It‘s no doubt the British city with the most heart – something embodied by the mythical song its football supporters blare out every match day, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Liverpool, a former working-class city which has weathered economic crisis after crisis to become a thriving cultural hub, is now one of the UK’s best tourist destinations. Let’s explore a bit.
First things first, you should wander the docklands. The Royal Albert Dock is the city’s historic heart, a place that has remained pretty much unchanged throughout Liverpool’s many transformations. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the city’s harbourside regained its glamour, having been subject to relentless bombing during World War II. Today the area buzzes with museums, hotels and boutiques of all stripes – ideal for an early-morning stroll.
No less symbolic of the city is its grandiose cathedral – the largest in the UK. Head inside this gothic structure and you may be able to catch a performance from a local organist. And you should definitely make the 101-metre climb up the top to take in the epic views over the city. Less than 15 minutes away, meanwhile, you’ll find Saint George’s Hall, whose neoclassical architecture will blow you away (it looks somewhat like an ancient Greek temple). Having reopened its doors in 2007, the majestic building is now a concert hall with a truly excellent programme.
When it comes to culture, there are two more places you absolutely have to visit. First, there’s fine-arts museum Walker Art Gallery, which has one of the UK’s biggest collections outside of London. Here you can discover the very best of British painting, from Reynolds to Hockney via Turner, Constable and Burne-Jones. Best of all, it’s all totally free to visit. Another institution, meanwhile, is the Tate Liverpool, a local outpost of the eponymous museum in London whose blockbuster temporary exhibitions are definitely worth travelling for.
You couldn’t visit this city without paying homage to the Beatles, forever associated with their hometown. The easiest way to do that? Having a look around The Beatles Story museum. The music that soundtracks the experience is evidently a highlight, but it also gives an excellent overview of the history of the group, right down to the minutest detail, with the help of innumerable priceless objects.
Fancy a walk? Head to Sefton Park: a green haven whose 235 hectares brim with caves, waterfalls and a sprawling botanical garden. And the beach isn’t far either: you can quite easily hop on a train to the beautiful likes of Formby and Crosby Beach. At the latter you’ll find a rather spectacular installation by the artist Antony Gormley.
As you wander around Liverpool itself, you’ll no doubt notice there’s a plethora of options for that classic British pastime, the afternoon tea. Here are two recommendations with two very different vibes. Try Oh Me Oh My for an uber-posh experience that would delight even Victoria Beckham. For something a little edgier, head over to Baltic Social, which brands itself as a ‘punk afternoon tea spot’ – and is genuinely quite a cool hangout.
A little later on, you might fancy a glass of natural wine, and the best place for that is Bunch Wine Bar, with its hundreds of brilliant bottles (paired with lush British cheese). More into your whisky? We’d suggest heading to Puffin Rooms, which has a huge selection of rare, refined malts.
And as for food? You’re spoiled for choice. At Röski, run by former MasterChef winner Anton Piotrowski, you’ll brilliant fusion food combining new and surprising flavours; The Art School Restaurant puts a classy spin on British classics; Maray specialise in colourful vegetarian food and small plates to share; or Down The Hatch, a vegan restaurant that would turn even the staunchest of carnivores.