The 14 best things to do in Liverpool

This north-west port city may be best known for birthing The Beatles, but it has much more to (twist and) shout about than that. Here are 14 highlights
LIVERPOOL
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The Beatles and the Mersey are probably the first things to pop into your head when you think of Liverpool. But did you know that it’s also a Unesco World Heritage City, home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, and that Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups? Not to mention all the fantastic attractions, museums, restaurants and bars. You certainly won’t be short of things to do in Liverpool and we’ve picked 14 of the best to get you started.

1
The Beatles Story Liverpool
© The Beatles Story

The Beatles Story

What is it? An immersive walk-through journey into Liverpool’s most famous quarter – unmissable for fans.

Why go? This award-winning homage to the Fab Four isn’t just for fans. Not only will you find out probably more than you’ll ever need to know about the band, you’ll get a taste of the swinging ’60s too, with recreations of The Casbah, Mathew Street and The Cavern, plus exclusive memorabilia and interactive zones. There’s also the largest selection of official Beatles merchandise in the world, should you fancy splashing out on a memento.

2
Radio City Tower

Radio City Tower

What is it? A radio and observation tower that has lanced Liverpool’s skyline since 1969.

Why go? St Johns Beacon – aka the Radio City Tower – is one of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks. It offers 360-degree views that span across Merseyside, North Wales, Cheshire and – on cloud-free, clear days – the Lake District. Given its nickname as it’s home to the eponymous broadcaster, the tower gets its belting panorama thanks to standing at a height of over 400 feet (120 metres). You’ll get to see the radio station too, should knobs and dials be your thing.

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3
RIBA North
© RIBA North

RIBA North

What is it? RIBA’s national architecture centre, based in a gleaming complex on Liverpool’s waterfront.

Why go? This is the spiritual home for outstanding design: through a series of exhibitions, talks and city tours you can learn about world-leading architecture, craftsmanship and art. The building itself is an angular delight, jutting up from Canning Dock and contrasting beautifully with the ornate, early twentieth-century architecture of the nearby ‘Three Graces’ – the Liver Building,  Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building. If you're still not convinced (and we don't know why you wouldn't be) RIBA also recently won the 'Best Newcomer to the Visitor Economy' at the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards (2018). Impressive stuff.

4
Mersey ferry river cruise

Mersey Ferry

What is it? A ferry tour across the vast estuary of Liverpool’s river.

Why go? If Gerry And The Pacemakers thought it was worth singing about, it’s probably worth a ride. At the very least you’ll get an interesting view of the city. Choose from a standard hop-on-hop-off cruise or a combination ticket that includes entrance to other Liverpool attractions, including entrance to the family-friendly interactive Spaceport attraction, and the U-Boat Story, where you get to have a mooch around a genuine World War II German submarine. Plus, one of the riverboats has been ‘dazzle painted’ by pop artist Sir Peter Blake to commemorate the centenary of World War I. 

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5
Anfield Stadium, Liverpool FC
Image © Airviews Photography

Anfield

What is it? Liverpool Football Club’s home stadium.

Why go? Anfield Stadium has been home to the Reds since 1892 – but that’s not to say that other sports personalities haven’t graced its hallowed turf. Boxing, tennis and rugby matches have all played here since the ground first opened in 1884. A tour of the stadium will reveal everything there is to know about the club’s history – plus you’ll get a glimpse inside the changing rooms, walk up the tunnel (slapping the famous sign, of course) and get to stand on the pitch itself.

6
Sefton Park Palm House
Image © Ben James

Sefton Park

What is it? Liverpool’s leafy green haven in the south of the city.

Why go? This 235-acre, Grade I-listed site offers a wealth of lovely areas to explore and things to do. If you’ve got little ’uns with you, take them to the large playground and multi-play area; budding horticulturalists will enjoy the Liverpool Botanical Collection in the Victorian Palm House; there are two cafés to relax in; and a complex of caves and waterfalls for the adventurous to discover.

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7
British Music Experience

British Music Experience

What is it? An exhibition that takes you through a journey of British musical history.

Why go? In this sprawling, vibrant and interactive exhibition, visitors can find out just about everything there is to know about our nation’s music. Highlights? Genuine outfits worn by stars such as David Bowie and Dusty Springfield, as well as instruments that once belonged to the likes of Noel Gallagher and the Sex Pistols. Plus you can have a go at rock stardom yourself by turning your hand to one of the guitars, drum kits or keyboards to hand, or belt out a tune or two in a vocal booth.

8
Cavern Club, pic from Wiki

Beatles and sightseeing walking tour

What is it? A chance to get the skinny on the city with a talking from a local guide.

Why go? Your guide will have a wealth of local knowledge – including plenty of titbits on The Beatles. After all, a tour of Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without a dip into the story of The Fab Four, right? En route, explore the waterfront, learn about the historic docks and find out how the place has changed since John, Paul, George and Ringo made it big. Then you can take in a Beatles film and see loads of locations only accessible by foot, including the site of Brian Epstein’s record shop, NEM’s, the Eleanor Rigby and Cilla Black statues, and the famous Cavern Club – where it all began. Ah, the memories.

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9
Royal Liver Building
Image © Miguel Mendez

The Royal Liver Building

What is it? An office block, but not any old office block: one that’s an integral part of Liverpool’s story.

Why go? 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.

10
Tate Liverpool
© Jorge Díaz

Tate Liverpool

What is it? The Merseyside outpost of the Tate galleries.

Why go? A key aspect of Liverpool's cultural scene, this venue is the creation of Alan Bowness, who was the Tates director in the 1980's. After deciding that he wanted to open a so-called ‘Tate of the North’, construction began at a defunct warehouse in Albert Dock. Award-winning (and very impressive) architect James Stirling was brought into the project in 1985, leading to the eventual design of Tate Liverpool: a building with the quintessential simple elegance of a modern art gallery which also maintained the unique warehouse features. Since opening in 1988 it has been one of Liverpool's most important creative hubs and is now a major player when it comes to exhibiting major European works of art.

 

 

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11
Merseyside Maritime Museum

Merseyside Maritime Museum

What is it? A museum dedicated to Liverpool’s rich maritime history, based (appropriately) at Albert Dock.

Why go? No visit to Liverpool would ever be complete without a trip to this ode to the city’s sea-trading legacy – especially since it provides fun for all the family. Firstly, there's a load of ship models to see and full-sized vessels to explore, as well as colourful maritime paintings and posters, films and even a genuine lifejacket from a survivor of the Titanic. You’ll also find the (harrowing) International Slavery Museum on the third floor and the National Border Force Museum in the basement. It is possible to see all of this in one day but make sure not to go overboard. (Sorry).

12
Cavern Club
Image © Ronald Saunders

The Cavern Club

What is it? The legendary nightclub that has played host to all manner of illustrious figures from Liverpudlian musical history.

Why go? This underground cellar started life in 1957 as a jazz and skiffle joint, before playing an instrumental role in the birth of The Beatles. Lennon and McCartney played here in The Quarrymen before forming the Fab Four and setting up for almost 300 gigs on the Cavern’s stage. Other major acts followed them, including The Hollies, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, before the venue was bulldozed in the early ’80s. Thanks to an interest by Liverpool FC player Tommy Smith, the Cavern Club reopened in 1984 to continue as a vibrant live venue.

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13
Museum of Liverpool
© Museum of Liverpool

Museum of Liverpool

What is it? Well, you can probably guess. It's all in the name really: a museum dedicated to Liverpool itself, perched on the banks of the glistening river Mersey.

Why go? From Liverpool’s unique geography to its rich history and vibrant contemporary culture, the Museum of Liverpool will tell you everything you need to know about this fabulous city. Just a short gallop away from RIBA North, the Museum of Liverpool documents the importance of the city in relation to the rest of the UK and how the port plays an absolutely vital role. Once you step inside you'll be bombarded with a whole host of Liverpool-centric things, including regional archaeology, the mythical liver birds, sport and music (so the galleries really have something for everyone). Since some of the exhibitions are temporary, make sure to check out what's on before you arrange your trip.

14
Echo Arena

Witness a mind-blowing event at Echo Arena

What is it? The city’s 11,000-seater venue, which opened in 2008.

Why go? Those seeking an action-packed outing should check out the Echo Arena, which regularly plays host to massive gigs, live sporting events, comedy shows and family-friendly performances. Sir Paul McCartney has graced the arena’s stage, alongside the likes of Beyoncé and Iron Maiden. Plus they’ve held the Mobo Awards here, the GB Judo World Cup and Davis Cup Tennis, as well as telly favourites ‘Strictly…’ and ‘X Factor’. Plenty of strings to its bow, then.

 

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