Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

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December fun thanks to The National Lottery

published by Barry

#ThanksToYou From 3-9 December 2018, we are offering free heritage tours and discounts to National Lottery players. This December as part of the #ThanksToYou campaign, ...


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Top things to do for families at Bluecoat this summer

Abacus, an exhibition especially for children

Fri 21 Jul – Sun 1 Oct

This summer children are taking over Bluecoat! The main show, Abacus, is a free interactive art exhibition created especially for children. Abacus encourages visitors of all ages to break the traditional rules of an art gallery and allows your family to truly interact with art. Artists have designed art works to inspire visitors to watch, draw, read and make. These include a mini art cinema and a gallery of giant chalkboards where your family can create their own masterpieces by drawing straight onto the gallery walls

A Weekly Carousel of Activities

Until Sat 2 Sep

Children can also climb on board a weekly programme of activities related to our summer exhibition. There’ll be Toddlertastic dance and mark-making workshops every Tuesday and Storytime Puppet shows on Wednesdays. You can try something different every Thursday with our Pick ‘n’ Mix sessions, which feature everything from stand-up comedy to drawing with robots.


Every Saturday, 1-4pm

Drop in with your children every Saturday afternoon for our regular family afternoon of arts and crafts, with special activities based around their summer show Abacus. An expert team of artist practitioners have developed an array of fun things to do and exciting ways to interact with contemporary art.

Family Weekend: Abacus Extravaganza

Sat 19 & Sun 20 Aug 1 – 4pm

Head to Bluecoat for a weekend of family arts activities inspired by our summer exhibition Abacus. On Saturday, artists from Liverpool Improvisation Collective will take you through movement and dance, based on the architectural spaces and costumes artist Emily Speed has created for our summer exhibition. There will also be art activities for all the family and a BBQ with child-friendly options available. On the Sunday, join in on art activities for all the family, including storytelling sessions at 2pm and 3pm for 4 – 7 year olds.

Heritage Weekend

Fri 8 – Sat 9 Sep 1 – 4pm

Celebrate with us as we open our doors for a week filled with heritage-inspired events and activities for all the family.

We have special drop in Explore sessions on Saturday and Sunday (1–4pm) that will inspire children to explore Bluecoats fascinating history through creative art activities.

On Sunday it’s the main event! Join us for a celebratory afternoon tea to mark Bluecoat’s 300th birthday. Enjoy your afternoon tea in our beautiful garden, along with live music, a BBQ and cupcake decorating for children. We’ll have more free family activities inspired by the fascinating history of the building, along with stalls and demonstrations from the independent retailers based at Bluecoat.

Hunt for secrets and treasures in Liverpool’s oldest building

Every day

Bluecoat turns 300 this year, making it the oldest building in Liverpool city centre. Originally built as a school for local children in 1717, there’s a long and fascinating history hidden within their walls. Drop by and pick up a heritage activity sheets and go on a hunt to find all the building’s secrets and treasures! 


Image Credit 1: Simon and Tom Bloor, New Possibilities in familiar situations, 2017, Abacus Installation Shot, Bluecoat. © Brian Roberts
Image Credit 2: Family Weekend 2017 © Brian Roberts
Image Credit 3: Abacus, Installation Shot, Bluecoat. © Rob Battersby
Image Credit 4: Bluecoat Garden © Brian Roberts


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About the Bluecoat

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

Opening hours

Mon - Sat 9.00am - 6.00pm
Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

Tickets & Information

0151 702 5324 |

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