Attractions and Places to Visit in Liverpool
Think of Liverpool and you immediately think of The Beatles, Liverpool Football Club, and that unique Scouse accent. The heart of Merseyside lies on the east bank of the Mersey estuary, just three miles from the sea. At this point the Mersey is almost a mile wide, opening out inland into a basin three miles wide. This is one of the reasons Liverpool, with one of the largest harbors in the world not dependent on tides, remains a major port for transatlantic shipping.
The city has many handsome historic buildings, as well as numerous gardens and parks, museums and recreational facilities. Some of the main attractions are the Walker Art Gallery and the Philharmonic Hall, one of the best concert halls in Europe. It also has the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a designation that covers six locations in the center of Liverpool including Pier Head, Albert Dock and William Brown Street.
The origin of the city's name is traditionally connected with the mythological Liver Bird (pronounced "lyver"), a seagull-like bird seen in the city's coat of arms. The name Liverpool first appears in 1173 in a charter granted by Henry II. These days, Liverpool's an important trading metropolis, university town and financial center, as well as a key city for the Catholic and Anglican churches, both of which have bishops here.
Liverpool is famous as the birthplace of The Beatles. Various tours offer fans the opportunity to follow in their footsteps (Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields), including The Beatles Story in Albert Dock and the rebuilt Cavern Club, where they made their debut in 1961. Other Beatles related sights include the Cavern Walks (murals by Cynthia Lennon), The Beatles Shop, and 20 Forthlin Road, McCartney's former home and where the band wrote and rehearsed many of their early songs. The property is open to the public and features Beatles memorabilia and photos.
The superbly restored Albert Dock, the first in Britain to be built using only bricks and iron, is an impressive five-story high block surrounding the harbor basin where cotton, tobacco and sugar were once unloaded. The enormous Victorian buildings are built around an arcaded walkway, its cast Tuscan columns once serving as capstans for moored ships. The decoratively restored warehouses with their luxury apartments, designer boutiques, offices, restaurants, cafés and museums are a prime example of "gentrification", a phenomena which can also be witnessed in London, Manchester and Glasgow, whereby decaying inner cities are restored to provide recreational amenities.
Albert Dock is also home to a number of first-rate tourist attractions including The Beatles Story Museum with its memorabilia, photographs and films of the Fab Four; the International Slavery Museum located just yards from the dry docks where 18th century slave ships were repaired and fitted out; and the Border Force National Museum which tells the story of smuggling and contraband from the 1700s to the present day.
The Maritime Museum in Liverpool is home to fascinating exhibitions about emigrating peoples who left via the Mersey between 1830 and 1930 for North America as well as seafaring in Liverpool beginning with 13th century fishing. It is all illustrated with model ships, authentic workshops and historic vessels. Equally fascinating are the exhibits relating to the stories of the Titanic and Lusitania, two of the most famous - and tragic - ships in history. Each had strong links with Liverpool. Also worth visiting is the nearby U-boat Story, which depicts life aboard a submarine during wartime.
You'll find some of the best days out and places to see in the Liverpool city region. From museums and galleries to unique buildings, arts centres and tourist experiences, these attractions are must-sees on any trip to the region.
Liverpool has the largest collection of museums and galleries in the UK outside London. National Museums Liverpool's seven venues include the World Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Walker Art Gallery.
The famous Mersey Ferries cruises are unique to Liverpool and a great way to see the city. Stop off at Spaceport to explore all things intergalactic, or U-Boat Story for a fascinating insight into a World War II German submarine.
Fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club. You can do a stadium tour, visit the interactive Liverpool FC Museum and eat in the Boot Room Sports Café.
Albert Dock is one of the country’s top heritage attractions, boasting museums, galleries, restaurants and bars. At the Dock, the Beatles Story is a huge draw for Fab Four fans, and provides a fascinating insight to the life and times of the Beatles. And Tate Liverpool stages international exhibitions of the best in modern art.
The Magical Mystery Tour also leaves from Albert Dock, and is a two-hour journey around the places that made the Beatles, including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.
The National Trust runs tours to Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes, which are beautifully preserved. See where the Beatles composed many of their early songs.
Liverpool Cathedral is Britain’s largest, and is a truly great and spectacular space. Try and catch one of the many events, or take the Tower Tour nearly 100 metres above ground for amazing views of Liverpool city region.
The Bluecoat is a cutting-edge arts centre housed in a 300-year-old building, offering a programme of art, literature, music and dance. It’s also home to a wide range of artists and creative businesses.
Witness an engineering masterpiece first-hand with Mersey Tunnels Tours, a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the Queensway Tunnel, running deep beneath the River Mersey.
Liverpool has more parks than Paris, and the stunning Sefton Park Palmhouse is the jewel in the crown of one of Liverpool’s most loved green spaces.
And over in Wirral, Port Sunlight is a unique and beautiful 19th century garden village created solely for the Sunlight Soap factory workers. Step inside Port Sunlight Museum to experience what it was like to live and work during the village's heyday.
A truly wild day out awaits at Knowsley Safari Park, a 550-acre park offering a unique five-mile safari drive along roads lined with exotic animals from all over the globe.