The Beatles and the Mersey are probably the first things to pop into your head when you think of Liverpool, however it has much more to shout about than that. Did you know that Liverpool is one of the top 20 destinations you must visit in 2018? It’s also a Unesco World Heritage City, home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, and Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups! And finally along with Manchester it is the industrial revolution’s birthplace. I have visited this city many times and I would say there’s no end of innovative new places to visit, from cool pop-up shops to rediscovered and lovingly restored historical sites. So here are nine highlights:
1 – The Beatles Story
Whether you’re a diehard Beatles fan or not, this award-winning homage to the Fab Four isn’t just for fans. It is really cool walk-through journey into Liverpool’s most famous quarter. An excellent trip into the past. My wife and I enjoyed the exhibits with a very good audio guide. Everything is superbly put together and especially if you are a Beatle fan you need to see this.
There’s also the largest selection of official Beatles merchandise in the world, should you fancy splashing out on a memento.
Travel Tips: Entry tickets: £16.95 for adults and £10.00 for kids. Ticket prices include a multimedia guide available in 12 different languages. The Beatles Story
2 – Tate Liverpool
A building with a simple elegance of a modern art gallery is located in the red-pillared warehouses of Albert Dock. Well worth to visit, its calendar of modern and contemporary art exhibitions is world-class. At the time we were visiting the art gallery there were famous artworks of Henri Matisse on display. We were lucky to see one of the most iconic works ever made by the artist – The Snail 1953. At almost three metres square, The Snail is one of Matisse’s largest and most significant paper cut-out works. Actually due to the delicate nature of the work, this masterpiece will not tour to other venues in our lifetime. The only way to see this abstract artwork is to visit Tate Modern collection in London.
Travel Tips: Free entry. Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10.00–17.50. Tate Liverpool
3 – Museum of Liverpool
Well, you can probably guess. This museum is dedicated to Liverpool itself, perched on the banks of the glistening river Mersey.
From Liverpool’s unique geography to its rich history and vibrant culture, the Museum of Liverpool will tell you everything you need to know about this fabulous city. Once inside, you’ll be bombarded with a host of Liverpool-centric things, including regional archaeology, the mythical liver birds, sport and music (something for everyone). As I said there is a lot to see in this museum, especially we liked the a carriage from the old Liverpool overhead railway which you can sit in.
Travel Tips: Since some of the exhibitions are temporary, check what’s on before you arrange your trip. Museum of Liverpool
4 – Witness a mind-blowing event at Echo Arena
The city’s 11,000-seater venue, which opened in 2008. It regularly plays host to massive gigs, live sporting events, comedy shows and family-friendly performances. We were lucky to sea the Dutch violin superstar André Rieu on the stage. First of all this venue did not fail to impress. The organisation was impressive, very well run and I would recommend this venue to anyone. Very comfortable seats and the arena even on a very cold night was nice and warm, so we could sit without our big coats on. Everything is very clean and there are plenty of facilities. Of course the icing on the cake was super talented Andre Rieu and his wonderful orchestra.
5 – Royal Albert Dock
Iconic in style; immense in ambition. Liverpool has been modernised quite a bit in the last few years, and the Albert Dock is a perfect example of how this is true. Formerly, this area was one of the most bustling docks in the UK with ships docking off the Mersey. Now, it is populated with privately owned sailing vessels and boats and shops and seaside cafes. It is a very pleasant walk along the river and you can catch the ferry across the Mersey to boot.
6 – Mersey Ferry
Taking a trip on the iconic Ferry Cross the Mersey is a great way to see Liverpool’s impressive waterfront. I think it is definitely worth a ride. At the very least you’ll get an interesting view of the city.
Travel Tips: Choose from a standard hop-on-hop-off cruise or a combination ticket that includes entrance to other Liverpool attractions, including the family-friendly interactive Spaceport attraction and the U-Boat Story. Mersey Ferry
7 – The Royal Liver Building
It looks like an office block, but not any old office block: one that’s an integral part of Liverpool’s story.
Built between 1908 and 1911, the Grade I-listed Royal Liver Building (that’s ‘liver’ to rhyme with ‘diver’) – is one of the locations that gained Liverpool its Unesco World Heritage status. It was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas for an insurance company and was one of the first buildings in the world to use reinforced concrete in its construction. Its most notable points are its two clock towers, atop which perch two mythical, cormorant-like liver birds. It’s the city’s most famous landmark.
8 – Chinatown
Liverpool has a large multicultural population, of which a high percentage is Chinese. The Chinatown here was the first to be established in Europe and is easily recognised by the beautifully crafted Chinese Arch that adorns the entry. The arch was imported piece by piece from Shanghai, a city which Liverpool is twinned with.
The ceremonial arch stands at 13.5 metres tall and is the largest in Europe, in fact it is the tallest standing arch in any Chinatown outside of mainland China.
9 – Anthony Gormley’s sculptures at Crosby Beach
Anthony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ sculptures sit (or should we say stand) along the coast line at Crosby Beach – all 100 of them – providing one of the most picturesque views across the Mersey.
The Another Place figures – each one weighing 650 kilos – are made from casts of the artist’s own body standing on the beach, all of them looking out to sea, staring at the horizon in silent expectation. According to Antony Gormley, Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man’s relationship with nature.
At low tide all (or nearly all) the statues are fully visible, but you can go at any time between low tide and mid way between low and high tide – you then see some of them partially immersed. Beware of the mud – some areas near the water are very muddy and you can sink right in and lose your shoes, like I almost did!
Travel Tips: Crosby Beach is about a 25-minute drive from central Liverpool. It is easy to reach by public transport via three railway stations served by Merseyrail – Waterloo, Blundellsands and Crosby or Hall Road – and a range of bus services.
Best place to eat.
After looking for some Italian food, we decided to visit Villa Romana. We were mainly attracted by decor which is amazing. It looks like real authentic Italian restaurant. The food and service are very good; the menu offers a good selection of authentic Italian dishes; and it offers good value for money too.
Best place to stay.
Spacious and well equipped apartment in a good location, easy to walk to docks, shopping area and mainly to Echo Arena, you can’t get much closer.
Photography © Gurcan Sarisoy