England, Europe

A Perfect Summery Weekend in Liverpool

August 22, 2016

If you’re looking to spend a weekend in Liverpool, here are a few sights and activities (and restaurants and bars!) that you may want to add to your itinerary.

Despite making a promise to myself last November that Canterbury was going to be the first of many weekends I’d spend exploring a bit more of my beloved home country, aside from visiting friends in Newcastle, London, and (close to) Hay-on-Wye, I hadn’t really travelled anywhere else in England since then..

So when I spotted a cheap (by British standards) hotel deal at the Tune Hotel in central Liverpool, I jumped at the chance of returning to the city that boasts the largest collection of museums and galleries outside of London.  Liverpool is compact, walkable, and home to some stunning pieces of art and architecture, as well as a huge selection of international restaurants and quirky cafes.

Stu and I set off from Shrewsbury on Friday morning, and returned on Sunday afternoon, giving us the equivalent of two full days to explore the city.

We seriously lucked out with the weather while we were there, which kind of made us reluctant to spend too much time inside buildings when there was so much sunshine to enjoy outside.  So we didn’t visit as many museums and galleries as we would otherwise like to have done, but here’s what we did manage to see and do on our weekend in Liverpool.

The Albert Dock

Initially opened in 1846 and operated as a working dock until its closure in 1972, Liverpool’s Albert Dock later underwent a huge restoration programme and was re-opened as a visitor attraction in 1988 by Prince Charles.

LiverpoolAlbert Dock, LiverpoolAlbert Dock, LiverpoolLiverpool

It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the United Kingdom.  Award-winning visitor attractions such as the Beatles Story, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool are all located here, along with an overwhelming choice of restaurants, cafes, and shops.

There are also cute little vintage ice-cream trucks and donut vans to feed your sugar addiction.  Personally I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I was much happier photographing them.


The Maritime Museum

Most of Liverpool’s museums are completely free of charge to enter, which is great because I didn’t actually think I’d be very interested in the Maritime Museum (so therefore I wouldn’t have paid to enter), but I ended up spending hours there!

Maritime Museum, LiverpoolLiverpool

There’s a lot more to this museum that shipbuilding and engineering displays; there’s a whole upper floor dedicated to the African slave trade, a reconstruction of life below deck, the untold story of the Titanic, a peak into customs, smuggling and contraband, and interactive demonstrations by the fun and knowledgeable museum staff.

Maritime Museum, LiverpoolLiverpoolMaritime Museum, Liverpool

Did you know that the reason our household dusters are yellow is because yellow is the colour of the flag that was flown by ships to signal that their crew and passengers were free of germs and diseases? Nope, me neither!

The Tate Museum

Although a lot smaller than the maritime museum and some galleries do incur a charge to view, the Tate Liverpool has some fascinating and regularly-changing exhibitions of paintings and sculptures by both British and International artists.


Ziferblat Cafe, Albert Dock

There are Ziferblat cafes located in Liverpool (this Albert Dock one and also one in St. Paul’s Square), Manchester and London.

It’s an innovative new concept where everything is free (coffee, tea, juices, breads, cakes and biscuits) apart from the time you spend there.

Ziferblat, Liverpool

The temptation may be to see how many cakes you can demolish in five minutes, but the founders of Ziferblat are hoping that their relaxing, creative, homely space will encourage you to linger for a little longer…

Update 2019: Ziferblat has now closed at the Albert Dock, but there is still a Ziberflat cafe in St. Paul’s Square.

The intriguing juxtaposition of old and new architecture

Just as I found in Bucharest during a recent trip to Romania, Liverpool contains countless examples of the juxtaposition of its historic buildings of varying architectural styles and its innovative modern creations.

These are just a few examples I found in the city.


The Cathedrals – yes there are two!

Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral is Britain’s largest church and also the world’s largest Anglican cathedral.  It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, a Gothic revival architect whose other work includes London’s beautiful St. Pancras Station, and – oddly enough – the iconic red phone boxes you’ll find throughout the UK.

We didn’t have time to go inside on this occasion, but I can thoroughly recommend a climb to the top of its 101-metre-high tower for some fantastic panoramic views of the city.

Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool

Liverpool’s ‘other’ cathedral is the love-it-or-hate-it-style modern creation you’ll find next to the main John Moore’s University building – the Metropolitan Cathedral.  I think I’m leaning more towards the “hate it” side of the dividing line, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.


Discover the city’s Street Art

As well as some more off-beat destinations around the world, incredible street art can be found in abundance throughout Britain’s great cities.  One of the things I love about making street art discoveries in a new town or city is that they are just that – discoveries. You won’t find them listed in guide books or on maps; you have no idea where they will appear, until they do.

I couldn’t even pinpoint the exact street on which I discovered these.  All I can tell you is that if you walk from the Tune Hotel to the Superlambanana (more on that in a minute!), following the shortest route on Google Maps, you’ll pass them both.

Street Art, Liverpool

The Superlambanana!

If you love quirky artwork, you’ll want to hunt out the Superlambanana.  Weighing almost eight tons and standing 17-feet tall, this giant yellow sculpture is supposed to be – as the name suggests – a cross between a lamb and a banana.  It was designed by Manhattan-based Japanese artist Taro Chiezo.


I actually found out about this bizarre creation via a blog post, which stated that it was located outside John Moore’s University.  I duly tapped John Moore’s University into Google Maps and set off in search of the Superlambanana.  After wandering the grounds for far longer than Stu was prepared to tolerate, I admitted defeat and returned to the centre of Liverpool disappointed.

Determined not to give up on my quest I asked my Facebook friends if any of them knew its whereabouts, and fortunately my old university friend, Diane came to my rescue.  You’ll actually find the Superlambanana at 79 Tithebarn Street outside the Avril Robart’s library building – part of John Moore’s University and a 20-minute walk from the main building.

The Chinese Arch

This immense, beautifully-crafted traditional Chinese Arch (which is actually the largest Chinese Arch outside China) marks the entrance to Liverpool’s Chinatown – home to the oldest Chinese Community in Europe.  It was imported from Shanghai and then reconstructed by craftsmen from China.

The arch features 200 dragons and a mixture of stunning red, gold, green, blue, and yellow colours, which shimmer under the glow of the warm summer sun.


The Baltic Triangle

Just a 10-minute walk from the city centre, The Baltic Triangle is Liverpool’s old industrial district, and as a result is filled with grade II listed warehouses and impressive red brick architecture.  It’s an area that 40% of the world’s trade passed through in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Nowadays The Baltic Triangle  is undergoing a surge of redevelopment.  It’s a place where Liverpool’s creative crowd rub shoulders with each other, and is home to some of the city’s best bars and clubs.


Camp and Furnace is regarded by many as Liverpool’s finest bar and event space.  Opened in 2012, the Camp and Furnace is a former warehouse that hosts mini festivals and is also home to photographic and film studios.  You’ll also find a snug with a roaring fire and real-ale bar. Plus there’s food served from the on-site kitchen.

Eat on Bold Street

Reminiscent of Calle Cava Baja in Madrid, Bold Street is an entire street dedicated to top quality cafes and restaurants.  It’s located just a short walk from anything in the city centre and is THE place to come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner during your weekend in Liverpool.

We loved Leaf for breakfast (but be prepared to queue) and Mowgli for some Indian Street Food in the evening.  It’s the first time I’ve ever tried cheese on toast cooked Himalayan style!


Spanish Tapas at Salt House Tapas

Located at the point where Liverpool’s shopping district meets (one of) its nightlife hubs, Salt House Tapas serves some tasty tapas and delicious cocktails in one of Liverpool’s most beautiful historic buildings.


Breakfast at Moose Cafe

You may be noticing a bit of a theme here!  You wouldn’t think it to look at me but I love my food – especially when it’s lashings of smoked salmon, creamy scrambled egg and ripe avocado. I didn’t get a photo because I’d already demolished half of it by the time I thought about taking one.

We were lucky enough to snag the one remaining table outside when we rocked up for breakfast, but everyone who arrived after us was being turned away.  Make sure you turn up early (Moose Coffee opens at 8am Mon-Sat or at 9am on a Sunday) to be guaranteed a table.

Check out the nightlife

During our weekend in Liverpool we only made it to two bars, but I can definitely recommend Brew Dog (if you like your ale) and Motel for cocktails and beats.

We also tried to check out the mysterious (due to its rather innocuous exterior and closed curtains) Berry and Rye – reportedly the smallest bar in Liverpool with great cocktails and even better live music offerings.

However the rather intimidating bouncer who appeared at the doorway as we were trying to peer through the curtains clearly didn’t like the look of us and declared that the place was full.  I’d love to know what it’s like inside; let me know if any of you manage to gain entry!

Weekend in Liverpool | Where to Stay

I’ve visited Liverpool twice now and both times I’ve stayed at The Tune Hotel.  It’s nothing fancy, but the rooms are modern and clean and, considering the hotel’s fantastic central location, represent incredible value for money.

It also happens to be located along the same street or literally around the corner from three of my favourite restaurants, and is only a 10-minute walk from the bars and restaurants of Bold Street.

And tell me, what should I put on the itinerary for my next weekend in Liverpool?

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A Perfect Summery Weekend in LiverpoolA perfect Summery Weekend in Liverpool

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  • Reply Claire August 24, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    I have never considered Liverpool as a weekend destination, I’m ashamed to say. But there seems like there’s loads to see and do! I just wish it wasn’t so far from where I live. Your beautiful pics and words certainly do it justice!

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 24, 2016 at 7:42 PM

      Fortunately I live in the middle of England, which makes a lot of places reasonably accessible to me. Liverpool’s definitely one of my favourites though 🙂

  • Reply Bryony Clapperton (travelsandmore) August 25, 2016 at 7:27 PM

    What an amazing post. I’ve lived in Liverpool for the last 4 years and you really have captured the city perfectly. All my fave spots feature on this list and I’m so glad you got to check out the Baltic Triangle. Great post, I’d love to share this if you don’t mind. 🙂

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 25, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      Of course, I’d love you to share it! I’m really pleased you enjoyed it 🙂 I actually love reading posts about my hometown because I find it really interesting to find out how people view it from a tourist/traveller’s perspective.

  • Reply Flo August 27, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Wow! Who would have known there was a UNESCO world heritage site in Liverpool? Your trip really goes to show that you don’t have to travel far in order to travel and explore. Thanks for sharing all these recommendations and beautiful photos!

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 27, 2016 at 8:29 AM

      England’s full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites 🙂 And yes I sometimes forget just how many incredible places there are to explore in my home country, I’m usually too busy jumping on a plane at every available opportunity!

  • Reply Cliodhna (yournextbigtrip) August 27, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    I visited a friend in Liverpool before and now realise I didn’t see half of it! I’m on the lookout for some small trips to take now that I’m back home in Ireland and I think a return to Liverpool is definitely on the cards!
    Cliodhna (yournextbigtrip) recently posted…Victoria Falls: making the most of your tripMy Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 27, 2016 at 9:30 AM

      A lot of the time you don’t tend to when you’re visiting friends, because you’re there to see them rather than the sights! It’s a difficult balance :-/

  • Reply Punita Malhotra August 27, 2016 at 10:57 AM

    Very engaging post. Pictures are great too..give a real feel for the atmosphere

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 27, 2016 at 2:50 PM

      Thanks Punita! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply Soraya August 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    I think it’s really fantastic that you took the time to explore your home country. I find so many people don’t explore their own home country. Most of the time they’d rather go overseas. It looks like you had a fantastic weekend away – that Chinese arch…the old buildings…. the street art all looks incredible. Will pin this!
    Soraya recently posted…LaZat Cooking Class – Exploring the Malaysian Culture through FoodMy Profile

    • Reply Kiara Gallop August 27, 2016 at 2:49 PM

      Thank you so much! I must admit that I’m often guilty of jumping on a plane at every available opportunity, because a lot of the time plane tickets to Europe are cheaper than train travel in England, and accommodation on the continent can be a lot cheaper too. But I’m very glad that on this occasion I decided to explore closer to home 🙂 We couldn’t have asked for better weather too!

  • Reply Lucy September 1, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    Lovely photos! I did a whistlestop one-nighter in Liverpool a few years back and you’ve reminded me how much I missed out on, must make it back sometime and see a bit more.

    • Reply Kiara Gallop September 1, 2016 at 6:19 PM

      Thanks Lucy 🙂 Likewise I still haven’t gotten around to seeing anything Beatles-related in Liverpool (Beatles Museum and Cavern Club) despite that being my second (or third?) visit. That’s the beauty of cities – there’s always something new to see and do 🙂

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