Liverpool is a city that has great architecture, great art, plenty of places to grab a coffee or food and friendly people to make you feel right at home.
Things to do and see in Liverpool
Last June, I attended a conference in Liverpool. As you would expect, I didn’t get to see anything and my route was more like the following: train station – hotel – conference venue – train station. Since I stayed near the waterfront, I was determined to enjoy what the city had on offer so I booked myself a short break.
So what are the things to do and see in Liverpool?
The biggest regeneration in Liverpool happened at the Waterfront. The Albert Dock which used to be an abandoned warehouse has been upgraded to a great tourist attraction. The World Heritage Site, house to the largest group of Grade 1 listed building in the United Kingdom is just located by the river Mersey. The Waterfront and its Albert Dock is a great place to take a stroll or just wander around on a nice and sunny day. In addition it provides visitors with a selection of souvenir shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, galleries and museums.
Liverpool will not disappoint with the number of good museums. The renovated waterfront is where most of the museums are located. The Museum of Liverpool which opened recently in 2011 is dedicated to the story of the city. There, you learn about the development of the port and the city’s history from the expansion of the city throughout the industrial revolution, the Atlantic slave trade to the decline of the manufacturing industries. I was glad I watched a little video about the history of Tate & Lyle sugar; Liverpool playing a big part in the slave trade. I am ashamed to say that, I only realised the connection between the sugar brand and the Tate galleries then and there. The top floor of the museum is reserved to the Beatles and Football. I watched the 360º films about the rivalry between Liverpool F.C and Everton F.C and the story of The Beatles. Music and football play a big part in Liverpool’s status as a tourist destination. The Merseyside Maritime Museum, gives a complete insight in the historic development of the port. As you keep strolling in the museum, you learn about some sinking tragedies that shook the maritime world like “RMS Lusitania” or the well known “RMS Titanic”. There are also lots of interactive activities for kids as well as ship models and objects that take you right back in time. On the 3rd floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, sits the International Slavery Museum. Taking into account the history of the city, it is no surprise that Liverpool is home to the oldest Black African and Chinese communities. Stop by the Chinese neighbourhood if you have some time to spare.
There is also space for contemporary art in Liverpool with Tate Liverpool. Part of the Tate Collection with Tate Britain and Tate Modern London, the museum displays work from the national British collection as well as international modern art. Even though it is not as extensive as the London version, you can find work from well known artists like William Blake, Andy Warhol or Tracy Emin.
One of the first thing you will notice is that Liverpool is architecturally a beautiful city with thousands of listed buildings. There is an array of impressive edifices ranging from Victorian, Neo-Classical or Edwardian. You are amazed as soon as you leave Liverpool Lime Street train station. From the beautiful station to the “Three Graces” or Liverpool Cathedral, you can only admire the amazing pieces of architecture. Whenever you are into architecture or not, you will be impressed by the massive buildings in front of you.
Back in the 19th century, Liverpool was striving as one of the major port cities in Europe. Therefore the connected trades of slavery, cane sugar and tobacco were passing through. The profits from the trades enabled the city to show its wealth by constructing gigantic buildings. Egocentric merchants believed that their status needed to be reflected by a big building or estate. The three historic buildings (grade 1 and 2) in Pier Head also known as the “The Three Graces” – the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building – contrast beautifully with the modern architecture of the waterfront.
Experience the Beatlemania
When you think of Liverpool, the first thing that comes to mind is either football or the Beatles. The four members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr became the most influential rock band in the world. Success after success and the “Beatlemania” was created. So to learn more about it, head over to the Beatles Story, the museum that tells you all about the Beatles. Once you leave the museum, you can continue tracing the Fab Four’s footsteps by going to Matthew Street better known as “Beatles Street” to have a drink at the Cavern Club while listening to a tribute band sing a Beatles’ song. There is also a “Beatles tour” that takes you to places that inspired some of their songs like Penny Lane or the member’s houses. Note that you can see the plan/design of John Lennon’s house in the Museum of Liverpool.
There are plenty of open air sculptures to enjoy in Liverpool. In this collage you can see: an iconic statue of the Fab Four – It’s the city’s most popular selfie spot!; Billy Fury; a twin tailed mermaid and cow Sculpture on the dockside in Liverpool.
During the summer period, Pier Head is home to a small fun fair, much like other seaside towns. There you can enjoy some attractions like the swing ride, drop tower and pendulum ride. Or eat your weight of junk food!
The waterfront of Liverpool hosts festivals and events all year around. Our visit coincided with Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. This famous race has 12 crews battle during a 11th month race around the world to claim the title. The fleet arrived in Liverpool ahead of the start and hundreds of people were there cheering for them. It was the first time for me so I was quite happy to experience it.
Whenever I visit a city, I always try to check out the shopping district, especially when I’m travelling with my sister. Liverpudlians are known to take care of their looks so it’s no surprise that they have lots of choices for fashion. Whenever you are after high street shops or designer brands, the streets of South John Street, Peter’s Lane or Paradise Street will be your go to places for a good retail therapy. On a Saturday afternoon you feel like the whole city is at the open air shopping centre – Liverpool One.
Obviously after going to all these sites, you will need fuel. Much like the shopping, there are lots of place to eat. The top floor of Liverpool One is dedicated to restaurants of all sorts.
Wagamama – Liverpool One, 14 Paradise Street
The Japanese inspired restaurant offers a fast service however their “raisukaree” tastes nothing like the other Japanese restaurants. My sister definitely didn’t like the taste of it.
Mowgli – 69 Bold Street
Mowgli is well designed with wooden tables, ropes and cage lamps. As soon as you enter, you are welcomed by friendly staff. The Indian styled food is absolutely fantastic and reasonable priced.
Bill’s Restaurant – Liverpool 10, 1 Thomas Steers Way
Bill’s is a British restaurant and their Baked caper with herb crusted Cod and Macaroni cheese meal were delicious.
Pullman Liverpool Hotel
We stayed at the Pullman Liverpool Hotel. The hotel is situated at the Kings Dock, just 5 minutes from Albert Dock. It’s also connected to the ACC Liverpool and handy for people going to the Echo Arena. I was chuffed to bits when I managed to book a the hotel during a promotion and paid only £50 a night!
The reception area is clean and airy and the contemporary atmosphere and stylish decor makes it a good choice.
The breakfast and snacks at the bar were good, no disappointment for me at all!
Sold yet? Now the most important is how to get there? Liverpool is easily accessible by plane (John Lennon Airport), train on the Virgin West Coast Line via London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street.
Thanks for reading!