Eight places you need to visit in Liverpool
I have lived in Liverpool for a year, but I feel like I am only just starting to get my head around all that this fantastic city has to offer.
If you are visiting Liverpool for just a few days, then here are eight things you must see!
1. World Museum
This is a great place to visit, especially if you have children. Don’t worry, possession of a child is not essential for entry into the museum – it is widely recognised that people of all ages enjoy what the World Museum has to offer.
Highlights for me included seeing a sea apple in the aquarium, a mummified young crocodile in the Egyptology section and tarantulas in the bug house. Museum-fatigue meant that we missed out on the dinosaurs, but that just means we’ve got a good reason to return. The space and time/planetarium floor is sadly closed, due to the Covid-19 safety measures that are in place.
As I like to spend 78.33% of my life imagining I am Rachel Weisz in The Mummy, I was impressed by the size and quality of the ancient Egypt collection, which includes mummified humans, 44 animal mummies and a range of sarcophagi. Fortunately, no one resurrected a disgruntled mummified priest, at least not when I was visiting.
The World Museum holds the UK’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, outside of the British Museum – and is a lot more accessible than the more highbrow Britty M, in my opinion. Unfortunately, in 1941, Hitler and friends did their best to shrink the collection, as well as causing a lot of other havoc.
Entry is free. Booking is essential. Remember to bring a face covering.
Click here to be directed to their website
2. Tate Liverpool – and the Albert Dock
The Tate Liverpool houses some wonderful examples of modern art. If possible, go with a grumpy middle-aged man who will no doubt say things like; “I could’ve done that” and; “You call that art”, for the most authentic experience.
It is much smaller that its London counterpart, but it contains several gems including L.S. Lowry’s The Pond. The Op Art in Focus exhibition is fascinating and Mikhail Karikis’s Ferocious Love installation is suitably pretentious, so you know you really are in a modern art gallery. My nine-year old niece was delighted to see Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry (1968), primarily because it contains lumps of elephant dung. She is easily pleased.
Outside of the gallery is the colourful Liverpool Mountain by Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone. It was apparently inspired by naturally occurring Hoodoos (spires or pyramids of rock) and the art of meditative rock balancing. It makes a great Instagram post – be prepared to get a lot of likes!
Entry is free, but you need to book a time slot. They are operating a one-way system. The gift shop is well-stocked, and the staff are especially helpful.
Click here for more information.
The Albert Dock is a lovely area to stroll around, plus there are several places you can stop at for a rejuvenating beverage or tasty comestible. Visit their website.
3. The Cathedrals
Both cathedrals are well-worth a visit, regardless of your religious views. They are close by each other, at either end of Hope Street. You may notice, on your walk between the two cathedrals, a pair of 15-foot bronze doors. This is the Sheppard-Worlock Statue (you can find it outside of the London Carriage Works Restaurant – also well-worth a visit), named after Derek Worlock, a former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool and David Sheppard, a former Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. Both men worked tirelessly throughout the 1970s and 80s to break down the sectarian divide that had existed in some parts of Liverpool. They also played a pivotal role in the creation of Hope University’s foundation college. The two men are depicted on each of the gates.
I really like both cathedrals and the fact that they are very different from one another. The Anglican Cathedral was fully consecrated in 1924. The foundation stone was laid by King Edward VII in 1904; the first part of the building to be completed was the Lady Chapel, which was the only part of the cathedral used for worship until 1924.
Some view the Metropolitan Cathedral’s design as controversial, often describing it as a wigwam (although I think, strictly speaking, it looks more like a tepee). Inside, the light is breathtaking, it really is a beautiful space. I recommend visiting the crypt – where you can see the foundations and the plans for the original Catholic Cathedral, which, if it had been built, would have dwarfed the Anglican one.
For information on opening times visit:
The Metropolitan Cathedral website
The Anglican Cathedral website
4. The International Slavery Museum
This is a must-see, particularly in light of the recent events in America, as triggered by the murder of George Floyd. But be warned, it is hard not to get emotional when walking around this museum. I have visited three times over the years (I originally went in 2011, when on holiday in Liverpool). If you do not know much about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, watch the film Twelve Years A Slave ahead of your visit – it will give you some useful context.
One particular quotation at the museum gives me chills every time I read it. It is by Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua, a former slave, who in 1854 said: “I imagine there can be but one place more horrible in all creation than the hold of a slave ship, and that place is where slaveholders are the most likely to find themselves one day.”
Entry is free. You will need to book a time slot and wear a face covering. For further information click here
5. Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park is the inspiration behind Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City. Opening in 1847 and designed by Joseph Paxton, it was the first municipal park in the world. It was created in response to the poor health conditions brought about by the pollution of the industrial revolution. The idea was to create a countryside landscape of open meadows, woodland and lakes.
In 1850, American landscape architect, Fredrick Law Olmsted, visited Birkenhead Park along with several other public gardens and was suitably impressed. So much so, that in 1858 he and his senior partner Calvert Vaux won a competition to design Central Park, for the rapidly expanding New York City. In 1859 Olmsted and Vaux were commissioned to design Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, NYC. By all accounts, this was their favourite, having learnt from the mistakes they made designing Central Park. It is my favourite too!
While you are “across the water” it would also be worth checking out Port Sunlight and New Brighton.
6. The Walker Art Gallery
This gallery is impressive both inside and out. It is internationally renowned for its incomparable collection of Medieval Renaissance and 17th and 18th century works. There are many priceless pieces, from throughout the ages, by world-famous artists including: Rembrandt, Degas, Hockney, Lucian Freud and Gilbert and George.
The Linda McCartney Retrospective is on until 1st November and is well worth visiting.
For more information click here
7. Baltic Market
On a sunny, busy day, when this place is abuzz with the sound of people having a good time, you can fool yourself into believing that you have been transported to Brooklyn.
The Baltic Market is THE place for foodies; if it was located in east London it would be unbearably hipster, however down-to-earth Scouse charm makes Liverpool effectively hipster-proof. So, you can enjoy your halloumi fries, matcha lattes and wood-fired pizzas safe in the knowledge that you will not be sat near someone with an ironic moustache. It is located on the site of the former Cains/Higsons Brewery.
It is open Thursday to Sunday. You will need to download the Uber Eats app to order your food. After you have stuffed your face, take a stroll around the Baltic Triangle and admire the street art.
Visit their website for further information.
8. Pier Head
The Fab Four loom-large on Pier Head as tourists and Day Trippers pose joyfully in their shadow. In the background of these photos are some of Britain’s most magnificent buildings: The Three Graces. The most famous of the three is the Royal Liver Building (the one with the Liver Birds atop of it), and moving in a southerly direction, there is the Cunard Building (pronounced “Coo-nard”) and the Port of Liverpool Building.
The Beatles statue by Andrew Edwards (who also created the All Together Now Christmas Day truce statue, outside of the Bombed-Out Church) has some hidden treasures that you can look out for.
John is holding some acorns, that were cast from actual acorns gathered from outside the Dakota Building in NYC. John and Yoko planted some acorns in the garden of Coventry Cathedral in 1968 to represent their wish for world peace. After they married in 1969, they sent acorns to leaders across the globe, asking that they were planted as a symbol of peace.
Paul is holding a camera, in reference to his first wife, photographer Linda McCartney. George has Sanskrit on his coat belt. Sanskrit is the predominant language of most works of Hinduism. George embraced the religion in 1969 after meeting with Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement. Ringo has L8 on the sole of his shoe; he was born and bred in Toxteth and this is a reference to the area’s postcode. To see photos of all these treasures, visit my Instagram page (click here) – or if you’d rather discover them for yourself, don’t!
This list barely scratches the surface - there are so many wonderful things to do and see in Liverpool. This is a city with heart and soul. I’m not a football fan, but if you are, there are of course lots of things you can do relating to the sport.
Liverpool is really accessible – it’s just two hours and ten minutes on the fast train from London. Come and see this amazing city for yourself!