Liverpool is a thriving city in the North of England with galleries and museums to rival the capital. Not surprisingly, the home city of The Beatles has an exciting live music scene, as well as fantastic opportunities for shopping and dining. Those looking for culture won’t be disappointed as the city has a rich heritage and sports fans will also be happy to take a wander around the city that many a famous footballer calls their home. The summer is a great time to visit as there are a plethora of exciting festivals to go to including Beatleweek and LIMF (Liverpool International Music Festival) in August, as well as flower shows and food and drink festivals.
Things to do and see
Visitors to Liverpool are really spoilt for choice as there is just so much to see and do that unless they have unlimited time they will have to carefully select the best things to do. Here are some top picks:
Albert Dock – These old Victorian warehouses have now been converted into museums and galleries such as the Maritime Museum and the Tate Liverpool, as well as plenty of chic bars and restaurants.
The Mersey – A trip to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without at least a glimpse of the Mersey River. Head down to Pier Head, an old dock dating back to 1900 and observe the stunning architecture of the surrounding buildings. Or take a trip on a Mersey Ferry to enjoy amazing views of the city from the water.
The Beatles – Visit some of the Fab Four’s old haunts on a Magical Mystery Tour including their old family homes, schools, where they first performed, etc. Then to gel up on some little known facts take an audio guided tour (with the voice of McCartney himself) around The Beatles’ Story museum.
Liverpool Cathedrals – Yes that’s right, Liverpool has not just one but two cathedrals and both are very much worth visiting. The most famous being the spectacular neo-Gothic Anglican Cathedral, but a quick wander up Hope Street will take visitors to the stunning Catholic Cathedral which boasts the largest piece of stained glass in the world.
Football – Visit the home grounds of famous rival clubs Everton FC and Liverpool FC, tour the stadia, buy a ticket for a game and grab some merchandise once you’ve decided who you’ll support.
Art – Liverpool’s biggest and most exciting gallery is the Walker Art Gallery, housing a wide selection of national and international art, as well as temporary exhibitions.
Architecture – Visitors shouldn’t miss out on seeing some of Liverpool’s most famous landmarks including the Three Graces consisting of three stunning buildings on the waterfront and showing off Liverpool’s prosperous past. The huge Greco-Roman style St. Georges Hall is also a must see.
The world-famous city of Liverpool has endless accommodation options but following are a few top picks from each category:
Backpackers – Hatters Hostel is centrally located near Lime Street Station and offers dorms starting from around US$20 a night or privates from US$100 including a free breakfast.
Bed & Breakfast – The Penny Lane Hotel is ideal for Beatles fans with beautiful themed rooms and offers accommodation for around US$200 a night.
Boutique – Hope Street Hotel has elegant lofty rooms starting from around US$135 a night with a free bottle of wine and late checkout.
Luxury – For those looking to combine city break and spa, you can’t get much better than the Double Tree by Hilton Liverpool Hotel with rooms starting from around US$240.
Getting into Liverpool is easy; the airport is only 30 minutes away if you take the 500 express bus to and from town which costs about US$6 one way. Once in town there are a multitude of options:
Buses – The two main bus stations are the Liverpool ONE Bus Station, in the Liverpool ONE shopping centre and the Queen Square bus station which is near the St. John’s shopping centre. Buses go all over the city and out into the suburbs and fares cost around US$4.50 for a single. Night buses operate on Friday and Saturday nights until 4am and are a bit more expensive.
Trains – To get to the neighbouring towns head to Liverpool Central Station and to get further afield, head to Liverpool Lime Street. Tickets are cheaper if bought ahead online.
Ferries – The famous Mersey ferries cross the river to take passengers from Piers Head to Woodside or Seacombe on the other side for about US$4 single or US$6 return.
Taxis – Hail a black cab on the street or call for a private service. A pricey but convenient way of getting around the city.
Liverpool offers a tempting range of restaurants offering international cuisine from every part of the world imaginable, as well as some great local eateries. Following are some great options:
Local – Try an old Liverpool favourite, lobscouse stew, at the Baltic Fleet Pub. You might be lucky enough to meet one of the four ghosts who haunt the ancient pub too. Price guide: budget.
Italian – For authentic Italian cuisine head to Il Forno where they have a huge range of choices and set menus to suit any taste. Price guide: mid-range.
Indian – The Maharaja offers something different from the rest of Liverpool’s curry houses as it’s the first to specialise in Keralan cuisine. Price guide: mid-range.
Gastropub – The Monro uses locally-sourced food and has some great lunchtime set menus, as well as a more refined a la carte menu. Price guide: budget/mid-range.
Luxury – Foodies will want to try out the signature tasting menu with accompanying wine menu available at Fraiche modern cuisine restaurant. Price guide: expensive.
The city certainly doesn’t disappoint with nightlife options and whether you want to sip top-end wines in a swanky wine bar or mosh your way to the front of a live music gig, there’s something for everyone:
Pub – Peter Kavanagh’s is a treat that shouldn’t be missed: an authentic British pub eclectically decorated with murals from Charles Dickens’ tales.
Wine Bar – Try an oaky Chardonnay or a refreshing Chablis at the decadent Schmooze Wine Bar.
Cocktails – For no frills fun visitors should head to Motel for a friendly chilled-out evening and cocktails starting from a very reasonable US$5.50.
Live Music – The Cavern is not only a great venue for live music these days but was so in the 60s too, in fact it’s where The Beatles first used to perform. Check the listings and decide whether you fancy listening to some new talent or reminiscing over a tribute act.
Club – For DJs and live music, Heebie Jeebies is the cool place to party. Super cheap and full of students, it’s always a fun and hectic night.
Shopping and Markets
High Street – Visitors should head to Church Street for all the regular high-street names such as Topshop, Next and Marks & Spencer etc.
Designer – Those wanting something a little more up-market may find what they’re looking for in the MetQuarter with brands such as MAC, Hugo Boss, and DKNY.
Boutique – A great place to find a host of quirky and independent stores is Cavern Walks where you may well bump into a footballer’s wife or two.
Market – For a more alternative and bohemian feel, the stalls at Grand Central Hall have a range of interesting second hand clothes and furniture.