There is a lot more to Liverpool than the Beatles, though the Fab Four and contemporaries including Gerry and the Pacemakers and, later, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, brought a new focus to a city that held sway for hundreds of years as one of the world’s greatest ports.
The city celebrates all that and more through world-class museums, including a dedicated Beatles museum, galleries, cathedrals, and a rejuvenated, World Heritage-listed waterfront.
Add to that an eclectic dining scene, great clubs, many with live music, and two of the world’s most famous soccer teams. No wonder Liverpool makes any list of top British destinations.
Liverpool was granted UNESCO World Heritage status based on its importance as a mercantile maritime centre in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and much of the focus in recent years has been on celebrating that through reclamation and renovation of the port area. The Albert Dock is a prime tourism site and home to museums, including the Beatles Story, the Maritime Museum and the acclaimed Tate Liverpool, as well as bars and restaurants.
Other important galleries and museums include the Walker Art Gallery in William Brown Street and the waterfront Museum of Liverpool. Both Liverpool cathedrals are visitor hotspots, with cathedrals of a different kind at Anfield, home of Liverpool FC, and Goodison Park, home of Everton.
Eat and Drink
Liverpool boasts some of the finest restaurants and liveliest bars in Britain as well as some terrific budget eateries courtesy of a big student population. You will find the widest range of cuisine led by modern British with some fine local ingredients. There are excellent restaurants and bars at Albert Dock as well as the city centre along Chapel Street, and around Stanley, Temple, Harrington and Mathew Streets, the latter home to the famous Cavern Club.
A little further afield is Hope Street, between the two cathedrals. Liverpudlians are known affectionately as “Scousers” thanks to a dish born of the ship trade: a stew and vegetable combination that also gave its name to the local, and unique, Scouse accent. You may find it on menus in various places around town.
Where to Stay
Liverpool’s visitors are well served with first-class hotels: high-end international brands as well as boutique hotels and guest houses. There are hotels close to the Liverpool waterfront, including two in the heritage-listed Albert Dock, and a range of hotels in the city centre including apart-hotels for those who prefer to self-cater. Alternatively, there are great accommodation options outside the city in, for example, the Wirral district or the nearby Victorian seaside town of Southport.
The key, one-stop shopping destination, and home to multiple attractions in its own right, is the massive, open-air Liverpool One, acknowledged as one of the reasons Liverpool is a top five UK shopping destination.
Not far from the heritage docks area, you will find more than 160 specialty stores including well-known high-street brands, as well as bars and restaurants. Alternatively, head to The Metquarter for designer-label fashion as well as Made Here, a store selling uniquely local art and craft gift items.
For more independent retailers, look at Cavern Walks on Mathew Street and Grand Central on Renshaw Street.
Liverpool Like a Local
While most visitors gravitate to the city centre and port areas for their shopping and dining, those in the know also head to Lark Lane, about four kilometres from the city heart between Aigburth Road and the parklands of Sefton Park. It has a reputation for great food, bars, shops and good music in a more bohemian setting.
Meantime if music is your thing, as well as paying Beatles homage in the Cavern Quarter, take a look at the buzzing Ropewalks district around Seel Street with clubs such as Heebie Jeebies, The Zanzibar, and Krazy House.