We had headed north specifically to visit Liverpool as we had heard so much about it, and none of it bad.
We stayed on a handy site on The Wirral, Arrowe Brook Farm, which was close enough to public transport links for those without any transport, but we drove to a nearby train station, Hoylake, to park for free and pay a total of £4.90 to take the train into the city..
Alighting at James Street it was just a 5 minute walk to Albert Dock where there is so much going on! There has been a wonderful rejuvenation of this area, including areas in the dock for houseboats & barges and, of course, numerous eateries and bars arrayed around the dock itself. (Whilst waiting for our bus tour we had a quick drink and cake in Puffle Waffle in 1 of the old dock buildings).
Here, you will also find all the bus tours of the city (we opted for the 2 hour Beatles and City tour – more of that later), the ferry terminal for crossing the Mersey and several museums including Tate Liverpool, The Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum.
We also found a much smaller attraction, by accident really. We were walking past a small house as we headed towards the ferry, when I realised it was actually open to the public. It had been dressed as it would have been during the 2nd World War and was free to visit; it only takes about 10 mins to take it all in, but it is absolutely my sort of place 🙂 Look for The Piermaster’s House.
A little further along the waterside towards the ferry terminal you will find THE Beatles statue (almost impossible to get a clear photo without other tourists getting in the way.:) ) and, of course, the iconic Liver Building. We found out during our bus tour that the birds topping the clock towers are actually taller than a double decker bus 🙂
There is an array of bus tours on offer from Albert Dock (many also stop at Pier Head); we chose the 2 hour Beatles tour where the tickets are valid for 48 hours, and which includes a free drink in the Philarmonic Dining Rooms (the Beatles used to play here, and this was where Paul McCartney played an impromptu gig in June this year whilst doing Carpool Karaoke with James Corden).
The tour was very engaging with a very good guide, who also played and sang a few songs along the way. There were a number of stop-offs including Penny Lane (we did get off, in the rain, for a photo opportunity). Unfortunately for us the weather got worse and worse as the tour wore on, and it hadn’t started very well, and when we got on the only seats left were at the top, at the back and completely open to the elements!! (We clearly spent too long in Puffle Waffle!) We got off at the Philarmonic Dining Rooms for our free drink, and to see the listed Gents toilets – the urinals are the listed element (but they still stink like most other gents toilets… )
Heading back towards the river we found a perfect historic pub to eat in, Ma Boyles, with an atmospheric downstairs area just waiting to be discovered. It’s not an obvious place to find, being situated on a side street, but we were very happy to have discovered it 🙂 I decided to ‘go native’ and opted for scouse pie 🙂
From here it was just a few minutes walk to the famous Cavern Club. If I’m honest we were only going here as we felt we had to, being in Liverpool. We were totally blown away – there’s a genuine atmosphere here and we really, really want to go to a proper gig here! We could have spent hours exploring. The entrance is not the original entrance (the club was closed for a building that never happened); the original entrance was situated behind Cilla Black’s statue (which wasn’t there back in the 1960s….!) I wish we had had time to read ALL of the graffiti which absolutely covered the walls – I’m not sure just how long we would have needed to achieve such a feat! The other thing that amazed us was how there were 2 acts playing in a relatively small space, but you couldn’t hear the other as you turned each corner.
Jumping back on the bus we made our way to the World Museum as we knew that the Terracotta Warriors were on show – of course the tickets had all sold out and the museum was very busy, so we aborted and jumped back on the bus to visit the Cathedral (the old one, not the Roman Catholic, Metropolitan). We waited a fair while for the bus, outside the Central Library (which is right next to the World Museum). I didn’t go in. I have since been reliably informed that I should have – apparently I really missed out here 😦
Our final stop before heading back to the campsite was the Liverpool Cathedral , a truly magnificent space – again totally unexpected.
The only downpoint to our visit occurred on our walk back to the train station from the cathedral. We both felt slightly threatened, becoming aware of someone walking close behind us – as we both clutched our bags closer to our fronts (my knapsack – no valuables inside, and Calv’s camera) Calv turned to eyeball the guy, who he said looked pretty intimidating (and who disappeared sharpish after being ‘spotted’).
We will almost definitely revisit Liverpool again (maybe even more than once). In my next post I will tell you about Port Sunlight which I finally visited the day after Liverpool (it’s been on my bucket list for some years!)