Liverpool loves to boast about its favourite sons, The Beatles, and there’s even a yellow submarine standing proudly outside the city’s John Lennon International Airport. But this vibrant northern city isn’t just about the “Fab Four”. It’s an unmissable journey into urban England, where the attractions are both exemplars of modern pop culture and symbols to past glory. It’s all wrapped in an easy to explore package, with great public transport and some of the UK’s most welcoming and enthusiastic locals.
Liverpool Europe’s 2008 Capital of Culture and the city centre is awash with heritage buildings, most notably those around Albert Dock. This is all protected as the World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City, a celebration of when Liverpool was one of the world’s most important ports. Many of the buildings have been converted into free museums, and Liverpool has more museums than any city in the UK outside London. Those with only a day in the city shouldn’t miss the World Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and International Slavery Museum, all found around Albert Dock.
Other outstanding buildings include Liverpool Town Hall, The Cunard Building, Port of Liverpool Building, Victoria Gallery, and Liverpool Cathedral, England’s largest place of worship. A contract to the dominant Victorian style is the neoclassical St George’s Hall. Like most of Liverpool, all these attractions are free to visit. The favourite attraction for most visitors is the famous band from the 1960s, with the Beatles Story museum as a natural first stop. A Magical Mystery Tour relives the life and times of the band, visiting their working class terraced homes and stopping at legendary places from the songs, like Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. These are usually seen on a guided tour, but visitors can also use public transport to see the attractions.
John Lennon International Airport is a few kilometres outside the city centre, and regular buses are available. Taxis can be found next to the yellow submarine. From Liverpool Lime Street there are long-distance and local trains, although those heading south by train will probably need to change in nearby Manchester. Liverpool is compact enough to explore on foot, and the attractions are exceptionally signposted. Tourist information offices are found at Liverpool Lime Street and Albert Dock.
The Cavern Club is the perfect way to end a day in Liverpool. This dungeon bar is where The Beatles played their first gig and little has changed. Cover acts recite the classics all day and into a hard day’s night.