Three Queens, One Magnificent City – Your guide to Cunard’s 175th Anniversary in Liverpool

Last weekend The Three Queens – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria met in Cunard’s home port of Southampton. It’s only the fourth time the three queens have been together in Southampton at the same time. This meeting has launched the beginning of the festivities to celebrate Cunard’s 175th anniversary. The celebrations will climax this month on the bank holiday weekend, 24th- 26th May 2015, with the three Queens sailing together in Liverpool.

The Three Queen’s are currently on their individual sailings and will rendezvous in Liverpool. The Queen Elizabeth will arrive as the last port of call on a 16 night cruise covering the Baltic Sea. The Queen Mary 2 will be sailing the British Isles visiting Scotland, Ireland and Guernsey. The Queen Victoria calls in at Liverpool following a 6 night cruise to St Peter Port, Guernsey.

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A Little Background Information For You…

Liverpool and Cunard have a deep connection as the city was home to Cunard from 1840 until 1967. The former headquarters, ‘The Cunard’ building still stands on Liverpool’s Pier Head as one of the world-famous ‘Three Graces’.
Cunard’s Britannia first sailed from Liverpool traveling to Halifax and Boston, on 4th July 1840. So this month The Three Queens are coming to Liverpool to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Cunard’s first transatlantic sailing.

Fact fans take note – A staggering 11 million emigrants crossed the Atlantic travelling to the ‘New World’ between 1860 and 1900, a third of which sailed from Liverpool. The Three Graces include – The Liver Building, the Cunard Building and  the Port of Liverpool Building which are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Our Picks Of What To Check Out

Food  – You now have the chance dine in the world famous Cunard building – Aquitania a fine-dining, pop-up restaurant will be opening for just 6 days, over 21st -26th May. The pop-up restaurant is named Aquitania after the famous Cunard liner and to reflect the golden age of cruising the restaurant, furnishings and staff uniforms will all be styled around the 1920s. It’s sure to be an once-in-a-lifetime experience, dining in surroundings steeped in Cunard’s maritime history. For more information about Aquitania click here – even just to look at the menu, which sounds delicious!

The Liverpool waterfront will also host a Victorain-style funfair and food festival on the Princes Dock, running from 10:00 am on Sunday 24th through till Monday 25th May. So you can enjoy tasty treats from around the world and a traditional-style funfair. Complete with carousel, cups and saucers and circus train, to keep you entertained while waiting for The Three Queens arrival.

Entertainment – Liverpool city council are hosting a series of events over the May bank holiday weekend, including –Three Queens & Amazing Graces, 23-26 May. As part of the festivities, The Three Graces on the Pier Head will be transformed, by providing the backdrop to state-of-the-art projections named, ‘Amazing Graces’. The spectacle will tell the tale of Cunard and Liverpool’s rich cultural heritage, including a ‘Sea of Faces’ made up of people from Cunard’s vast history and who embody spirit of Liverpool.

Full details of the all One Magnificent City celebrations can be found here, including the event ‘Transatlantic 175 – From the Mersey to Manhattan’, taking place over 4th & 5th July 2015. The Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 will return to sail from Liverpool to New York, recreating the original voyage for the 175th anniversary.

The Best Vantage Points

The best views of course will be from The Princes Dock itself, but you will need to get down early to make sure you get the best spot, as over 1 million people are expected to visit Liverpool over the 3 day event. The iconic Mersey Ferries are offering their passengers a unique view point of The Three Queens, on the Mersey itself. They will providing an up-close-and-personal perspective of the trio and will be running multiple sailings throughout the 3 day celebrations.

If you can’t get to Liverpool to see The Three Queens arrival, you can always watch the grand entrance to Mersey from the comfort of your own sofa, with the help of ‘Dome of Home’ camera. The camera is perched on top of SS Peter, Paul & Philomena Catholic church in New Brighton, which provides a panoramic view of the Liverpool dock. Merchant seaman nicknamed the iconic church overlooking the Mersey,  ‘Dome of Home’ during World War II, as it was the first landmark they would spot returning home to Liverpool.

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The Full Schedule Of Events, Courtesy Of Cunard –

Sunday 24 May

  • 09:00 – Queen Mary 2 arrives in the city and berths at Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal.
  • 22:00 – ‘Amazing Graces’ digital / light projection show on the Three Graces
  • 22:30 – Mid-river Firework display, off the Pier Head

Bank Holiday Monday 25 May

  • 10:45 – Queen Mary 2 leaves the berth to greet her two sisters at the mouth of the Mersey (the area between Crosby Beach and New Brighton)
  • 12:00–14:00 – Three Queens meet and sail south in formation towards the Liverpool Echo Arena, and then turn through 180 degrees to face north. Further manoeuvres may be possible depending on weather conditions on the day.
  • 14:00–14:15 – Queen Mary 2 leaves the city. Queen Elizabeth berths at the Cruise Liner Terminal and Queen Victoria anchors in the middle of the Mersey
  • 22:00–23:00 – Amazing Graces’ digital / light projection show on the Three Graces
  • 22:30 – Firework display. Following the display, Queen Elizabeth leaves the city and Queen Victoria berths at the Cruise Liner Terminal

Tuesday 26 May

  • 16:30 – A special musical sail-away performance to say good bye to Queen Victoria
  • 17:00 – Queen Victoria sails out of the city. Flotilla of small boats welcome.

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Don’t Miss Cunard’s 175th Anniversary Promotions…

As Cunard celebrate their 175th Anniversay throughout May and June, receive The Ulimate Upgrade on Fly-Mediterranean and Transatlantic Crossings on July and August departures across all stateroom categories.  Book a stateroom of your choice and pay the price of the stateroom type below – Click here to see all of Cunard’s current promotions.

  • Transatlantic Crossings- Queen Mary 2 : Upgrade from Inside to Balcony, Club Balcony to Princess Grill and Princess Grill to Queens Grill.
  • Fly- Mediterranean- Queen Victoria : Upgrade from Inside to Balcony, Balcony to Princess Grill and Princess Grill to Queens Grill.
  • Combinable with the Kids go free promotion. *Terms & conditions apply.

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(Images courtesy of Cunard & Shutterstock)

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About Emily Corner

Emily is our culture expert, she loves all things art and design and will share her insider knowledge of the coolest places to visit when abroad. The last place you will find her is laid by the pool or sunning on the beach, there's too much to explore! Emily is also a massive foodie, she's always checking out the hottest new restaurants and bars in search of the most delicious local dishes.