Best dockland rejuvenations and reborn cultural centres

In cities all over the world, planners and developers have attempted to revitalise disused dockland areas and create cultural centres. Often the redevelopments are as soulless as the bleak spaces they replaced, but no amount of concrete and chrome can cover up the magic of glistening lights reflecting off the quay, and where former industrial buildings have been left standing, galleries, music and art abound.  

Here are some top refreshed dockland destinations:

Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires sprawls out seemingly endlessly, and getting some relief from the bustle can be quite a struggle. If you’re downtown, Puerto Madero offers a stylish respite, walks along the docks, a nature reserve and market, as well as mesmerising tango and theatre in the evenings.

Walk by the docks 1-4 (Diques 1-4) and the redbrick warehouse buildings to find some fine restaurants, The Puente de la Mujer (Women’s Bridge) will certainly be an architectural talking point at Dique 3. With its asymmetrical suspension design, it swings open by 90 degrees to allow passing water traffic.

A short walk away and lying just behind Puerto Madero, you will find the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve. Built atop the rubble created during the building of the city’s expressways, the green space on the edge of the city is served well by a long promenade, where you can reward yourself with a street barbeque (parilla) or simply rest your eyes on the reeds and watch the birds.

Bilbao, Spain

A little closer to home, you can easily visit Bilbao without even hopping on a plane – just enjoy a ferry trip from Portsmouth. When you arrive you’ll be greeted with one of the most successful decade-long regenerations in Europe, boasting modern designer hotels and art galleries alongside traditional markets, tapas (also known as pintxo) and historic churches.

The Guggenheim Bilbao is an unmissable and phenomenally arresting building – an art gallery that will challenge your preconceptions before you even step inside. This summer the acclaimed exhibition ‘David Hockney: A Bigger Picture’ moves to the Guggenheim, providing a must-see draw if you haven’t already been awed by this celebration of landscape.

Also see the Museum of Fine Art, walk by the riverside, check out the Alhóndiga – Bilbao’s library, cinema, and glass-floored roof swimming pool – and a choice of museums, squares, churches, theatres and markets.

Liverpool, United KIngdom

The Tate Liverpool’s Turner Monet Twombly exhibition this summer is alone worthy of a short trip to the city, showing off the artists’ later paintings in an appropriately waterside setting. Liverpool’s docks may not be Monet’s garden, but they are blessed with a multifaceted history and plenty of modern attractions, museums, architecture, and legendary nightlife.



Article sponsored by Sainsbury's Bank, who recommend you get some travel insurance and foreign currency, book your journey, and whisk yourself off to the wharf.

Issued by Sainsbury’s Bank

 All information is correct at time of print, although it may be subject to some change. Any views or beliefs contained in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those held by Sainsbury's Bank plc or the Sainsbury's Group of Companies.

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