Contemporary Arts at the Bluecoat

The Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. The landmark building, located in the heart of the city centre, is home to a year-round programme of exhibitions, music, dance, literature, live art and heritage events.

Bluecoat also provides a base for around 30 artists, collectives, small arts organisations and craftspeople. Bluecoat receives around 700,000 visits annually from a diverse range of visitors. It seeks to create exceptional arts experiences, engaging the broadest possible audience with exciting contemporary work and the creators behind it in ways that allow the public’s enjoyment of the building to blend seamlessly with the arts, heritage, retail and hospitality on offer.

2017 was the 300th anniversary of its distinctive Grade One listed building, the oldest in Liverpool city centre. The tercentenary celebrations have provided the Bluecoat with a unique opportunity to share its rich heritage, to engage with new artists, audiences and stakeholders, and in dialogue, to create an inspirational vision for Bluecoat’s future.

Bluecoat: a brief history

In 1908 a group of artists moved into the former Blue Coat School building in Liverpool city centre and the space has been synonymous with art and artists ever since, playing a major part in Liverpool’s cultural life. Bluecoat expanded and flourished from the 1960s onwards with a regular public programme of exhibitions, music, live art and dance. A working community of artists has always been present with creative businesses and small arts organisations added to the mix over the years. In 2008, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, Bluecoat reopened after a 3-year capital redevelopment which resulted in significant improvements to physical access as well as the creation of a brand new arts wing.

Current and forthcoming exhibitions can be viewed here.

Further information:
  • Opening hours: Monday – Tuesday – closed; Wednesday – Sunday – 11.oo am – 5.00 pm. Closed for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

  • Location: The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX

  • Getting there: Situated in the centre of Liverpool, just behind Church Street, down Church Alley and in front of Liverpool ONE. You can enter the building via the front courtyard off School Lane, or through the garden at the back off College Lane

  • Contact: Tel: 0151 702 5324; email: 

  • Admission is free