Liverpool City Guide: How To Be A Proper Tourist In The City
‘Tourists’ often get a bad rap, don’t they? They dawdle everywhere annoying locals. They’re always gazing up at the nearest tall building or stopping to take a photo of every pigeon or blade of grass they see. They’re always in the way and so inconsiderate.
A lot of people prefer to be a ‘traveller’ because of all of the negative connotations surrounding the word tourist. They also like it because a traveller likes to immerse themselves into the city they’re in. They like to live like a local. I get that- I like to do that in some places too- but sometimes you don’t want to live like a local, ya know?
Sometimes you want to be the outsider that you are and revel in activities catering to tourists.
Recently I spent three days playing tourist in Liverpool. I learnt a lot about the city on an open top bus tour, I listened to The Beatles a lot and payed far too much money for food. It was great.
If you’re heading to Liverpool soon and want to experience it like a proper tourist, here’s a mini-guide for you:
Where to stay:
- Hard Days Night Hotel- As you can probably guess from the name, this is a hotel dedicated to what is possible Liverpool’s most well know export- The Beatles. It’s the world’s only Beatles themed hotel and it’s location in the Beatles Quarter- right next to the Cavern Club- means it can offer packages and experiences for guests.
Not only that but the building itself is Grade 2 listed and steeped in history. Beatles fans and history lovers alike will love this hotel.
- Titanic Hotel- Although the Titanic never actually visited Liverpool, she and the city have lots of connections- she was registered in Liverpool and bore the city’s name for a start. This hotel, situated in The North Warehouse in Stanley Docks, is brimming with history, making it more like an attraction than a hotel. The warehouse was partially damaged by WW2 but each room has an original window. There’s also, from what I can gather from the pictures, a blueprint of the famous ship in the rooms.
- Campanile, Queens Dock- Not a touristy hotel at all, but it’s where I stayed and it was lovely so it deserves a mention. It’s one of the cheapest places to stay but that is in no way reflected by the rooms, the service or the staff. Rooms are basic but clean, the food is good and the views of the dock from the rooms are wonderful.
Where to eat:
- Smuggler’s Cove, Albert Dock- So dark you’ll probably need to use your phone’s torch to read the menu, but it wouldn’t be a real smuggler’s cover with good lighting, would it? There’s a lot of seafood on the menu but they also do some great veggie options. I recommend the halloumi and falafel hanging kebab!
- Revolucion De Cuba, Albert Dock – Apparently these are a chain around the country, but since there isn’t one in Leicester I was completely unaware. Great sangria and great burritos. What more could you want?
- The Clubhouse, Liverpool One- A lovely little find on a sunny spring day. It’s in the centre of town, right next to Liverpool One, and, by the looks of the crowds, is a popular hang out spot for locals. We got chatting to lots of lovely locals here whist enjoying a glass or three of cider in the sunshine.
Tours to go on:
- Open top bus tour- I actually really liked this open top tour, so much so that I felt compelled to take notes so I remembered what was said (don’t laugh at me!). We learnt lots of surprising things about the city including, what the liver birds on top of the Liver building mean, that Lime Street used to be the Red Light District, and that the house of the guy responsible for the first city train (Henry Booth) has been turned into a beauty parlor!
Tickets are around £11 for adults, and you can hop on and off all day (last bus leaves at 4PM).
- Magical Mystery Tour- I’ll admit, I wasn’t a massive fan of this tour, but I think that’s because I’m not a die hard Beatles fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love their music, I just don’t know a lot about them. We visited the childhood homes of the band members, as well as Strawberry fields and Penny Lane- which were huge inspirations for their records. Each attraction was slightly underwhelming, but die hard fans will no doubt love seeing these places that were so important to their heroes. There’s also music and a little bit of a history lesson thrown in.
Tickets cost around £18 and the tour lasts for two hours.
Just For Fun:
- Go on the wheel of Liverpool- Standing next to the arena, and in between Queen’s dock and Albert Dock, is the Liverpool wheel. At 196ft it offers stunning views of Liverpool- and you can even see Wales on a clear day! There are 42 pods, and the option to have a luxury ride complete with champagne, glass floor (no thank you!), and leather interior. Tickets are £10 for adults, £7.50 concessions, and £6.50 for children.
- Go day drinking in The Cavern Club- You can get off the open top tour bus right near the Cavern Quarter, which is where the club is situated. Make sure you go into the Cavern Club and not the pub, which is on the other side (the club is the one with lots of stairs so you can’t miss it).
The Cavern is dingy and dark but that’s what makes it so appealing; it is still exactly like it was when the likes of The Beatles, The Who and Queen were performing there! Grab a pint/a vodka and coke and watch some new artists perform some old songs- it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. But don’t forget to read the sign at the original Cavern spot and take a photo with Cilla Black outside first.
It’s also more of a club at night. It has a cover charge but if you have a bus tour ticket you get in for free.
- Visit a museum or ten- Liverpool has a museum for everything, from The Beatles (of course!), a slavery museum, a maritime museum and a history museum, to name a few. Like the majority of museums in Britain, most of the museums in Liverpool are free to enter. Very handy if you’re visiting the city on a budget.
In 2018 Liverpool’s World Museum is exhibiting some of the Terracotta Army- the first time they have been brought to any museum outside of London in 30 years. How exciting!
- Go Statue hunting- There are so many statues of famous people from the city of Liverpool dotted around that you can have your photo taken with. The statue of The Beatles is by the pier. Expect to queue up before you get a selfie with them, and don’t forget to look for the special item on each of the four statues! There’s Edward the 7th on his horse next to The Beatles, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria outside St George’s hall, Billy Fury further down by the pier head, and Cilla Black outside the Cavern Club, to name just a few!
- Take the ferry across the Mersey- I was banned from doing this because my grandparents, who I went on the trip with, had done it once before and apparently once is enough. That being said, it’s an incredibly touristy experience, and one which I would have liked to have done. The ferry takes you across the River Mersey and plays ‘Ferry across the Mersey’ during the trip. It’s like the Statue of Liberty tour in NYC except not quite as glamorous!
- Work out what those weird abstract animal statues are!- Apparently not even people from Liverpool know what these are. If you know what they are, and why they are everywhere, then hook a girl up with some info please!
Has anyone done anything touristy in Liverpool? What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
If you want to download this article as a handy pocket guide you can do so here! The guide is free to download and use offline but if you want to upgrade it, so it gives you gps directions to each place of interest, you can do for a small fee (and if you do I’ll get a few pennies!)
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