Mini guide to Liverpool, England
The Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Royal Liver Building, seen from the Leeds Liverpool Canal. (Ian Moran/Getty)
Liverpool is a city that is renowned for making a big noise. And there is plenty for visitors to shout about too – not least for some superb museums, post-industrial regeneration of its docklands and legendary nightlife.
Completed in 1978, Liverpool Cathedral is a place of superlatives – it is Britain’s biggest church and the biggest Anglican cathedral in the world. It also has what’s probably the world’s largest operational organ, and the third-largest bell in the world (St James’ Mount; admission £5).
Tate Liverpool is regarded as the home of modern art in the north of England. The gallery features a substantial checklist of 20thcentury artists, as well as touring exhibitions from London’s Tate Modern (Albert Dock; admission free).
The Beatles Story museum doesn’t delve too deeply into the darker times of the Fab Four. However, there is plenty of memorabilia, including George Harrison’s first – and very flimsy – guitar, worth half a million pounds (Albert Dock; admission £16).
Liverpool War Museum occupies the site of a secret WWII command centre – a building designed to be gas- and bomb-proof. Virtually everything was left intact at the end of the war, including the map room (1 Rumford St; admission £6).
Though Evertonians will disagree, arguably no institution represents the Mersey spirit more than Liverpool FC. The club offers tours of its stadium and a museum showcasing silverware and memorabilia (Anfield Rd; museum and tours £15).
Eat and drink
One of the city’s most popular venues with the student population, Hannah’s Bar is a Liverpool institution. There’s a distinct New York lounge bar vibe at work here, and a wealth of live music, DJ and open-mic nights on weekly (2 Leece St; beers from £2.50).
The Italian Club is a family-run, southern Italian restaurant serving exemplary pizzas and pastas in a rustic, wood-panelled dining room. There are also salads and paninis to take away (85 Bold St; take-away paninis from £5).
Conceived by the shipwrights who designed the ocean liner Lusitania, Philharmonic is one of the most beautiful bars in all of England. The interior is a symphony of etched and stained glass, wrought iron, mosaics and ceramic tiling. The marble men’s toilets are the only listed lavatories in the UK (36 Hope St; lunch mains from £5).
Liverpool’s first Argentinian restaurant, Meet Argentinian is a temple to grilled beef cuts the size of a frisbee. Traditional Argentinian stews and sausages also make an appearance (50 Brunswick St; steaks from £10).
London Carriage Works counts among Liverpool’s foremost gastronomic destinations, mixing global and British influences in a smart dining room. Dishes come with beer and wine recommendations (40 Hope St; mains from £11).
A short walk from the city centre, The Feathers Hotel offers a range of agreeable if somewhat innocuous rooms decorated in floral motifs. The breakfast buffet comes highly recommended (115–125 Mt Pleasant; rooms from £70).
A family owned hotel in a grade II-listed Georgian building, the Aachen Hotel is an unpretentious place close to the city centre. Comfortable rooms go heavy on lively colour schemes (89–91 Mt Pleasant; from £70).
A grand Victorian building with an imposing neoclassical façade, 62 Castle Street has 20 smart, individually designed suites with split-level floors and leather couches, all dressed up in a crimson colour scheme. There’s a suitably grand on-site restaurant and bar (62 Castle St; from £75).
You don’t have to be a Beatles fan to stay at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, but it certainly helps. Its 110 rooms are decorated with commissioned drawings of the Fab Four – opt for the John Lennon Suite and you’ll get a white baby grand piano, in the style of Imagine. The Paul McCartney Suite is similarly plush (North John St; from £95).
Set in the city’s most attractive street, the Hope Street Hotel is Liverpool’s pre-eminent luxury hotel address. Its guestrooms have giant beds, oak floors, bare-brick walls and views out to the skyline, while superior breakfasts are served at The London Carriage Works restaurant on the premises (40 Hope St; from £140).
When to go
Liverpool Sound City is a three-day celebration of up-and-coming bands and DJs held at various venues from 17–19 May, while free rock music event the Mathew Street Music Festival takes place on 26–27 August. September’s Liverpool Biennial is a major show of contemporary art.
Public transport in Liverpool is coordinated by Merseytravel. Its Saveaway ticket allows for one day’s off peak travel on all buses, trains and ferries throughout the city and Greater Merseyside (Saveway tickets £4.70).
How to go
Trains run to Liverpool Lime Street from Manchester Piccadilly (from £10), Birmingham New Street (from £20) and London Euston (from £40). Direct services also run from Nottingham (from £25).