Four Beatles, Three Graces and two football teams equals one boss city.
If you missed the memo, we love Liverpool and we happen to know a couple of million people who’d back us up on that. From far away and close up, it is beautiful; our buildings, our views, our food and drink and most importantly, our people. Liverpool is a shifting outpost of defiance and determination, it is a story telling city, a proud city and one you must visit.
Everywhere you go, Liverpool is a city that puts on a show. From grand Georgian and Victorian buildings to striking modern architecture, it looks good in any light. The Three Graces (The Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool building) are famous the world over and make an imposing riverside trio and don’t forget if you want a cathedral, we’ve got one to spare – head to the top of the Anglican cathedral you get epic panoramas for days. St. Luke’s stands beautifully battered at the top of Bold Street as a testament to those who died in The Blitz but also as a testament to the spirit of the city. Then there’s the river Mersey, the perfect twinkling, rippling backdrop to any city selfie.
Massive open green spaces, lakes, woods, Victorian palm houses, our parks have it all. They are more than a place to give the dog a run, they are built for sunny picnics, chilling out, working out, first dates and summer lates. In easy reach from the city centre you’ve got Sefton, a park up there with the best and right next to bustling Lark Lane, don’t miss the stunning Victorian Palm House and the fairy glen. South of the city Calderstones is equally has lovely formal gardens to wander, and if you head north you can wander around the football-famous Stanley Park. Explore our open spaces here.
THE OUTDOOR EATING
Liverpool doesn’t just adapt to a challenge – it revels in it. Pavements have turned into cafes and roads into restaurants as the city has risen to recent challenges by taking the party outside. Foodie hotspots Bold Street and Castle Street have been pedestrianised and are looking like an alfresco eating dream. Think Mexican feasts in the sun, lazy tapas lunches, pavement pizza and Indian Street Food where it belongs.
THE STREET ART
And if you’re lucky enough you’ll be dining near some of the city’s amazing street art. If not there are some big hitters worth seeking out. The Baltic Triangle has more than it’s fair share with Paul Curtis’s famous Liver Bird Wings (recently visited by the Duchess of Cornwall…) Aske’s massive Jurgen Klopp and a Beatles inspired piece by Dave Bonzai. Elsewhere look out for Brighton graffiti artist Dotmaster who brought his rude kids to the yard and has dotted them around the city centre and A Case History on Hope Street.
George Harrison described the people of Liverpool as “the kind of people who go out on a Monday evening and couldn’t care less about a Tuesday morning”. Luckily, we aren’t short of places to either drown our spirits or celebrate after a results day to satisfy the hedonist in you. Whether it be the dying breed of pubs such as The Caledonia and Peter Kavanagh or the speakeasy feel of Salt Dogs where beer is drunk by the stein and Germany meets America with Scouse nipple tassels. Who could forget Bongo’s Bingo – the alternative bingo that has taken the world by storm. Head to Seel Street if you’re out for the night and thank us later. Just don’t blame us if you end up dancing on tables and texting ex’s… that’ll be the tequila.
Exhibitions, shows, concerts, sporting events, festivals, club nights, happenings of every nature from small and intimate to grand and spectacular. Liverpool is a city full of great people with some even better things to do. Every month there’s something big to do and a couple things you can’t miss. Just a few of these include LightNight, Sound City, Liverpool Sound City, Africa Oye, Liverpool International Music Festival, Liverpool Food & Drink Festival and more.
Lazy stereotypes will have you thinking we all have chips on our shoulders and blue on our collars. But there are some stereotypes we don’t mind and being home to the funniest and friendliest people you’ll ever meet is something Liverpool is famous for. Everyone is a comedian in Liverpool, but cards on the table, quality does vary. It’s the kind of place you meet your new best friend in the toilet queue, philosophise with your taxi driver and say hello to people with the huge plot twist of not actually knowing them from Adam. We’ve got an accent and vocabulary all of our own, so while you might at first find it hard to understand a word we say, we guarantee you’ll end up loving us.
The Coffee Shops
Society runs on two things; gas and coffee and if you’re unlucky, one can taste remarkably similar to the other. Liverpool’s productivity runs largely on a good cup of joe and luckily there are plenty of idyllic venues to drink an Americano or a flat white, some local roasts well worth trying out and the best baristas in the land. Bold Street Coffee is a local favourite and sets the benchmark high and places like 92 Degrees Coffee and Cow & Co will make you a fastidious coffee drinker for the rest of your days. Here’s a coffee bible of the best in Liverpool.
Liverpool is just like a walkable London, we have all the culture you’d need without the teeming tubes. The Everyman welcomes everyone and they celebrated their 50th birthday a couple of years ago as well as revelling in their recent architectural excellence awards. Their artistic sibling just down the road ‘The Playhouse’ is enriched in deep history and is famous for showcasing the future famous and legends in their early years. Much smaller theatres such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Unity Theatre and The Epstein might not have the same stature but rival their excitement. No matter how big the stage, how comfy the auditorium and how great the selection of sweets on offer, you aren’t shy of places to enjoy plays, pantomimes or musicals. The crowd might be bellowing that he’s behind you but truth be told, Liverpool is far ahead.
Believe it or not, Liverpool’s musical talent stretches further than the Fab Four. The Beatles are a product of Liverpool, not the other way round and with acts like Clean Cut Kid, Billy Ryder-Jones, Tea Street Band, CamelPhat and Paris Youth Foundation keeping the creative fires burning, it’s business as usual. It’s the kind of city where buskers can halt you in your haste and a guy tickling the ivories on the pop-up-pianos in town can go viral. There are brilliant blogs and publications around the city from BidoLito! and GetIntoThis that keep you up to date on the up and comers. Yearly festivals from Sound City and Liverpool International Music Festival don’t just provide a stage for the now, they inspire the next. And if you’re into the Fab Four there’s loads of tours and museum exhibits dedicated to them across the city.
The Food Scene
Liverpool is a city where you can transport your taste buds all over the world on one street. From Mexican and Lebanese small plates to the best sushi and Indian street food, whatever you’re into, we’ve got it. The restaurant scene here is run on equal amounts of skill and passion, your head will be turned by sizzling plates, bustling food markets, stylish fine dining, legendary Sunday roasts and even our kebab shops are award-winning. And ignore our suburban hubs at your peril, you’ll find some of the finest bites in town on Lark Lane and Allerton Road in the South and Crosby and Waterloo in the North.
One quick Wikipedia and you’ll discover that Liverpool was responsible for most of the modern world. We’ve always been known for our defiance, our innovation and our spirit. From pioneers of transit to the Hillsborough injustice, we constantly remind people not to underestimate us. From Capital of Culture to a more unofficial status of capital of kindness, people here have always shuffled their feet to the tune of The Mersey Beat. The once thriving port might not be the same but our willingness to adapt is. We’ve been described as The New York of Europe and the second city of the empire and let’s not forget we created Scouse, which is basically a bowl of warm, gravy coloured heaven.
Photo by Bev Goodwin
The statistics tell a sorry tale, approximately 30 pubs close every week in the UK, which means locals across the country are getting further away. But the Liverpool beer scene continues to weather the storm and is proudly alive and kicking, as is the city’s long history of quality brewing. Liverpool is full of grand, quirky and atmospheric boozers many of them serving really great craft offerings brewed in and around the city. And never underestimate the power of a pint, whether it’s icy cold in a sunny beer garden or dark and brooding next to a crackling fire. We’ve navigated through the hops headquarters and have created a beer compendium of 12 venues worth checking out. Read it here.
BBC Culture viewers announced Liverpool’s Central Library to be one of the ten most beautiful libraries in the world a couple of years ago, making the visit all the more poignant. The library is located in several adjoining historic buildings on the city’s historic William Brown Street. The building boasts over 4 million items with everything from documents to books to be discovered. Its sheer beauty can’t be articulated with mere words, you’ll have to go see it for yourself.
The Outdoor Spaces To Drink
Despite the lack of presence of the sun over in the good old United Kingdom, when the sun is out it illuminates beer gardens that almost feel covered in darkness the remainder of the year. If there’s anything better than blowing the dust off your shorts, heading to a beer garden with your friends and having a few drinks, we’re yet to experience it. Those nights that start with “shall we just go for one?” and end up being anything but. Catch our guide to the best places to drink outdoors here and always remember; drink responsibly with irresponsible people.
Photo by Marketing Liverpool
THE FILM SETS
Liverpool’s architecture is so special it’s caught the eye of many a location scout. The stunning waterfront, the imposing architecture, atmospheric docks and lovely squares have starred in blockbusters for decades. Often a double for New York the city has recently featured in Peaky Blinders, 51st State, Captain America, Harry Potter and loads more.
Former European capital of culture, home to a famous biennial, the only national museums group outside of London, museums and galleries here are kind of a big deal. From the old masters at the Walker to modern works at the Tate, from Egyptian artefacts at the World Museum to mind-blowing digital exhibitions at FACT, whatever you’re into we’ve got it all – and most of it is totally free. If you’re feeling brave, try our 24 hour art mega tour here.
THE PLACES TO STAY
Hope Street Hotel offers luxurious penthouse city views, you can get a taste of the Titanic at 30 James Street, relax in cosy boutique chic at Lock and Key, kick back in a former gentleman’s club at the Racquet Hotel and hang out with LFC legends at the Shankly Hotel. And wherever you lay your head here, the welcome is guaranteed to be warm.
Liverpool’s stunning waterfront and amazing architecture . It often attracts the eye of location scouts for the biggest blockbusting movies and has done so for over three decades. The striking city streets and buildings have been used as backdrops in Peaky Blinders, 51st State, Captain America, Harry Potter and so much more.
Liverpool is a city full of people creating stories and people telling them. One of those most notable stories is that of Granby. It’s a story that defines the very resilience Liverpool has become famous for. A story about community. A story about the power of the people. A story of how a neglected wasteland went on to win the prestigious community regeneration Turner Prize. A true Liverpool story. Read it in full here, it’s just one chapter in this city’s book.
The Dog Friendly Venues
We at Independent Liverpool are fond of dogs. And when we say fond, we mean we prefer them to most people. It is true what they say, dog is a man’s best friend and there are more and more places that you can take your pooch with you while you grab a coffee, get brunch or dine out. From pubs to food markets, cafés to bistros, Liverpool is a city that welcomes four-legged friends with open paws. If you’re like us and aren’t lucky enough to own a dog, these are the perfect hang-outs to go and give dog owners the “I don’t have a dog myself so can I pet yours and pretend it’s mine unless it does a poo and it’s definitely your responsibility again?” look that we all know and use. So when you visit us with your best fluffy mate, here’s a guide on where to take them. Guide here.
A couple of years ago Liverpool was named the third best place to visit by Rough Guide and in the same week we found out Liverpool had rocketed from 42nd to the 11th most popular destination in the UK, attracting more than 3x the people it once did. There was a time when Liverpool was down and out, the port ran dry, the yellow duck marine had sunk and our resilience was slowly dwindling but just like a perfect story, the underdog fought back and now we’re on the cusp of a full blown cultural renaissance. We have the Biennial, The Baltic Triangle, The Fabric District, The North Docks, more independents opening than ever and each and every day we’re making more and more history. Come and be a part of it.
Liverpool has an intoxicating buzz, one which even a global pandemic can’t suppress. It’s a unique, surprising and exciting place to be and there’s no amount of words or oddly numbered lists we could write that can sum it up. Best just come and see it for yourself. We have sneaky suspicion you’ll like it.
The Hidden Gems
Every city has secrets. Hidden away from the shiny prime real estate, tucked down little alleys you’d never think to venture down, with no signs, no directions and not a drop of help from Google Maps. Amid the city’s independent explosion, there are still a few favourite places not known to the masses. So it’s with great conflict we share these hidden gems, but deep down we know it’s for the greater good. Below is 69a, a beautiful antique shop full of curios and Murdoch, the house ginger cat – explore more of our favourite spots here. More hidden gems here.
The Salt & Pepper
In this city it’s more than a seasoning; it’s a way of life. What is it that is so good about salt and pepper covered things? Life is all about the yin and yang, the sweet and sour, the Pina and the colada. It’s the perfect blend of spice, sweet and salty and although one portion of salt and pepper siu mai’s might dehydrate you beyond belief and have you gasping for anything liquid at 4am in the morning – we can’t help but go back for more. Liverpool loves its salt and pepper. Find it showered over fish and chips, sui mai’s, chips, chicken, char sui, halloumi and just about anything that moves.
There’s something special happening in Liverpool, truth be told that intoxicating buzz has always been ubiquitous and there’s no amount of words or oddly numbered lists we could write which would sum it up, you just have to find out yourself. We have a feeling you are going to like it here.
Head to VisitLiverpool to find more ways to Love Your Liverpool.