Sights in Liverpool reflect its varied history, with most being within walking distance (but with good public transport options, too). The Walker Art Gallery is close to the pleasant Lime Street station, while the World Museum currently has an exhibition on China’s amazing Terracotta Warriors.
Continue through the largely-outdoor Liverpool One Shopping Centre to the iconic waterfront. Albert Dock boasts a branch of the Tate Gallery, quirky shops, small restaurants and cafes. Trace the lives and careers of the city’s most famous twentieth-century export at the first part of The Beatles Story (continued at the Pierhead), or find out more about the docks and life at sea in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Liverpool’s importance as a trading port assured its prosperity, but this was built on the slave trade. Liverpudlians have attempted to address this at the comprehensive and moving International Slavery Museum, which stands near the stunning building that houses the Museum of Liverpool.
The Pier Head
Walk a little further along the riverside to the Pier Head to catch a Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey, as another Merseybeat band once sang, or take a cruise down the Manchester Ship Canal. Book a trip on the Razzle Ferry, designed by artist Sir Peter Blake, creator of the Sergeant Pepper album cover, and modelled on patterns painted on vessels to dazzle and confuse the enemy during World War One.
While you’re waiting, visit the second part of the interactive Beatles Story, pose by the life-like statues of the Fab Four, or watch for huge liners docking at the Cruise Terminal. The Liver Birds, symbol of the city, dominate the skyline here, sitting on top of the buildings known as the Three Graces.
Leave the waterfront to follow the Mersey Sound to the Cavern Quarter, and sip a pint while you listen to local musicians in the present site of the famous Cavern Club in Mathew Street. Pop into The Grapes pub where the Fab Four came after gigs at the then-unlicensed Cavern, or hop on a Magical Mystery Tour bus to get a sense of their early history. Liverpool’s musical heritage is still alive and thriving in pubs, clubs and music venues, including the larger Echo Arena, while several theatres complete the diverse night life.
Cover the whole of Hope Street to find both the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals, the latter with a crypt designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Depending on when you visit this friendly and open city, you might experience festivals, a Tall Ships Regatta, a Guy Fawkes firework display over the Mersey, Liverpool Biennial, or the Chinese New Year – Chinatown here was Europe’s first. But with the wonderful light, you’ll always be guaranteed memorable sunsets over the waterfront.