Loving Liverpool

Can you and a group of friends have a great time in Liverpool without involving the Beatles? Is it even allowed? Well, yes and yes. Perhaps you just never really got into the band that were your Nan’s teenage dream, or your heart sinks at the sound of the Sixties? Beatles or not, Liverpool is one of the most exciting cities you’ll ever visit, and that’s the truth.  

You could focus on top-notch tourist trail attractions like the Walker Art Gallery, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool, and why wouldn’t you? They’re all definitely worth your time. But if you come with a group of friends you might want to make your visit a bit more of a social day out.

So take a walk up Mount Pleasant, from Lime Street station. At the top of the hill you’ll see the Metropolitan Cathedral – Paddy’s Wigwam, locals call it. Turn right along Hope Street, past the Everyman Theatre and impress your friends by telling them Julie Walters, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Nighy and Matthew Kelly all had early roles there. If you’re staying overnight go and see the show!

Further down the road is the grand and gorgeous Philharmonic Hotel, home to the grandest and most gorgeous pub interior in the known world. It also has the grandest and most gorgeous Gents Toilets in the known world.  It’s true, go and see.

Aptly, at the other end of Hope Street is Liverpool Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the UK. But don’t go there. I mean, DO go there, it’s inspiring, but go another time. Take a turn down Rice Street instead and you’ll come to The Crack, or Ye Olde Cracke, as nobody actually calls it. This is a champion local pub and it would be rude not to drop in for some refreshment. It’s also (Beatle Alert!) where John Lennon used to drink when he was at art school.*

Stick to Rice Street after that and you can take a longish, enjoyable meander down towards the river. You’re starting in Georgian Liverpool and you’ll see most of the rest of the centuries as you go, from Victorian terraces to shiny bright glass. It doesn’t really matter which route you take, it’s all nice and you’ll get there in the end. On the way, you’ll pass many enticing dineries offering an excellent lunch. Be enticed.

You could take a stroll around Albert Docks and jump on a Ferry cross the Mersey, and if you do, you better like that song. It gets played. A lot. (If you go this weekend you can sail on the Dazzle Ferry, designed by Sir Peter Blake, until 16 February 2020) That’s it at the top of the page. Or you could give Albert Docks a miss for now and take a bus to Lark Lane for lunch, a feel good, hang-out street full of great shops, cafes and generally cool stuff. It’s part of real Liverpool, go and have a look, especially at the weekend. If you don’t fancy that you could go and see a U-Boat. That’s right, a U-Boat.

Did you know Liverpool had a U-Boat? I didn’t. There are lots of other things to do in Liverpool but the best thing is just being in it, it’s honestly one of the best cities anywhere, ever. Find out all about group bookings for proper attractions at www.visitliverpool where you can even find details about (BeatleAlert!) The Cavern Club, (BeatleAlert!) Beatles Tours and (BeatleAlert!) how to visit John and Paul’s childhood homes. Yeah yeah yeah.

Al Barker

*Which was on Hope Street – where you just were.