48 Hours in Liverpool, England
Can you hear that? It's the sounds of 1,000s of screaming fans still echoing the streets The Beatles once haunted in Liverpool. A larger than life statue stands, nodding to the city's most famous band of all time. It was so wonderful to walk the same streets where Paul, John, George, and Ringo grew up, but Liverpool is so much more than that. Rich in history, museums, quirks, and a wonderful night life. Here's my full travel guide to Liverpool, England and how to spend 48 hours exploring this fair city.
I'm going to make a bold statement, one that you probably have not heard before. Liverpool reminds me an awful lot of one of my other favorite cities… Nashville. I'll explain why at the end of this post, but read all the way through and maybe you can guess why!
48 Hours in Liverpool, England
Below you can find a map of all the places discussed in this post:
How to get there:
You can find so many cheap flights (here's my guide on finding the cheapest!) to England, espeically once you're in Europe. If flying in, you'll fly into Manchester, then take the train to Liverpool Lime Street. They come about every 10-20 minutes and some are direct, while others will have a change at Manchester Piccadilly.
There is an airport in Liverpool (John Lennon Airport) but it's not quite as big as Manchester's, so you'll find cheaper flights there.
What to pack:
England is known for being rainy, so don't forget your rain coat! (This pink one is one of my favorites). They also sell “brollies” – their word for umbrellas around town for a euro or two. You'll be doing a lot of walking, so bring some tennis shoes or shoes you can walk around in easily. Liverpool has a fun nightlife, so bring some clothes that you want to wear to go out. It's a little less dressy than Manchester so jeans and a nice top works just fine. You'll also want to ride the Ferry to see the city from the water, and it can get a little chilly. Bring a light jacket during warmer months or a coat during the cooler ones.
Where to stay:
This is the view from the gorgeous Hope Street Hotel. I absolutely adored this hotel. They had a great breakfast and delicious dinner as well. It's in a great area, as you can see the two cathedrals on either side, and of course this lovely view that stretches all the way across the city. It's walking distance to everything we saw and did so it was perfect. I could even see the school where Paul and George attended out my window! You can book it here.
Start your day with visiting Liverpool's famous “Superlambanana” sculpture. You'll see them all over the city, but the first and main one is standing 17 feet tall on Tithebarn Street (full address: 79 Tithebarn St, Liverpool L2 2ER, UK). This is a big symbol in Liverpool and you'll see the mini versions everywhere.
From here, you can walk down the street and head to the water. On the way, you'll see some lovely buildings. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of Liverpool. It's an extremely clean city. I know many friends who really prize that, so thought I had to share! The city was buzzing with shops, restaurants, and people.
We made our way down towards the Pier Head and saw the “Three Graces” the lovely buildings of Liverpool with are The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.
Then, we had to stop and meet up with The Beatles.
After that, we grabbed some warm drinks for our ride at the Fab4 Cafe. Something to note, this city is priced really well. Coffee cost around 2 euro. They most definitely could have charged more, this is the heart of the city, by their most famous buildings and sites. But it was fair pricing! This is something I really look for when traveling and was totally keen on that.
Then it was time we boarded the Ferry to get a picturesque view of the Liverpool skyline. It was a great little tour, since it gave us a brief history of the city. As we went past the buildings and learned more about Liverpool's culture the famous song, “Ferry Cross the Mersey” was played. A song about the river itself.
If you're feeling up to it, you can even take a boat ride all the way down to Manchester! If you're the sea-faring type this would be such a fun experience.
After the ride it was time to hit up some museums. I love museums. I feel like it's the absolute best way to get to know a city. We started with the British Music Experience which I LOVED. It's a brand new museum in Liverpool and we were greeted by a hologram of Boy George! You guys… I didn't know holograms were so cool until I saw one in real life. It felt like Boy George was in the room. The museum takes you through the decades from 1945 to the present of British music (and some American music too). There were outfits and memorabilia from the likes of The Rolling Stones to The Spice Girls. You can also play some instruments while you're there. They have guitars and synthesizers that walk you through your first (or more advanced) lesson.
We didn't do this but some other museums to check out are the Museum of Liverpool – for a history of the city, Tate – for modern art, Merseyside Maritime Museum (free!) – to learn about the life at sea and the making of the Titanic, lastly the International Slavery Museum – is a moving museum on the history of it's enslaved people. Liverpool actually plays a huge roll in the making of the Titanic and so much more history, I'll have to go back to explore.
We needed a break from running around, so our host and Liverpool expert, Helen of Helen in Wonderlust, brought us to Dockland's World Famous Fish and Chips. A very traditional British meal, this one came with something I never tried before, mushy peas. Weird name, but I loved it. The restaurant was on The Albert Dock. This is a lovely place to sit and relax and enjoy our food. I was joined by the awesome Andrea of Volo Gratis, the top travel blog in Italy!
Albert Dock is now a UNESCO world heritage site and now houses many museums and shops. In fact 6 areas in Liverpool are UNESECO world heritage sites, since it contributed to the growth of the British Empire.
With full stomachs is was time for The Beatles Story Museum. To say I was excited for this, is an understatement. As a lifelong Beatles fan, I knew this was going to be good. But really, this is one of the best museums I've been to. If you've ever been to London, the Churchill War Rooms are fantastic, because you feel like you're walking through time, getting to be exactly where Churchill was. The same can be said of The Beatles Story. They recreated things like the club they played in. It's an introspective look inside their life and the people and places that shaped them.
Like a true fan, I grabbed a sweatshirt with The Beatles on it to commemorate my time.
As we walked back, we strolled through Liverpool One, the main shopping hub of the city. Then we headed over to Mathew Street which is the official “birthplace” of the Beatles. The Beatles played here at the Cavern Club no less than 295 times. You'll find signs of the Beatles all over Liverpool. Like Ringo on the side of a building.
After a quick break, we had dinner at the fancy new Pen Factory. This was a great meal for the night. The night before, we ate at London Carriage Works (inside Hope Street hotel). It was delicious, if on the pricey side. The Pen Factory is good for any budget – and appetite. We dined on tapas before heading to the Philharmonic for drinks. Inside, we were instructed to check out the men's restroom. This beautiful marble bathroom is worth a peek inside.
After drinks, we went out to the bars. Liverpool has a vibrant nightlife. Women in Liverpool are affectionately nicknamed “Scouser”. I love the quirks this city has such as nicknames and fun traditions. We went to some bars along Bold and Berry Street. After a hard day's night, it was time for sleep and day two!
We woke up bright and early for a tour of the interesting “tee pee” like Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. It's known as Paddy's Wig Wag because of the bustling Irish community in Liverpool. I loved the stained glass throughout.
After that, we cathedral hopped to Liverpool Cathedral. But not before stopping to snap some pictures in the rain and the pretty colored doors. I love British buildings and their use of color. And it was no different here in Liverpool. Hope Street is so lovely and a great place to take a walk. You'll also find Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, started by Paul McCartney. We stumbled onto a sculpture called A Case of History which had different suitcases in stone modeled after famous British musician's actual luggage.
Despite the weather, we made the trek up to the top of the cathedral for incredible views of Liverpool. It was worth the climb for this.
I loved this cathedral (and it's definitely worth it to pop in) since it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed the most famous symbol of Great Britain: the red telephone box! You can actually see one when you go inside. So his smallest creation is inside his largest.
We also passed “The EveryMan” Theatre which has a reputation for launching many careers. I had no idea that Liverpool was known for so many influences in the arts.
Now, I'm going to tell you why I think Liverpool reminds me of my beloved (once home) Nashville. There were so many fun similarities, I had to share. Maybe the most obvious is the music scene. Just like Nashville is known for country and rock, Liverpool is known for rock and roll. But of course, there are many more. The Philharmonic reminds me so much of The Hermitage, a famous hotel in Nashville, also with a more famous men's restroom. Mathew Street made me feel back in Printer's Alley for drinks or a funky club. Liverpool has it's own version of nightlife, a kind of fun and gritty scene you find similar to East Nashville. Then you have fish and chips and in Nashville we have hot chicken. While these cities are different, it was fun to see how music and culture can influence the vibe. You can see my guide to Nashville here.
I would have loved one more day to check out the city and see the sites, but it's just a reason to go back!
This post was brought to you as a result of the #WelcomeToEngland campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Visit Britain. As always, Helene in Between retains all editorial control of what is published.