I find myself getting weekly messages on social media from people coming to Liverpool who would like to know what to do when they arrive here. Rather than going on fantastic websites like Visit Liverpool or Independent Liverpool, they decide to ask me, for some reason…
I am a tour guide, so I should know the best sights to see. I started tour guiding 2 years ago, but before then I was writing for websites such as The Guide Liverpool, Scouse Bird Problems and even The Beatles Story Exhibition all about local tourism. Since then I have conducted many tours, designed my own tours and started my own tour company, all to rave reviews. However, I have never put in writing what I think the perfect day for a tourist in Liverpool would be.
In this post I will highlight some of the best places to see if you are just enjoying an overnight stay in Liverpool. This is not long enough in Liverpool though, so be warned! The most common bit of feedback I get as a tour guide is, “I’ll have to come back to see it all!”
Where to stay?
Liverpool has many great hotels, many of which are part of larger chains, such as The Hilton or Crowne Plaza. But let me focus on two of our finest:
The Hard Days Night hotel is the worlds first ever and currently only Beatles themed hotel. It is 4 star and is central to the city. Perfectly in between the Albert Dock, Pier Head, Mathew Street, Liverpool One and William Brown Street. However, its location is almost irrelevant, as it is one of the only hotels in Liverpool with a busy taxi rank directly outside. Many celebrities have stayed here over the years, including Justin Bieber who I believe stayed in the McCartney Suite.
The Titanic Hotel is arguably the finest hotel in Liverpool, you may even recognise it from The X Factor and the more eagle eyed super fans will recognise it from Paul McCartney’s carpool karaoke video. However, it has a gorgeous spa and gigantic rooms. The only set back is that it is very slightly outside the city centre, but only about £3-4 in a Uber to get in, if that.
Fancy a Tour?
If you would have asked me 4 years ago about tours in Liverpool I wouldn’t have known where to send you. However, I have fully immersed myself in tours for the past few years. In Liverpool we have roughly 70+ tours you could choose from and I would strongly advising doing one to get your bearings and see the sights quick! Some are free walking tours, but if you are coming to Liverpool for one day, you need to tick to one of the worlds most famous tours off your list:
The Magical Mystery Tour has been operating since 1983 and it possesses the name and rights of the famous name and design. Meaning that you will be getting a full Beatles experience. It takes you to Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, George Harrison’s birthplace and Paul McCartney’s childhood home. My tip is to book for Thursday-Sunday as you get free entry to The Cavern in your £18.95 ticket price, which adds value for money.
There are other options, such as independent tour guides, such as my business partner and close friend Charlie Martin who can show you everywhere and also Jackie Spencer who can show you anything to do with Liverpool too. - Contact them and tell them your budget and see how they can help.
I do want to give a special mention to a tour that is progressive and eco-friendly, it also offers a unique insight into our city. Phil Ware at Liverpool Cycle Tours can take you on tour that will enable you to see parts of Liverpool you would never normally get to see, such as Otterspool Prom, multiple public parks and many landmarks, all while riding a bike. It has it’s risks but is expertly dealt with by Phil. Having done this tour on an electric bike, I highly recommend it.
I must add that I did design a tour alongside the team at Liverpool City Sights when I was their Head of Marketing and Business Development Manager, it was a City&Beatles Tour. Aimed at those with a light interest in The Beatles who also want to see the city centre. It takes an hour and a half and you can find it on Groupon for cheap. The downside - you won’t get me as your tour guide; but you might get lucky and get my friend Damion, who is one of the best around. It isn’t the Magical Mystery Tour, but it is cheaper, shorter, accessible and in-part designed and created by myself (and got me shortlisted for Regional Tourism Star of The Year 2018, so thanks for that).
In Liverpool you are spoilt for things to see, if you want museums we have more in Liverpool than in any city outside of London (same with the quality of our architecture). We have the Maritime Museum (free), The Magical Beatles History Museum (£9), The Beatles Story (£16.95), Liverpool World Museum (free), The Walker Art Gallery (free) and more!
I have 3 places I wish to highlight, which will cover most areas:
The Museum of Liverpool is currently the best attraction in Liverpool for me. It is packed full of information, most of which if you are in Liverpool for just one day should probably be glanced at. However, on the top floor is the Double Fantasy Exhibition, which brought me to tears unexpectedly.
It covers John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s relationship, from them first meeting, to their activism to John Lennon’s death. Full with the finest artefacts currently on display in our city, including John Lennon’s New York City Vest, Greencard, Glasses, Guitar, Bedspread and more. Not to mention the amount of handwritten lyrics in there. It is the best, but more importantly - Free!
The Western Approaches was also a personal surprise for me, as I am not into war history. But upon finding out that Chapel Street and Liverpool’s business district had tunnels underneath that were open to the public I had to see it. It immediately blew me away and it also opened my eyes to how much Liverpool was transformed during world war two. Liverpool was the strategic headquarters for the battle of the Atlantic Campaign and this is what this museum shows you - The headquarters, living quarters, control rooms but most of all - the history of our city. It was a real surprise for me.
The cathedrals in our city are incredible, we have two, The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (Paddy’s Wigwam) and The Liverpool Cathedral (The Anglican/Protestant Cathedral). They are both worth a visit, but it is worth noting that the Liverpool Cathedral is the largest in the UK, the longest in the world and the 5th largest cathedral in the world. It also has a fantastic panoramic view of Liverpool which competes with the fantastic view from St John’s Beacon (The Radio City Tower). Perfect for Instagram pictures!
The main reason why I recommend the Cathedrals is because of Hope Street, which is glorious to walk along and take in. It divides the two cathedrals, by complete chance. Spend time there!
What if I’m hungry?
Liverpool has many fantastic restaurants and I will always do all I can to recommend Independents. If you are wanting to pick from a variety of independents, simply walk down Bold Street which is packed full of some of the finest in Liverpool. However, outside of Bold Street and Hope Street, here are two of my favourite places to eat if I was visiting Liverpool for one day:
You may feel I’m being biased, mentioning The Cavern Clubs own restaurant, but Festival Food & Drink is an important piece of the one-day-jigsaw you want to be central to everything. Festival is a Brazilian inspired restaurant which is on Mathew Street. But more important than it’s Brazilian meat - It serves Scouse, which you have to eat if you are only in Liverpool for one day.
(side note - If you don’t know what Scouse is, it is Liverpool’s “national” dish. It’s simply a stew that has been adopted by us and it serves as the origins for us being known as Scousers. Liverpudlian sailors would eat lots of a Norwegian dish called Lob-Scouse and start getting called “scousers” for doing it. Birthing our famous name) - Ma Boyle’s and The Liverpool Cathedral get my recommendation for Scouse too!
Most “day trippers” visit Liverpool in the summer. Oh-Me, Oh-My, 30 James Street and Matou get honourable rooftop mentions here. But I have to suggest The Club House in Liverpool One for day trippers. It once again is central to where you need to be but it is also one of the nicest places to enjoy a pint in the outdoors. It is modern, clean and 10x better in the sunshine!
Now For The Nightlife!
Once you have eat it is time to enjoy what Liverpool does best (football, maritime heritage, politics, religious cohesion and comedy aside for one moment!) - The Music!
The Baltic Triangle is currently booming, if you get a chance to get a ticket for Bongo’s Bingo - Snap it up as it is like gold dust! The same if you’re a Liverpool FC fan and you are wanting to see BOSS Nights. The Philharmonic Pub which hosted Paul McCartney in June 2018 is certainly worth a visit, as well as “Ye Cracke” which is off Hope Street. However, the hot ticket in town weekly is for a Saturday Night Cavern Club Beatles Show on Mathew Street!
The Cavern Club is on Mathew Street and it is found in the very same place where The Beatles performed nearly 300 times. Live music starts every day at 11.15am and behind the scenes tours of The Cavern will be available in 2019 too (hosted by myself, I am proud to say).
It has been said by local news sources that The Cavern Club attracts 800,000 people a year, it is known as the most famous club in the world and it is in the Top Ten Landmarks in the United Kingdom, so it is certainly worth a visit.
Mathew Street itself has our Wall of Fame, The John Lennon Statue, The Cilla Black Statue and other iconic pubs that the Beatles drank in, such as The Grapes and The White Star.
Arrive and check in
Visit The Pier Head, get pictures with The Beatles Statues and Visit Museum of Liverpool to see the John and Yoko Double Fantasy Exhibition
Visit the Albert Dock and spend time taking in Liverpool’s iconic water front and UNESCO World Heritage Site
Get on the Magical Mystery Tour, visiting Penny Lane and Strawberry Field and getting your bearings around Liverpool
Go for food at Festival Food & Drink
Visit The Cavern Club
Go to your hotel
Wake and visit Hope Street to see the Liverpool Cathedral and Metropolitan Cathedral
Go Home and realise you need to come back again! (which you will inevitably do)
By Dale Roberts
If this is your first time visiting my blog I should tell you that I work for The Cavern Club, I tour guide on the Magical Mystery Tour and I help with the marketing at Festival. However, I pride myself on honestly and pride in my work. I wouldn’t work for a company or tour that I didn’t believe was the best for tourists visiting Liverpool so rest assured, this is what I honestly recommend for visitors on a tight schedule because you’re only here for a day. If you were here longer, I would recommend more!
Keep an eye out as I write more blogs regarding visiting Liverpool, including places in the suburbs to visit, alternative tours, eateries and places to see in this amazing city!