When you think of cities you need to visit when travelling the world, where does Liverpool rank? Perhaps it’s not very high on most people’s lists I’d wager. But why? Liverpool has everything you’d want for an awesome city break. Since being named European Capital of Culture in 2008, there have been wonderful developments which focus on showcasing Liverpool to an international audience. The city is prospering and receives over 75 million tourists from across the globe every year.
Life in Liverpool
As someone who came to live in Liverpool around 15 years ago, I can attest that it’s a city which celebrates all walks of life. A variety of festivals and community projects take place throughout the year, creating a strong sense of local identity but also welcoming all those wishing to experience it.
Africa OYE and the Arabic Arts Festival are just two of the many popular events that take place every year, and they’re amazing examples of what has made Liverpool such an important place in the history of UK multiculturalism.
Love in Liverpool
Forget Paris, Rome, and Venice, Liverpool is definitely a contender for the city of love. Why do you think The Beatles sang about it so much? After all, “all you need is love.” Take your time in Liverpool and appreciate the romance that’s all around you.
Walk along the banks of the Mersey River and add your love lock at Albert Dock, or take in fabulous, orange skies as the sun sets over the Wirral. You can even enjoy the twinkling waters of the Mersey on a sunset river cruise upon the world famous Ferry across the Mersey. Couple this with hundreds of amazing restaurants, all perfect for wining and dining that special someone, and you have an ultimate recipe for romance.
Laugh in Liverpool
If it’s one thing Scousers (i.e. the nickname for locals) are famous for, it’s got to be for their sense of humour. They’ve taken a serious amount of stick from stereotyping over the years and come out the other side laughing. During my time as an honorary Scouser, I have yet to meet a born and bred Liverpudlian who didn’t make me laugh until my sides split. Maybe it’s the sing-song accent, or perhaps the fact that there are so many great comedians hailing from the city.
From the legendary Ken Dodd to Sky One’s League of their Own regular John Bishop, both use their everyday life experiences to bring their audience to tears with laughter.
Either way, the humour and banter is non-stop when you’re lucky enough to converse with the locals. When visiting Liverpool, be sure to experience one or two hilarious evenings at any of the city’s four comedy clubs.
Look in Liverpool
As you embark upon your exploration of Liverpool, it’s impossible to ignore the amazing sights the city has on show, with stunning architecture on every corner. Most of the old buildings are UNESCO World Heritage sites, a title bestowed on Liverpool in July 2004.
While visiting the Liverpool, be sure to visit the awe-inspiring Three Graces on the waterfront, home to the famous and mythical Liver Birds, the iconic Albert Dock, as well as the city’s two spectacular cathedrals at either end of Hope Street: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
In addition to what’s visible from the streets, Liverpool also boasts amazing art venues that display contemporary and classic artists. The TATE modern, The Walker Art Gallery and, of course, the OPEN Eye Gallery hold permanent and temporary exhibitions of some beautifully created work. If you appreciate street art, then Liverpool has its fair share of some shining examples around the city—you just have to find them while exploring the city.
Fabulous city-wide events also regularly take place. The Liverpool Giants, for example, delighted visitors and locals alike with mammoth puppets that stalked the streets in a tale titled “The Memories of August 1914,” a tribute that marked 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.
On top of all this, Liverpool Biennial is a wonderful event that occurs once every two years and lasts for approximately four months, effectively turning the city’s streets into canvases using varied mediums of art. The Biennial of 2016, for example, drew upon Liverpool’s past, present, and predictions of its future.
Listen in Liverpool
Liverpool has done much in terms of contributing to the world of music since the Beatles achieved international stardom in 1964, and the city’s musical heritage is a major pull for tourism. It’s because of this contribution that it became a UNESCO City of Music, only the second city in the UK, after Glasgow, to receive this honorary award and title.
There’s enormous focus on nurturing the skills of Liverpool’s young and budding musicians. It provides the city with an endless supply of fabulous new talents, all eager to demonstrate their skills to the public. On any given day, you can enter a number of bars and be welcomed by the sounds of live music. Who knows? You may even end up witnessing the start of a superstar’s career.
There are amazing venues, such as The Brink and Camp and Furnace, that consistently provide their audiences with new and exciting music performers. Another popular venue is Leaf, where you can usually be guaranteed an open-mic night or perhaps a themed performance. For Beatles fans, a trip to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a pint or two and live music at the Cavern Club on Matthew Street, where the Fab Four performed 300 times.
Annual festivals such as Sound City, Liverpool International Music Festival, and dance institution Creamfield’s have also been added to the UK’s musical events map and are cited as some of the reasons for Liverpool’s City of Music accolade.
Learning in Liverpool
Another major portion of Liverpool’s tourism comes in the form of student group tours. The city lends itself extremely well to all types of subject matter: art, music, and culture, but what about the history of the city?
Some of the earliest records of immigration can be traced to Liverpool as well as the beginning of transatlantic trade.
The Merseyside Maritime Museum at Albert Dock, for example, provides insights into the start of transatlantic travel and trade. Exhibitions cover customs and exports, as well as the stories behind the lives of sailors and pilots of both past and present.
There are also amazing displays about the world famous shipping line White Star, whose original office building is now a luxury Titanic-themed hotel nestled amongst the World Heritage waterfront.
The White Star Line is well-known for the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic, but other vessels registered under the company provided the world with Royal Mail services, with the last of the working ships decommissioned in June 2016.
Other important social history subjects include Liverpool’s role in transatlantic trade and, in particular, the slave trade. Liverpool was one of the largest operating ports of the UK that saw the import and export of luxury and exotic goods. The volume that passed through the port of Liverpool earned it the title as the “Second City of the Empire.”
Liverpool merchants were able to dominate the slave trade by providing massive amounts of personal wealth. This, of course, transformed the city into a leading UK trading force. Due to the accessible entry from the sea into the city via the Mersey River, as well as developed in-land connections, Liverpool was a hub of commerce in the latter half of the 18th century.
National Museums of Liverpool are among Europe’s most varied and educational resources. All of the venues are free to enter and each one continually develops their exhibitions to better educate the public.
Art, culture, history, and music—Liverpool has it all. And when you arrive, you’ll certainly be glad you did.