Liverpool is one of those cities that I have visited on a number of occasions, however, it has usually been for a hen weekend or birthday celebration. Therefore, the only places I have really seen in the city are the pubs, clubs and fast food joints – tut, I know. So when we were invited by Travelodge, to spend 24 hours in Liverpool, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see what the city actually has to offer apart from the night scene. Liverpool has over the years had a bad rep, especially if you are listening to a Manchester United supporter. However, recently, especially over the last decade since Liverpool was named as Capital of Culture in 2008, the legacy has lived on and it is now one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in England. We, therefore, packed our cases, hit the road and made the 2 and 1/2 hour drive from our house on the east coast of England right across the country to the west coast. Did I hear someone say – ROADTRIP!
1.00pm – Hotel check in
We opted for the Liverpool Central Travelodge, although there are a number of Travelodge’s in Liverpool. The hotel itself does not have a car park; however, there is a public car park right opposite, which meant we did not have to lug our luggage far, which is always a bonus. We also had early check in, which meant we could have checked in from 12.00pm, check in was super easy and quick. Having stayed in Travelodge’s up and down the country on a number of occasions, we were greeted by the familiar sight of their rooms. Perfect for a short getaway. We dumped our bags in our rooms, freshened up, grabbed our cameras and hit the pavement.
2.00pm – Explore the Pier Head and the docks
From our hotel to the Pier Head was just a 10-minute stroll. Even though it was overcast and quite miserable the Three Graces – the Royal Liver Building, which is one of the most famous buildings in Liverpool because of the Liver birds, the symbol of the city, that sit on the top of it, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building, stood beautifully on the Pier Head. We took some time to watch the ferries sailing across the Mersey, took some photos of The Beatles Statue which was erected there in December 2015 before grabbing a much-needed cup of tea to warm us up and a slice of cake at the Fab4 cafe located in the ferry terminal.
We left the Pier Head, passed the Museum of Liverpool on the way to our next stop, the Albert Dock, you know the one where they used to film This Morning with Richard and Judy (am I showing my age there?). The dock is home to many attractions including Tate Liverpool, the British and international modern and contemporary art museum, which if we’d had more time I cavern would have loved to have a wander around, guess that’s a great reason to return, right? It is also home to a number of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, making it a great place to hang around. I imagine on a warm summer’s day it is the place to be as most of the bars have terraces overlooking the water, ideal for grabbing a bottle and your partner or friend and chatting the afternoon or evening away.
3.00pm – The Beatles Story
I suppose when the most famous band in the world ever came from your city, it’s something to celebrate and Liverpool certainly does when it comes to The Beatles. A mecca for fans of the fab four but even if you are not a massive Beatles fan, a trip to The Beatles Story, located at the back of the Albert Dock is a must. It is the world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the lives and times of The Beatles. As one of Liverpool’s most visited attractions, I’d recommend booking your tickets in advance; an adult ticket is priced at £15.95 which includes an audio media guide available in 10 languages. It really is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.
5.00pm – A spot of shopping & Mathew Street
Following our visit to The Beatles Story we embraced the city’s love and pride of The Beatles and decided to head to Mathew Street, home of the Cavern Pub and its sister, the world-famous Cavern Club, the legendary cellar was home to The Beatles first performance on 9th February 1961 and is still a thriving live music venue as well as a much-loved tourist attraction. Although not the orginal Cavern, it has been rebuilt using a lot of the original bricks and to the original plan. The whole street is a music (and booze) lovers Haven and I must admit I have frequented the Cavern and neighbouring pubs on a couple of previous occasions. It is also home to a couple of statues, those of Liverpool’s most famous son and daughter – John Lennon (of course) and the recently unveiled one of Cilla Black. Although the latter did split local opinion because of her political leanings.
On the way to Mathew Street, we passed straight through Liverpool One which is Liverpool’s main shopping area with over 170 stores, bars & restaurants. Even though we didn’t have much time, I still managed to pick up a few bits and bobs en route.
7.00pm – Pre-dinner drinks & a delicious dinner
After a quick walk back to the hotel, shower and change we were ready for a drink and I personally had cocktails in mind. As time was pushing on and we had dinner reservations at 8pm at Alma de Cuba, a 18th-century church, which had been recommended to us by Danielle at While I’m Young (thank you!) we decided to head straight there and grab a pre-dinner drink at the bar. As soon as we walked in we were very happy with our choice, especially when we found out it was 2-for-1 cocktails up until 8pm, cue a couple of Pornstar Martinis and Espresso Martinis!
We then headed upstairs to the restaurant. Seats taken, wine ordered and menus perused we were ready to sample the food that many had raved about. With a lot of seafood on the menu and me not really being a massive seafood lover, I was a bit worried, but I needn’t have been. Shrimp with garlic butter sauce and sweet potato and chorizo croquettes to start, followed by pan-roasted sea bass and baked cod main courses, and a dreamy slice of chocolate tart washed down with two bottles of Pinot Grigio for just over £100 was ok by me. The food, the wine and the atmosphere were all spot on and we have already said we would love to return next time we are in Liverpool and sample the famous Sunday Gospel Brunch.
11.00pm – A great night’s sleep
Full as eggs and not being as young as we used to be meant we retired to bed quite early, that was after the Uber driver completely got lost, meh. I was quite worried about the hotel being quite noisy, especially during the night having seen a number of groups check in. Luckily, I am a heavy sleeper and was not worried for me, I can literally fall asleep standing up, but Mr ESLT is a very light sleeper and I feared if he did not get a good few hours he would be in a grump the following day. When we arrived back at the hotel, our room was silent and we both fell asleep with no problem.
9.00am – Rise and shine
We both obviously needed the sleep as we both slept through for almost 9 hours. It could have been the full stomachs and wine but I think it had a lot to do with the comfortable bed. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to get up but we had more of Liverpool to see and that persuaded me to eventually get moving. Now, I didn’t realise when I booked this hotel that it didn’t have an onsite restaurant, and if you have ever had a Travelodge breakfast you will know instantly the heartbreak I felt when I found out there wasn’t a cooked breakky on offer. Instead, we received a breakfast box each including a juice, cereal and milk and a muffin.
11.00am – Beatles Tour
As with the Beatles Story, no visit to Liverpool is complete without a Beatles tour. We hopped on the open top Liverpool City Sights guided city and Beatles tour bus at 11.00am (other tour times are available) at the Pier Head. Even though the weather was pretty rubbish, whenever we take an open top bus tour I have to sit on the upper deck and it looked like everyone else felt the same. The bus was almost full to capacity proving what a popular thing it is to do. We booked our spots in advance and I recommend you do the same. If it was as busy as it was on a cold wet October morning, I can only imagine how busy it would be on a sunny summer day. We were greeted by Lee the company’s General Manager and our tour guide for the day.
As a local and someone who has led tours for years, Lee made the tour a great experience. His knowledge was second to none, as was his humour and anecdotes. Having been on bus tours around the world, I’d have to say this was one of the most enjoyable – no pre-recorded commentary or tour guide who looked like they didn’t want to be there, instead we had a great couple of hours learning about Liverpool, seeing some of its most famous sites and visiting some iconic Beatles locations including Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and John Lennon’s House. Our tickets also entitled us to take a ride on the Liverpool City Sights city tour, which we would have loved to have done, but unfortunately, we simply did not have the time. Although next time we return to Liverpool, it will be at the top of our to-do list.
1.00pm – Thanks, Liverpool, you’ve been great!
What a whirlwind 24 hours it was. Liverpool is a major UK city and one that we felt we only scratched the surface of. It was nice to get out an explore the areas that we did and even though we did not visit with the intention of submerging ourselves in the history of the Beatles, it sure pulls you in and I for one am not complaining. We had a great time and I have not been able to stop singing their songs since we got home. Until next time Liverpool – thank you!
- Thank you to Travelodge for hosting our stay and thank you to Liverpool City Sights for an awesome complimentary tour.