I stopped by Liverpool on my way back to London when I visited the Lake District in England. I have written about Our Awakening to Beauty earlier but to be honest, I have yet to truly explore the Lake District National Park as it covers sixteen lakes with Windemere being the largest (and I just stayed only at Windermere). Still, it’s already a lot to cover from Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, to Haverthwaite.
Anyway, I decided to stop by Liverpool on my way back to London because the city is known for many things from the Beatles, the Football club, and its strong tie with the Titanic for being one of the 10 major ports of Britain. Luckily, Liverpool is very compact that one could easily get around and explore on foot – and that’s what I did since I only had about an afternoon between trains and I am capturing a few highlights of the city in this post. Please comment and share with us your tips and experience!
Liverpool Lime Street is the main train station in Liverpool, and so if you are visiting Liverpool by train, you will probably get off here. While Britain’s old train network and infrastructure) have been notorious and an upgrade is badly needed, the Liverpool-Manchester railway was the very first in England that connected two cities and was built by George Stephenson (the Father of the Railways) in 1830. The Lime Street station was opened in August 1836, and it is actually the oldest still-operating grand terminus mainline station in the world!
There, I saw a couple of the city’s landmarks right outside of the station. The Saint George’s Hall is a lavishly appointed civic facility with a cafe, a heritage center, and function rooms for events. The World Museum, Central Library, and Walker Art Gallery nearby are a grand European-style cluster of art and history. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to walk through the World Museum at that time because it has 5 floors of interactive and educational exhibits on natural history, science, and world culture, including a planetarium. On the other side of the road stands Saint John’s Beacon, it is an eye-catching 138-meters-high observation tower with 360-degree views of the city. Clayton Square is a vibrant shopping area with a damned glass ceiling. There are quite a few LFC Official Club Stores in the city and you don’t want to miss it if you are their fan. The flagship LFC Store is located in Liverpool along South John Street, where it offers a full range of official Liverpool FC merchandise from T-shirts, teddies, mugs and glasses, books, stationery, and a number of other keepsakes and souvenirs.
Instead of staying in the shopping malls, I headed to my first stop: Liverpool Cathedral. Liverpool doesn’t have one, but two cathedrals that dominate the city’s skyline. Not only that, but Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral is also the largest in Britain and the eighth largest in the world. Once I arrived the cathedral looked really huge; with a height of 101 meters, the cathedral is also one of the world’s tallest non-”spire”d buildings in the city. The construction of the cathedral began in 1904 after Giles Gilbert Scott won an architectural competition for its design. Building work continued until HM Queen Elizabeth II attended a service for its completion some 74 years later in 1978. Despite changes to the original design, the Cathedral is still a truly monumental example of Gothic Revival architecture.
I was amazed by the height of the cathedral as well as the beautiful giant stained glasses that depict different important figures and stories of the bible. If you have more time, take the tower experience to see the world’s largest highest, and heaviest peal of bells at the Bell Chamber and enjoy a breathtaking 360-degree view from the rooftop at 152-meters high. Take a walk in the Saint James’ Garden and visit Saint James’ Mount, The Ramps, Huskisson Monument, the Oratory, and the Spring.
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is another church in Liverpool that could be seen from many places in the city. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool and the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. The church was designed by Frederick Gibbered and was completed in 1962. In contrast, the exterior of this church is built in concrete, Portland stone cladding, and aluminum covering in a modern and futuristic shape.
Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe; Its Chinatown Arch is one of the largest and the most beautifully crafted that I have seen in Europe. The arch is right across the other side of the Liverpool Cathedral, so don’t forget to take a snap of the structure – the arch’s construction materials were imported piece by piece from China, featuring 200 dragons on the wooden top on a marble base.
Royal Albert Dock
The Royal Albert Dock is my favorite space in Liverpool, it’s a mix of modern apartments, warehouses, historic architecture, museums, and Wheel of Liverpool. To me, it’s the most beautiful waterfront in all English cities. Visitors could definitely spend at least a day or two exploring the numerous landmarks and monuments in the area. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time that day and so I only get to visit a few places and get a taste of what the Dock has to offer.
Located along the bank of the River Mersey, Royal Albert dock, originally just called the “Albert Dock”, was designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick and was opened in 1846. Not only was it aesthetically pleasing, but it was also the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world that was built from cast iron, brick, and stone. Since its opening, the dock served as a modern, pioneering facility and played an important role in terms of the country’s exports and trade. Today, it’s a recreational space with all sorts of dining and entertainment experiences, from Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the M&S Bank Arena to Malmaison Liverpool.
The dock is merely a 20-minute walk away from the Liverpool Lime Street Station. The city’s seafaring heritage is brought to life. The museum’s collections reflect the international importance of Liverpool as a gateway to the world, including its role in the transatlantic slave trade and emigration, the merchant navy, and the RMS Titanic.
Merseyside Maritime Museum
The museum is a good place to learn all about the origin of the Titanic. RMS Titanic was a Liverpool ship. The Titanic was built by the White Star Line when Liverpool was at the height of its prosperity. She was born out of Liverpool’s position at the center of global shipping. Decisions made by the White Star Line in the city would affect the lives of those onboard forever. Liverpool people had strong links with Titanic as officers, crew, passengers, White Star employees, and suppliers. They would play key roles in the ship’s tragic story.
The museum showcases photos and models of its shipbuilding history, from the famous Titanic, and extends to Empress of Ireland and the maritime development in Liverpool. Walk over to the end of the promenade and view the giant granite Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic, which is dedicated to the 244 engineers who lost their lives in the disaster as they remained on the ship supplying the much-needed power for as long as possible.
Tate Liverpool & Museum of Liverpool
To learn a little bit about the history of the city, head to the Museum of Liverpool. While the museum showcases pictures and information about the city’s development and culture, I was rather drawn to the sleek and modern design. The white and box-shaped building is the newest addition to the National Museums Liverpool group. It was opened in 2011 and stands as a city’s landmark.
The Beatles Story and Liverpool Beatles Museum
The Beatles, the legendary English Rock Band, was formed in Liverpool in 1960. They are without a doubt the most influential band of all time. There is no way that you don’t know a few of their songs like Hey Jude, Let it Be, Don’t Let Me Down, Come Together, Twist and Shout… the list goes on and on.
Through the tragedy and upheavals, their music has left behind a legacy that is known to many generations.
For those who are interested to get to know more about their music and stories, The Beatles Story is an award-winning and world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the lives and times of the Beatles.