On our Summer expedition around the UK, we ended our adventure in Liverpool for two nights / 3 days. What we once experienced as an average city break 15 years ago, turned into being blown away with the city’s transformation. So, what can you do with around 54 hours in this amazing place?
Our Liverpool Trip Report
It was the last two days of our holiday and we’d taken the previous 14 days at a relatively low pace. Heading over to Liverpool was going to be a much more packed experience. Our 2 days had been partially gifted by VisitLiverpool.com, which helped form the backbone to the trip. We’ve written individual posts about elements of the trip and disclosed where they were gifted.
Arriving in a new place is confusing and can be stressful. Following the SatNav and working out when you can trust it and what to do where the roadworks have closed off the route. We arrived from the South of the city heading in though the Queensway Tunnel, which put us right into the centre of Liverpool. But also a road that I needed to cross what seemed like 6 lanes of traffic to turn right towards our accommodation for the night.
Our first destination was the Stay City Liverpool, Waterfront. With an underground carpark just around the corner, we thought it would be ideal for the car. However, the car park had a height limit of 6′ 6″ (1750mm). As we had a roof box on top of our car I really didn’t want to risk taking out all the pipework of the building above it. So we drove down to the corner and spotted parking for Liverpool One. Which had a higher limit on vehicles and easily took a Nissan Note with a roof box.
We walked back from the car park towards the Apartment and passed through Liverpool One. This wasn’t here when we came last time and the logistics of it baffled us. I believe it was pulled together by building on top of an existing shopping street to create an open-air mall experience. Both Catherine and I was amazed and there were parts that looked like Disney Springs in Florida. Beyond the shopping, it seemed to have a bustling feel, that made it a destination to go.
A hill of fake grass seemed to be the place to be during the day. Whenever we passed there were people sitting and enjoying busking Piano players, while people watching. For a first impression, we loved it and the kids were happy too. The thought of not driving places for a while and spending money brightened them up.
Liverpool One, besides the shops, has loads of restaurants and Leisure activities. On the upper layers, they have an Odeon cinema, alongside many chain restaurants including Pizza Hut, Nandos and Turtle Bay. Given more time we’d have explored this area more, but unfortunately today we were passing through to drop off our cases.
So, We quickly checked in a ditched our cases.
As we walked down to the waterfront, we saw our first glimpse of the amazing buildings lining the front. I whipped out the camera and started to photograph what I thought was an important building. A passing local then informed us we were photographing the exhaust vent tower for one of the tunnels under the Mersey. Technically it was important, but not what I thought it was.
The British Music Experience
Without wasting any time we headed straight back out to our first Museum experience of the weekend.
The British Music Experience guides you through the history of British Music. Starting before the Beatles (Yes I have to mention them) and Cliff Richard, you find out what the band’s influences were and how they progressed. As the decades move on the style of music we followed did to. It is likely that no matter what your age you’re going to find a genre that you know or still listen to.
We spent a bit more time in the Indie music zone, looking at The Stone Roses, Oasis and The Verve. Obviously, our young kids weren’t aware of most of these bands, although Abigail had been to see “Yesterday” 2 weeks earlier. Spotting the Spice Girls lifted them up a little bit, which was alongside an X-Factor section.
After all the History there is a hands-on zone so you can try out guitars or an electric drum kit.
We had the audio guide included with our entry, which went into a lot of detail, where you could tour the experience by just reading the displays.
Next up was the Tate Liverpool, which is located in the Royal Albert Docks. A contemporary art gallery, which is free to visit (mostly), although there are usually special exhibitions that are paid entry. The main thing we were visiting for was a free exhibition called Op Art which displayed a range of optical illusion art in swirling patterns giving the impression of movement. We felt a little dizzy at times.
The Royal Albert Docks
The Docks have been totally transformed since our last visit. Firstly they’ve been given “Royal” status, but secondly, it is full of activity. It appears that every unit is occupied with shops, bars, restaurants, and experiences. There is an Escape Room, Slavery Museum, The Beatles Story and the Tate.
There is no sign of the old weather Map that floated in the Docks for This Morning. However, there was a floating inflatable course and Big Screen cinema on the water this summer.
For Dinner tonight we’d planned on going to a Pirate themed restaurant called Smugglers Cove. When I say planned, we mentally planned it, not actually booked a table, which was a big mistake. As the weather was still on the back end of our heatwave, everyone was out for the night. Friday night, Sunshine and a cool location to hang out with friends and family made it the place to be. As we walked up just before 6 pm the earliest table we could get was 9:20 pm.
There are many other restaurants, including Tapas, Thai, Fish and Burger places, but we let the kids choose. Which meant we walked passed them all and ended back in Liverpool One at Bill’s Restaurant. (<- Restaurant review)
After a day of travelling, we headed back to the StayCity Apartments to chill out with a bottle of wine. Bizarrely we settled down to Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse on a fishing trip. Not usually our sort of thing but it had us properly laughing.
The kids were happy to just flop onto their beds and play with the endless wifi streaming until it was sleep time.
Day Two –
Day two started with a new cooking experience at breakfast. StayCity had these amazing automated pancake cookers. More photos in our main review, but I think it’s the new must-have at a hotel now!
The Beatles Story Early Morning.
Our schedule called for us to be at the Beatles Story for 10am. An ideal time in terms of volume of people passing through it (ie before the crowds). A little early for us as we needed to check out, load the car and get to the Royal Albert Docks for then.
The exhibition is self-guided, but lead by audio headsets. Unlike the British Music Experience where the headset was optional, this was the main backbone of the tour. Literally as soon as you pick the headsets up, you’re ready to start learning. It was very immersive as you walked and entered different stages of the Beatles lives.
However, the weirdest part of it was how silent the venue was. I took my headphones off for a minute and everybody was quiet. Nobody was discussing the “scenes”, just absorbing the details. It was an eye-opening tour that covered the few years the Beatles were together and their impact on the world.
The Beatles Story (<- More detailed review)
Ferry across the Mersey.
The Mersey is a hive of activity, much wider than I thought it would be. A little distance from the ferry terminal were cruise ships lining up & there were some mighty snazzy ones! As we jumped on the ferry the Gerry & the Pacemakers classic blasted out which was a nice touch. Some audio commentary was provided which gave some insight into the history of the river & the industry which dominated it. It was a little hard to tune in at times over the noise of the passengers as the ferry was super busy!
Rudy’s Pizza on Castle Street
We’d been tipped off that this was the newest place to get the best pizza in Liverpool. We can confirm that it was delicious and provided a lovely rest from our sight seeing tour.
The Crown Plaza Liverpool – John Lennon Airport
Our hotel for tonight was a little out of the town centre in an area called Speke. We chose this hotel as it looked interesting. The building was previously the main Liverpool Airport and you get the feel of the Art Deco aviation style. There was even a selection of aeroplanes to look at on the back of the hotel (airside). There was no need to pass the security of customs though.
The hotel is located in an area that has a few leisure facilities nearby, including a cinema. But our main target was a neighbouring All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet. Dinner sorted!
Junkyard Golf Club – Liverpool One
We concluded our super busy weekend at Liverpool with a round of Junkyard Golf back at the Liverpool One leisure complex. Although we are pretty rubbish at golf we really enjoyed our Bozo clown themed course & who can argue with a cocktail laden with pic n mix sweeties.
Junkyard Golf Review (<- More detailed review)
We had a fantastic 48 hours in Liverpool exploring the city. From museums, crazy golf, ferry trips & music exhibitions we certainly packed in a full & busy trip! We quite fancy a child-free trip in the future to sample the nightlife!
Thanks to Visit Liverpool for the hotel accommodation at Stay City & organising a fantastic itinerary for us. As a note, we paid for our evening at Crown Plaza & all of our own meals & drinks in the city. Some museum exhibitions were free of charge.