England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

It’s always a good sign when you tell someone where you’re going on holiday and they respond by scrunching up their nose and asking why in the world you’d ever choose to go there, right? It was this reaction, or something equally negative, I received nearly every time I mentioned our plans to head up to Liverpool for last year’s early May bank holiday. I was stumped and, quite honestly, a little worried. I mean, with a reaction like that, you’d think I’d just announced our plans to go dumpster diving outside a seafood restaurant for the holiday. But this was Liverpool, home of the Beatles and at least half a dozen UNESCO sights. It couldn’t really be that bad, could it? As a fairly regular traveler, I’ve learned not to let other people’s opinions or perceptions of a place color my own, but it was with at least a little trepidation that I boarded the train that would take us a couple hours up north to Liverpool. I really had no idea what to expect.

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England 8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

What did I discover? First, arriving somewhere new with almost no expectations is super fun. Second, those people who wrinkled their noses have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Liverpool is awesome. We had an absolute blast during the three days we were there! Liverpool is sort of like an amusement park for adults. It’s a lively city with a lot of entertaining people-watching, everybody generally looks like they’re having a good time (especially the later it gets…or early, depending on how you look at it), the food is amazing, and if you’re anywhere within the vicinity of Mathew Street, you’re sure to experience some sensory overload (and possibly just barely escape being trampled by a pack of shrieking bridesmaids).

It’s a little gritty, I’ll give the naysayers that. If you’re looking for something akin to London or the quaint English towns we all fall head over heels for, you will leave disappointed. Liverpool is unlike anywhere else I’ve visited in England, and I loved that. Not that I’ll ever get tired of turning the corner and seeing Big Ben or visiting villages full of tiny cottages with thatched roofs, but sometimes you just want something a little different. I liked that Liverpool was a little louder, a little less polite, and a little more unpredictable. To make possibly a horrible analogy, Liverpool seems to me a little like the black sheep of the family. She does her own thing and makes no apologies to anyone for it, and you’ll either love her or hate her for that, but either way you can’t help but feel a little admiration for her passion and boldness. But then again, I’ve always been partial to black sheep.

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England 8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

If that description feels a little too alternative for you, there’s another side to Liverpool, too. A little more elegant and traditional one. You’ll find that side down by the water along the Pier Head and Albert Dock. It’s bloody beautiful down there on a sunny day, and far more relaxing than the buzzing vibe in the city center or the cheerful chaos of Mathew Street. We didn’t spend as much time in this area as we did elsewhere in the city, but on our last day, we were able to spend a few hours walking along the banks of the river and taking a ferry ‘cross the Mersey. Being down here felt like a peaceful retreat after the craziness of the two previous days. I really feel like this city has something for everyone, but if you’re still not convinced, just keep on reading…

8 GREAT REASONS TO VISIT LIVERPOOL

You should probably put Liverpool on your travel radar if…

You love the Beatles. How about we start with the most obvious? Certainly there’s a lot more to Liverpool than a history as the birthplace of The Beatles (as well as a ridiculous amount of other bands and performers – seriously, what is in the water there?), but if you’re a fan, you’ll no doubt enjoy following the footsteps of the Fab Four as they grew in fame. There’s a lot to see here – their birthplaces, the many places mentioned in their songs, as well as where it all began at the infamous Cavern Club on Mathew Street. I’ve written a whole post about things to do in Liverpool for Beatles fans. If that’s you, you might want to check it out!

You collect UNESCO sights. There are now over 1,000 places, both man-made and natural, listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list and it just keeps growing every year. To be on this list, a place has to be of special cultural or physical significance, which for a traveler means you can pretty much just thank UNESCO for creating your bucket list for you. We don’t travel for UNESCO sights, but we do check before we go to see if there are places at our destination on the list, and in Liverpool there are six!

You’re a people-person. Or you just like to strike up conversations with total strangers. Folks in Liverpool are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met in England. I’m not a particularly shy person, but I also don’t typically walk up to random strangers and start telling them my life story either. But for some reason in Liverpool, I never went anywhere without getting into a conversation with at least one other person. It was loads of fun and made me feel so comfortable in an otherwise completely foreign city. I even had one guy I met while taking photos down by the docks offer to let me use his gigantic telephoto lens, and when I declined (because it would be just like me to drop a $10k piece of equipment), he took it off his camera and offered it again. Seriously, who is actually that nice?

You’re the frugal type. Liverpool is pretty cheap, by English standards, anyway. Had there not been a footie match going on while we were there (more on that in a sec) our hotel would have been the cheapest place we’ve ever stayed at in Europe. (And it was far from a dump!) We only stayed in Liverpool for two nights, which is a super short trip and otherwise would have felt a little like a waste of money if we hadn’t spent so little to get here and stay here. I am ever so proud of myself when I find a good deal, and in Liverpool, we definitely feel like we got our money’s worth.

You like to eat. I know this is going to sound like I’m buying into the ‘food sucks in the UK’ stereotype, but outside of London, I hadn’t really been wowed by a meal in England…until Liverpool. We ate really well while we were here, and for extremely reasonable prices. I had the most inventive meal of the trip at the restaurant in A Hard Day’s Night Hotel, but the most delicious was at Casa Italia. You know the food is going to be good when you have to queue up outside for it! After half an hour of waiting, I had what I am convinced was the best vegetarian lasagna outside of Italy. A year later and I still think about that meal!

You bleed blue or red. Translation: Your team is Everton or Liverpool. Both are hugely popular Premier League teams based in Liverpool, and even if you’re not particularly a fan of either, going to a football game is sort of an English rite of passage, so why not do it where some of England’s oldest teams play? I don’t even consider myself a football fan and I still enjoyed the game we saw in London last year. It was obvious Liverpool was playing a match the weekend we were visiting because I’ve never seen so much red in one place as I did on our train on the way up. (That train was packed, too. Not even standing room left by the time we reached the city. Keep that in mind if you’re traveling to Liverpool on a game day!)

You like to party. I have never in my life seen so many hen parties and stag do’s in the same place. On our first day in Liverpool, we counted over a dozen around the Mathew Street area after being in the city for less than 2 hours. And when we tried to get into The Grapes Pub to check out where the Beatles used to go for drinks, at 10pm it was already so packed with people that getting a seat, or even a place to stand, was about as likely as getting a seat on the Piccadilly line at rush hour. Those who know me know this is so not my scene, but when in Rome, right? Cory and I got tickets one night to the Cavern Club and we danced and sang right along with everyone else until the wee hours of the morning. (Actually it was before midnight, but we’re like 100 years old now, so…) FYI for those who like a little tipple – beer and wine prices are significantly lower in Liverpool than London, which might explain the massive invasion of hen and stag parties. :)

You like to stay busy on holiday. I’m pretty sure that, unless you’re holidaying here for over a year, you won’t be running out of things to do in Liverpool anytime soon. Besides the popular Beatles locations around town, there are at least two major cathedrals (we only went inside one – the Liverpool Cathedral), a multitude of free museums covering everything from art to slavery to maritime history, a few dozen famous buildings (my favorites were St George’s Hall and the trifecta of beauties along the Pier Head – the Royal Liver, the Cunard, and the Port of Liverpool buildings), and the River Mersey itself to go see. Bonus, Liverpool scores a 10/10 in terms of walk-ability. Except for the Beatles Taxi Tour we took, we explored Liverpool solely on foot, which is always my favorite way to get around.

So have I sold you on Liverpool? Or have you already been and loved it…or hated it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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8 Great Reasons To Visit Liverpool, England

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  • Fantastic post. I really love Liverpool but sadly don’t travel up there enough – It’s got me thinking that I should visit again soon!

    Tamsyn Elizabeth | Peaches and Bear

    • I always feel like I don’t travel around England enough. It took us three years to visit Oxford which is only a 1-hour train ride from London. I need to get better about that, too!

  • Awww, I’m so glad you loved Liverpool. I’m an Evertonian born and bred (and my uncle’s ashes are buried at Goodison Park!)

    I love Liverpool – I love the spirit and the people. I know exactly what you mean about the people – you can start a conversation with just about anyone!!

    • We truly did love it! All three of us said we’d love to go back again. It was the perfect weekend getaway.

      The friendliness of everyone in Liverpool reminded me so much of home. I have missed that here in London!

  • We have Liverpool on our wishlist – honestly it’s to see my husband’s favourite team play at Anfield but this makes me want to visit all the more!

    • I think you’d really enjoy it! If you need any tips, let me know! I loved the hotel we stayed at – Z Hotel – it was perfectly situated for seeing the sights and not too expensive at all.

  • Stephanie Hartley

    I’ve never been to Liverpool, and this post has really made me itching to go! We don’t have any summer travel plans yet (boo), so maybe Liverpool will have to be on the list. I’ve heard of some amazing food places up there, and being a massive foodie this makes me super excited!

    Steph – http://www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

    • Liverpool would make a perfect summer weekend trip! You might have better luck with the weather then, too. I wish I had more tips for you in regards to the food or where to eat, but we weren’t there long enough to have more than 3 dinners! I’m sure there are some Liverpool bloggers who would be able to point you in the right direction, though!

  • Deasy Noel

    Holy wow, that guy really offered to lend you his $10k lens?! Okay, I have to make a trip to Liverpool now! Haha. Looks like a city that needs to make it on the bucket list.

    • Ha! I may have exaggerated the cost of the lens a little. It was enormous, though, so certainly much more pricey than the lenses I use! :)

  • Someday.. someday I will make it to Europe!

  • I was so impressed when I went to Liverpool! I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, my family are from Manchester and were never too positive but I totally loved it. Would love to go back!

    • It is funny to me how so many people talk so negatively about Liverpool! After visiting, I really don’t understand it. Maybe it’s a personality thing – ha!

  • Kayleigh Stapleton

    Glad you enjoyed your stay! Not sure whether to be offended or pleased that you called our city a black sheep – but I guess we are a lot friendlier than down south, so that makes us stand out more! Did you know Liverpool was the Capital of Culture winner in 2008? It got a total refurb and the L1 shopping centre was built. That helped the city a lot.
    Love how you had the best meal in the Casa! It’s so funny because this just seems like a small, cheap place to me but I’m so happy that you had one of the best lasagnes there! :)
    I moved down south about 8 months ago to be with my partner and I don’t half miss home. I’ve moved inland and am getting withdrawal symptoms from the water. I’m hoping to go back up to Liverpool next month :) x

    • I’m not always the best at choosing the correct words or explaining myself well, but I did absolutely mean for the black sheep comment to be taken in a positive way! My intent was to say that Liverpool stands out from the rest of the country, in style and character. Hopefully you and anyone else from Liverpool will forgive my lack of writing skills, and not take offense. :)

      I can completely understand your feelings in regards to missing the water! I’m from Tennessee where we lived on 20 acres of farmland before moving to London. After the initial excitement of being in a big city wore off, I was definitely feeling withdrawal symptoms from the countryside! (Still do, actually!) Enjoy your trip back home! x

  • rorybore

    Liverpool definitely sounds like my kind of town!! And not just for the cheap beer, although I won’t lie, that is a big selling feature! LOL
    I love the idea that there is plenty to keep you busy and that it is a little bit different. Of course being Canadian, I will talk to anyone over a cold beer all the day and night long. Yep, my town.

    • I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like. Friendliest bunch of folks I’ve ever met. :)

      • rorybore

        Thank ya kindly! :)

  • I loooooove Liverpool! So much I actually had a birthday weekend there. There’s a lot more to it than people think, the museums are great, the maritime one being my fave, and the food and bars are awesome too. Very underrated!

  • Aww, I’m happy you liked Liverpool. I think you should visit it again because there are plenty more things to see. Underneath L1 it’s the Old docks, the first dry docks in the world and it can be visited with a guide (free), there are Williamson’s Tunnels and Mersey Tunnels. If you take the ferry (or any of the 2 tunnels to Wirral), you can discover even more exciting places, like Port Sunlight (home to Unilever) with Art Gallery and Museums, New Brighton with Ford Perch, Leasowe Lighthouse and the beautiful Hilbre Islands where you have to go on foot if the tide allows it.

    I lived here for the last 4+ years and it’s really amazing.

    • I hope there will be an opportunity for me to return again sometime. The Old Docks sounds really cool!

  • B.

    I visited Liverpool last year and loved it! If you’re into movies, Marvel filmed a lot of Captain America: First Avenger there! I visited some of the locations and it was great!

  • Liverpool does have a strange kind of reputation in the UK – there’s this weird idea that you’ll get stabbed or robbed, I couldn’t tell you why people think that, mind you. I went a couple of years ago for the first time and I couldn’t understand why people seem to have a problem with it. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the city was stunning. I’d take Liverpool over London any day.

    • I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I like it better than London (I am partial since live here), but I thought the city was beautiful and it was a relief to be around people who are a little less…what’s the word…uptight?…than their southern neighbors. I’d go back again anytime. Never once felt unsafe either. I’m sure there are plenty of areas you don’t want to be wandering around in late at night, but that’s true of every single city I’ve ever been to or lived in.