Written by Lynsey Oxton
I actually grew up not far from Liverpool, on the ‘other side of the water’ (the Wirral Peninsula). I also went to university there – yet I hadn’t set foot in ‘Scouse Land’ for quite some time. No reason in particular, but I think you can sometimes forget about the great places on your own doorstep! So, with a day off work, I decided to pay an overdue visit.
Everyone knows that Liverpool is the birthplace of The Beatles – and as such, you don’t have to look far to find a reminder; from a huge bronze statue of the Fab Four down on the waterfront, to the ‘Magical Mystery Bus Tour’ that takes you to the former homes of John, George, Paul and Ringo, the famous Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.
It goes without saying that if you love The Beatles, you’ll definitely love Liverpool! So what are you waiting for?
Of course, no visit to Liverpool (at least for a Beatles fan) is complete without a trip to famous Cavern Club. First opened in 1957, The Cavern hosted The Quarry Men (Lennon’s first band), before becoming a regular home stage to The Beatles between 1961 to 1973 (when it was forced to close). Having reopened in the exact same spot on Mathew Street in 1984, it’s now a popular night club with live music and the occasional famous act. If you’re a ‘day-tripper’ like me, the Cavern Club is open for a light lunch and an early drink. I can’t vouch for the food, but it’s worth a visit for association alone.
Even if you are not a Beatles fan (if this is possible), Mathew Street is a great place to see, and one which comes to life at night. It has a little something for everyone, whether you’re into house music, the swinging sixties, motown – or anything in-between. In August, it also holds the annual ‘Mathew Street Festival’ for music lovers.
The Tate Gallery on the Royal Albert Dock had a John and Yoko exhibition showing (I timed my visit well). The exhibition showed lots of personal items of the duo, including that bed from the 1969 ‘Love In’ protest.
If you’re partial to a bit of modern art, the Tate has it by the bucket load – including some very colourful walkways that make you cross eyed!
The Royal Albert Dock is a gorgeous complex of shops, restaurants, Grade I and II listed buildings, warehouses and a Pier Head. A relaxing place set on the water, it’s perfect for an early morning run or a leisurely afternoon stroll (with an ice cream). You can also take a “ferry across the Mersey” from within the vicinity.
If you’ve never been to the Royal Albert Dock, you may feel like you already have as ITV’s ‘This Morning’ used to film here in the 80s and 90s. If you have been here before, you may remember it for the Maritime Museum, the Beatles Story – or indeed, for an evening in one of its nightclubs and bars. It’s a must-visit for any Liverpool trip.
The Beatles may be the most famous residents of Liverpool, but the most colourful must be the Superlambananas! The what? I hear you cry. Designed by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo, these crazy creations have been adorning the City since 2008 when Liverpool was crowned Europe’s ‘Capital Of Culture’. Before this, the first and original superlambanana (17 foot tall and bright yellow) first made an appearance in 1998. You can find the yellow original on Tithebarn Street and many more around the city.
With such colour and vibrancy, it’s no surprise that street art is huge in Liverpool! Some of the best pieces are designed by local artist Paul Curtis (Liverpool’s answer to Banksy) and can be found in the Baltic Triangle area – and naturally, they reference The Beatles!
The ‘Liver Wings’ (also by Paul Curtis) are now a social media phenomenon and instagram is full of photos of tourists (and locals) all looking very angelic!
And then of course, there’s the Royal Liver Building and it’s Liver Birds (those mythical creatures and all-important symbol of Liverpool). At just over 100 years old, visitors can now go inside and learn about the history and heritage whilst getting fantastic views out across the River Mersey. For the best views of the Royal Liver Building itself, you’d do well to find better than the Oh Me Oh My rooftop bar. Views, vodka, voila!
If you find yourself with some time to kill before your train home (like me), why not stop off for a drink at the Cat Cafe on Bold Street? At £6 for 30 minutes with some furry friends and unlimited drinks, what’s not to like?
And that was a quick, whistle stop tour of my afternoon in Liverpool. I think I’ll have to go back again soon – and maybe I’ll do that Magical Mystery Bus Tour! Until then…..