14 Fun Things to Do in Liverpool on Your First Trip

14 Fun Things to Do in Liverpool on Your First Trip

Fill up your itinerary for Liverpool with their best attractions and activities, from churches and cathedrals to the club where The Beatles kickstarted their career.

A vibrant, vivacious, cheeky, and captivating city with a long history and a strong sense of local pride, Liverpool is one of the most exciting cities in the UK. Located in the north-west of England, Liverpool was named as a European Capital of Culture in 2008. With terrific transportation links, a wide selection of places to eat, drink, sleep, and shop, and diverse attractions to suit a wide range of tastes and interests, there are plenty of reasons to spend a long weekend (or longer!) in Liverpool.

As a first-time visitor with a few days to spend in Liverpool, here are some highlights to add to your itinerary:

1. Visit the two striking cathedrals in the city

Image credit: Robert Cutts

Image credit: Guillaume Baviere

Liverpool has two cathedrals, both of which are attractive but very different from one another. The Gothic gem of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is the biggest cathedral in all of Great Britain. It is also among the largest cathedrals across the globe. Impressive from the outside, the interiors are just as stunning, with gigantic archways, a sweeping nave, small side chapels, gorgeous stained glass, numerous religious statues and pieces of artwork, a massive organ, and a serene vibe. You can also ride the elevators and then climb 100+ steps to the top of the tall tower for sweeping city views.

Image credit: Benjamin Lyons

Hope Street connects the Anglican Cathedral with Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, sometimes nicknamed the Lemon Squeezer because of its distinctive shape. The modernist building is the UK’s largest Catholic place of worship. There are many side chapels devoted to various saints, and the stained glass windows cast shimmering rays of colourful light onto the pale walls. Underneath the main building is a large crypt with an assortment of gleaming artefacts and religious items in the Treasury. The original plans for the Roman Catholic Cathedral were drawn up by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the famous architect who was responsible for many of the beautiful buildings constructed in the Indian capital of New Delhi during colonial times.

2. Ponder the past at St. Luke’s Church

Image credit: John Hickey-Fry

A time-ravaged and war-damaged former church in the city centre, St. Luke’s Church is often referred to locally as the “Bombed-Out Church”. The insides were destroyed during the heavy bombing of Liverpool during the Blitz (in WWII), but the exterior walls somehow managed to remain standing in fairly good condition. From a distance, the church still looks pretty normal, but as you get nearer you’ll see that there’s no glass in the windows and the interior views are of weeds and overgrown plants rather than pews and prayer books.

3. See the Bluecoat Chambers

Image credit: SomeDriftwood

The Bluecoat Chambers is the oldest surviving building in the Liverpool city centre. Dating back to 1716, it was originally built as a charitable school. It later became a centre for the arts, and is still used for artistic and cultural purposes today. Shaped like the letter H, the building has a fine slate roof and handsomely painted brickwork.

4. Admire the views from the Radio City Tower

The looming Radio City Tower stands out on Liverpool’s skyline. Visitors can ride to the viewing platform for awesome panoramic city views through the large tilted windows. Vistas often extend across the River Mersey and along the Wirral Peninsula.

5. Get into the football fever

Liverpool is home to two large football clubs: Liverpool FC (the reds) and Everton FC (the blues). Staunch rivals, their home grounds are Anfield and Goodison Park respectively. Each club offers visits and tours whereby fans can see key areas including the pitch, stands, changing facilities, etc. You can also learn more about each club’s history and major achievements, as well as about football in Liverpool in general. You could also try to secure tickets to watch a match. Derby days (when the two city teams play each other) are manic!

6. Stroll along the Pier Head

Image credit: Steve James

Take a walk along the Pier Head and see three of Liverpool’s finest buildings: the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building, and the Royal Liver Building (which is topped by unusual statues known as Liver Birds). Collectively, these three elegant buildings are referred to as the Three Graces.

7. Enjoy varied attractions at the Albert Dock

Image credit: Neil Howard

You’ll find a blend of the old and the new at Liverpool’s scenic Albert Dock, officially called the Royal Albert Dock. There’s a wide assortment of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, museums, and other entertainment and leisure facilities housed within old warehouses and former dock buildings.

Sitting on the waterfront, the Maritime Museum is a terrific place to learn more about Liverpool’s long seafaring heritage. You can also discover the city’s connections with the infamous and ill-fated Titanic. The Tate Liverpool is a fabulous place for art lovers, while the Beatles Story is a must-visit for fans of the famous pop group / boy band from times gone by. The International Slavery is an eye-opening attraction.

8. Ride the Liverpool Wheel

The large Liverpool Wheel sits at Keef Wharf, outside the ECHO Arena. The glass pods let you soak up great views of the city and spot many of its main attractions from up high. Enjoy a bird’s eye view both by day and by night for different perspectives of the vibrant city. A recorded commentary gives interesting nuggets of local information as you enjoy the ride.

9. Pop into St. George’s Hall

Image credit: Andrew Macaulay

In the heart of the city, St. George’s Hall is a handsome Neo-Classical building that dates back to the 1850s. It was built to serve as both a local courtroom and an entertainment venue. Impressive columns stand proudly outside the building, with large statues of lions and prominent historic figures scattered throughout the courtyard. Inside, there are plenty of fine architectural details to admire. Today, you can visit the old courtrooms and cells, view a range of exhibitions, and marvel at the large concert hall with its excellent acoustics and beautiful decorative touches.

10. Shop ‘til you drop at Liverpool One

There are many great shopping streets throughout Liverpool, but the purpose-built Liverpool ONE shopping, dining, and entertainment area remain a popular choice for people looking to browse in a variety of stores. Most shops stay open pretty late into the evening too, meaning that you can still indulge in some retail therapy after a day of sightseeing.

11. Experience the hustle and bustle of Chinatown

Image credit: Terry Kearney

Liverpool has a fairly large Chinatown, with Chinese people having first settled in the city in the 1830s. Indeed, Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in all of Europe. You can admire the biggest multiple-span Chinese archway to be found anywhere outside of China, and the area has lots of traditional Chinese architectural details. Colourful and full of life, Liverpool’s Chinatown boasts many excellent restaurants and ethnic stores.

12. Take a walk down Matthew Street

Image credit: Mikey

Matthew Street is one of Liverpool’s most famous roads; it is home to the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles started their immense musical career. A busy walkway by day, it transforms into a cool nightlife area in the evenings. You can visit the reconstructed Cavern Club as well as sip a drink in a bar that pays homage to various musical greats who came from or visited the city. Check out the Wall of Fame and snap a selfie with a statue of John Lennon.

13. Watch a show at the Empire Theatre

Image credit: Elliott Brown

Open since the 1920s, the two-tier Empire Theatre is one of the UK’s biggest theatres. Sitting on the site of a much older performance venue, it is located within a conservation area. Many diverse performances have been held here over the years, and the opulent theatre today hosts plays, musicals, recitals, ballets, operas, and other types of live entertainment.

14. Have a night out on the tiles

Liverpool’s nightlife is epic, with a wide choice of venues to cater to all preferences. There are olde-worlde pubs, modern bars, live music venues, and pumping nightclubs that play an array of music. Sip cocktails, chug pints, down shots, savour a glass of wine… you’ll find everything in Liverpool. There are themed establishments and the city has a vibrant gay scene. Head to Matthew Street, the Albert Dock, Stanley Street, the Baltic Triangle, Seel Street, and Concert Square, among other places, to find some of Liverpool’s best places to enjoy after dark.

With so much to see and do, when will you be visiting Liverpool?      

About Author

Sarah W
Sarah W

Sarah W is a travelling cat-lover who enjoys exploring places that are a little bit quirky or away from headline attractions. Favourite things include delicious falafel, snuggling under a thick duvet, (badly) belting out karaoke at the top of her lungs, and, of course, her family, friends, and furry pets.

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