Matz Sjoberg/Robert Harding
The ten best things to do in Liverpool
There’s a lot to do in Liverpool, so take a steer on what not to miss with our guide to the Merseyside city
Liverpool’s cultural credentials are well known, from the city’s legendary influence on popular music to being named the European Capital of Culture back in 2008. But while Liverpool continues to impress with all things artistic, it’s also become known as a fantastic place for all kinds of other great things to do in the UK: shopping, pub-hopping, high-end dining – the list goes on. Hands down, Liverpool is one of the best places to visit in the UK, so here’s our list of must-sees when there.
1. See art’s movers and shakers at Tate Liverpool
Liverpool’s arts scene is one of the most thriving in the UK and the city’s Tate museum plays a key part in that reputation. Dedicated to showing modern art, Tate Liverpool is unashamedly eclectic in its approach, meaning that a walk through the gallery is never less than an enlightening experience.
Mersey Ferry © Jose Moya/Robert Harding
2. Hop on a ferry ’cross the Mersey
Everyone needs to undertake the most famous ferry journey in the UK at least once. One of the most popular things to do in Liverpool, the 50-minute cruise will teach you about the history of the River Mersey and sail you past key city sights including the UNESCO World Heritage waterfront. Onboard, there’s always a good atmosphere and some crossings are even soundtracked by a singalong of the Gerry and the Pacemakers’ 1964 hit that put the ferry on the map.
3. Do a bit of everything in the Baltic Triangle
This formerly industrial area outside the city centre has been gradually transformed into a brilliantly eclectic hub for Liverpool’s creative communities. These days, you’ll find it packed with buzzing bars, cafés, vintage shops, galleries and enough restaurants and eateries to satisfy all appetites. Try the bright and airy Chapters of Us for a caffeine fix to keep you going while you stroll, and hip-but-friendly SKAUS for Scandinavian-inspired food served with Scouse warmth.
Sefton Park greenhouse © Carl Raw/Unsplash
4. Find calm and tranquillity at Sefton Park
Covering around 235 acres, this huge Grade I-listed park has a Green Flag Award, is a Green Heritage Site and is much-loved by locals. It’s also full of things to do, top of which is to visit the marvellous Palm House, where you can see exotic flora galore, including 32 types of orchid, more than 20 varieties of palm and one of the oldest horticultural collections in Britain. Elsewhere in the park, there are waterfalls and caves to hunt out, a Victorian bandstand and two cafés for when you just want to sit back and rest your feet.
5. Browse Bold Street
This lively street is the place to go for shopping in Liverpool thanks to its many independent stores selling anything from stylish homeware at Utility to books at community-run News From Nowhere. Luckily, when you’ve worked up an appetite from all that browsing, you’re in the ideal place for a culinary reward, as Bold Street is also known for its many great restaurants. Think classy Indian street food at Mowgli or Middle Eastern tapas at Maray.
People walking on Albert Dock Liverpool © Frank Fell/Robert Harding
6. Visit an iconic waterfront at Albert Dock
A large section of Liverpool’s waterfront was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 and at the heart of it is Albert Dock, which you can visit as part of a Princess shore excursion. This energetic area is packed with history that helped shape modern Liverpool and these days it’s one of the most buzzing places in the city thanks to its restaurants, museums, bars and fantastic architecture.
7. Sip an ale in a traditional pub
Liverpool is truly blessed when it comes to pubs. There are so many to choose from here, but to get a proper, local feel for the city, duck into one of its classic watering holes. Our two top picks are the beautiful Peter Kavanagh’s, whose memorabilia-covered walls evoke a different age entirely, and The Caledonia, a friendly, community pub with a brilliant selection of craft ales to sample.
Selection of baked goods at Baltic Bakehouse © Baltic Bakehouse
8. Taste next-level bread at Baltic Bakehouse
The small, homely flagship branch of Baltic Bakehouse on Bridgewater Street is absolutely worth the short walk from the city centre, because how else will you see why so many locals say it sells the best bread in Liverpool? Here, you can also bag homemade jam doughnuts, golden pastries, sticky buns, hefty sandwiches and much more, but we recommend you don’t leave without trying or buying their divine sourdough bread.
9. Get creative at the Bluecoat
Claimed to be the UK’s oldest arts space, the beautiful Bluecoat building dates back to 1717, but its programme of exhibitions and one-off events (showcasing the likes of live music, poetry and dance) is thoroughly contemporary and always worth investigating. There’s also a lovely café on site that offers a very popular afternoon tea from Tuesday to Saturday.
Sgt Peppers outfits © The Beatles Story, Liverpool
10. Get acquainted with The Beatles
You can’t truly know Liverpool without delving into the history of The Beatles. The band’s mark on their home city still shines through, well over half a century later, and the perfect way to follow in their footsteps is on a special shore excursion dedicated to the Fab Four. You’ll see Strawberry Field, Penny Lane and the famous Cavern Club venue before visiting The Beatles Story, a multimedia exhibition that charts the group’s journey through interactive installations.