How to get to Liverpool
Liverpool is a relatively small town (has around 550.000 inhabitants), which can be safely visited in two or three days, either as part of a larger tour of England or by deciding to dedicate them a long weekend.
In the latter case, the city is easily accessible via Ryanair's low-cost flights to Manchester. From Manchester it is also possible to take the regular train (approx. £ 15.00 each way, travel time approx. 1h and 30min - https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/) until Liverpool Lime Street, the station in the heart of Liverpool city center. There is also the bus option (approx. £ 10.00 each way, travel time approx. 1h - https://www.nationalexpress.com/en) with terminal always in the city center area, near the Albert Dock.
As for my personal experience, to reach the city of Liverpool I feel of recommend the train: although more expensive than buses, it is more reliable and usually more on time.
Liverpool can also be reached by plane as there is Liverpool John Lennon Airport (and who else could it be dedicated to?), Located south of the city. However, it does not offer direct connections to spain.
Anyway, if you are arriving by plane I recommend using this transfer between airport and city .
If you are a Beatles fan and you still happen to go through the airport, I would like to point out the statue of John Lennon at the main terminal, but also a huge "yellow submarine" outside the building, positioned on a median near the parking lot of taxis, as well as a series of memorabilia always displayed between one check-in desk and another.
Getting around in Liverpool
As already mentioned, visiting Liverpool doesn't take too many days. In particular, the city center is not very large and can be easily explored on foot, taking care to book a hotel in the center, perhaps not far from Lime station Street o along the right bank of the Mersey, near the Albert Dock.
Some of the sites of greatest interest to i Beatles fans instead they are located outside the city center, but to visit them in complete tranquility it is worth participating in one of the many beatles themed guided tours, which I will tell you more about later in the article.
Where to sleep in Liverpool
As I wrote to you in the previous paragraph: to see hotels in the Lime Street station area or HERE for the right bank of the Mersey . Alternatively you can consider the whole city of Liverpool and check out all the hotels available HERE .
Tour to discover the city
The city of Liverpool is obviously very linked to the history of the Beatles. The tours to discover the English town all emphasize this relationship between their music and Liverpool itself. I recommend both a free tour which you find HERE , or HERE for a group tour for a fee in English, much more immersive.
Alternatively you can buy the Liverpool-Pass which includes many experiences that you will find described in the next paragraphs.
What to see in Liverpool: the main attractions
The area richest in attractions of the city is certainly the one overlooking the right bank of the River Mersey, a river in the west of England on whose wide estuary Liverpool rises. It is no coincidence that Liverpool's "riverfront" is UNESCO heritage from 2004.
Starting from the north and covering the whole wide promenade, mostly pedestrian, which runs along the river, you will find the following points of interest in order.
One can only start visiting Liverpool from this beautiful one bronze statue of the Fab Four, inaugurated in 2015, which portrays the Beatles as well as in a famous photograph from 1963, taken in Liverpool and also used as the cover of the recent album “The Beatles - On Air - Live at the BBC - Volume 2”.
Royal Liver Building
In the background you can see one of the most famous buildings in Liverpool, whose image was also often used by the Beatles themselves to evoke their hometown. It is a skyscraper from the early 900s, characterized by two clock towers, each of which is dominated by a "liver bird", symbol of the city of Liverpool
Mersey Ferries and "The Beatles Hidden Gallery"
Since Mersey Ferries terminal ferries leave for navigation on the River Mersey, from which you can admire the main attractions of the city from another point of view. There are several tours to discover Liverpool from the river:
- CLICK HERE for a cruise which can also be combined with a ride on a Hop on Off bus (for booking, purchase of tickets
- Or choose this 2-hour tour on the river.
If you are a Beatles fan, I recommend a trip to this ferry terminal. On the first floor, in fact, it is exposed a collection of photographs of the Fab Four, known as “The Beatles Hidden Gallery”, dating back to the years 1963-64. The ticket for access to this exhibition is the same that also allows entry to the museum “The Beatles Story”. It is advisable buy tickets in advance HERE with audio guide in Spanish . For more information and for openings: https://www.beatlesstory.com/.
Museum of Liverpool
Continuing south on the itinerary among the things to see in Liverpool, we certainly find the Liverpool Museum, dedicated to the history of the city. Inaugurated in 2011, both the building that houses it and the layout are extremely modern. Within this free museum and open every day (https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/) the entire history of the capital of Merseyside is retraced. Here there really is something for everyone: adults and children can learn everything there is to know about the city, from industry to sport, to music, of course.
Furthermore, the museum is very useful as a refuge during the (typical) British rainy days…!
Superlambanana: 124 sculptures in Liverpool
The installations outside the museum are also fun and interesting: they are some examples of "Superlambanana"! These sculptures were produced in 124 copies in 2008 on the occasion of the city's nomination as “European Capital of Culture” and represent the union of a lamb and a banana, alluding at the same time to the risks associated with the abuse of genetic engineering and Liverpool's commercial export history.
These nice statues, scattered throughout the city, as well as the giant original version from 1998, Located in Tithebarn Street, have now become another recognizable symbol of the city and allow you to take fun souvenir photos! You will find various reproductions of them in all souvenir shops.
Albert Dock and other Liverpool museums
The Albert Dock is probably one of the most striking and fascinating places of interest of the whole "waterfront" of Liverpool: its buildings, made entirely of red brick and cast iron, form a kind of court which contains in its center the waters of the Mersey. Where once there were warehouses, now there are bars, restaurants, shops, museums and life here appears hectic and lively. Spending some time there is really enjoyable and definitely worth it.
Some of the most important are located at the Albert Dock Liverpool museums, Including:
- Merseyside Maritime Museum, dedicated to the maritime history of the city, with an interesting section on the Titanic. Free admission, for more information: https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/
- Tate Liverpool, modern and contemporary art gallery, local home of the UK Tate complex. Free entry, https://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool)
- The Beatles Story Museum, this museum, with paid admission and for which the advance purchase of the ticket is recommended (CLICK HERE to buy it ), traces the history of the four of Liverpool, reproducing their settings, exhibiting memorabilia and proposing films and audio contributions. The museum certainly does not enrich the more experienced fans, but it is pleasant overall and provides the less informed with a good smattering of the musical and non-musical adventures of the Fab Four. Very well stocked (and expensive) is the Beatles themed shop located at the exit of the exhibition.
What to see in Liverpool: other points of interest
With the Albert Dock we have come to the end of the Liverpool Waterfront, also marked by the presence of a large Ferris wheel and the M&S Bank Arena, but we certainly haven't exhausted everything Liverpool has to offer its visitors.
Here are the other places of interest to visit in Liverpool.
Leaving the River Mersey behind and moving from Albert Dock into the city, you come across this great shopping area of the city, with all its shops, bars and restaurants.
About 20 minutes' walk from Albert Dock, in the city center is this museum of natural history, science and culture, with free admission.
Walker Art Gallery
Also in the area it is possible to visit this picture gallery with one of the largest collections of paintings in Great Britain.
Liverpool Central Library
Next to the World Museum, it is certainly worth a visit to admire the building, a perfect combination of ancient and modern, and to enjoy a little relaxation, taking advantage of the areas used for free reading.
A little far from the center, about 25 minutes walk from Albert Dock in a south-easterly direction, there is the Liverpool Cathedral, the largest church in the UK. Paul McCartney never fails to remember that as a child he was not admitted into the choir of this cathedral because he was deemed unsuitable…!
A game or tour at Anfield Road
For all football fans, the Anfield Road city stadium may be of interest, allowing you to watch a great sporting show, with the Liverpool team on the pitch and its fans in the stands singing the inevitable "You ' ll never walk alone ". If you want you can purchase the Anfield Road tour , one of the most important stadiums in English football.
The Beatles: Visit Liverpool via the Fab Four
Finally, if it is true that there is no Liverpool without the Beatles and there is no Beatles without Liverpool, one cannot help but participate at least to the two main guided tours theme offered by this magnificent city: the Magical Mystery Tour and the Beatles' Childhood Homes Tour.
Magical Mystery Tour
The Magical Mystery Tour departs directly from the Albert Dock, just outside The Beatles Story shop. It is inspired by the Beatles film of the same name and takes its participants to visit all the main Beatlesian sites of interest in the city of Liverpool. Among these places we find the mythical sites of Penny Lane and Strawberry Field, some of the places frequented by the four during their childhood, adolescence and youth.
The tour ends near the inevitable Cavern Club, the venue where the Beatles gave their first concerts, where the one who would become their manager (Brian Epstein) heard them play for the first time and where they performed 292 times!
Little curiosity: the club that can be visited today is actually a reconstruction of the original one. This was in fact destroyed following excavation works for the railway lines and subsequently rebuilt, albeit with a slightly different location than before. Anyway, going down the stairs leading to this "underground cavern" is for fans of the Beatles, and of beat music in general, very exciting and an experience that cannot be avoided if you decide to visit Liverpool!
The club is still active and is a great place to have a pint while listening to one of the many bands that perform here every day. You can book the tour through Cavern Club website, it costs around £ 20. When it comes to boarding the bus, you can't go wrong: you will feel like you are going with the Beatles on their Magical Mystery Tour!
Beatles' Childhood Homes Tour
The Beatles' Childhood Homes Tour, unlike the Magical Mystery Tour, is in my opinion more suitable to the most true and passionate Beatles' fans (like me, if at this point it was not yet clear to you…).
Organized by the National Trust (a sort of English FAI), it gives access to the famous childhood homes of John Lennon (the legendary Mendips) and Paul McCartney (at 20 Forthlin Road). These houses are particularly significant in the history of the Beatles. This is where the songwriting duo started their successful production, composing songs like “She loves you” or “When I'm 64”.
The interiors of these houses will also be known to the most loyal fans as they are portrayed in numerous photographs of the young musicians or reproduced in films dedicated to them. The National Trust staff, very knowledgeable and passionate, will not fail to tell you many interesting anecdotes and if you love the Beatles you will surely love this tour too. I took part in it three times, what an exaggeration…!
You can book the tour directly from National Trust site at this link. The tour costs around £ 30 and always departs from the banks of the Mersey. The meeting point is the Jurys Inn lobby, just south of the Albert Dock and close to the M&S Bank Arena.
Caution: both tours are led by English speaking guides; if you don't really chew the language, you can still ask for information material and explanatory brochures in Spanish.
Tips to visit the city at its best
At this point I want to give you some general advice to visit Liverpool in the best possible way.
The English weather
As everyone knows, the stereotype of the Englishman with an umbrella under his arm is particularly well founded. Although temperatures in Liverpool are never too cold, thanks to the presence of the sea and its beneficial influence, it is not uncommon to run into gloomy days with pouring rain. It is no coincidence that Ringo Starr, speaking of America during one of their first tours in the “New World”, joked saying things like “I like it there, they even have the sun!”.
In reality, the sun, of course, is often also in Liverpool and if you are lucky enough to have nice days, you will be definitely captured by its beauty and its charm of a seaside city. In any case and just in case, remember to bring a k-way with you o a nice rain poncho!
Contrary to what happens in international London (where today it is easier to meet Spaniards than English!) And despite the now considerable influx of tourists, Liverpool is a city that still retains its typically English imprint. Its inhabitants are very friendly and nice and if you happen to be here on a Friday night do not miss the spectacle of the pubs, crowded with people of all sexes and ages, all mostly tipsy and eager to have fun together after the hard work of the working week. . Even the Sunday family lunch at the pub is an event not to be missed.
Useful notes and various curiosities
And now I end with some background information, but certainly useful.
- Restaurants and pubs generally close their kitchens early. If you plan to eat around 21 pm, you risk having to go to bed without dinner.
- Fast food, on the other hand, is always a certainty more or less at all times, in case of need.
- Liverpool slang and accent can be quite incomprehensible at first - have fun testing your English with the locals!
- By joining the National Trust tour, you might win the lottery and even meet Paul McCartney himself! If you love Paul and know English, I suggest you watch the Carpool Karaoke episode he recently took part in ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvzCTqkBDQ ): Paul is transformed for the occasion into an exceptional guide of the city and leads us to all the places dear to the Beatles, without of course leaving out his home on Forthlin Road!
In conclusion, Liverpool is a city that knows how to conquer with its liveliness, its offer of free museums and its own beat-rock & roll charm. Personally, I can only share what Paul McCartney said about his hometown: "You can take a boy out of Liverpool, but you can't take Liverpool out of a boy".