I’ve been living in Liverpool for five years – although with my woeful attempts at a Scouse accent no one is going to be mistaking me for a local just yet! While I’ve managed to tick off a number of tourist attractions in my time here, there are plenty on my list for ‘another day’. That’s how I missed out on the famous Liverpool Duck tours which were sadly discontinued after a sinking mishap in the docks! So when Travelodge sent me on a mission to see how many tourist attractions could be visited in Liverpool within a day, I jumped at the opportunity to cross off a few more.
There’s no doubt about it, Liverpool is a very musical city. Between the buskers performing on the street corners at all hours of the day, to musical statues and open mic’s at every pub in town… music is at the heart of this city. So there was no better place to start exploring Liverpool than with the Beatles.
The Beatles Story
Despite being here a number of years my level of knowledge about the Beatles is pretty much limited to the fact that they are from around here, they wrote a lot of songs, became very famous, and every bar in town (including my favourite musical haunt the Jacaranda) has some sort of claim to them… Don’t kill me Beatles fans!! So it was probably well and truly time for me to get a thorough Beatles education at the Beatles Story Museum by the Albert Dock.
Key places in the Beatles’ history like Casbah, the Merseybeat office, recording studios and the yellow submarine were recreated inside to visualise their journey. Apparently in the Merseybeat office the band were told that they would make Liverpool famous. If only they had known how much!
As I wandered throughout the story, I listened to stories from Beatles members, friends, family and fans about their lives and their musical journey through a set of headphones provided upon entering. One story that made me laugh was about how a number of the early Beatles fans boycotted their Love me do record in 1962 because they felt that if they bought the record the band would become famous and leave Liverpool! While I certainly can’t claim to be a Beatles expert, I definitely know a lot more about the iconic band now as a result of visiting the Beatles Story.
After exploring the Beatles Story I wandered over across the dock to hop on the Liverpool Wheel for a view of the city – particularly the Anglican Cathedral and Albert Docks. I could imagine the view would be pretty spectacular going up at night time as well with all the city lights. The wheel went around four times, taking about ten or fifteen minutes. It was quite windy on the day so my little capsule did rock backwards and forwards a little bit as it spun around, but not so much that it was worrying.
The Royal Liver building is an iconic piece of architecture on the Liverpool waterfront. Reliable sources have told me that the female Liver bird (at the front) is looking out to sea watching out for the sailors coming in to shore while the male Liver bird (at the back) is checking out the pubs! While this is no longer the case, when it was built in 1911 it happened to be the tallest building in Europe.
Ferry ‘cross the Mersey
They actually do have “Ferry ‘cross the mersey” playing as you begin the 55 minute journey up and down the Mersey river on the ferry. It’s a pleasant trip up and down the river with commentary about various landmarks on both sides of the river – apparently the Wirral was a smugglers paradise back in the day!
There was a festival going on in the Liverpool docks so when I entered the Maritime Museum it was to the sound of sailors singing! The ‘Untold Story of the Titanic’ is an interesting exhibition to wander through. I particularly liked reading some of the newspaper articles of the time discussing the incident.
Don’t forget to visit the third floor to see the Slavery Museum either. It is a very interesting and interactive look into slavery that was a key part in the history of Liverpool’s Docks.
The Cavern Club on Matthew Street is known throughout Liverpool as the ‘birthplace’ of the Beatles – although pretty much every venue in Liverpool has some sort of claim about the Beatles! This weekend turned out to be International Beatles Week so I wasn’t able to go inside on this occasion as I didn’t have a wristband. I have previously visited the venue for various music gigs and am sure I’ll visit another day as well.
After all that walking around I was starting to get pretty hungry. I am a huge supporter of independents and luckily for me, Liverpool has a wealth of fantastic restaurants, cafés and bars to chose from. The Brink is one of my favourites for various reasons – firstly it has absolutely fantastic, delicious healthy food on the menu. Secondly it has a great ethical backbone with it’s profits going back into the community to help people recovering from alcoholism and addiction. As a dry bar they have a great range of teas, coffees, cold drinks, cocktails and juice concoctions without a drop of alcohol in sight. Plus it’s open late which is great when you feel like a cup of tea in the evening but all the cafe’s are shut!
They had a new menu from the last time I visited, so I thought I’d try out one of their summer allotment salads together with a summer boost fresh juice. Delicious!
Bombed out church
Technically the bombed out church is called St Luke’s church, but everyone knows it as the Bombed Out church. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in the city. The ceiling was destroyed during the blitz of World War II. I love how it’s been turned into a memorial and community space where anyone is welcome. They have all sorts of events there, a communal garden during warmer months, mini festivals… it’s a very peaceful and relaxing place to visit. Plus its an absolutely gorgeous building to look at. As the daughter of a builder, I’ve got a sense of appreciation for beautiful architecture! Usually it’s a small donation to enter, however its currently closed for the rest of the year while they do some renovations and then decide how it will be managed in the future. Doesn’t stop you admiring it from the outside though!
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
The largest Cathedral in the UK and the 5th largest in the world, the Anglican Cathedral is impressive inside and out to say the least.
Inside this enormous and awe-inspiring building is a warm, welcoming and friendly place. I had a chat with one of the friendly elderly volunteers who asked if I had visited a particular beautiful chapel where weddings were frequently held.
I had thought that the Cathedral Tower Experience was only open on Thursday evenings during summer. However it is now open year round. So I took the two lifts and climbed 108 steps past the bells to reach the very top of the Tower for another fantastic view of the city. I could even see my house in the distance!
Pile of Suitcases
Just around the corner from the Cathedral on Hope street lay piles of concrete suitcases and guitar cases scattered on the pavement. A case history by John King is an art sculpture representing a number of famous people who have come from Liverpool. There are almost always tourists standing on them to have their picture taken. Even I have a photo somewhere of me standing on them when I first moved to Liverpool!
Naturally Paul McCartney and John Lennon are represented amongst the cases, as are a number of other influential Scouse poets, writers, architects, political activists and musicians.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool wasn’t on the list of sites to visit, but I thought I’d add it in anyway because it was a) one of the places on my ‘one day’ list to check out, b) it was just around the corner from the suitcases and c) I’d heard that the stained glass windows were beautiful. Started in the 1980s, it is much more modern Cathedral, however it was also deathly silent and I found it a bit eerie and lifeless in contrast to the warmth of the Anglican Cathedral. It was worth a quick look, but my definite favourite (and one I’d visit again) was the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
If you have more time to explore wider Liverpool further I would also recommend:
- The slavery museum
- Sefton park
- Antony Gormleys Another Place – iron statues at Crosby Beach
- Take a stroll along the river to Ottorspool Prom
- St George’s Hall
- Finding as many lambananas as possible
- Speke Hall