A weekend guide to Liverpool

Liverpool is the birthplace of The Beatles, was the home of TV and entertainment star Cilla Black and has a huge industrial history. It also claimed the city of culture title in 2008.

Surprise Surprise! Its Cilla Black - a statue to mark the 60th year of the Cavern Club.
Surprise Surprise! Its Cilla Black – a statue to mark the 60th year of the Cavern Club.

Despite these accolades, it can be overlooked as a weekend city break.

When I first moved to England, I lived ‘Up North‘ in Lancaster, but didn’t visit Liverpool during this time. I’d always favour Manchester instead, due to direct trains.

I recently spent a weekend in the city visiting my uber clever mother, (who has just got a lecturing job at one of the Universities). This was my second visit to the city, and it was a worthwhile visit. Liverpool has so much going on that will fill your weekend and beyond.

If you are planning on visiting, here are some things I suggest you get up to:

Art & Museums

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A weekend in Liverpool: The Open Eye Gallery.

Liverpool is a hybrid of shiny modern, and old industrial buildings, which seem to compliment each other well.

If you are into museums, then you will not be short changed in Liverpool. There are over 15 museums within the city centre itself. From the British Music Experience and the Museum of Liverpool, to the International Slavery Museum and the World Musuem. The great news as well are that a number of Museums in the city are free to visit. Check out National Museums Liverpool for details. 

There are also a number of awesome art galleries, such as the Open Eye Gallery (pictured above), as well as street art dotted about the place. You can truely get a good dose of culture in this city.

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Street Art on the docks: The Superlambanana (a cross between a banana and a lamb)

Cathedrals 

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A war memorial in Liverpool Cathedral

There are two Cathedrals in Liverpool, both just a ten minute walk of each other.

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Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church and the oldest of the two cathedrals in the city. Opened in 1967, this conical shaped building has a white mable interior with 13 small chapels and beautiful stained glass windows.

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Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedral is the typical picture of a grand Anglican Church. Opened in 1978, Liverpool Cathedral is awe inspiring. Its high ceilings, magnificent stone work and stained glass windows are a true work of art.

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“I felt you and I knew you loved me” – Artwork at Liverpool Cathedral
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Incredible stonework in Liverpool Cathedral

When in the Cathedral, make sure you take time to visit the tower for a view over the city. Tickets cost £5.50 and it is open between 10am-5pm, with the last entry at 4.30pm.

Williamson Tunnels 

Williamson's Tunnels, Liverpool
Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

If you like to stray off the beaten track, then take a trip out to Edge Hill. There you will find the Williamson Tunnels. A truely unique experience in the city, where you can essentially discover the underground hide out of an eccentric businessman. An attraction which I regard as the biggest secret in Liverpool.

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The biggest secret in Liverpool: The Williamson Tunnels.

Taste the World on Bold Street 

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Bold Street in Liverpool is well known for its cafe and food culture. It is a street where you can literally taste the World.

It has almost every World cuisine on offer. From Korean BBQ joints, to Mexican, Italian and Asia foods. I was in my element  as a foodie. The difficult part was with what to choose.

East Avenue Bakehouse is a great spot for a good brunch. It is cosy and quaint, with incredible food, coffee and cake.

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Brunch from the East Avenue Bakehouse, on Bold Street.
Cake from East Avenue Bakehouse, Bold Street.
Cake from East Avenue Bakehouse, Bold Street.

If you are into a good cup of tea, then a visit to the highly aclamined Leaf on Bold Street is a must. Their mantra is ‘where there’s tea, there’s hope.’ A great mantra to have!

You can purchase fresh tea leaves and teaware from their shop in an array of flavours, or sample some by sitting in their quirky teabar.

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Where there’s tea, there’s hope. Leaf on Bold Street.

Musical history

The Beatles statue at the docks in Liverpool
The Beatles statue at the docks in Liverpool

Any visit to Liverpool will not be complete without exploring the musical history. The Beatles are undoubtedly the most famous band to come out of the city, and you cannot ignore the cities praise of this.

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One of the most famous streets in the city is Mathew Street. This street is where you can walk in the footsteps of the Beatles first from seeing where they first performed (The Cavern Club), to the pub where they would spend time drinking in afterward (The Grapes)

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Outside of Mathew Street, more of the Beatles journey can be discovered. You can visit the Beatles Story Museum, as well as their childhood homes on a tour.

During a weekend trip to Liverpool, you’ll be leaving with a number of songs in your head for sure.

Penny Lane, Liverpool - where a Beatles song was inspired.
Penny Lane, Liverpool – where a Beatles song was inspired.

Central Library

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If you are a bit of a bookworm, then a visit to the Central library is essential. This grade II listed building is one of the largest of the 22 libaries in the city. Its beautiful stone walls draws you in, to an incredibly bright and spacious building.

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Once inside, don’t forget to look up. There are spiral stairs, leading to a rooftop, where you can go and have a view over the city.

The Picton Reading Room at Liverpool Central Library.
The Picton Reading Room at Liverpool Central Library.

A true literary masterpiece, I wanted to spend so much time here. However, it was a short stop before catching my train home.

Ferry Across the Mersey 

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The Three Graces of Liverpool: The Royal Liver building, The Cunard Buiding and the Port of Liverpool Building.
So ferry ‘cross the Mersey
‘Cause this land’s the place I love
And here I’ll stay.
Famously sung by the Liverpool band Gerry and the Peacemakers, you can experience a different side of Liverpool by a tour with Mersey Ferries. This 50 minute tour will take you past many of the incredible landmarks on the waterfront, including that of Birkenhead.
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Looking out over the Mersey to Birkenhead.
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Touring Liverpools Industrial hertiage on the Mersey Ferries Tour.

The tour is very comprehensive, and you can get a different perspective of the city from the Mersey. Just beware, the ship is fully open, and so in rough weather, you can get a bit soaked.

Shopping and Entertainment

Liverpool One shopping centre
Liverpool One shopping centre

Being a University city, Liverpool has a lot of great clubs and bars. Although I did not visit on this trip, you’ll get a good night out for sure.

If you’re into shopping, then Liverpool One shopping centre will cover all your needs. Located in the city centre, with shops from John Lewis to Primark. It will suit all budgets.

Liverpool is an incredible city, and I feel that I only scratched the surface of discovering it on this weekend trip.

I’ll be back exploring the city at some stage in the near future.

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Have you been to Liverpool? What is your favourite place to explore, see or do?

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