When I first got off the bus that took me from the airport to Liverpool’s bustling city center, I was greeted by this slogan, located across from the Lime Street Station:
A place where things happen, usually for the first time.
That ridiculous statement would go on to color the rest of my stay in the city – in a good way.
Liverpool is a city with a rich industrial and maritime history, and that can be seen in the buildings and attitude even today. On top of that, Liverpool is the birthplace to The Beatles and other bands, and they won’t let you forget it; as home to artists with more number 1 hits than any other place, it rightfully claims the title as World Capital of Pop. It’s also a proud sports town, with die-hard Liverpool FC fans ready to defend their titles.
With a population of around 500,000, Liverpool is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. Several parts of the city were given UNESCO World Heritage Site status back in 2004. It is part of the county of Merseyside, as it is situated on the eastern banks of the Mersey Estuary.
Things to Do & See
Liverpool has countless things to do, no matter the time or day. No matter if you’re an art lover, history buff, or shopaholic – the city has world class destinations for you to visit. Here are some of the top things to do in Liverpool:
The Tate Liverpool is an art gallery displaying works from the Tate Collection. Entrance is free (donations), and numerous works by Rothko, Lichtenstein, and others are available to view. [website | map]
Here are a few more:
- International Slavery Museum [website | map]
- Walker Art Gallery [website | map]
- The Beatles Story [website | map]
- Albert Dock [website | map]
- World Museum [website | map]
- Merseyside Maritime Museum [website | map]
Did You Know? The demonym (what the locals are called) for the people of Liverpool is a Liverpudlian. Colloquially, Liverpudlians call themselves Scousers, after the common local soup scouse; Scouse has become so synonymous with Liverpool that it is a favorite adjective to describe anything Liverpudlian, such as their scouse accent.
Eat & Drink
If you’re looking for food – Liverpool’s got it. Trendy places catering to diets and tastes of any kind can easily be found all over the city, but local diners can still be found. Try scouse, a lamb or beef stew that is quintessentially Liverpudlian. Bubble and squeak is made from the vegetable leftovers from a Sunday roast.
As a maritime city, as well as a truly British one, you must be sure to try the innumerable gins on offer throughout the city. There are also some fine craft beers to be had from around the region.
For dessert, try a wet nelly, the moister version of the Nelson cake from a neighboring town. Bramleys Cafe [map] offers great British and Liverpudlian specialties served at a brisk pace.
Want nightlife? Well, Liverpool won’t disappoint. The streets, especially on weekends, are complete anarchy, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find livelier streets with bars and clubs in such close proximity to each other than here.
The Merchant [map] is a great place to hang out with friends, and they offer a sizeable selection of ales. Located right in the center of the Rope Walks district, it’s steps away from plenty of other clubs and pubs.
Where to Stay
Though it can be more expensive, staying closer to the center and nearer the river will pay dividends, as you can save on commute times to all the major attractions, be near all the entertainment and nightlife, and get great food within walking distance.
The Baltic Triangle is one of the trendiest places in Liverpool; actually, it’s been voted in the top 10 hippest nabes in the UK as a whole. With its central location, numerous dining options, and great creative culture, it’s a neighborhood worth booking your room in.
The Georgian Quarter is more stylish due to its venerable nature. Home to the two distinct cathedrals, it also has plenty of pleasant cafes and bistros throughout for a pleasant morning or afternoon outing.
The Rope Walks is just above and between the latter two, and though its a small area in size, it’s jam-packed with restaurants and bars – especially on Bold Street.
Liverpool is far cheaper than London, of course, but it can still get quite expensive, especially if you choose one of the above neighborhoods and book late. Check out Hatters Hostel [map] for cheap digs while still remaining close to all the action.
Did You Know? Liverpool is home to the oldest Black African community in the United Kingdom and the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
Located in the center-west of the United Kingdom, Liverpool has exactly the same driving distance to both London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. Nearby is Manchester, its regional rival and a destination in its own right.
Getting In & Out
Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the main airport serving Liverpool and environs, and like many things in this city, it has a The Beatles namesake. Located 13 km (8 mi) from the center, it offers domestic and international flights, including budget options such as Wizzair and Ryanair. Take a bus and/or train to and from the airport to the city center for about £4. Cab it for about £20-25 or Uber for £16-20. [Map]
Manchester Airport is a little over an hour away, but it does offer more international destinations. This means potentially cheaper visits to Liverpool, even when factoring in the cost of rail from Manchester Piccadilly or Victoria. [Map]
Lime St. Station is the main train station, located right in the center. Lime St. Station has quick and inexpensive connections to Manchester (45 min), London (3.3 hrs), and elsewhere. [Map]
Liverpool One Bus Station offers bus service to and from the airport, as well as other domestic destinations. [Map]
Liverpool ↔ Manchester is about 55 km (34 mi)
Liverpool ↔ Leeds is about 117 km (73 mi)
Liverpool ↔ Cardiff is about 323 km (201 mi)
Liverpool ↔ London is about 356 km (221 mi)
Liverpool ↔ Edinburgh is about 356 km (221 mi)
Liverpool is home to more parks than Paris, so options abound for some calm strolling during the daytime. With plenty of theaters, galleries, museums, and historical institutions, Liverpool is great for those who want to immerse in culture.
The University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University are located a bit east from the center.
Costs & Money
The currency, of course is the British pound (£). While cheaper than London, it can still be quite expensive. One helpful tip is to take advantage of the £3 Meal Deal at the ubiquitous Tesco stores, which include a sandwich, side, and a drink for that low price.
Liverpool ONE [map] is an entire outdoor shopping complex that is just across the highway to the east from Albert Dock, Canning Dock, and Salthouse Dock. With over 160 stores and eateries, you’re sure to find what you’re looking to splurge on.
What to Buy as Souvenirs
As the home of The Beatles, you gotta bring back something Beatle-y – think yellow submarine cufflinks or the like. Also, the Tate Gallery gift shop has some of the best Liverpool souvenirs, as well as its neighbors on Albert Dock.
Health & Safety
Nightlife can seem like complete madness in Liverpool, but it is relatively safe. However, be careful when visiting during one of the home football games – Liverpool fans can be quite, well, interesting.
May through September sees the most comfortable weather and the least amount of rainfall (for Britain). However, tourism also peaks around this time, so aim for the shoulder season, such as April or October, for the best balance of weather and activity.
What do you think of our Liverpool travel guide? Got any more Liverpudlian destinations, restaurants, activities, or bars to check out? Let us know by contacting us!
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