Liverpool is more than just the birthplace of the Beatles. Pressed against the banks of the Mersey River, it’s a city that was built on maritime trade and slavery. White Star Line had its headquarters on James Street and registered its ships in the city; when the RMS Titanic sank in 1912 it had Liverpool written on its stern. Liverpool is one of the UK’s friendliest cities, but it also enjoys nurturing the intense footballing rivalry that comes from having two teams at neighbouring stadiums playing in the same league.
GUEST POST BY SUSAN JAMES
Plan your trip to Liverpool
1. What’s the best time to visit Liverpool?
2. A few facts about Liverpool
3. One Day in Liverpool Itinerary
3.1. Visit Liverpool Cathedral
3.2. Walk around Albert Dock
3.3. Check out some great museums
3.4. Journey through the Beatles Story
3.5. Visit the White Star Line HQ
3.6. Take a tour of Anfield
3.7. Go for some serious shopping
3.8. End your day at the Cavern Club
4. Where to stay in Liverpool, United Kingdom
5. Day Trips From Liverpool
6. Extra tips for visiting Liverpool
Liverpool is a northern city and therefore used to sitting under a drizzly grey sky even midway through the year. The UK’s changeable weather makes it difficult to pinpoint an ideal time to visit but from early June until September the days are longer (and warmer), giving you more time to explore the city during daylight hours.
Outside London, Liverpool is the most filmed city in the UK. It’s doubled for a number of foreign locations over the years, including Gotham City in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ and Moscow in ‘The Hunt for Red October’. Many of its post-industrial buildings and backdrops have been featured in UK TV dramas including the BBC’s Peaky Blinders.
You might hear people refer to themselves and others as ‘Scouse’ or as a ‘Scouser’. It’s a slang term describing either the city’s distinctive local accent or someone that was born and raised in Liverpool. The word comes from meat, vegetable and potato stew commonly eaten by the poor in the 19th century. You can still order scouse in a number of the city’s restaurants.
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Liverpool.
Liverpool City Centre is surprisingly compact and easy to explore on foot. If you’re feeling tired or looking to explore the wider Merseyside area, then there’s an extensive local transport network including buses, trains, a metro-style railway and a ferry. Taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. Uber also operates throughout the city.
Start your day with a short walk up to Liverpool Cathedral. It took 74 years to build and is the biggest Anglican Cathedral in Europe. Far less ostentatious than other places of worship, it’s the use of open space without the clutter of pews or seats that makes this place truly worth visiting. Stand under the world’s widest and highest Gothic arches and look up. Marvel at the glorious sun-lit stained-glass windows.
Visit the Lady Chapel for a more traditional but equally impressive place of reflection and worship. Art fans will enjoy the cathedral’s display of permanent and loaned pieces throughout the building. Volunteers in brown robes are on hand to answer any questions, and you can also join a free tour. Enjoy a hot drink and a cake in the café or pick out a souvenir in the gift shop. Entry into the cathedral is free but it’s worth dropping a few coins into one of the donation boxes at the exit. Those more energetically minded can pay to climb the tower for panoramic views over the city.
No visit to Liverpool is complete without a walk around Albert Dock. Opened in 1846, its dockside and warehouse complex allowed goods to be quickly unloaded from waiting ships and then safely stored. It was the world’s first fireproof dock; made from cast iron, stone and brick rather than traditional wood.
Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also has the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the UK. Walk around its colonnades, under its stone arches and along the water’s edge for a little retail therapy or stop for a drink at one of its cafes, restaurants or bars.
History fans will enjoy an hour or two spent wandering around the exhibition space in the National Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum. Both are housed in the same building, are free to enter and well worth a visit. A permanent Titanic exhibition inside the Maritime Museum explores Liverpool’s connection to the doomed liner whilst the Slavery Museum highlights a far uglier side to the city’s maritime expansion. Modern Art fans will enjoy a visit to the Tate Gallery which is also free-to-enter.
Pop into the Rough Hand Made Boutique Bakery on Albert Dock for a pastry and coffee before heading to the Beatles Story. This fascinating museum follows the story of four local boys in post-war Liverpool from humble musical beginnings to global stardom. An audio guide is included in the price and narrated by John Lennon’s sister, Julia. You can book the ticket here.
From Albert Dock, you can walk past the Pier Master’s House towards Pier Head and along the banks of the Mersey towards the iconic Liver Building. Look out for the two metal birds (named Bertie and Bella) perched at the top.
Just behind the Liver Building at the bottom of James Street, you’ll see a white and red striped brick building: this was where the White Star Line had its headquarters. When news of the Titanic’s sinking reached the city, people gathered outside for news of their relatives on board. Too scared to come down to greet the crowds, employees shouted information down from the balconies. The building is now a Titanic-themed hotel.
Liverpool Football Club is one of the UK’s most successful teams. If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, then don’t miss the chance to visit Anfield on a tour. They run daily (with some restrictions on match days), and let you walk the players’ tunnel, go into the changing rooms, see the pitch from the stands and visit the Kop. Included in the ticket is entry to the Liverpool FC Museum where you can see all 6 European trophies.
If you’re in a hurry, you can always skip the tour and pay a smaller fee to just visit the museum. The Premiership season runs from August to May. To experience Anfield at its absolute best, see if there’s a match on when you’re visiting. YNWA!
Not a football fan? You might feel more at home amongst the 170 shops, restaurants and bars at Liverpool One. Liverpool One has something for every shopper’s budget, but it’s an open-air mall so remember to bring a jacket in colder weather. There’s a wide range of places to eat, grab a caffeine fix, beer or cocktail. Try the Cosy Club if you’re looking for somewhere to sit and knock back a glass of something sparkling.
The Cavern Club is Liverpool’s most famous live music venue and with good reason: the Beatles played the underground club almost 300 times. Other famous bands who sang under its arches were The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Elton John. Unfortunately, the buildings above the original Cavern were demolished in 1973, so this isn’t the exact club itself but one rebuilt in its image (using many of the original bricks). The old entrance is slightly further down the street.
There’s a steady stream of live music most days and you can also sign up for a free behind-the-scenes tour. The cover charge to get inside is usually just a couple of pounds, but it’s well worth ending your night here as the drinks aren’t expensive and the singers and cover bands are often more than worthy of performing on its hallowed stage.
YHA Liverpool Central
54 Stanley Street, Liverpool, L1 6AU
YHA Liverpool Central is a few minutes’ walk from the Cavern Club and close to both Liverpool One and Albert Dock. Its bright and airy dormitory rooms are all en-suite and there’s free WiFi throughout the building. Maximize your time in the city by using the tour desk.
30 James Street
30 James Street, Liverpool, L2 7PQ
30 James Street was the headquarters of The White Star Line and is a must-see hotel for anyone fascinated by the Titanic. At the top of the building is The Carpathia Champagne Bar with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Mersey, Pier Head and the Liver Building. Many of the rooms have a double spa bath, and there’s even a spa and pool in what was once the White Star Line’s vaults.
Manchester is an easy day trip from Liverpool and is similarly famous for its music scene, shopping, football rivalries and industrial history. It’s also famous for its nightlife and is around one hour away by train.
Chester Zoo is a 40-minute drive from Liverpool and a great day out for families and animal lovers. Open every day (except December 25th and 26th), it’s home to around 500 animal species. Book online and you’ll save 10% on the price at the gate.
Speke Hall is a Tudor timber-framed manor house managed by the National Trust and open to visitors. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and woodland, it’s the perfect day trip if you want to explore a different side of Liverpool’s history. Visit the on-site restaurant for a taste of beef scouse.
The Peak District is the ideal place to burn off all the scouse you’ve been eating. There are plenty of opportunities to walk over glorious hills and valleys and lots of local pubs to reward yourself in, too.
– A great way to really get to know the city is to take one of the walking tours they have around here. They’re free!
– When it comes to tipping, remember that people here have a regular salary, so they don’t rely on tips exclusively to get by (as is the case with the US). Still, a tip will very much be appreciated – somewhere about 10% should be enough.
– Uber is often the cheapest way to get around town if you don’t have a car, especially if you use the UberPool option.
– But you may want to consider renting out a car, since the prices can be quite low: you should be able to find something for around 10 pounds a day.
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Born and raised in the UK, Susan is always looking for an excuse to disappear into a foreign crowd on the promise of a cold local beer from a dog-eared guidebook. Although, she’s recently realised that you don’t always have to travel a long way to discover new things, meet engaging people or have a good time (but it does help).