Some of you may know that I grew up in Birkenhead just 20 minutes south of Liverpool. It had always been our intention to return to the Wirral but we just couldn’t make it work with jobs or houses. In fact, it was easier for us to emigrate to Australia than it was to manage to move from Hampshire to Merseyside. Fast forward more than a decade and working online & being location independent gave us the freedom to return to Liverpool.
We were staying in Liverpool when the UK announced its lockdown. We have a house in rural Bulgaria that takes about 3 days to drive to but we adore the city of Liverpool so we just decided to stay & see what a few months here would bring us. Two lockdowns later, we’re still here and awaiting the opening of travel corridors so we can continue our explorations.
Fancy visiting Liverpool On A Long Weekend? Keep reading.
Liverpool Is A UNESCO Port City
Liverpool is a UNESCO city located in the north-west of England, close to Manchester. An old port city, it is has a prominent maritime history and this is evident by the dazzling grandeur of the sturdy buildings, the prestigious architecture that is prominent all around the city and especially the Pier Head that stands at the mouth of the tidal River Mersey.
Liverpool is separated into different areas by Quarters which is representative of the buildings and their usage. We have St George’s Quarter with St George’s Hall, the Library & the Walker Art Gallery, the Knowledge Quarter where the universities & university hospitals are located, Ropewalks is a delightfully, quaint area full of narrow cobbled streets with boutique style shops and backstreet eateries whereas the Creative Quarter, which is around the Baltic Triangle, has many redeveloped factories and breweries. The Cavern Quarter has subterranean pubs and clubs and the Georgian Quarter has the cathedrals, the Philharmonic Hall and the Hope Theatre. You won’t really have any need to visit the Cotton Quarter (which is now a newly developed commercial quarter) but I’d definitely recommend a visit to China Town.
Liverpool’s China Town has the largest Chinese Gate outside China. The most famous area of Liverpool is, of course, The Waterfront, where you’ll find the Three Graces taking up their elegant position on the Pier Head. Keep an eye out for the newly developing Fabric Quarter stemming from Islington’s rich history as the centre of the city’s rag trade. The area has some ambitious plans which are manifesting as you read this.
How Best To Get Around Liverpool On A Long Weekend
If you’re only spending a long weekend in Liverpool and you’re worried about how to get around, don’t worry! Liverpool is easy to explore on foot and is pushchair friendly. You should expect to be able to cross the city in roughly forty-five minutes on foot, however, Uber is cheap and readily accessible with a trip across the city costing about £4.
Liverpool is also scooter friendly and there are Voi scooters to hire around the city. It costs £1 to unlock the scooter and then 20p for every minute of use and unlimited daily and monthly passes (£40) are available. The Voi e-scooter app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play
You can also rent City Bikes, either electric or manual pedal from various places around the city. You’ll need to download the Freebike App (Android. Apple) first with tariffs ranging from a day to 3 months. For daily use, there is a £1 unlock fee with a maximum spend of £20 per day for electric bikes and £10 for pedal bikes. It becomes more cost-effective the longer you rent the bike for.
Red buses are very regular and a week’s bus ticket can cost as little as £10. There are frequent ferries across the Mersey and even a cruise terminal that takes you to Ireland, the Isle of Man or even across the Atlantic!
The open-top bus is specifically designed for short-stay visitors and allows you to hop on and hop off as you’d like. It takes you to all the classic places like the Metropolitan Cathedral (the weirdest building in Liverpool) and the Anglican Cathedral as well as the Docks and museums.
Liverpool’s Waterfront: Liverpool On A Long Weekend
One of our favourite spots to visit in the sunshine is the Three Graces on the Pier Head. This is because our kids love to skateboard, rollerskate & scooter this enormously flat area which also has grassy spots and the canal that runs from Leeds to Liverpool. Many very welcoming skaters come here and bring with them an array of jumps which they happily share. This area has been invaluable to our kids and we nearly always stop here first before going elsewhere or vice versa.
If you’re wanting to get to know Liverpool, you could start with a tour of the infamous Liver Building which is on the Pier Head and climb to its 15th floor to enjoy spectacular 360° views of Liverpool. If you’re a Batman fan you might recognise this building as this is where they recently filmed The Batman (2021) with Robert Pattinson falling from the tower.
Next door is the Cunard Building, the original home of the Cunard Cruise Line which has now been transformed into an exhibition on British Pop Music. It’s a great place to visit especially if it’s raining.
If you fancy eating in this area, there’s the Beatles Fab Five Cafe in the Mersey Ferries Buildings and Matou, the Pan-Asian restaurant with the enviously large rooftop terrace and floor to ceiling windows overlooking The Wirral. Come in May and you’ll find the free River Festival where tall ships line the dockside and you’re allowed to board and explore.
Don’t forget to stop and admire The Beatles Statue and the impressive canal that weaves its way underneath the tunnels towards the Albert Docks. Keep an eye out for Eureka! The National Children’s Museum which will be opening in 2022.
During the summer months, the triangular-shaped steps in Canning Dock (opposite the Museum of Liverpool) are great for soaking up some sun and from here you can visit both RIBA the national architecture centre and Open Eye Gallery, a free museum showcasing photo art and international journalism.
Liverpool’s current highest building is the West Tower, found in Princes Dock, where you can dine out with a view to die for! Panoramic 34 used to be Britain’s tallest restaurant
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The Albert Docks: How To Spend A Long Weekend In Liverpool
If you take a wander through this pedestrianised area you’ll find the Museum of Liverpool, The Piermaster’s House, Tate Liverpool with its colourful stack rock statue and then you can amble across to one of the most famous docks in the world, the Royal Albert Dock. Here, you can visit the Maritime & Slavery Museum and don’t missed Seized! inside it, book a night or two aboard a narrowboat or walk the Mersey Way from King’s Parade to Otterspool Park and admire the views over the 4-mile walk.
No stay in Liverpool is complete without trying the local dish ‘scouse’ and the Victorian Pump House, which is a small brick building with a huge chimney, serves up a mean bowl of this cuisine. The entire Albert Docks area is a warren full of eateries and underground bars where kids are more than welcome. Other places to try are the Boutique Bakery ‘Rough Hand Made‘ or stop off at the Fab 4 cafe which is in the Beatles Story.
If you’re a gin lover, the Albert Docks is an amazing place to be. Turncoat is a unique gin bar and creator of the Albert Dock Gin. whilst Revolucion de Cuba. serves up a mean gin & tonic. Lunyalita’s speciality Spanish gin bar is one the biggest outside Spain and Gusto’s signature cocktail is the zesty Blood Orange. Peaberry’s signature gin cocktail is its Primavera, Italian for spring and Revolution’s cocktails are fruity and sassy.
Little kids will love the Albert Dock’s Traditional Carousel and the Red London Bus that sells food. From here you can walk over to the Salthouse Dock and have an afternoon tea or something to eat aboard the Floating Grace; a boat restaurant.
Cross Dukes Dock to find the Wheel of Liverpool, John Lennon’s Peace Monument and The M&S Bank Arena, a multi-purpose indoor arena hosting live music, comedy performances and sporting events.
The Baltic Fleet looks out of place with its Victorian exterior sandwiched in the middle of the road and dwarfed by modern highrises. The pub is in a 19th-century building with a mahogany bar, an open fire and it serves its own cellar-brewed ales.
The City Centre, L1
Liverpool One which is a pedestrianised outdoor shopping precinct with everything from Hotel Chocolat to Zara dominates the city centre. Its rooftop is lined with places to eat and in the summer its park, Chavasse Park, is filled with summer huts and wooden tables so you can enjoy the sunshine and more alcohol with some banging music. At Christmas, Liverpool One hosts Bar Hutte under its elaborate Christmas Tree for, you guessed it, more alcohol & some pizza.
A short distance from Liverpool One is the City Radio Tower, aka St Johns Tower which is the spaceship building in the air which you can see from anywhere in Liverpool. There are tours to the top of this 125-metre tall building which is the second tallest free-standing building in Liverpool and the 32nd tallest in the United Kingdom.
The Bluecoat Chambers is the oldest building in central Liverpool. Built in 1716, the Bluecoat Chambers was initially a school but now offers a year-round programme of visual art, literature, music, dance and an upstairs Bistro. The courtyard houses a number of boutique shops & is refreshingly quiet and shaded in comparison to the city centre.
Liverpool played an integral part in the second world war and if you want to learn more about this, you can visit Western Approaches HQ which provides a super fun, energetic and hands-on approach to learning about history and what it was like to live in Liverpool during WWII.
The Epstein Theatre is a small 445-capacity theatre, named after the manager of the Beatles, is good for comedy and Liverpool’s very own comedy festival spans two weeks, usually in September. Keep an eye out for locations as it is spread out across the city and venues.
If you’re looking for some pampering in Liverpool, head to Eforea Spa, Float Planet or Lush Spa, the largest Lush on the planet. Yes, that’s right, Liverpool currently has the largest Lush in the world and is spread over three floors.
If you’re looking for places to eat we recommend The Egg Cafe which is an old Victorian warehouse and features work from local artists, 200 Degrees Coffee Shop in the Met Quarter, Lunya for tapas-style food and Rococo Cafe.
Oh Me Oh My has an adorable roof terrace and describes itself as a secret venue. Woops, I think the cat’s out of the bag there. They serve elegant afternoon teas & cocktails. I haven’t been yet but their ‘Secret Sessions’ on a Sunday have a fine reputation.
Experience Liverpool Light Night every May. The Light Night is a one-night arts and culture festival that takes place across city centre venues including museums, galleries and heritage sites. This event is family-friendly and includes music, drama, dance and more. PRIDE is also held every May and lasts a weekend. The free festival kicks off with a march along the traditional route from St George’s Hall finishing at Moorfields.
Where To Go On Your Long Weekend In Liverpool: Castle Street, Queen Avenue & The Exchange Flags
Make sure you check out Castle Street & Queen Avenue. Castle Street is one of seven of Liverpool’s original ancient streets and dates back to the 13th century. Stretching from the Queen Victoria Monument on James Street to the Georgian Liverpool Town Hall, Castle Street is one of the city’s most loved streets and celebrates the city’s inclusivity. You can’t fail to miss this street because the top end has bollards painted with the Pride Flag.
This area was originally the site of a castle. Estimated to have been built between 1232-1237, it stood until the mid-18th century close to where the Liverpool Courts stand today. At one end of Castle Street, you will find Liverpool Town Hall which was built between 1749-1754. Look out for the large stone which used to mark the boundary edge of the market area & where market rules applied. You can book tours around the Town Hall to see the exquisitely decorated interior and ‘that balcony’ where The Beatles waved from in 1964.
Castle Street’s oldest buildings are on the left-hand side and feature arched windows and decorated pale stone. This was the site of a bank. Number 48-50 (now William Hill) was designed by James Picton, a famous Liverpool architect who also designed the stunning Picton Reading Room in Liverpool Central Library. Number 42 is a Victorian Chambers and showcases four mermen (a fabled marine creature with the head and upper body of a man and the tail of a fish) with trumpets made of shells and the Coats of Lancaster. Veery few people see this building so keep your eyes peeled.
Queen Avenue is a small Grade II listed area just off Castle Street which is lined with Georgian lamp posts. Home to wine merchants and hairdressers, it also houses Dot-Art Gallery which displays work from local artists.
Sheltered behind the magnificent town hall are the Exchange Flags; a mesmeric U-shaped building that rises from the ground upwards to a staggering height of 11 storeys. The courtyard in its centre hides the Nelson Monument and houses Liverpool Town Hall. Sadly this entire area is linked to Liverpool’s slave trade as this is where the slave traders exchanged business. There is a nice open-air market here during the summer months.
What I adore about this area is not only the phenomenal height but the two pedestrianised tunnels that run onto Chapel Street and almost into the Cotton Quarter. You’d have no real need to visit this area as there’s little here, however a small green park and a vegan & vegetarian Indian restaurant, Sanskruti, are pretty nice.
This area is full of food & drinks venues, far too many to mention, however, some of our favourites are Maluco, The Restaurant Bar & Grill (just off Castle Street on Brunswick Street),Esquires Coffee and The Underground Gin Society.
If you just love your gin so much and want to create some, head to the Liverpool Gin Distillery and learn how to make your own. A short walk away is a unique underground cocktail bar called Ex-Directory where the entrance is through a red telephone box – if you have the correct code. Pre-booking essential and it’s a seated only, table service experience.
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The Cavern Quarter
Located around Matthew Street the Cavern Quarter, as it is now known, was historically the centre of Liverpool’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market and is now the location of the new Cavern Club (built 1984). The original Cavern Club was located on the opposite side of the street to where it is currently found and was built in the basement of a fruit market.
On Matthew Street, you’ll find statues of John Lennon & Cilla Black (who marks the original entrance to the Cavern Club). The original buildings above ground had to be demolished and the underground basement was filled in but not before it was carefully dismantled by saving thousands of bricks and using them to re-build the new Cavern Club. The wall of fame is obviously a new addition and worth a glance over. True die-hard fans should not miss the annual International Beatleweek festival.
Mathew Street is home to a host of Beatles themed bars; Cavern Pub, Eric’s, The Grapes, Rubber Soul, Lennon’s Bar and Sgt Peppers. If you’re looking to learn more about The Beatles and their journey visit the Magical Beatles Museum featuring 3 floors of over 300 rare and authentic items.
If you can’t bear to tear yourself away from this area, you can also stay in the Hard Days Night Hotel. Matthew Street is a lively place that celebrates Liverpool’s LGBTQ community and features other bars & clubs Kaiserteller, Flanagan’s Apple, Rubber Soul, Remeniss Bar, Flares, Legends Sports Bar, Club Remix and Hardys Wine Bar
Close by are clubs and bars Heaven, Roxy Ball Room and The Tube.
Bold Street is the beating heart of the Ropewalks Quarter with a variety of side streets leading away from it. Bold Street is a busy and mostly pedestrianised area that features an array of independent restaurants, coffee shops, boutique shops and more. Some of our favourites include The Little Shoe, Organico, Bakshish and Ropes & Twines.
At the top of Bold Street, you’ll find the Bombed-Out Church which hosts markets & an array of open-air events. It has a bar to the back of its green garden & its steps provide a lovely place to just sit and watch the world go by.
Start to explore the warren of cobbled streets in this area and you’ll find an alluring amount of forgotten architecture and hidden squares. Some of our favourites include Sapporo, Frost Burgers, Potts Cafe, The Nakery and Thoughtfully Cafe. Special mentions go to Vietnom, the Chinese Bakery and Le Petit Cafe Au Coin.
At the bottom end of RopeWalks and technically within the city centre you’ll find the beautifully renovated Merseymade which is a unique artist selling-space with 10 resident artists and the Gordon Smith Cafe; a nod to its original function as the Gordon Smith Institute for Seamen. I could spend hours here admiring all the amazingly creative products they have for sale; everything from coffee to paintings.
Specifically for kids, we love the cafe Sugar & Dice, where you can play board games for £5 per family. The food here is delicious & just spending an afternoon playing games is remarkably cathartic.
If you fancy a unique experience head over to FACT, a 4-screen cinema showing art house films, plus 3 media art galleries and an airy bar alternatively you could visit Liverpool’s only dry bar. Set up by Action for Addiction, The Brink is a recovery social enterprise which means that all profits go directly back into the community to fund support for those who have suffered through alcoholism and addiction. They also support local bands and have a vegan-friendly, family-friendly menu.
Ropewalks has a special open-air installation ‘The Penelope Sculpture’. Made by Cuban-born sculpture, Jorge Pardo, in 2006, the work is an entry for Biennial, the UK’s largest art festival. He wanted to create something unique that reflected Liverpool’s rich manufacturing heritage and specifically the rope-making trade.
You can also support an independent, not-for-profit, radical bookshop ‘News From Nowhere’ which is run by a workers’ co-operative or you can find the secret bar, Berry & Rye. Knock on the door to be allowed in although there’s no signage!
Liverpool’s China Town features the largest Paifang (gate) outside China and Europe’s oldest Chinese community. The gate also celebrates the twinning of two cities, Liverpool and Shanghai (where the gate was imported from), and is 15 metres tall and features over 200 dragons. The Chinese community has been settled here since the 1800s and Liverpool’s population has roughly 1.7 percent of people from Chinese descent.
In China Town, which shares streets with the Ropewalks area, you’ll find an array of Chinese Restaurants, supermarkets and Chinese businesses. There have been renewed plans to regenerate this area so watch out for news on how this area will be improved.
Where should you eat here? If you’re looking for Dim-Sum head to Mei Mei, general dishes North Garden Restaurant and if you’re looking for a Pan Asian eat at Chamber 36. One of our favourite Chinese dishes is Pot-Pot and you can find this is Mr Chilli Chinese Restaurant which is technically in Ropewalks not China Town.
Chinese New Year is celebrated at the end of January with must-see street, stage and music acts, aerial demonstrations, family workshops, and a fairground with firecracker displays and a Dragon, Unicorn & Lion parade.
The Black-E, which is situated next to the Paifang, is a not-for-profit community and arts centre that offers a range of groups & performances. The building itself is fascinating and was resurrected from a crumble of blocks and re-assembled into its glory today. Originally it was a
China Town stretches down Nelson Street to the Baltic Green Urban Park, passing the Great George Square Park which has a very small playpark.
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The Creative Quarter
The Baltic Green Urban Park is a community-led park that offers space to come together and appreciate the arts. During the warmer months, it hosts regular free grassroots activities to promote art & community.
One of Liverpool’s biggest draws is its colourful nightlife. Travelling with kids usually makes that difficult to manage however an amazing compromise is the infamous Baltic Market, which sits in the Creative Quarter. Here you’ll find a number of restaurants, bars and even family-friendly live music. It’s one of our favourite places to go in Liverpool and we recommend that you try Thai Tatertots from Wholesome Junkies, the vegan sharing box from Little Korea and fried plantain & rainbow curry from Eat Up Gud.
Whilst you’re in this area, check out the Red Brick Vintage market which sells pre-loved goods from clothes to crockery, Ryde Coffee and look up at the Cairns Brewery building.
The Baltic Area has a considerable amount of street art including the famous wings by Paul Curtis and Jurgen Klopp & We Are Liverpool but this area is also heaving with things to do. Camp & Furnace offer an eclectic menu in a warehouse space with upbeat weekend BBQs, cocktails, DJs and live music. It isn’t all child friendly though so check their website for rules. Both Hangar 34 & Roast & Records host live music, however, Roast & Records also offer a (vegan-friendly) roast dinner on a Sunday.
This area also has a small skatepark, ghetto golf (over 18s only although next to it is a family-friendly pinball arcade) and the Gallery Liverpool where you can view exhibitions featuring under-valued artists as well as listen to music & talks.
The Ginsmiths of Liverpool Distillery (an urban artisan distillery) & Higsons Brewery (founded as a brewery in 1780 & closed in 1990. Now open as a tour & food venue) are here as are Liverpool Brewery Tours. Liverpool had and still has a significant number of breweries. If you’re on a tight schedule I recommend taking a tour.
This area is ever-growing and has recently had plans for a massive new development approved.
The Knowledge Quarter: A Long Weekend In Liverpool
This area is seeing rapid rejuvenation and is home to the landmark Metropolitan Cathedral & two universities inspiring 54,000 students. The Knowledge Quarter is positioning itself within the hub of the UK’s biomedical & science research facilities and with the development of Paddington Village is welcoming families into the area.
The Knowledge Quarter is another area that is being heavily funded and will see enormous change over the next decade. For now, things to do are The Garstang Museum of Archaeology and the Metropolitan Cathedral & Lutyens Crypt.
The Victoria Gallery & Museum is an art gallery and museum run by the University of Liverpool and is located in the redbrick building built in 1892 by architect Alfred Waterhouse. Visit the Museum of Dentistry and be appalled at the quality of dentistry in the Victorian Era. The gallery & museum do a number of tours but even if you don’t go in the building is spectacular and if you’re looking for an excuse to wander the streets, we recommend Cuthbert’s Bakehouse on Mount Pleasant.
Whilst you’re in this area you could also visit the weird underground Williamson Tunnels or the equally bizarre William MacKenzie’s pyramid tombstone or head to Oldham Place and learn graffiti art with ZAP Graffiti.
Enjoy the serenity of the Capstone Theatre and their calming gardens whilst you’re here. The theatre established the annual Liverpool International Jazz Festival.
The Georgian Quarter
Straddled in between the two Cathedrals is The Georgian Quarter. The cobbled streets, Georgian townhouses, magnificent architecture, beautiful restaurants and cultural venues make this area particularly aesthetically pleasing.
Here you can take in a performance at the Unity Theatre, the Hope Theatre or the Everyman Theatre which tends to have independent and classical productions and short, child-friendly productions and also at The Philharmonic Hall; an impressive building with a world-renowned orchestra.
Hope Street runs through the heart of the Georgian Quarter offering another great selection of food & drink. These include The London Carriage Works, The Hope Street Hotel, the Art School, 60 Hope Street, The Quarter, Papillon, The Pen Factory, Moose Coffee, Free State Kitchen, 92 degrees, Puschka and Frederiks.
Close by you’ll find The Florist, a beautiful restaurant with a floral design, Buyers Club with a gorgeous outdoor garden space filled with music & sun, Jenever Gin Bar, Free State Kitchen, The Grapes and the Philharmonic Pub has an impressive interior and you must check out the toilets too! This was the location of the secret gig that Sir Paul McCartney played in 2018 as part of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke.
If you’re looking to admire some of the tree-lined Georgian avenues head to Falkner Street and the Square Gardens. It looks like something out of a Dickensian Drama with its Victorian street lamps and cobbled streets. From here you can take a walk down to St Bride’s Church and onto Saint James Mount and Gardens, The Oratory and Liverpool Cathedral.
Afraid of ghosts and ghouls? Take Shiverpool’s Hope Street Shivers Ghost Walk tour through the Georgian Quarter where, the supposedly, most haunted street in the North-West lies.
Another great view of Liverpool (and sometimes Lancashire) can be found from the Vestey Tower of Liverpool Cathedral. The rooftop of the Liverpool Cathedral is the highest Cathedral in the UK. It measures 101 metres (331 ft) and to get up there you’ll take two lifts and 108 stairs. On a clear day, you can see the Blackpool Tower!
St George’s Quarter
If you’re arriving into Liverpool on the train, your first experience of St George’s Quarter will be Liverpool Lime Street.
Opposite this is St George’s Hall is an enormous multi-use hall and if you want to see behind the scenes places not usually open to the public, join a Footman Tour; the Hall’s time-travelling footmen, dressed in Georgian costume who will lead the tour with stories about the development of the city dating back to the 1830s. Once a year, the stunning Minton floor tiles are revealed for you to see. and there’s even a mini-treasure hunt around St George’s.
Liverpool has over seven free museums which are all kid-friendly. Our favourite museum is the World Museum which is located next to the Walker Art Gallery and the Library.
If you have older kids and you’re wanting to explore Liverpool’s history and roots in Slavery, you should check out Laurence Westgraph and his Slavery Tours. He runs a number of different tours some of which are appropriate for kids and they incorporate this area.
If you’re wanting to take in a show, you could book tickets at The Empire Theatre, Royal Court Liverpool or The Playhouse Theatre. Liverpool has a lot of theatres and we love our music here too. The 02 Academy is a short distance away
A Long Weekend In Liverpool? Visit The Parks & Gardens
Within the city centre are the Liverpool Parish Church gardens; a small and serene area with shaded areas and a few statues. St John’s Gardens at the back of St George’s Hall are larger and feature four enormous statues.
Abercromby Square Garden is a lively garden within the University of Liverpool and Angel Field (Hope University) is a small but symbolic garden mapping mankind’s journey through life with pools, fountains, a wildflower meadow and clipped hedges.
Further afield Everton Park & Gardens is a sprawling mass of gardens with Prince Rupert’s Tower a quirky, 18th-century stone monument offering elevated panoramic views of the city. Stanley Park is a 110-acre park, designed by Edward Kemp and opened in 1870. It is the park that divides the two football teams of Liverpool FC & Everton FC. It includes the 1899 Gladstone Conservatory (restored and renamed the Isla Gladstone Conservatory).
Newsham Park & Garden is a roughly 45-minute walk from the city centre and has a large number of birds, walkways and little bridges. It’s picturesque and is surrounded by more of Liverpool’s amazing architecture. Featuring a manicured public 19th-century park with walled gardens, a play area & listed lodge building, Wavertree Botanic Gardens are roughly a 30-minute walk away from the city centre. These gardens are best viewed in spring & summer and are rather bleak in the autumn & winter months.
Riverside Drive & Otterspool Promenade are also great for kids and feature large grassy park areas as well as a pretty big skate park. Walking here from Liverpool city centre will take at least an hour if not longer so I’d recommend driving as there’s extensive parking. Whilst you’re here you can pick blackberries at the beautiful but slightly abandoned Festival Gardens where you’ll also find a beautiful pond and river linking up throughout the gardens and a really cool oriental garden.
Princes Park & its labyrinth are a family favourite as is the beautiful Sefton Park, although you’ll be unable to drive to both of these. If you’re going here in the summer months, we recommend taking a picnic, bikes and scooters and spending half a day. Sefton Park hosts Africa Oye every June which attracts up to 50,000 people.
Toxteth is also known as L8 & is Liverpool’s most culturally diverse community. You may have heard negative stories about Toxteth but it was once the home of wealthy merchants. Sadly in 1981, the landmark Rialto Theatre was burned down in the riots but since then the area has undergone regeneration and investment.
Not to miss things in the area of Toxteth include the infamous Granby Street Market and Squash a community organisation centred around arts, food and the environment. Squash grow and sell fresh veg and have a lovely cafe with plenty of parking. Opposite, if you’re staying a while and have kids is the Toxteth Fire Fit Hub.
The Old Hebrew Synagogue is a breath-taking Aladdin’s cave of colour and pattern, marble and has gilded star-covered domes, stained glass and designs covering walls and ceilings. They offer guided tours through pre-booking only. There’s also the Al-Rahma Mosque which is open to all visitors, regardless of their faith. You’re able to visit the disused Welsh Presbyterian Church and Wellington Road Chapel, although they’re just shells now the ornate sandstone carvings are pretty.
Other architecture to admire is the Toxteth Library a red-brick building where you can just sit and read or research your ancestry. Surprisingly, Toxteth Library has a large selection of Chinese literature which is not something you always see. The building was constructed in 1902 and features a century-old mural, named as The Lunette. The artwork is a neo-classical depiction of knowledge being handed down by the Gods of culture and is 28ft long and 8ft high. The library was originally opened in 1902 by Andrew Carnegie, who described Liverpool as the pioneer city of free libraries.
Toxteth TV is a multi-use venue that offers a space for people to explore media and the arts. It’s been open since 2017 and provides space for YouTubers and independent filmmakers to produce videos or use the studio space for performances and rehearsals.
Off Arundel Avenue, a narrow snicket gate to the left of No 93, leads to a walled garden that not many people know about. It is also home to the Quaker Burial Ground but in 2013 was transformed into a serene garden that the community could benefit from. It is only open on Sundays between 1.30-4pm.
If you’d like to see some enormous street art, head over to Lodge Lane’s Golden Gloves Gym where you can see John Culshaw’s artwork of some enormous golden gloves.
Situated a few miles out of Liverpool’s city centre and nestled between Sefton Park and Aigburth Road is Lark Lane, a thriving community of locally owned, independent businesses. Originally built in the 1800s, some of the buildings are originals and haven’t been significantly altered on the exterior.
To get to Lark Lane from Liverpool, you’ll need to take the number 82 bus from Liverpool ONE bus station, take the train to St Michael’s Station, if you’re feeling fit you could hire a City Bike or you can drive and park near Sefton park. Parking is always tight around this area though and some of it is metered and residents only.
Lark Lane is filled with restaurants and cafes and the atmosphere is always buzzing. Some of the ones we like are Woo Tan Scran for vegan Asian, Belly, Elif or MEZE for Turkish, Chilli Banana for Thai, Gelato is always busy although not many vegan options, The Tea House has a scouse range of loose-leaf tea and Que Pasa has a beer garden and The Lodge and Rhubarb serve real ales.
The Old Police Station, which is an unmistakable building, is actually a community centre hosting events, markets and pop-up cafes and Arts 47 offer workshops in arts & crafts as well as selling locally produced gifts.
For such a small street, Lark Lane is jam-packed with things to do and see. It’s no surprise that Condé Nast Traveller voted Aigburth as ‘One of six coolest neighbourhoods in the UK’.
Other amazing things to do here include the farmers market held here 4th Saturday of the month, Freida Mo’s which is a vintage boutique, Keith’s wine bar which has jazz evenings, Love & Rockets serve pizza and gin in a goblet, despite its weird name Monkey Grinder have a good variety of Tapas, Maranto’s has been family-run since the 1980s, Bistro Noir serve jugs of sangria and pimms, Cypriana Greek have delicious meze and Hafla Hafla has amazing middle-Eastern food.
And after all of that, you’ll need to go for an enormous hike around Sefton Park!
The Outskirts Of Liverpool
If you’re hiring a vehicle or coming in a car, you might want to go axe throwing at Timber Jacks or bounce around and do parkour at Airborne. There are two climbing centres close by as well; Clip n Climb & The Hangar.
Test your cognitive abilities at Clue Finders Liverpool’s first escape game where you must find clues, keys and solve puzzles in teams.
Imagine That! Science and Discovery Centre offers hands-on learning including an infamous slime factory most weekends and The Invisible Wind Factory is an event space that offers everything from Yoga Brunches to weddings.
See the world’s largest brick warehouse, Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse. Constricted in 1901, it’s 14 storeys high and used 27 million bricks. Recently Marvel Studios used the warehouse and quayside to depict the 1940’s New York docks in the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger. The building is currently being renovated into apartments but you can admire it either by walking around or having a drink in The Titanic Hotel, opposite. From here you can visit Stanley Lock Flight. A set of locks built on the Leeds-Liverpool canal in 1848 by the celebrated Victorian engineer Jesse Hartley. The creation of this set of locks defines the moment at which Britain’s most important canal connected to Liverpool’s most important river and marks the birth of Liverpool’s role as a global trading centre.
Liverpool isn’t just famous for its football but also its cricket ground. Located in Aigburth, it was founded in 1807 and is the oldest amateur sports club in Merseyside. Every June, the cricket ground is transformed into an open-air grass, tennis tournament as a warm up to Wimbledon.
Speke Hall is a Tudor, timber-framed, wattle and daub, manor house on the outskirts of Liverpool, near the Airport. It is only of the finest surviving examples of its kind. It holds a riverside position and can be toured as an estate house with extensive grounds and woodland areas. You can walk from the hall through the woods towards Speke and Garston Coastal Reserve; land of 70 acres that stretches from the airport over to Garston Docks.
Woolton Picture House is Liverpool’s oldest independent cinema and shows a mixture of new releases and old classics. There’s even an interval during which you can make a purchase from the ice-cream seller. The Plaza Community Cinema is another independent cinema located in Crosby showing a whole range of films.
Street Art In Liverpool
Where can you see good street art on your long weekend in Liverpool? You’re in luck because Liverpool has brilliant street-art.
- Liver Bird Wings – Jamaica Street in the Baltic Triangle
- Abbey Road Crossing – Grafton Street, Baltic Triangle
- Evolution Of Man – Liverpool Life Science & Observatory
- Yellow Submarine/Beatles – The Baltic Market
- Michael Jackson Moonwalker – Colquitt Street
- Henderson & Hansen – Old Barn Road, Anfield – corner of Stonehill Street
- Coffee & Fandisha – Brick Street, Baltic Triangle
- Bastion of Invincibility – Hotel Anfield
- Jurgen Klopp – Jordan Street, Baltic Triangle
- Klopps Champions of 2020 – Jamaica Street – between Norfolk St and Brick St
- Trent Alexander-Arnold – Sybil Road, Anfield – corner of Anfield Road
- Stephen Hawking – Parliament Street, Baltic Triangle
- Ernie The Giant – Ten Streets Market
- Shenanigans Irish Pub – Tithebarn Street
- Ode To Mo – Basnett Street
- Liver Bird Mural – Duke Street
- All You Need Is Love – Greenland Street, Baltic Triangle
- Lovers – Bold Street
- Love Thy Neighbour – various pieces inside the restaurant
- Fireman – Hatton Gardens
- Stolen Banksy – Jamaica Street
- Tempest Hey – Tithebarn Street
- Blue Moon – Gildart Street
- Colourful Shapes – Gildart Street
Stanhope Street Skate Park
- Multiple pieces, constantly changing.
- Bill Shankly – The Park Pub, Walton Breck Road
- Jurgen Klopp – Houlding Street, Anfield
- Steven Gerrard and Peter Reid – Bluebell Barbers, Huyton
- The Peacock – Great George Street
- John Lennon & Ringo Star – Empress Pub, High Park Street, Toxteth
- King Kenny & Shankly – The Sandon Pub, Oakfield Rd, Anfield
- We Are Liverpool – Jamaica Street
- Man – The Wedding House, Great George Street
- Paul McArtney & George Harrison – Empress Pub, High Park Street, Toxteth
- Bubblegum Pink Straw Girl – Jamaica Street
- Black & White Lady – Kempston Street
- The colour experimentation –
- Alien Thing – Oldham Place
- Turning the Place Over – Yates’s Wine Lodge, Cross Keys House, Moorfields.
- Abstract Colour – Lambert Street
- Female – London Road
Artist Currently Unknown
- Title Celebrations – Bold Street
- Alma De Cuba – Seel Street
- Back of John Lewis
- John Lennon Mural – Cropper Street
- Santa Chupitos – Slater Street
- Tonie Duggan – Bold Street
- Nikita Parris – London Road
- Alex Greenwood – Constance Street
- Mexican Design – La Parrilla Restaurant and Bar, Bold Street
Do Your Own Beatles Tour With These 24 Places
- Pier Head & visit the larger than life statues of the four Beatles.
- Walk over to The Abert Dock and go to The Beatles Story.
- Visit the John Lennon Peace Monument in the Kings Dock. The sculpture, named Peace and Harmony, aims to promote Lennon’s message with various symbols including doves and a white feather. The sculpture was unveiled on October 9, 2010 which would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday.
- Stop off at the Cavern Club. The Beatles first performance was here on 9th February 1961.
- Head to the Liverpool Beatles Museum for over 300 pieces of genuine Beatles memorabilia, including items from their days starting out, to significant pieces from their time at height of fame.
- Whilst you’re here see the statues of John Lennon and the Fab 4 Who Changed The World.
- Fancy sleeping here? Stay at the Hard Days Night Hotel – the world’s only Beatles inspired hotel and eat at the Blakes Restaurant downstairs.
- Sit next to the Statue of Eleanor Rigby can be found on the pavement of Stanley Street, a couple of minutes walk from the Cavern Club. It is placed on a bench with space for visitors to sit next to it. Dedicated to “all the lonely people” of Liverpool, it was crafted by English entertainer Tommy Steele. Steele donated the statue to Liverpool out of his city. The ‘real’ Eleanor Rigby died in 1939.
- Have a pint at the White Star Pub, known as the place where the Fab Four played their first gig and also where Alan Williams and Bob Wooler (the original deejay of Cavern Club across the road) would pay their artists. There is a wall decorated with Beatles memorabilia, known as the “Beatles back wall”.
- Admire Liverpool Town Hall where on July 10, 1964, The Beatles returned to Liverpool for a civic reception and the northern premiere of their first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night. The band were greeted by 200,000 fans and the triumphant homecoming was reenacted on the 50th anniversary in 2014.
- Have a meal or a drink at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms on Hope Street. One of Lennon’s favourite pubs during his youth and even features the only Grade II listed men’s toilets in the country. This was also the place of the secret gig Sir Paul did with James Corden.
- The Jacaranda, which was founded by the first manager of the Beatles Allan Williams, has been an important part of the Liverpool music scene since 1958. It is the place where The Beatles used to rehearse, play and hang out when they were called The Silver Beetles.
- The Beatles played at the Blue Angel on Seel Street when it was owned by their first manager Allan Williams. It’s where Pete Best auditioned to join The Beatles on August 12, 1960, and during his time here Williams is said to have ejected Judy Garland and refused entry to Bob Dylan.
- The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) is best known as the place where Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Mike McCartney and Ivan Vaughan (the person who introduced Paul McCartney to John Lennon) studied. The institute was closed between 1985 & 1996 but re-opened in 1996 using Sir Paul McCartney’s sponsorship.
- 3 Gambier Terrace sits on a street of 19th-century houses overlooking St. James’s Mount and Gardens and Liverpool Cathedral. John Lennon lived here in 1960 with former Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe. It was the first place John Lennon independently lived after his childhood home with his aunt and Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison were regular visitors and often rehearsed here.
- Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Liverpool College of Art where John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe and Cynthia Lennon studied.
- Grab a photo of the Penny Lane Road Sign.
- Drive past the shelter in the middle of the road on Smithdown Place. The famous Beatles lyric refers to a tram stop at the junction of Smithdown Road, Allerton Road and Penny Lane. It later became Sgt Pepper’s Bistro but has been closed for more than a decade.
- See the original and iconic red gates of Strawberry Field where the gates are now open forever. Take a walk around the peaceful garden and visit the indoor exhibition.
- Tour Mendips, 251 Menlove Avenue, the childhood home of John Lennon.
- See the actual grave of Eleanor Rigby is St Peter’s Church where John and Paul met for the first time. Also in the churchyard is the grave of John’s uncle George Toogood Smith and his Aunt Mimi. George is said to have taught Lennon how to read and bought him his first mouth organ.
- Tour 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Sir Paul McArtney.
- Diehard fans know that before Ringo Starr was The Beatles’ drummer, there was Pete Best.Best’s family owned the Casbah Coffee Club, although it was only open from 1959 to 1962 and it was one of the first spots the boys first performed as The Quarrymen.
- The original Yellow Submarine is out at the John Lennon airport. If you can’t make it over there, there’s a similar yellow submarine in The Baltic Market.
Go To The Wirral
Mersey Ferries has regular boats going across to Birkenhead although it’s often easier to drive under the Mersey through the tunnels (£1.80). Mersey Ferries also offer a River Tour and you cannot miss this ferry as it is a multicoloured hotchpotch of designs and colours contrasted with some foreboding black stripes. If you have older, music-loving kids, Mersey Ferries even offer a summer six-hour music festival, ‘Fezzy Cross The Mersey’, aboard one of their boats.
If you’d like to know more about Liverpool’s Mersey Tunnels, you can take a Tunnel Tour down into the Mersey Tunnels ventilation system. At the time of being built the tunnels were some of the most advanced in the world. As well as learning about the construction of the tunnel, you will visit the original control room, see giant ventilation fans in action and go down to watch the traffic in the tunnel. You will also find out which Hollywood movies the tunnel has featured in!
Once you’re over there, you could visit the U-Boat Story, another interactive museum featuring exhibits on German U-boats. Here you can see inside a U-534, one of only four U-boats left in the world and entry to U-boat Story is free with all River Explorer Cruise tickets. The Daniel Adamson Historic 1903 Steam Vessel, nicknamed ‘The Danny‘ is a moving boat where you can travel, float, celebrate and learn about the steam age. The Birkenhead Docks are not as impressive as Liverpool’s but still good. Whilst you’re here don’t miss the HMS Birkenhead Mural by Paul Curtis.
Birkenhead Park was designed by Joseph Paxton in 1847. It is generally acknowledged as the first publicly funded civic park in the world & was opened ‘for the people’. It has beautiful woodland walks, play-parks, two lakes, a bridge & boathouse and even football pitches. Birkenhead Park was a major influence on Frederick Law Olmsted’s design of Central Park in New York.
New Brighton has a brilliant beach where you can walk out to the Lighthouse at Perch Rock and see the Fort which was built in thee 1829s. Go on the Mermaid Trail around New Brighton and find large identical mermaid statues. They can be found on Kings Parade, Atherton Street, Seabank Road, Marine Promenada and Victoria Parade.
From New Brighton, you can also walk from here across to Wallasey Beach, Leasowe Bay, Leasowe Windmill and towards West Kirby where you can pick up The Wirral Way; Merseyside’s long-distance walk of 13 miles/21km. Close by is Bidston Hill & its Windmill.
Both Hoylake and West Kirby give the impression of quaint villages with numerous thriving restaurants & cafes. We like Ground in Hoylake. You can walk on the promenade around West Kirby Marine Lake & watch the kids learn to sail. Ashton Park is enormous and has a lake and lots of walks.
From here you can walk over to Hilbre Island or get a boat, spot grey seals and go bird watching. The Hilbre Islands are an archipelago of three islands at the mouth of the River Dee; the border between England and Wales at this point. Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre are the islands are designated local nature reserves and access to them is free of charge. You must watch the tides here and download a tide chart before you leave as the tides are quick and dangerous. The Islands are cut off from the mainland by the tide for up to five hours out of every twelve.
The Wirral is much greener than Liverpool and other parks include Royden Park, Thurstaston Hill with Thor’s Stone, Harrock Wood, Cleaver Heath Nature Reserve and Wirral Country Park & Thurstaston Visitor Center. If you like a good stomp on a beach looking for fossils, the beach at Thurstaston is great, as are Red Rocks in Hoylake.
If you’d like to learn more about beekeeping or the importance of bees in our lives, head over to Wirral Bee Keepers who do a range of courses.
Visit Merseyside’s Coastline
Merseyside has some of the finest beaches in England and they’re located roughly 30-40 minute car journey from the centre. The beaches are best done when it’s warm and as a day trip from Liverpool.
Crosby is the closest beach but the beaches of Formby and Southport are just as nice. Crosby Beach is home to the iron statues ‘Another Place by Anthony Gormley’ where you’ll find 100 statues looking out over the water. At high tide, some are covered and at low tide, some sit in a little pool of water. Our favourite beach is located over the dunes of the Cabin Hill Nature Reserve.
Head up to Formby where you’ll find the Formby Red Squirrel Reserve and the shipwrecks at Formby. Ainsdale discovery centre & Ainsdale beach have a Nature Reserve adjacent and one of the largest areas of wild dune left in Britain. You can take the Velvet Trail following the Green Beach from Weld Road southwards, then winding through the dunes back to Weld Road. Close by is WWT Martin mere which has 800 acres of walks, talks, wildlife watching and play, perfect for kids of all ages.
Southport Pier is a pleasure pier that was opened in August 1860. It is the oldest iron pier in the country and the second-longest in Great Britain. There’s also 22 miles of sandy beach here! Southport Model Railway Village sits in a 1.5-acre miniature landscaped setting with countryside, a village & a town. In 1989, The Lakeside Inn in Southport was proven to be the smallest pub in the UK, measuring just 1ft by 22ft and holding a maximum of 50 people. It overlooks Marine Lake and there’s plenty of outside seating.
A Day Trip Leaving From The Mersey
Another day trip we’ve been planning (thwarted by Covid) is the Manchester Ship Canal Cruise which leaves the River Mersey and heads through the Manchester canal via Runcorn up to the Latchford Locks. Most of the bridges that you’ll sail under were built in the 1800s and the cruise lasts roughly six hours.
Is a trip to Liverpool complete without a stadium tour? Whether it’s LFC or Everton, these two teams have created the fabric of sporting life here.
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