18 Oct 19
10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Visit Liverpool
So much more than just music and football, Liverpool is a surprisingly beautiful city and small enough to be easy to walk around. You have got the buzz in the city centre and the waterfront for peace and relaxing. Liverpool can feel bolder than London but you will soon learn to love that trait.
THE BEATLES & MUSIC
With accolades such as the 'World Capital City of Pop', Liverpool has an amazing musical heritage. This city has been the home to more number 1 singles than any other in the UK with many due to the Fab Four. Other well-known names include Gerry and The Pacemakers, Echo and The Bunnymen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Billy Fury and Cilla Black.
There are plenty of locations in Liverpool connected with The Beatles such as their birthplaces, the places mentioned in their songs, as well as where it all began at the infamous subterranean Cavern Club on Mathew Street where The Beatles played over 300 times. Do also head to The Beatles Story for an immersive walk-through journey to discover the music, culture and story of the band that changed the world. Come prepared to buy souvenirs too as the shop has the largest selection of official Beatles merchandise in the world.
Liverpool's music venues make it easy to catch live music most days so check what's on at The Arena, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The o2 Academy Liverpool and Zanzibar for starters but there are lots more venues.
Liverpool's sporting pedigree is exceptional. Separated by Stanley Park, the city has two of the Premier League football teams: Liverpool FC (the Reds) and Everton FC (the Blues). Combining the city's music and football, you'll hear 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry and The Pacemakers sung at Liverpool FC matches.
It can be hard to get matchday tickets but everyone can go on a stadium tour at Goodison Park (Everton FC) or Anfield (Liverpool FC). Both tours take you to the changing rooms and the tunnel to the pitch. At Anfield, there's also an interactive museum where you can see trophies and sporting memorabilia.
Liverpudlians are boss! The people here are renowned for their open friendliness and a great sense of humour. Happy to strike up a conversation with anyone, Scousers are always down to earth. While it may take you a little while to tune in to their accent, the people here generally love their home town and are willing to share that enthusiasm and pride.
The women in Liverpool often make an extra effort to glam-up in their best clobber for a bevvy at the weekend. Cold weather won't stop them wearing the latest fashion and there is no shame in wearing your hair rollers out in the day before a big night out. Oh yes, the people-watching opportunities in Liverpool are superb.
Shopping is taken seriously here and Liverpool One is the main shopping centre. There are 170 shops, plus restaurants and bars, across five districts of the city centre. You can continue designer brand shopping at Metquarter where there's a cinema too. And then head to Bold Street for independent stores selling everything from world foods to records. Pop into News From Nowhere, Liverpool's longest-established community bookshop, and Utility is great for quirky designer furniture and unique gifts. Resurrection has reworked and branded clothes and the exhibitions at Rennies Art Gallery make it always worth the time to stop by.
Don't leave without seeing the Church of St Luke – known as the Bombed Out Church by the locals. The church gardens are open to all and the managed ruin is used for events.
Liverpool has a grand past as one of the central hubs of the British Empire which has left the city with more Grade II listed buildings than any other city in the UK outside London. There are outstanding public buildings such as St. George's Hall and the Liverpool Central Library, as well as the Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum.
At the Pier Head, The Three Graces – The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building – are the buildings most synonymous with the city. Possibly the city’s most famous landmark, the Grade I-listed Royal Liver Building is one of the locations that gained Liverpool its UNESCO World Heritage status (see below).
Built in 1969, St Johns Beacon, better known as Radio City Tower, is an observation tower for fantastic panoramic views of the city. The viewing platform is at 400 feet (120 metres) above the ground and there are no steps to climb so it is accessible to all.
Just outside of the city, Speke Hall dates back to the 1500s, and you can find Georgian architecture (Liverpool has more Georgian buildings than Bath) around Rodney Street, Mount Pleasant, near the cathedrals and towards Toxteth. Either end of Hope street, you will find the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. It was awarded the status for its rich inheritance of 19th and early 20th century buildings and its pivotal role in world history.
The Liverpool World Heritage Site consists of six distinct Character Areas and a Buffer Zone. The six Character Areas are:
The Pier Head as it was the focal point of the river when Liverpool was the second city of the British Empire. You can see the Three Graces here (mentioned above). The second is the Albert Dock Conservation Area. The docks were officially opened by Prince Albert in 1846 and are now vibrant again (see more below). Stanley Dock Conservation Area is undergoing regeneration. The Commercial District covers the area around the Town Hall and other listed buildings. The Cultural Quarter includes St George's Hall and the World Museum, and the Merchants’ Quarter is on Lower Duke Street. The Buffer Zone surrounds the whole World Heritage Site covering the two cathedrals and Chinatown as Liverpool’s Chinatown is home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Europe.
WATERFRONT & MERSEY FERRY
Liverpool's development has been shaped by the River Mersey. After World War Two bombing and 1980s regeneration, the docks are now a true destination. Albert Dock has the largest collection of listed buildings in the UK housing galleries, museums, bars and restaurants.
You will get the best views of the city by taking a Ferry 'cross the Mersey to tour the estuary. The 50-minute River Explorer Cruise runs year-round and includes a full commentary and you get a free ticket to the U-boat Story to explore a genuine World War Two German submarine.
ART AND CULTURE
There is no shortage of world-class museums and galleries here in Liverpool. The striking Museum of Liverpool building opened in 2011 to tell the story of the city. This fascinating waterfront museum reflects the city's global significance through its unique geography, history and culture. Also on the waterfront, RIBA North is a national architecture centre that documents the importance of Liverpool in relation to the rest of the UK and how the port plays a vital role.
Merseyside Maritime Museum is in Albert Dock. It looks at the city's sea-trading legacy and uncovers objects from the Titanic. The International Slavery Museum is on the third floor highlighting historical and contemporary slavery. And the National Border Force Museum is in the basement. Also at Albert Dock, Tate Liverpool opened in 1988 and has British and international modern and contemporary art in a dockside warehouse building.
Liverpool and the surrounding region has more museums, theatres and galleries than any other outside London. The World Museum Liverpool has treasures from across the globe and the Walker Art Gallery is fabulous both inside and out. The Victoria Gallery & Museum is run by the University of Liverpool, and the Lady Lever Gallery has respected collections of fine and decorative art. And you won't struggle to find a great night out as there are many theatres in Liverpool.
Outside art installations include 'Super Lamb Banana' (yes, a cross between a lamb and a banana) on Tithebarn Street and 'A Case History' by John King on Hope Street. You can see painted street art on Bold Street, Wood Street, around the Baltic Triangle and more.
Being on the coast means there are plenty of beaches in the area. Formby Beach has vast sand dunes making is great for both nature walks and relaxing. For swimming, you’ll need to head out of the city and across the water to one of the Wirral beaches. Try West Kirby, Meols (pronounced Mells), Moreton or Wallasey.
Just 6 miles north of the city centre is Crosby Beach, the permanent home to Antony Gormley's 'Another Place'. This art installation is made up of 100 cast-iron, life-size statues, known locally as 'the iron men’. Each statue stands alone, staring out over the sea in silent contemplation. It's a surprisingly emotional place and sometimes funny when someone dresses one of the iron men in fancy dress.
Also to the north of the city centre, you can enjoy horse racing at Aintree Racecourse. This is the home of the annual Grand National, a British sporting institution since 1839. The day before is Ladies Day when you have to get into the spirit of the day and dress up. Expect colourful dresses and hats on the ladies with smartly dressed men too.
WHERE TO STAY
Decadence on the Docks is a great way to describe Malmaison Liverpool. This boutique city centre hotel has a super-cool cocktail bar with a regular Happy Hour and Thank Mal It's Friday deals so you can relax with friends. Then why not stay for dinner at Chez Mal Brasserie? There's an excellent Prix Fixe menu and impressive steaks on the A La Carte menu. When you've chosen your dates, don't forget to check the latest offers.
Written by Laura Porter – Travel writer for Malmaison & Hotel du Vin