The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever– Jacques Yves Cousteau.
There is a myth that says if you hold a conch shell to your ear, you can hear the sound of the waves. To some, that sound brings a sense of calm and peace, while for others, a sense of relief bringing back memories of beautiful times at the beach.
If you are a fan of golden sands and blue waters, you must visit Crosby beach. It sits in the North of Liverpool on the Merseyside coastline, and forms a part of this coastline. This quaint beach stretches 4 kilometres in length. This is a place where people come to spend some quiet quality time. A peculiar and rather unusual sight that you will see at Crosby beach is a hundred men mesmerisingly staring straight into the sea. Placed at different positions on the beach, these hundred men are, in reality, hundred cast-iron human sculptures. The statues are spread across a kilometre-wide distance, starting from the high sands all the way into the sea. These 100 men look out at sea, as if the sea is talking to them, and they are moving towards the ocean, hypnotised by its rhythmic beauty.
What is ‘Another Place?’
The contemporary exhibit of the 100 men sculptures is known as ‘Another Place.’ The statues were put up for exhibition at Crosby beach in July 2005 by artist Antony Gormley. The life-size statues have been created using the cast from Antony’s naked body. Each figure is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 650 kg. Some of the sculptures stand tall while some are sunken into the sand depicting the nature of the waves to carry men into the sea. It is mostly during low tide when all these 100 sculptures can be viewed clearly.
The initial plan was to move these figures by 2007 due to their controversial nature for being naked. People who used to visit the beach regularly for sports were among those who were against the statues for safety reasons. Nonetheless, the beach was attracting tourists from all over the world to visit this rare and intriguing exhibit. Hence, after much convincing by art lovers and the artist himself, the British government finally gave the go-ahead to allow the sculptures to remain permanently at Crosby beach.
If you visit Crosby beach on one of those lucky sunny days, you absolutely must stay for a splendid view of the silhouetted figures in the orange sky, against the setting sun.
Significance of Another Place
Every art form poses a different meaning as perceived by the beholder. Then there are those to whom the art appeals emotionally, though they can’t place a finger on the exact nature of that attractiveness. The same is the case with these figures of 100 men at Crosby beach. Each visitor who is lured in by the enigma of Another Place has a distinctive viewpoint about these pieces of art. Some interpret it as melancholic men readily walking towards the alluring ocean, while some others see it like a man progressively heading into the water and getting stuck into the soft sand as he walks.
Antony Gormley wanted the exhibit to echo the changing relationship between man and nature. He considered that a beach would be a perfect place to illustrate this bond. Crosby Beach attracted him due to its robust and straightforward character. This is what Antony Gormley had to say about the exhibit, “The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements, and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth’s substance. In this work, human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body, no hero, no ideal, just the industrially-reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.”
You can always come to Crosby beach and decide on what the exhibit resembles as per your perception or just click some lovely photographs with the exhibits.
Places to Visit Around Crosby Beach
1. Having a Bubble Football
This place is about 5 km away from Crosby beach and one of the best places to visit if you are going with a group. You get sixty minutes to play a regular game of football, but there is a catch. The upper half of your body is inside an inflated bubble of Zorb. The lower half, of course, is uncovered for ease of movement. The inflated bubble has handles for you to hold and straps for your safety. The fun begins when you are trying to hustle with your opponent for the ball but instead end up bumping into each other.
2. Fon Authentic Thai Massage
You can loosen up those tight muscles and revitalise yourself with an authentic Thai massage at the Fon Thai Massage Studio, which is about 1.4 km away from Crosby beach. The masseurs here are very professional and experienced. They know just the right amount of pressure to apply to invigorate your body. Their rooms are clean and airy, giving you a perfect atmosphere to relax and unwind from your stressed every-day life.
3. The Vintage Corner
As the name suggests, The Vintage Corner is a great place to shop for some stuff from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s era. This place is approximately 1.5 km away from Crosby beach. They have clothing, furnishings, and many more vintage items that they keep refreshing month after month. Moreover, the owners are warm and welcoming. They play lovely hosts and help you shop for that perfect look. It’s a must-visit for all old-school lovers and collectors.
4. Plaza Cinema
The Plaza Cinema is around 1.8 km far from Crosby beach. Volunteers run this cinema as a part of their service to the community. The tickets are inexpensively priced. The seats are comfortable, and the theatre itself is compact but cosy. You can see how cinema houses were in the early years of establishment. The Plaza Cinema is very well-maintained and gives you a feel of classic theatres used to be. So, watch a movie here and do your bit to help the community.
5. Mad Day Out Beatles Taxi Tour
For all you Beatles’ fans out there, if you are at Crosby beach and wondering what to do next, just hop into this taxi and enjoy a ride down the Beatles memory lane. Liverpool is the birth-place of the band called The Beatles. The Mad Day Out Beatles Taxi Tour, which is about 6.2 km away from Crosby beach, takes you around the town, showing you the places that are interwoven in The Beatles history. The taxi is also designed to represent John Lennon’s 1967 custom Rolls Royce. No one wants to miss this cab ride.
6. Tick Tock Unlock
Put your brain muscles to use in an escape room adventure at Tick Tock Unlock. This place is about 8.3 km away from Crosby beach. This live escape game is 60 minutes long. The idea is for a group of people to enter a locked room where they have to solve a chain of puzzles to find their way out. This escape room brings out your team spirit as you work with your group to crack the brainteaser and have fun doing it.
More places near Crosby Beach
There are a lot of exceptional sites to explore around Crosby beach. Volunteer Canteen and The Corkscrew are some great pubs you can visit to enjoy a nice beer or two. You can even try the Liverpool City Explorer tour on an open roof bus, or try some climbing challenges at Clip ‘N Climb Liverpool, or play some pleasurable golf at the West Lancashire Golf Club, the list of things to do here is never-ending.
Final words on Crosby Beach
Crosby beach isn’t one of those beaches where you go swimming with the waves, because the tides here are highly unpredictable. Besides, there are certain areas on the beach which have quicksand. However, you can definitely go for a walk on the velvety shores of the beach. Let the soothing waves gently caress your feet, while the cool sea-breeze tenderly grazes your skin. The promenade on the beach is an excellent place to ride a bicycle and spend some leisure time with your loved ones. You can even carry a beach ball to play some games on the beach.
Even though the 100 iron men of ‘Another Place’ have been a crowd puller, Crosby beach remains mostly unexplored. The beach is immaculate and sparsely crowded most of the time. There are no commercial establishments on the beach, which has been an excellent advantage for those who come to enjoy its beauty and be with nature.
If you are in Liverpool, Crosby beach is a place that you just cannot miss out on a dreamy day.