If you’re looking for a place in Northern England that is the most reminiscent of the exciting city of London, then Liverpool is your answer. Full of history and culture, Liverpool is second only to London for the highest number of museums, theaters, and art galleries in England. But Liverpool isn’t just an alternative to London. Liverpool has an energy and vibe all its own.
Liverpool has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was even named the European Capital of Culture in 2008. Beyond the monuments, you’ll find beloved soccer teams like Liverpool FC and Everton FC. (Don’t forget it’s football, not soccer, in England!) Clubs pay homage to one of Liverpool’s most famous exports, the Beatles.
European cruise passengers sailing to Liverpool dock right in the city center and can spend the day learning more about the city where the Beatles got their start, touring old English heritage sites, and walking along the historic waterfront.
The historic Albert Dock has been impeccably restored in recent years, transforming a formerly tired harbor basin into an exciting and gentrified area where you’ll find Victorian buildings around an arcaded walkway. High-end boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and luxury apartments inhabit the surrounding buildings.
Albert Dock is also home to a number of museums. A popular one with tourists is the Beatles Story, which has memorabilia and films about the iconic musical foursome. Those looking for more in-depth history on Liverpool’s past can visit the International Slavery Museum, which is located near the 18th century dry dock where slave ships were refurbished and repaired, or the Border Force National Museum, which focuses on the history of smuggling and contraband via Albert Dock.
The museums aren’t the only thing famously historic about Albert Dock. The dock itself was the first of its kind in Great Britain that was built using only bricks and iron. This distinction is what gave it the royal treatment in 2018, with its previous name of “Albert Dock” being changed to “Royal Albert Dock”.
Pier Head is an area of Liverpool right by the harbor famous for its stunning trio of buildings that stand proudly over the waterfront. These buildings consist of the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building, and the Royal Liver Building. Pier Head is also home to the Titanic Memorial that pays tribute to the “Heroes in the Engine Room” and the Queen Victoria monument.
St. George’s Hall has it all for architecture buffs: gorgeous neoclassical architecture featuring Corinthian columns and statues as well as neo-Greek buildings housing libraries; music halls (you’ll find one of the world’s largest organs within the beautiful Great Hall); lovely gardens featuring statues of famous former residents of Liverpool; and the oldest building in Liverpool’s city center, a former charitable school begun in 1717 that is now called the Bluecoat Chambers and is a creative hub for the arts.
Another can’t-miss sight to see (in more ways than one) located near St. George’s Hall is the St. John’s Beacon, which looks like a spaceship atop a pole and boasts the best views of the city from its Radio City Tower Viewing Gallery. This platform is home to some of the most popular radio stations in England. Most travel to its top not for the music, but for the 360-degree panoramic views of Liverpool and beyond.
Three religious buildings stand out in Liverpool. The first is the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, which is quite modern in terms of European cathedrals. It began in 1929 and was completed in 1967, showcasing a cylindrical tower in the center of the cathedral 200 feet in diameter and 330 feet high. The second church of note is the Catholic Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, which gives a historic nod to the high proportion of people living in the city that are of Irish descent going back to the 19th and 20th centuries when many immigrants from Ireland arrived to Liverpool and ended up settling in the city. The third prominent church in Liverpool is the Anglican Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, which has served as a place of worship since the 13th century.
Liverpool is the childhood home of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. These four names are synonymous with one of the greatest (arguably the greatest) musical group of all time: the Beatles. While in Liverpool, you can see the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon as well as the locations that inspired songs such as Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane.
You’ll also find museums dedicated to the Beatles here, including the Beatles Story at Albert Dock and Beatles memorabilia at the Museum of Liverpool. See their names on the Wall of Fame located on the musically important Mathew Street. The Wall of Fame lists the names of every Liverpool band or solo musician who got a number one hit on the UK charts. Matthew Street is also home to the Cavern Club, where the Beatles played over 300 times.
If you want to learn more about the maritime history of Liverpool during your time in the city, you can’t miss a visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. This interesting museum has a number of exhibits that tell the past tales of the thousands of British citizens who left the country aboard the Mersey between 1830 and 1930. Other exhibits display seafaring artifacts for the area in and around Liverpool that date back to the 13th century. You’ll hear tales about the tragedy-bound ships of Titanic and Lusitania and their ties to Liverpool, map rooms and information boards about the Royal Navy in World War II, a depiction of what it was like living on a submarine during war times, and a number of model ships and vessels on display.
The Walker Art Gallery is an excellent place to tour for those interested in the visual arts, particularly from the 18th to 20th centuries as its display of English paintings and sculptures from this time period is considered to be the best you’ll find outside of London. Art from as far back as the 14th century is also on display, including works by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Rodin. Don’t miss seeing the painting called Sweethearts and Wives, which depicts a good-bye scene at Pier Head in Liverpool before the sailors set off to sea.
For more art, head to Mossley Hill in Liverpool, where you’ll find the 19th century Sudley House, a beautiful mansion that is an extension of Walker Art Gallery and houses an additional gallery of artwork.
When traveling on one of our Liverpool cruises, you may want to spend your time in port visiting another nearby city: Manchester. Doing a city tour to Manchester from Liverpool is especially popular with soccer fanatics who want to see Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, which is one of the most beloved sports teams in the world.
While in Manchester, you can also see the Lowry, an ultra-modern building home to waterside arts, Etihad Stadium, home to Manchester’s other soccer team called Manchester City FC, and visit the Science and Industry Museum, which is a fitting stop since Manchester has a strong industrial past.
For some beer and cocktail drinking with some music history thrown in while on your cruise to Liverpool, head to the Cavern Club, the music venue and bar where the Beatles got their start performing. The bar and performance venue is located in a brick-lined cellar that provides a dive bar atmosphere despite being one of the most famous bars in the world.
For a hip vibe with multiple food and drink options, head to Cains Brewery Village, a large space home to vintage shops, artist workspaces, coffee shops, and bars. The bars range from craft beer bars to BBQ style bars with an outdoor ambiance to tank bars. Cains Brewery Village is also home to Baltic Market, Liverpool’s first street food market.
Liverpool is one of the oldest cities in the United Kingdom and has a history rich in maritime tradition. A large number of cultures and religions are found in the city, and many of its people are of Irish and Welsh descent. The origins of Liverpool date back to 1190. It was an important maritime and industrial city for many of the centuries that followed. In the 1970s, the city began to see a steep economic downturn that it only recently recovered from. Today, those on a cruise to Liverpool will find that it’s a thriving and exciting city to explore with lots of memorable attractions and modern amenities.
Liverpool was named Capital of Culture in 2008 for many reasons. Its famous music scene, die-hard football fans, and myriad of art museums, plus an eclectic bar and restaurant scene, make it a fitting place for those looking to experience local culture.
Liverpool cruise port is located right by Pier Head and is directly adjacent to the Royal Liver Building. From the cruise terminal, it’s a short walk to some of the Liverpool’s top attractions. Though there aren’t many amenities right inside the terminal, you’ll find a plethora of restaurants and shops right outside it on Pier Head.
Passengers on Liverpool cruises will find it’s easy to get around while in port. You’ll find a taxi rank right by the cruise terminal on St. Nicholas Place. If you want to catch a train to Manchester or somewhere else in England, the train station is just a 20-minute walk away (Lime Street Station). Another convenient mode of transportation when you cruise to Lisbon is the Hop-on Hop-Off bus that departs from the cruise port every 15 minutes.
Liverpool ONE is a large shopping complex located right by the waterfront. It has a plethora of shops filled with high street fashion and high-end accessories. Spend some time in two of England’s popular department stores, John Lewis & Partners and Debenhams. After you shop ‘til you drop, head to one of Liverpool ONE’s many restaurants or bars for some sticky toffee pudding or a refreshing pint.
For some vintage finds or unique souvenirs from the UK, the place to head in Liverpool is Red Brick, which is heralded as Liverpool’s best independent shopping experience. Red Brick is made up of two parts: Red Brick Vintage, where you’ll find unique vintage goods, and Red Brick Hangar, which is an indoor marketplace. Red Brick is located in Cains Brewery Village.
You can also find many souvenirs and clothing shops along Royal Albert Dock during your cruise to Liverpool.
The accepted currency in Liverpool and the rest of the UK is the British pound. You’ll find ATMs all over the city dispensing cash in this currency. Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro are also accepted by most businesses in Liverpool.
For tipping, it’s customary to leave 10% to 15% for meals, though some places will already tack on a service charge that is usually 12.5%, so double check that your bill doesn’t include that. You’re not expected to tip for take-out or fast food. Tipping 10% to 15% for taxi drivers is also customary, though it’s also acceptable to simply round up your total fare depending on the total amount.