Famous for its football (soccer) team and for being the home of the Beatles, Liverpool is a city where you can get a true sense of British culture, and it’s also the kind of city where you can really feel that it has gone through some tough times in the recent past, but it emerged even stronger and is now a must-see destination for anyone who wants to get outside of the London bubble and experience the “true” urban England.
See & Do
- St George’s Hall: Quite an impressive structure in Liverpool that is used as a court. You get a lot of a sense of the history of Liverpool just by walking nearby. We were reading about the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989 (where 96 Liverpool fans died in a stampede during a football game due to poor crowd control) which is memorialized nearby when we noticed that we happened to be there a large crowd gathered around St. George’s Hall. We coincidentally stumbled upon this building when they were announcing the verdict of the investigation — and there was a lot of emotion in the crowd as they announced that the police in charge of the event were found to be guilty of negligence.
- Chinatown: A small Chinatown that started thriving around the time that Liverpool was a main UK port that was regularly trading with China. This Chinatown has a very long history, mainly Mandarin speakers who have been part of the local community for many generations. There is a large arch signifying the entrance to Chinatown that was shipped from Shanghai and assembled in Liverpool. This is supposedly the oldest Chinatown arch in the entire UK.
- Albert Dock: This used to be the main working dock for ship men in Liverpool, but nowadays it has been converted into a waterfront tourist attraction. Even if you’re not into the usual touristy thing, it’s extremely picturesque just walking around here by the water. Many films have been shot here for that authentic historical “dock” feeling. There are plenty of museums and other attractions in this area, you will find something interesting no matter what you’re interested in (from art to Maritime history all the way to the Beatles).
- Liverpool Anglican Cathedral: First impression: Wow, this place is HUGE. It’s the largest cathedral in the UK and the fifth largest in the world at a height of 101m (331 ft). Literally as tall as many mid-rise skyscrapers in Manhattan. The interior is impressive–unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to explore the whole place as there was a service going on when we arrived, but it was still nice to see the exterior and a little bit of the interior. No admission fee.
- St. James’s Cemetery: Kind of odd that a cemetery would be an attraction, but there is something that is a bit charming about St. James’s Cemetery, which is located just outside the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Makes for a pleasant afternoon stroll if you ignore the fact that you’re surrounded by dead bodies. But seriously though, since it’s below ground level, you feel a sense of peace as you are completely removed from the bustle of the city.
- Merseyside Maritime Museum: Nice museum about the history of the Albert Dock, complete with pictures of what it used to look like and the daily life of a dockworker. As you proceed through the museum, there is also an excellent exhibit about the Titanic, and the kinds of people that were on the ship when it sank. You can read some of the accounts of the actual passengers who survived the journey. Best of all, it’s completely free, so this is something that should definitely be checked out on a visit to Liverpool. Although unrelated to maritime affairs, there was also an exhibit about slavery in India which was very heart-breaking to see.
Eat & Drink
- Mowgli: Supposedly the best Indian food in Liverpool–after eating here, we were inclined to agree. This place is something special, it’s a bit more experimental, but still sticks with classic ingredients and spices. Kind of like a tapas-style meal, you can order several small dishes to share with your table. We enjoyed literally every dish we tried–special shout out to the Kerala Chicken which was truly excellent.
- The Grapes: This is the bar where the Beatles used to drink their obligatory pints in between their gigs in the nearby Cavern Club. Of course when we arrived after a day of shivers on the road on the motorcycle, there was a live band playing various Beatles songs. Lots of locals in the bar know all the lyrics to obscure Beatles songs that we ordinary people wouldn’t otherwise know.
- Doctor Duncans: A very casual pub serving local real ales. The nice thing about these pubs is that the have physical newspapers for you to grab. We learned a lot about local news that day.
- The Welkin: This is a standard Wetherspoons–for the non-British crowd, Wetherspoons is kind of like the Starbucks or McDonalds of pubs, a corporate chain that can be found anywhere. But in any case, drink prices are literally rock-bottom here and there is a huge amount of variety, lots of beers from around the UK and around the world (plenty of craft American brews as well). Kind of makes me wonder why nobody has tried to open a chain restaurant specifically for drinking in the US.
- 30 James Street, Home of the Titanic: Nice name, but the real home of the Titanic is probably several hundred feet below sea level in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. This is the home of the original Titanic office building. We were checked in by two friendly gentlemen who were very interested in our motorcycle travels (one is also a biker himself) and were super helpful in getting us checked in and giving us a rundown of what there is to do in Liverpool, as well as the history of our hotel. We stayed in a room with a balcony where they announced the names of those who perished in the Titanic accident. Very nicely furnished and comfortable room, and the hot rain shower was a nice bonus, and probably one of the best showers I’ve taken in my life after riding through snow and hail to get here.
- Arrived on the night of 4/25/2016 and left in the morning of 4/27/2016