Between Land and Sea


Free Entry

Monday – Saturday. 10am – 4pm.
Closed Sundays & Bank Holidays.
Plan your visit here.

The Story of Sefton

Between Land and Sea is a museum full of the stories of the people who have lived and worked along our coast.

Beginning with the history of the Sefton coast from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum showcases the development of Sefton’s tourist towns of Southport and Birkdale, the outstanding natural habitats from Marshside to Formby Point and the major industrial port of Bootle.

Take a walk through the museum as it details the story of the coast. The Museum is split into themes of the coast from irresistible, abundant, dangerous, inspirational, healthy and stylish.

Interactive displays include sending a digital postcard, finding ships using sonar and matching birds with their song. Take part in our new A.R. experience, The Local Legends Tour, bringing artefacts to life by scanning the QR codes in the museum with your phone.

The Local Legends Tour

Take part in our new local history A.R. experience, bringing artefacts in the museum to life. To take part, scan the QR codes in the museum with your phone.

The Local Legends Tour was created for The Atkinson by @dotrogersting

Download before you visit

Download a variety of trails to follow in our Museum. Print them at home and bring them with you, don’t forget a pencil and something to lean on!

Museum Trail – Full of questions and activities that will get children thinking and using their imagination.

I Spy Trail –  A classic family favourite, play I Spy as you explore the museum.

Shapes Trail – Our museum is full of objects in all different shapes and sizes – how many you can spot?


Irresistible Coast –  Thousands of years ago, people lived and worked near our coast . Stone tools, found in recent archaeological investigations at Lunt Meadows tell us how people lived 8000 years ago. Our coastline is constantly shifting, sometimes much further inland and sometimes further out. The struggle between land and sea is part of Sefton’s story.

Abundant Coast – from Shrimping to cockling and fishing. Southport has always had a history of fishing, including the catching of shrimps, which has been carried out in Southport and nearby districts for centuries. References for it can be found as far back as 1113 to fishing in the Parish of North Meols. The fish caught included sole, plaice, crab, herring, cockles and of course shrimp. By the 1800‘s there was a fleet of 13 trawl boats, mostly made locally and known as ’Nobby’s’. Horse-drawn carts would  follow, the museum or mechanical vehicles trawl nets behind boats, known as ‘shanking’. On display is a shrimping cart reconstructed using traditional methods by local craftsman, Phil Gregson from Banks.

Dangerous Coast – from the first Lifeboats of Southport to the Mexico Disaster in 1886 when 27 lifeboat men lost their lives.

Inspirational Coast –  Aviation and motoring history was made on the long sandy beaches of Sefton. In 1903 Southport staged a number of speed trials and sprints for Motor Racing. The museum celebrates the life and work of Sefton born Frank Hornby, creator of Meccanno, and of Frank Hampson, creator of Dan Dare and co creator of Eagle comic. We also have one of P.T. Barnum’s top hats on display. The Greatest Showman was an advisor to the Botanic Gardens Museum and donated his hat whilst he was here in Southport.

Healthy Coast – the promise of sea air and a rest cure attracted the unwell, in the 1860s the mayor Samuel Boothroyd, called for the town to be advertised as a place of resort for invalid visitors. Southport became a resort for Leisure and pleasure, Golf courses now cover over a quarter of Sefton’s  sand dunes systems and have helped to protect rare plant and animal species. Famous sporting events in Sefton have included the Golf Open and the annual Grand National at Aintree.  Find out about the legendary horse Red Rum, who famously won the Grand Nation three times and trained on Southport sands.

Stylish Coast  –  When Southport became a seaside resort for wealthy Lancashire families in the 1840s. Hotels, restaurants and theatres were built including the stunning Art Deco ‘Garrick Theatre’. This time was heralded as Southport’s most stylish era. As depicted in the famous photograph Southport for a Holiday in Wintertime by Fortunino Matania (1881–1963).


Some of the images and artefacts on display in the museum:

Museums for Learning

If you are a school or college, find out more about the variety of resources we have available. From loan boxes to plays, we will bring the museum alive for you. More information here.