpool in England’s North West is an unique visitor attraction. Rediscovered in 2001 during the construction of the Liverpool One shopping complex having been closed and filled in in 1826 the Old Dock is the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock and, as such, the precursor of wet docks the world over and the first step in Liverpool’s importance as an international trading port. 

The dock was built between 1710 and 1715 and meant that ships could be loaded or unloaded in a matter of weeks rather than months which had previously been the case. The development company Grosvenor Estates working with Oxford Archaeology North and the North West Development Agency have created an excellent tourist attraction which gives a valuable insight into the start of Liverpool’s commercial rise.

Liverpool old dock wall

Tours of the Old Dock are available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30am, 12 noon and 2:30pm and can only be arranged by booking in advance. The tours start at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in the Royal Albert Dock from where you walk to the dock. It is not a long walk – perhaps 500 meters – however the visit to the dock is not suitable for those in wheelchairs or motorised scooters. There is one flight of steps which has a hand rail and is well lit.

Liverpool old dock

The tour guides – there may be one or two – are excellent. I have done this tour on several occasions, as a ‘tourist’ and as part of an academic group and the guides change their presentation to make it suitable for the group they are leading. Groups are not big 15/20 maximum so everyone can see and hear what is going on without difficulty. What is, essentially, a hole in the ground (albeit a rather important hole) is put into its historic context very well.

There are no toilets at the Old Dock itself although there are at the Maritime Museum where there is also a café and a restaurant.

Tours take around an hour.

The Old Dock, Liverpool, UK

Access via – Merseyside Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 4AQ

Telephone – 0151.478.4499

Website – Merseyside Maritime Museum –

Old Dock Tours -

General bookings – 0151.478.4499

Group bookings -

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David Hearn

After spending some time in the British Army (we did not get on) I had a first career in banking and a second in management consultancy before going to university for the first time at the age of 55 to take a BA in history at Liverpool John Moores University followed by a Masters in International Slavery Studies at the University of Liverpool.

I published a guide to England’s best First World War Memorials in 2018 and I am currently working on a book about Liverpool’s involvement in slavery which will be called Liverpool: a City Built on Slavery although this is still quite a way off publication.

I have a small publishing company known as The Dusty Teapot Company which I run jointly with my older son we concentrate on reproducing copies of historic books about Liverpool but we also undertake photographic digitisation and oral history.