Pros:Beautiful, clean, friendly city.
Cons:Difficult accent, very tourist oriented.
There are two reasons to go to Liverpool, the Beatles and the Walker. We went for both. We were told repeatedly that Liverpool was an ugly town and you couldn't understand the natives. Ok, you can't understand the natives. The speak a strange cross between a Midland English accent and an Irish accent. My husband, the lifelong Beatles fan) had to translate for me on one or two occasions. They're nice people, but you sometimes have to ask them to repeat themselves s-l-o-w-l-y. But as for the city, it's beautiful. The view out our window at the St George Hotel (which happened to be right across the street from the train station) was stunning. It put London and Dublin to shame. We could see the neoclassical Walker Art Museum, a couple of cathedrals and some wonderful blue water from our cheap hotel window.
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Now, in case you hadn't heard, there was a band called the Beatles who originated in Liverpool and proceeded to change to course of history. If you manage to get to Liverpool without knowing there's no chance you leave without knowing (unless you spend your entire stay sick in the hotel with the curtains drawn.) The Beatles Museum on the water front is very interesting but don't hurt yourself getting there. They don't have any real 'artifacts,' just charts and a replica of the Cavern Club that turns you out into a gift shop. No, if you only have time for one Beatle related afternoon take the Magical Mystery Tour. Call ahead for tickets, we ended up on a waiting list hoping for no shows in March. The Magical Mystery Tour is run by a couple of guys who went to the Cavern Club before the Beatles were anybody and they take you around town on a bus that's a replica of the Mystery Tour bus. On the tour you'll go to Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, past the Woolton Church where Paul met John, you'll stop at Forthlin Rd to look at Paul's childhood home which is now open to the public as a museum, and at George's childhood home where you'll meet the lady who lives two doors down and her adorable dog. You'll see a bunch of other landmarks, stop at several, and finish up at the actual Cavern Club (which, due to a bizarre city planning incident, is now across the street from where it used to be.) Even if you're not a big Beatle fan, it's interesting to see the history. And I think the tour only cost about $16.
Liverpool's other main draw is the Walker Art Gallery which houses the largest collection of Pre-Raphealite paintings in the world. We enjoyed the Walker more than the Tate in London because it seemed to be better laid out, better marked, and not as crowded. A one year pass (the only kind you can buy) is around $8.
And since you're in Liverpool anyway stop at the Liverpool Cathedral. Looking at this huge Gothic building, you'd think that it was hundreds of years old and you'd be wrong. They started building the Cathedral in 1910 (about) stopped for a war, struggled through the Depression, stopped for another war and finally finished it in the 40s. The stone has an orange cast that's only enhanced by the sodium arc lights and standing in the lush green cemetery below it looking up at this immense orange building against the blue sky is a religious experience all it's own. The Cathedral is free, but there's a view from the bell tower that costs a pound or two ($1.50 or $3.00 roughly.) Can't tell you about that be cause we showed up 15 minutes after they stopped for the day.
By the way, if you are a big Beatle fan, the Jacaranda is still open and isn't really touristy. According to my husband, it's just the way it was when the Beatles were hanging out there in the late 50s.
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