A McVagabond’s Guide to Liverpool

Guide to Liverpool

It’s official, I can’t hide it any longer: Liverpool is one of my favorite cities. We’ve visited a ton of really great places over the last year, but not a single one has left me feeling the way that a weekend in this English city has. It’s a delightful combination of all of my favorite aspects from my favorite cities! The city has a really great vibe, and you can feel it from the moment you step out of the train station. It’s hard to describe, which means you have to get there in person.

We spent a weekend taking in as much of the city as we could, from a game in Everton to an afternoon stroll along the River Mersey and stopping in to a couple of museums. Check out what we did, and hopefully I can convince you to add Liverpool to your dream destination list!

Liverpool is the pool of life.

Let’s begin with a brief history of Liverpool.

Liverpool has a fascinating, and long, history. I won’t go into too much detail, but I do think knowing a bit of the city helps get a broader picture of the place. The first settlements on the Mersey may date back to the 1st century AD, but it wasn’t until the 1100-1200s when the fishing village started to grow. Known as ‘Liuerpul’, which means a pool or creek with muddy water, it was a small and rather unimportant village in England for hundreds of years.

It was in the 1800’s that Liverpool began to thrive as trade from the West Indies came to the UK. The very first wet dock in Britain was built in this city in 1715. By the start of the 19th century, 40% of the world’s trade was passing through the docks here. In 1846 Albert Dock was built, and cargoes from all over the world were landing here.

During WWII, there were eighty air-raids on Merseyside, which interrupted operations at the docks for about a week. During these raids 2,5000 people were killed and almost half the homes in the metro area sustained damage. 11,000 homes were totally destroyed. Rebuilding followed the war, but the city has been suffering since the 1950s with employers and families moving away from the city.

Liverpool from Albert Dock
Looking at Liverpool from Albert Dock.
Albert Dock - Liverpool
Albert Dock in the sunshine.
Albert Dock - Liverpool
Sunday was a grey morning, but Albert Dock was still pretty.

Getting there is easy.

We booked our weekend through Thomas Cook Sport. I usually try to book everything myself using multiple websites to ensure we get the best prices, but this time it didn’t make much sense. Thomas Cook offered a hotel and match day tickets together, so all Ryan had to do was point to the game he wanted and we booked it. It left me with plenty of time to figure out all of the fun things we could do before and after the match!

Big Wheel - Liverpool
Someone left a light on outside our hotel window.

The train from Edinburgh to Liverpool is straightforward. After getting on at Waverley Bridge, we had one transfer at Wigan North Western. We made it to Liverpool in a little under four hours. The train home was just as easy, with the same transfer. Wigan North Western is a small station, so it’s a breeze to get from one platform to another. Train travel in the United Kingdom is definitely the way to travel!

Gorgeous streets in Liverpool
A gorgeous street in Liverpool. I love the architecture.

Once you’re in Liverpool, it’s very easy to walk the entire city, although buses and Ubers are available. We chose to stay around downtown, Baltic Triangle and the waterfront area for this trip.

Enjoy green spaces and city views in Liverpool parks.

As soon as we dropped our bag off at our hotel, we went straight back out into the city. It was an absolute gorgeous day outside, sunny and breezy. We had a couple of hours to spare before the game, so we headed to Everton Park Nature Garden to walk around a bit. This little park is a gorgeous little green space with some great spaces for activities such as biking, playing ball and skateboarding. There are also some really great walking trails that we enjoyed.

But the best part is the view from the top of the park. Liverpool, you’re gorgeous!

Liverpool from Everton Park
What a view of Liverpool from Everton Park!

We ate our lunch in another wonderful park, Stanley Park. We didn’t have much time to explore this 111 acre park, but it separates the Everton and Liverpool football clubs, making it popular on match days.

Go hoarse shouting for your favorite football team.

You might be a sports fan, but going to an English Premier League game is an awesome experience!

Everton FC in Liverpool
Everton FC.
Everton - Let's go Blues!
An Everton banner lining the road to the stadium.
Goodison Park - Home of the Blues !!
Let’s go Blues!

There are so many different English Premier League football teams to choose from, but ultimately Ryan decided on going to see an Everton FC game. Since it meant a trip to Liverpool, it was fine by me! It was the first game of the season for the Blues, and the stadium was packed. The stadium was older, with wooden chairs. It was quite different from the brand-spanking new stadiums I’ve been in for sporting events in the US.

We Are Chosen - Everton Blues
I found this outside the stadium.
Everton FC - Liverpool
The Blues are getting ready to play Tottenham!

But ultimately I had such a good time, and I’m not even that into English soccer (don’t get me started on women’s soccer though, as I could talk your ears off). The atmosphere was incredible; even though we weren’t die-hard fans at the beginning, we left feeling like we were part of the team. We were surrounded by fans of all ages, all cheering their team, booing the ref when he made stupid mistakes and discussing the match in great detail between halves. I feel like I learned so much, and by the end of the game I was yelling “Let’s go Blues!” right along with other fans in the stadium.

Check out Liverpool’s delicious food scene.

We packed our lunch on the first day, if only to try to save ourselves a few pennies on food stuff. With our lunch packed and breakfast included with our hotel stay, we were able to stay within our budget and have some money left over for a few treasures to take home.

But that doesn’t mean we didn’t eat some fantastic food! Dinner on Saturday was at The Baltic Social.  For dinner we ordered a Cajun chicken sandwich and with the fry mix and macaroni and cheese with pulled pork and shared  (which I’m glad for, as the mac and cheese was so good). We had some delicious local beers (that I’m unfortunately blanking on the name of right now). But even if the food wasn’t good, the atmosphere of the place was really great. And we were treated to a jam night, which is always fun to watch.

We also partook in afternoon tea at Teddy’s Cafe and Wine Bar. We both had Americanos with cream and jam scones for only £8. What a deal! The coffee was strong and the scones were deliciously messy to eat. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a coffee break; skip the Costa and Cafe Nero, head to Teddy’s instead!

Coffee and Scones at Teddy's Cafe and Wine Bar - Liverpool
Delicious Americanos and cream and jam scones at Teddy’s!
Cream Scone from Teddy's Cafe and Wine Bar - Liverpool
Sadly these were the only food photos I took this weekend. I’m so bad with taking photos before I start to eat!

The Baltic Social | Open 9am – 11pm |  27 Parliament St, Liverpool L8 5RN
Teddy’s Cafe and Wine Bar | Hours vary | Edward Pavilion, Liverpool L3 4AF

Embrace Beatlemania all over the city.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at the Albert Dock, which was quite convenient, but also a real treat. Why? Because our window was right above the entrance to The Beatles Story! We got ready on Sunday morning to the sounds of various Beatles songs. This museum covers the story of the Fab 4, from formation to break up and everything between.

The Beatles Story - Liverpool

For the price of the ticket, you get a great audio tour that you can listen to along your walk. Make sure you stop and take time to read all of the interesting information along the walls though, as some of it isn’t included on the audio tour. You can see original posters, artifacts from the guys and hand written notes, among other really pieces. I’ve always loved the Beatles and their music, but I left the museum with a brand new appreciation for them. We’ve been listening to their discography all week!

The Beatles Story - Liverpool
A replica of the Beatles stage in the Cavern Club.
The Beatles Story - Liverpool
Part of the American Beatlemania section.

But it’s not just here that you can go crazy for the Beatles. There are other locations such as the Cavern Club, Strawberry Field and Penny Lane that you can visit around the city. You can also go and find statues dedicated to the Beatles all around Liverpool, which I’ll go into a bit further down.

The Beatles Story | Tickets £14.95 for adults  | Britannia Vaults, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AD

Take in a few exhibits at world-class museums.

The Beatles Story isn’t the only incredible museum to go and check out. In fact there are far too many to see in one weekend! Liverpool has such a rich and impressive collection of museums, including the Museum of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, International Slavery Museum and Tate Liverpool. And those are just some of the museums located in the Albert Dock area.

The Titanic exhibit - Liverpool
The Titanic Exhibit entrance in Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Merseyside Maritime Museum - Liverpool
Looking back at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

After sleeping in and taking plenty of time at the Beatles Story, we only had time to explore one museum. We weren’t looking to rush through exhibits and get to as many museums as possible and instead chose to go the route thoroughly enjoying a few exhibits at one museum. We chose the Merseyside Maritime Museum because I’m fascinated by shipwrecks and Ryan thinks this fascination is hilarious. I am terrified by the ocean, but I’m obsessed with sea creatures and things that lurk at the bottom of the sea. The Titanic and Lusitania both have excellent exhibits in this museum and are worth checking out!

Merseyside Martime Museum | FREE | Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 4AQ

Walk along Liverpool’s waterfront.

After we were through with the museums, we walked along the Albert Dock and waterfront area. Being situated on the River Mersey, the waterfront area is quite impressive. There are some really gorgeous buildings to admire along the waterfront, such as the Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, known as the Three Graces.

Cunard Building - Liverpool
The Liver Building standing next to the Cunard Building along Liverpool’s waterfront.

 

The Liver Building - Liverpool
The back of the Liver Building.

This area is part of a UNESCO designated World Heritage site known as Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City.

Find some quirky and fun street art.

I already mentioned the Beatles street art and statutes that you can find all around the city. It makes for a really fun scavenger hunt.

The Fab 4 - Beatles - Liverpool
The fab four.
Hey John - Liverpool
A statue of John Lennon standing outside the Cavern Pub.
Eleanor Rigby - Liverpool
Eleanor Rigby, sitting on a bench. We stumbled upon her by happy accident.
Beatles street art - Liverpool
Cool Beatles-inspired window art.

But another cool and quirky art to be on the lookout for? Lambananas! The superlambanana is a bright yellow sculpture that’s a cross between a lamb and a banana. Weighing in at almost eight tons and standing 17 feet tall, this statue is both a commentary on the dangers of genetic modification as well Liverpool history. Both sheep and bananas were common cargo in the ships that docked in Liverpool.

SUPERLAMBANANA - Liverpool!
The Superlambanana in Liverpool. I just love these!

SUPERLAMBANANA - Liverpool!

In 2008, 125 miniature replicas of the Superlambananas were created in celebration of Liverpool being named European Capital of Culture. Unfortunately for me, I only caught a picture of the original Superlambanana, as my phone died after taking so many photos along the waterfront. However I urge you to go check out more photos of these super cute creatures here.

We packed in as much as we could in our short 48 hours in Liverpool. It was hard to say goodbye on Sunday. We didn’t even have much of a chance to explore away from downtown! I am already mentally planning a longer trip back to Liverpool, where we leave downtown and explore the different areas of the city.

Do you have any favorite spots in Liverpool? Or a city that you just fell in love with upon first meeting that you can’t get enough of? I’d love to hear about the places you love and why you love them!

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Suz

You should also check out:

5 Comments

  1. Oh lovely scones – I miss these. And I had to smile at the photo with the Beatles yellow submarine pic. It was one of my favourite songs as a child – very bright and happy song. I like the way you have included history of the city.

  2. Liverpool seems like an awesome place to visit!! Please send me some Teddy’s. ☕🍪

    So how many futbol souvenirs does Ryan have now?

    Love your travel deets from booking to transportion. Great reference for anyone looking to travel there!

    Xx (hehe)

    Kristine

    1. I don’t know if I can send you any Teddy’s… I might eat it all on the way to the post office.

      Officially, Ryan has a t-shirt, a hat, a scarf, the tickets from the game, photographs, and other odds and ends. He officially has more souvenirs than I do!

      I’m trying to help out a bit more, create a friendly guide here and there… Although I love nothing more than to ramble for 1500 words and profess my love for places in a million different ways 🙂

      XXX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *