Liverpool is a compelling, fascinating city with a compact central area that provides good transport links to the rest of the region. If you are fanatical about sports or fancy a sporting chance at the races, if you want some culture or prefer to go clubbing, explore some heritage sites or experience some musical delights, this is the place to be! A visually spectacular city that guarantees visitors a warm and friendly welcome.
Aigburth The artsy student quarter otherwise known as Lark Lane is a very trendy and bohemian area with fabulous bars and restaurants. Enjoy a slap up Sunday breakfast at Keith's Wine bar, and walk it off in nearby
Aintree Famous for top quality horse racing and of course the Grand National. A new attraction at Aintree is the
Allerton Mainly a residential area, this pleasant leafy suburb has, in recent years, become a very popular eating quarter. The main stretch of Allerton Road has a fine selection of shops and is a good alternative to visiting the city center. Entertainment is plentiful, a cinema, lively bars and excellent restaurants are all situated in the area. The district attracts tourists who come to visit the infamous Penny Lane and
Anfield Strictly one for
Childwall A quiet neighborhood, well worth a visit due to the friendly pubs and exceptional food that can be found in
Chinatown On the outskirts of the city center sits a spectacular gateway to Europe's oldest
City Center Great for a shopping expedition, lots of variety but compact enough to see what's on offer in one day. The main pedestrian area and two indoor shopping centers—
An abundance of fine architecture and culture are visible throughout the city center. The grandeur of
Edge Hill Not much to see on the surface, but underneath lies a totally different story. Around 1820 Joseph Williamson—the mole of Edge Hill—built a kingdom of underground tunnels and caverns. The tunnels are believed to include complete houses and an 80ft long banqueting suite. Robert Stephenson, the great railway engineer came across the incredible sight while extending Lime Street station.
Speke This is a busy commercial area of the city and home to Liverpool Airport. Just seven miles from the city center, this is the U.K.'s fastest growing regional airport and offers excellent facilities. Not far away is the New Mersey Retail Park that contains a wide range of superstores and high street shops such as Next, Boots and PC World. Also in the area is one of England's great historic houses,
Toxteth Once inhabited by wealthy shipping merchants, it lapsed into a rather run down neighborhood in later years. Today, regeneration projects are making vast improvements to this multi-cultural district and the true magnificence of the buildings is visible once again. Europe's best example of Moorish revival architecture can be seen at the
Walton This is the home of Everton Football Club, which can be found at Goodison Park. Sign up for a
Woolton This quaint village has retained its original style and is awash with listed buildings. It houses a small but busy shopping area and has a good selection of pubs and restaurants. The fabulous
A wise old sage once said that you could tell a lot about a city by its churches and its pubs, and Liverpool is a great example of this theory. The late 20th century saw a great influx of designer bars appearing at the speed of light, this was undoubtedly the biggest area of development in the city.
One of the first of these was the Baa Bar, located as the jewel in the crown of the Liverpool Palace on trendy Slater Street. Its streamlined architecture and late licence helped it gain cult status among students and music lovers, who would queue patiently to gain entry to this exclusive drinking den. Mello Mello, also on Slater Street, was the second bar to gain kudos with the Liverpool in-crowd, as a well-known watering hole for footballers, celebrities and fashion-conscious clubbers on their way to Cream. Next to open was the Modo and Roccomodo complex, situated in Concert Square. The first major development dedicated to luxury entertainment, Modo combines dining and drinking with fabulous design and a laid back atmosphere. Check out Modo Bar and Grill for unusual, quality bar food.
For those seeking a more traditional approach to drinking, Peter Kavanagh's, The Albert, Ye Cracke, The Pilgrim and The Philharmonic Pub are well worth seeking out, while lovers of the Irish vibe should check out Pogue Mahone in the city centre and Flannagan's Apple in the Cavern Quarter. For those who prefer a Beatle theme to their evening, the Cavern Quarter is the best place to begin. Also worth visiting are the Cavern Pub and The Lennon Bar.
Eating out in Liverpool never took precedence over drinking until recently, with takeaways and curry houses the main fodder for that post-booze bellyache. Nowadays, the choices have improved ten-fold, with a wide variety of restaurants and café bars available to suit all tastes and pockets. The St Petersburg Dining Club, situated slightly out of the town centre and hidden behind a shabby exterior, is the only fully authentic Russian restaurant in the country and offers a wonderful dining and drinking experience.
In the Lark Lane area, L'Alouette offers fantastic French dining, while Que Pasa Cantina serves South American style meals. The two Greek restaurants include the Akis Greek Taverna, which provides a great party atmosphere, and Romios for a more intimate affair.
The central area has the highest concentration of dining opportunities. A Passage To India on Bold Street has to be one of the best, with Musapir also on the same street offering a vegan version of Indian cuisine. Hardman Street is home to Valparaiso, which offers South American cuisine, Antoni's Cypriot Restaurant and The Italian Bistro. A short walk away, Berry Street—leading into Chinatown—houses Bijou and Ziba.
The fabulously restored Albert Dock on the city's waterfront is a perfect choice for a night out. There is the superb Est Est Est Italian restaurant and in the same building, the more informal What's Cooking. A few minutes walk along the quayside brings you to the much-admired and ever so trendy Blue Bar and Grill, the food is heavenly but be prepared to wait as the service can be erratic at times. A couple of doors away is Mr M's Waterside Restaurant, which is essential dining for all seafood lovers. If you don't want to waste good drinking time by eating then there are many options including the classically decorated Pump House, the stylish Est Bar, Babycream and The Blue. On warm sunny evenings, the relaxing ambiance and view across the docklands is something not to be missed.
For those seeking a lunchtime meal or post-work nosh up, Bucca Di Bacco, The Balti House, La Tasca and De Coubertini's are all fine eating places located in the business sector of town. Café bars worth a mention include The Qube and Prohibition Bar & Grill, although there are many more to choose from. Liverpool has so much to offer these days that no mere guide can do it justice. Whatever your preference and budget, there's something out there for everyone.
Museums and Galleries National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (NMGM) represents the full collection of museums and galleries in the city and offers the Eight Pass for a small fee, this enables the visitor a year's unlimited visits to all eight establishments.
The major museum is Liverpool Museum, but there is also the Merseyside Maritime Museum at the Albert Dock, the Museum of Liverpool Life at the Pier Head, and the Conservation Centre on Whitechapel.
The Walker Art Gallery in the city center is a work of art itself. Situated opposite the splendid St George's Hall, it is set in a breathtaking spread of buildings encompassing the gallery itself, the Liverpool Central Library and the Liverpool Museum.
The Tate at the Albert Dock is a modern building, appropriately displaying contemporary art. The Bluecoat and the Open Eye feature less mainstream, smaller scale exhibitions. There are other art galleries outside the city center, including the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight and Sudley House in Aigburth. There are also a number of informal displays of art in shopping centers, cafés and bars around the city.
Cinema The Odeon on London Road is now the only mainstream cinema in the city center, offering several screens of the latest releases and popular films. Out of town there are several multiplex cinemas, including UGC Cinema on Edge Lane, The Showcase on the East Lancs Road and another Odeon near Switch Island. The Philharmonic Hall occasionally shows classic films. Art house cinema can be found in Bluecoat Chambers and the Plaza in Crosby, which strives to combine a popular cinema with a less mainstream thread. Worth a mention and well worth a visit, is the Woolton Picture House, a compact, but very popular twenties style cinema.
Theatre The Empire is the place to look for large touring productions and musicals. The Everyman is a small, pleasant theater hosting plays from a variety of companies. The Neptune also hosts plays. If you are seeking more experimental work, try the Unity or The Bluecoat. Recently reopened, The Playhouse has a brand new look following a major refurbishment.
Classical Music The Philharmonic Hall is the main place to go for classical music, with a large program of events and a season of performances from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. There is an annual Summer Pops event in a tent at King's Dock.
Popular Music In the minds of many, Liverpool is forever associated with the Beatles and fans will not be disappointed with the various attractions. In addition to the Beatles Shop, which is near the site of the original Cavern Club, there is also the Beatles museum/exhibition at the Albert Dock. The Magical Mystery Tour will take you on a guided tour around Beatles related sites within the city.
Although it is mainly associated with classical music, the Philharmonic Hall has branched out into popular music and the varied program now includes country, rock, jazz and pop concerts; similar acts can be seen at the Empire. The Neptune hosts groups and artists in the same category but with a smaller audience. For traditional rock groups, the Royal Court and the Carling Academy Liverpool are the major venues. There is the Picket on Hardman Street, and the Prohibition Bar & Grill on Bold Street also has live music, including the occasional big name wanting to play in a smaller venue.
Nightclubs The major nightclub in Liverpool is Cream, attracting visitors and coach parties from all over the country. Needless to say there are plenty of others including Heebeejeebies, Le Bateau, the Krazy House, The Blue Angel, Garlands and the Zanzibar. The highly acclaimed Modo & Roccomodo is worth an hour or two of anyone's time.
Comedy Liverpool is famed for its sense of humor and it may be true to an extent that "comedy acts" are constantly taking place around you. However, if you want a more traditional comedy experience there is the Rawhide Comedy Club, the UpFront Comedy Club at the Everyman and the Orgasmic Comedy Club at the Picket. The Neptune Theater, the Empire and the Philharmonic Hall also host well-known comedians and international acts.
Sport As the home of Liverpool and Everton Football Club, football is considered a major sport in the city. On the other side of the Mersey, Tranmere Rovers have raised their profile in recent years; all grounds are within easy reach of the city center. Springtime each year sees the Grand National race meeting at Aintree, on the outskirts of Liverpool. The event has now expanded into a Grand National Festival, covering live music, dance, drama and exhibitions. Merseyside is also considered as one of the top golfing venues in England, and with over a hundred courses within an hour of the city there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a game or two.
Travelers have a choice of walking or purchasing an economical one-day ticket, valid on buses, trains and ferries. Queen Square, in the heart of the city center is a good place to start. It's a brand-new complex dominated by the Marriott City Center hotel and has an amazing variety of modern and high-tech designer watering holes and eateries. Have your breakfast on the piazza or roof terrace of the Rat & Parrot, and survey the scene. Take a moment to consider the evening dining possibilities, perhaps La Tasca Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Squares, De Alto Mediterranean restaurant, Ask and many more. Close by is the Royal Court Theater hosting a wide range of concerts. For those on the culture trail follow the signs to St Georges Hall, which is one of the finest Neo-classical buildings in the world. After gazing in awe, you can stroll across to the Walker Art Gallery and view the collection of old Masters. Next door is the Liverpool Museum and Planetarium. Children will love the outstanding displays from the natural world and the inner mysteries of outer space. Spaced-out? Then you could indulge in some light refreshment at the museum or gallery. If you have time, you could pop down the road to Rumford Street and visit the Western Approaches Museum. Here you can search the underground labyrinth of rooms that were once the top-secret nerve center in 1940s wartime Britain.
Enjoy a pleasant stroll back to Mathew Street and Cavern Walks. For those who support the reds, about-turn to Williamson Square as the Liverpool Football Club shop supplies the lot, from LFC hallmarked baby bottles to home and away kits. Fancy a bargain? Call at St John's Market, sharp left and you're there. Or are you a high street groupie? If so carry on down Tarleton Street, past John Lewis (George Henry Lee) and Marks & Spencer, to find what used to be the main pedestrian shopping area. Never fear, however, as the shops are only a side street away. Discover the chain shops you know and love so well, whilst squeezing past the street market stalls that sell everything from handbags to hot dogs.
Serious shoppers will not be disappointed. Clayton Square shopping center offers a wide selection of stores including Disney Shop, Virgin, Boots The Body Shop and Oasis. Walking out of the Square opposite Central Station, to your left is the huge Lewis's building with its "statue exceedingly bare". To your right, you will see Bold Street, well-known in the 50s and 60s for its posh frock shops. Now pedestrianized, you can find a more contemporary selection of stores including Monsoon, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Kookai and Dune.
If you are already weak at the knees from shopping overkill, then visit one of the many café bars further along the same street. All new, Bijou, Coffee Union, Cafe D'oro, XS and more.
Walk back through Church Street, past Top Shop, WH Smiths, and Next; you will now be back in Mathew Street, otherwise known as the Cavern Quarter and have at last reached the infamous Cavern Club.... Ah! Those heady days of the 60s with stone walls, dripping excitement and sounds of the Beatles, the Searchers, and the Swinging Blue Jeans. If you want to know more, The Magical Mystery Tour will take you there.
Time for lunch now and just around the corner you can find Casa Italia and Casa Bella, or try De Coubertini's, an exciting themed sports bar serving delicious light meals. For the afternoon's delights head towards the Pier Head, the River Mersey, and Albert Dock. Walk or ride on one of the circular mini buses that run from the city center to Albert Dock at regular intervals. Once there you can enjoy a 50-minute cruise on the Ferry across the Mersey and view the spectacular sights of the famous waterfront; The Royal Liver Building, complete with mythical Liver Birds, the Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings are all magnificent in grandeur and architectural vision.
Back on dry land, take a pleasant stroll to the Museum of Liverpool Life. A footstep away is the renovated Albert Dock complex offering a haven of goodies. Shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs are in abundance and don't forget a visit to the Tate Gallery. Within the gallery, the Tate Cafe with its boat-shaped mezzanine level is well worth a visit. After a light snack you could visit four floors of displays that make up the largest modern art collection in the North of England. Back among the Colonnades, there are plenty of souvenirs, jewelery, sweets, books and toys to buy. Children can examine Fred the Weatherman's Island and perhaps take a trip on the ship that sails around the dock throughout the day.
Situated within the complex, The Beatles Story awaits, so take a walk through time and re-visit the 60s Mersey beat era; George Michael's recent purchase of John Lennon's piano is hopefully due to return here later in the year. During peak holiday periods you will often find a fairground geared towards young children in the vicinity. You may now be feeling exhausted and ravenous, seek no more.... sustenance is close at hand; What's Cooking, Mister M's Seafood Restaurant, Blue Bar & Grill, Bar Monaco and Est Est Est all offer exceptional cuisine and a warm welcome. Enjoy the break as the evening has only just begun.