Why I went here? It was a logistical stop to conclude my UK trip before I head over to Ireland. I also wanted to visit Liverpool’s maritime district that is deemed a UNESCO heritage site. Lastly, it is the home of the Beatles.
Best time to visit? I reckon like most of England, it is best during late spring into summer. Liverpool sits on the northwestern part of England and they get quite a bit of rain in early spring and summer. Summer temperatures average around the 60s Fahrenheit so definitely bring a light sweater especially if you plan to stay around the docks. It gets rather windy at times.
Best way to get there? Liverpool is very accessible by air and by rail. Liverpool John Lennon airport is located around eight miles south east of Liverpool’s city center. You can reach the city center via rail, through a connection to Liverpool Lime Street station, via bus services that connect to the city or via taxis. The airport website cites that a one way taxi ride takes approximately 20 minutes and costs around 15 pounds. If arriving by train, the city’s main train station is Liverpool Lime Street. Its location is within a 5-mile radius of most of the city’s main attractions.
What to see/do? My time in Liverpool was limited to a full day and a half but thanks to aid of the hop on hop off bus, I was able to explore of the city. I am not generally a fan of the city hoppers, but in this case, since I really only had a day, I went ahead with it and was pleasantly surprised. For a mere eight pounds, it took me to around the city’s main attractions that include Albert dock, the Pier Head where you can view the Three Graces, museum row, Catholic and Anglican cathedrals, St. Luke’s (bombed) church, and The Cavern, a club made famous by the Famous Four. Start at the Pier Head and gaze at the majestic Three Graces. These magnificent buildings are part of Liverpool’s maritime district, which became a UNESCO heritage site in 2004. Head south towards Albert and Canning docks and walk around the pier. You will find nautical themed shops, restaurants, a Fab4 store, and the Merseyside Maritime Museum. The maritime museum is a worth visiting if you are interested in nautical history. Liverpool certainly had its contribution, with some of the biggest shipbuilders like Cunard, who set their headquarters here at the turn of the century.
Food and drinks: Eat Chinese food. It seems like any other major city in the world has a Chinatown of sorts, but here in Liverpool, it is more than just a corner with a westernized buffet restaurant that claims to serve Chinese food. Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe so you are bound to find more authentic Chinese cuisine here than anywhere else in the country. Lady Jade Restaurant is the highest rated restaurant on Tripadvisor and although I did not quite make it there myself, reviews that mention a deceptively simple storefront and an inexpensive menu, in addition to food praise, is always a good sign for a restaurant that serves traditional Chinese cuisine.
Where to sleep? Z Hotel is a relatively new boutique hotel in near Liverpool One. It is centrally located with Liverpool One, The Cavern District and the river Mersey docks all within a 10-minute walk from the hotel. It is also very affordable for the amenities you receive. I got an inner room (without windows) and was slightly concerned about it at first but was pleasantly surprised thereafter. It was well lit so despite the lack of natural light, you do not feel claustrophobic. The beds are also one of the most comfortable ones I have slept in. There is free bottled water replenished daily and the nightly snacks offered in the lobby was a nice touch. The prices start as little as 40 pounds per room per night.
Daytrips: York is a couple of hours northeast of Liverpool and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the United Kingdom. Its cathedral is one of the largest in the country and its history goes all the way back to Roman and Viking eras.
Why I would go back? It is rather simple really–I had fun here. The people I encountered were friendly, despite the difficulty of understanding their every word because of their heavy accents. The city has plenty of cultural bits to offer as well. Last but not least, to watch a Liverpool match. When I went, it was off-season. I can only imagine the atmosphere during one of the matches especially now that the team is doing well again.