no alt text

Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: David Atkinson

Culture. Nightlife. Sport. Renaissance Liverpool has been reborn since its tenure as the European Capital of Culture in 2008 — and the cultural evolution continues apace.

Sited on the banks of the river Mersey, with a rich maritime heritage, it retains a friendly reputation and wide-ranging appeal — from hedonistic nightlife to heritage architecture (some 27 Grade I-listed buildings), plus an annual programme of lively sporting and cultural events.

Football aside, it’s best known as the birthplace of the world’s greatest-ever band – the Beatles. Many of their greatest worldwide hit songs were inspired by the city landmarks – and fans come from the world over to walk in the footsteps of the Fab Four.

Orientation

The city centre divides into a series of quarters — all of them accessible on foot. Only the outlaying Baltic Quarter makes for a long walk.

The Waterfront has the most obvious draw for visitors with a series of attractions and museums along the River Mersey. The Cavern Quarter, meanwhile, is small but bustling with Beatles fans and the Georgian Quarter is quieter with some international standard hotels and visits to the city’s twin cathedrals. Moorfields, finally, is business district with fewer attractions but some excellent places to stay and eat, plus fine examples of heritage architecture.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

British Music Experience

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

A colourful, interactive museum dedicated to the story of chart-toppers – from The Beatles to Freddie Mercury. Highlights include outfits worn by David Bowie, hand-written song lyrics from Adele and an interactive gallery where you can play instruments along to your favourite tracks.

Best for ages: 8+ | £16

Walker Art Gallery

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

The largest collection of art outside London, with works of European art from the 14th-20th centuries.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Website >
Overview >

Beatles history in Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

The Fab Four lads from Liverpool changed the world of pop music forever. Walk in their footsteps, visit the attractions that tell their unique story then catch a tribute live session.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >

Tate Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

The northern counterpart of the world-renowned Tate enterprise, showcasing an eclectic collection of British art.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Website >
Overview >

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

The front of Paul McCartney's childhood home, 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool
Experience

20 Forthlin Road

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

A visit to Forthlin Road, the McCartney’s family home from 1955 to 1964, highlights the stories from Paul’s teenage years and illustrates how his gentler character complemented John’s humour and spikiness to form the ultimate songwriting partnership. The guided tours also include a visit to Mendips, former childhood home of John Lennon.

Best for ages: 18+ | £29

Website >
Overview >
Mural of John lennon
Experience

Baltic Quarter Murals

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

The vibrant Baltic Quarter is home to a new urban art trail with a series of street-art murals and graffiti-art installations, featuring the work of local artists such as Paul Curtis. It’s a colourful introduction to the city’s in-vogue suburb.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
Young girl staring at display cabinet in the museum
Experience

International Slavery Museum

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

A sobering visit, this thought-provoking museum (part of the Maritime Museum, below) has contemporary artworks responding to the history of transatlantic slavery and its legacy. The modern slavery collection contains oral histories and objects to highlight forms of modern slavery.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free

Website >
Overview >
exterior of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Experience

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

Britain’s biggest Cathedral, the Gothic façade has come to dominate the cityscape since its foundation in 1904. Today the cathedral blends a programme of cultural events with worship and the stunning architecture of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The tower tour (paid) offers amazing city views.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Website >
Overview >

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

A Walk Through Time: History of Liverpool Walking Tour

A Walk Through Time: History of Liverpool Walking Tour

Liverpool

Come and join us on a Walk through Time. Discover and Learn the Full Real History of Liverpool through the ages with our History Walking Tou...

£16 | Rating 4.89 / 5 [368 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Beatles Early Years Tour of Liverpool by Private Taxi

Beatles Early Years Tour of Liverpool by Private Taxi

Liverpool

Begin your tour at the registry office where John married his first wife! Then, step back in time and see the place where Lennon was born. S...

£110 | Rating 4.9 / 5 [10 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
Half-Day Peaky Blinders Tour of Liverpool

Half-Day Peaky Blinders Tour of Liverpool

Liverpool

4- hour guided tour of Peaky Blinders TV locations from the award winning BBC show. See over 10 locations including the homes of Polly and A...

£35 | Rating 4.90 / 5 [325 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
History Guided Tour of Liverpool and the Beatles

History Guided Tour of Liverpool and the Beatles

Liverpool

This Beatles and History Tour will take you on a day you'll never forget! If you visit Liverpool, this is a must for you. We will start Out...

£26 | Rating 4.96 / 5 [85 ratings]

Website >

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Malmaison Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

Sexy rooms, cool cocktails and a waterfront location, handy for the Albert Dock, make this a great base for a weekend away. The cheeky, boudoir-chic vibe is one for couples seeking privacy.

Official star rating:

Hard Days Night Hotel

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

For a frisson of Beatlemania, get back to this Cavern Quarter hotel for a night surrounded with memorabilia from Liverpool’s swinging Sixties.

Official star rating:

Titanic Hotel Liverpool

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

Soak up the waves of seafaring-inspired history at this spacious warehouse hotel in the Stanley Dock area. The industrial chic vibe and sense of living-heritage surroundings compensate for taxi journeys to the city centre.

Official star rating:

Baltic Hotel

Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom (UK)

Urban chic and good vibes are always on the menu at this stylish, contemporary hotel in the city’s up-and-coming Baltic Quarter. One for the night owls and people seeking plenty of ‘vibes’.

Official star rating:

When to go

Liverpool is a year-round city. Clearly, it’s busier during school holidays with child-friendly activities staged at many of the galleries and museums. That makes early spring and autumn the optimum times to visit.

It’s busy when the city’s two Premiership teams are playing home games, and when headline acts are playing live events at the Echo Arena, so expect accommodation to come at a premium.

The excellent museums are ideal for rainy days, but the city really comes alive from spring, the perfect time for mooching around the street art of the Baltic Quarter or summer-evening strolls along the waterfront, marvelling at the architecture with drinks to follow.

Getting there and away

Most international arrivals to the Merseyside region are coming via Liverpool John Lennon Airport (transfer: 45 mins by bus), or the Cruise Terminal (conveniently, located right on the waterfront). UK visitors transit through the busy Lime Street mainline rail hub and a small network of underground stations loops around four stations across the city.liv

Getting around

Most of the main attractions are accessible on foot with the majority within the city centre and waterfront areas.

There are regular bus services, centred on the Liverpool ONE interchange, to attractions in the outlying areas, such as Woolton for the Beatles homes and Anfield for the stadium tour.

The Liverpool metro has four stations, including James St for the waterfront. Otherwise, pick up an Uber. Public parking is plentiful but only some hotels have private parking and city-centre traffic is busy.

Where to stay

Picking your district is key. The best is the architecturally interesting Georgian Quarter, which offers a classy counterpoint to the city-centre chain hotels. It’s quieter, away from the stag parties, and handy for performances at the Liverpool Everyman theatre and Liverpool Philharmonic concert hall. It’s also a short walk to attractions, such as the twin cathedrals.

The Moorfields business district is lesser-known but has some great hotels within easy walking distance of the waterfront area. Expect to pick up taxis to get you to dinner reservations and live events — unless you’re heading for the Albert Dock.

The Cavern Quarter is the hub for Beatles fans but expect hotel rates to target high-spending international guests. Avoid Lime Street. While it’s the main rail interchange, it’s not the best district to stay.

Where to eat or drink

Bold Street, behind Central Station, is the foodie hub with al-fresco dining, world-food options, and prices for all budgets. The Ropewalks area a few streets across is lively for late-night action but beware the weekend stag parties.

The Albert Dock has a host of independents, plus outdoor dining, buzzy early-evening bars and sunset views with your cocktails. The London Carriage Works, located near the Philharmonic, remains the centrepoint of Hope’s Street understated yet solidly upmarket restaurant scene.

Where to shop

The behemoth Liverpool ONE shopping centre has all the big-name brands. Alternatively, head to Bold Street for vintage clothes, art supplies and a radical bookshop from the growing band of Liverpool indies.

The Baltic Quarter is also a good hunting ground with the Red Brick Vintage market open daily. Finally, the Albert Dock has some interesting boutiques and galleries for local crafts — plus the Tate Liverpool store.

Health & Safety

Central Liverpool is generally safe and compact to explore on foot, although it’s wise to always take sensible precautions. There are generally plenty of people about after a performance at one of the theatres, for example, and train services run until after 11pm.

You may want to avoid the streets around Ropewalks and Bold Street, however, at kicking-out time when the stag and hen parties are at their well-oiled worst.

Our writer’s recommended itineraries for this destination