What Makes Liverpool So Special For Visitors?

In my generation, Liverpool means The Beatles, which makes it a special place. But Liverpool is an historical city, so special that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors from around the world come to Liverpool for its recent music history, and its less recent history as a very important port. Whatever your interests, you will find something special in Liverpool.

Liverpool is famous for The Beatles. It was an important port, now a World Heritage Site. Its many sights and museums make Liverpool special for visitors.

Liverpool is famous for The Beatles. It was an important port, now a World Heritage Site. Its many sights and museums make Liverpool special for visitors.

As a direct result of the Industrial Revolution in the latter half of the 18th century, Liverpool became an important port city. It also became a major slave trading port; by 1807, when the slave trade was abolished, it is thought that perhaps three-quarters of all European slaving ships had sailed from Liverpool . It is debated as to whether the majority of the wealth made in the city at that time came from domestic trade or the slave trade.


What makes Liverpool special?

The local inhabitants, who call themselves Scousers, Liverpudlians or Liverpolitans, are justly proud of their city, and very happy to welcome visitors.

They are often claimed to be the ‘friendliest’, ‘funniest’, ‘most down-to-earth’, ‘most helpful’, and so on, people on earth! It’s a hard claim to prove, but we did find them so – if we could just understand what they were saying.

Being a major port, Liverpool attracted and kept people from all over. As a result, it is a very multicultural city, including one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities in Europe. The first trading vessel direct from China arrived in Liverpool in 1834, and the first immigrants arrived in 1866. Liverpool’s Chinatown is worth a visit, if just to see its gate – it’s the largest ceremonial arch outside China.

The largest Ceremonial Arch outside China welcomes you into Liverpool's Chinatown.

The largest Ceremonial Arch outside China welcomes you into Liverpool’s Chinatown.


Liverpool is widely recognised

In 2001, the Guinness Book of Records recognised it as the World Capital of Pop because local artists have had so many number 1 hits, and for being the birthplace of the world’s greatest ever musical group!

In 2008, it was designated the European Capital of Culture for that year, an EU initiative to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
  • Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities

In 2015, Liverpool was declared a UNESCO City of Music , in the Creative Cities Network.

And, in 2004, UNESCO declared six areas in the historic centre and docklands of the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool to be a World Heritage Site . It is sad to note that in 2012, it was placed on the ‘in danger’ list. Hopefully everyone is working very hard to reverse this situation.

You get a great view of Liverpool's skyline when taking a Mersey Ferry

You get a great view of Liverpool’s skyline when taking a Mersey Ferry


World Heritage Site Areas

Pier Head

Millions of migrants boarded ships from here, on their way to new lives in America, during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Earlier, it played a significant part in the slave trade during the 18th century.
Now it’s the place visitors go to take a ferry across the Mersey. There is a statue of The Beatles and a café and souvenir shop, celebrating the fab 4, in the ferry terminal building.

Overlooking the Pier are 3 very impressive buildings from the early 20th century. The Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building are collectively known as the Three Graces, as they grace the waterfront of Liverpool.

The Royal Liver Building is one of Liverpool's Three Graces.

The Royal Liver Building

Pier Head is one of 6 areas of Liverpool's World Heritage site. The 'Three Graces' stand proud behind the Mersey Ferry terminal.

Pier Head is one of 6 areas of Liverpool’s World Heritage site. The ‘Three Graces’ stand proud behind the Mersey Ferry terminal.

 

Royal Albert Dock

This dock was opened in 1846 (by Prince Albert) and comprises large warehouses, which now house bars and restaurants alongside the Tate Liverpool, The Beatles Story, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the International Slavery Museum.

Built from cast iron, brick and stone, this dock was one of the first to be made as fireproof as possible.

Formerly known as Albert Dock, it was recognised by the Queen in 2018, and thus Royal was added to its name.

Riverside view of the Royal Albert Dock warehouses. And a large collection of 'love-locks' along the chain fencing of the promenade.

Riverside view of the Royal Albert Dock warehouses. And a large collection of ‘love-locks’ along the chain fencing of the promenade.


Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description.


Stanley Dock

This area has docks and warehouses linked by the Dock Wall. There is also a flight of canal locks. The whole area has never been open to the public, except if you visit the Heritage Market held every Sunday in one of the warehouses. Unfortunately our visit didn’t include a Sunday.

The Stanley Dock area of the World Heritage site of Liverpool is the least accessible, but is undergoing renovation and restoration.

The Stanley Dock area of the World Heritage site of Liverpool is the least accessible, but is undergoing renovation and restoration.


Castle Street

This is the historic commercial centre of Liverpool, behind the Three Graces. There are more historical buildings to be seen here, most of them serving completely different purposes than those they were originally built for.

The famous Cavern quarter is also in this area.

Mathew Street in Liverpool, home of the famous Cavern Club. Not surprising to find a statue of John Lennon, or any one of The Beatles, there.

Mathew Street in Liverpool, home of the famous Cavern Club. Not surprising to find a statue of John Lennon, or any one of The Beatles, there.

 

William Brown Street

The World Museum Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery and the Central Library are all on this street. This area was created as the cultural centre of Liverpool in the mid-1800s.

Lime Street Railway Station is just a short walk away, and St John’s Garden is the largest green area in the city centre.


Lower Duke Street

Bluecoat is the oldest building in the city centre of Liverpool, and one of the main attractions in the sixth area of the World Heritage site. It is also a favourite place for weddings or wedding photos – the Queen Anne style architecture provides such a special backdrop, and it is in magnificent condition.

Other notable buildings in the Duke Street precinct are Bridewell, once a prison and now a boutique hotel, and the Walker Art Gallery, which has one of the largest collections in England, outside London.

The Queen Anne style Bluecoat building is the oldest building in central Liverpool. It stands in the Lower Duke Street area of the World Heritage site.

The Queen Anne style Bluecoat building is the oldest building in central Liverpool. It stands in the Lower Duke Street area of the World Heritage site.


The Beatles

The Beatles are arguably the most famous band ever. Their home city is very proud of them and celebrates them in numerous ways:

  • The Beatles Story Museum at Albert Dock, and its associated Fab 4 stores and cafes, both there and at the Pier Head ferry terminal
  • Beatles statues at Pier Head, and various other sites around the city
  • The Cavern Club – where The Beatles performed
  • Strawberry Fields
  • John and Paul’s childhood homes
  • Magical Mystery bus tour
  • Beatles walks and taxi tours
  • International Beatleweek Festival every August

And if you want more suggestions, check out this list .

My personal favourite was Double Fantasy – John & Yoko at the Museum of Liverpool.
This exhibition is a world first and was put together with the help and support of Yoko. It was a very emotional experience for me, and I recommend it to any Beatle or Lennon fan, if you’re anywhere near Liverpool. It runs until April 22, 2019.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. The wall is covered in post-it notes, where visitors remember John Lennon and remember love. It was a very special experience.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. The wall is covered in post-it notes, where visitors remember John Lennon and remember love. It was a very special experience.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. This one shows their first bed-in for peace in Amsterdam in March 1969.

Double Fantasy – John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool. This one shows their first bed-in for peace in Amsterdam in March 1969.

 

Noteworthy Churches

As in most English cities, there are plenty of churches in Liverpool. Here are three that we thought might be of special interest to visitors.

The Liverpool Cathedral

This is the Church of England Cathedral of Liverpool. It’s difficult to believe that this church was only completed in 1978 – the planning began almost a century before that, when the first bishop of Liverpool was appointed in 1880. The final building had been changed and modified many times over the history of its planning and construction.

Liverpool Cathedral: this is the Church of England cathedral.

Liverpool Cathedral: this is the Church of England cathedral.

This cornerstone was laid in the Liverpool Cathedral in 1904. The Cathedral was finished in 1978!

This cornerstone was laid in the Liverpool Cathedral in 1904. The Cathedral was finished in 1978!

 

Metropolitan Cathedral

From the time we arrived, this unusual building caught our eye on Liverpool’s skyline. When we finally visited, we were immediately struck by some similarity between it and the Cathedral in Brasilia . This super modern cathedral was completed in 1967.

More on the topic: Someone has built it before

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool: this is the Catholic Cathedral of the city. It is quite similar architecture to the Oscar Niemeyer designed Cathedral in Brasilia.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool: this is the Catholic Cathedral of the city. It is quite similar architecture to the Oscar Niemeyer designed Cathedral in Brasilia.

And if you’re wondering why there are two cathedrals in Liverpool: this one is the Catholic Cathedral.

Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description.


St Luke’s Church

Usually simply called the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool, it was bombed in 1941 and now stands as a memorial to those who died in the war.

But, it’s not only a memorial. It’s still used for events and exhibitions.

There is also a very special statue in front of the church, commemorating the famous Christmas truce in the First World War, when the opposing sides played a football game on no-man’s land.

Saint Luke's bombed out church in Liverpool

Saint Luke’s bombed out church in Liverpool [photo credit ]

Sculpture of the Christmas Day truce to play football during WW1, stands outside Saint Luke's bombed out church in Liverpool.

Sculpture of the Christmas Day truce to play football during WW1, stands outside Saint Luke’s bombed out church in Liverpool.

 

During our 4 day visit, we found many things, which make Liverpool special. You could stay longer and find many more. The variety of sites and sights in this great city is what really makes it a place to visit.

There are several things that make Liverpool special – but don’t hold much interest for us personally:

  • Football – Liverpool is the home of two very successful Premier League clubs – Everton and Liverpool.
  • Horse Racing – it’s also home of the world famous ‘Grand National’ annual horse race, held at Aintree Race Course, on the outskirts of Liverpool.
  • The Titanic – even though this ill-fated ship sailed from Southampton, Liverpool was the Port where she was registered.

Please click thumbnails below for a larger photo with description.


Practical Information

Higsons Brewery building - one of the prettiest, historic, industrial buildings of Liverpool.

Higsons Brewery building – one of the prettiest, historic, industrial buildings of Liverpool.

Higsons Brewery building now houses the Cains Brewery Village. We had lunch at this cafe, combined with a cycle shop, called Ryde.

Higsons Brewery building now houses the Cains Brewery Village. We had lunch at this cafe, combined with a cycle shop, called Ryde.

 

We found Liverpool an easy city to visit. Unusual for us, we caught the City Explorer Tour hop-on-hop-off bus to get a sense of where everything was. The guides were knowledgeable, friendly, and often funny.

It’s possible to buy a joint ticket for the bus and the River Explorer cruise to take the Ferry across the Mersey, and save a few pounds. The ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can start one day and finish the next.

Many museums are free. When there is an entry fee, there is usually a concession for seniors (over 60) and they aren’t allowed to ask you to supply proof. Strange but true.

For Overlanders: We could stay with our truck Bertita in the Liverpool Yacht Club parking lot (£15/day when we visited), which was close to the river and next to the marina. It was possible to access toilets, showers and washing machines (for a fee). There are also facilities for filling with water and dumping waste.
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The city of Liverpool is one of England's main tourist attractions. Famous as the World Capital of Pop Music (not only The Beatles originate from here!), it was once a port of global significance – now a World Heritage Site. Its many sights and museums make Liverpool a special destination for visitors. See our gallery post for more!

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Liverpool, with its important port, is a major attraction for tourists and cruise ships. The city became famous through The Beatles. It's history is strongly connected with its port and shipping – nowadays recognised by its World Heritage status. There are many things to see, which make Liverpool a special destination for visitors from all over the world. See our gallery post for more!

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Yasha

dare2go's human navigator (we're not lost because there's nowhere particular we have to be) alongside our Nexus 7 tablet, writer and editor of our blog, first cook and loving wife. Teaching English as a second language when possible.

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