Music, sport, and history are just three of the things that Liverpool is renowned for, so if you’re a serious culture-vulture, you’re going to love exploring England’s best northeastern city!
This is the city that gave the world The Beatles, and you’ll find that Liverpool very much embraces its musical past. You can visit The Beatles Story, The Beatles Museum, and the Cavern Club, where The Beatles played their first gigs. You can even join a Beatles-themed tour of the city or spend the night in a Beatles-themed hotel!
Liverpool is also home to the British Music Experience (because The Beatles aren’t the only band in the world!), cultural institutions like Tate Liverpool, and artistic icons like the Dazzle Ferry. If sports are your thing, then during your stay in Liverpool you can visit the grounds of Liverpool FC and their rivals Everton, two of the world’s great football (or soccer) teams.
Then there’s the city’s history. Liverpool is beautifully located along the banks of the River Mersey, and it grew rich off trade during the Victorian era. You can visit the Museum of Liverpool and the Royal Albert Dock to learn more. After that, stop off at the International Slavery Museum for a compelling look at the darker side of Liverpool’s history.
There’s so much to do, and you’ll need to save time to visit the famous Three Graces (three iconic buildings that line the waterfront), Liverpool Cathedral, and the up-and-coming Baltic Triangle.
With so many things to see and do in Liverpool, you might not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Liverpool for you. Stick to these fun and unique Liverpool bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’re going to have an exceptional time exploring this wonderful English city!
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15 Fun and Unique Things to do in Liverpool
1. Delve into Liverpool’s Beatles history
Liverpool’s most famous sons are The Beatles, a band that came from humble roots in the city and rose to fame and glory across the world. The Beatles are a band that’s synonymous with British music, and you can learn all about their rise to musical stardom during your stay in Liverpool.
You’ll find Beatles history everywhere. Start at Pier Head, overlooking the River Mersey, where you can take a selfie or two with the iconic statues of the musical foursome. You can join a Beatles walking tour of Liverpool, you can book a “Beatles Magical Mystery Tour,” or you can take in The Beatles sights and attractions in your own time.
Beatles fans can visit The Beatles Story, an excellent exhibition where you’ll learn all there is to know about The Beatles. If that’s not enough, then you can also visit The Beatles Museum, a separate exhibition that delves even deeper into the band’s history.
And finally, you can visit the Cavern Club, the famous nightclub venue where The Beatles played their first gigs. You can even take a tour of the Cavern Club, and you’ll be happy to know that the club still hosts live music and gigs throughout the year.
If you’re a serious Beatles fan, then we should also say that you can turn your visit to Liverpool up a notch by booking a room at the Hard Days Night Hotel, the only Beatles-themed hotel in the world!
2. Take a stroll around Pier Head
One of the most famous places to visit in Liverpool is Pier Head, an iconic waterfront attraction that’s packed full of historic sights and great things to do. Pier Head is synonymous with Liverpool’s mercantile and maritime past, and it’s at the dock here where many traders made their fortunes, and many people arrived to make a new life in the city.
Pier Head really marks the zenith of Liverpool’s mercantile industry. The harbor was opened in 1911 after Liverpool’s many other harbors proved too small for the modern ships and cruise lines of the day. Pier Head then became home to some of Liverpool’s most famous buildings, including the Three Graces.
Take a stroll around Pier Head, and you’ll see the Three Graces in all their glory. These three distinctive buildings tower over the waterfront and have become symbols of Liverpool’s skyline. There’s the Royal Liver Building (which was built for an insurance company), the Cunard Building (the headquarters of a shipping company), and the Port of Liverpool Building (home to Liverpool’s harbor authorities).
Alongside the historic Three Graces, you’ll also find the post-modern Museum of Liverpool building, alongside other sites such as The Beatles Statue, a memorial to the Titanic (which was registered here in Liverpool), and ferries and tour boats plying the River Mersey.
3. Explore the Royal Albert Dock
The Royal Albert Dock first opened in 1848, driven by the ever-increasing demand for storage space, warehouses, and docking facilities that the city’s expanding shipping companies needed to keep a steady flow of goods in and out of Liverpool.
The docks are architecturally significant, given they were the first structures in the United Kingdom to be built purely from metal, brick, and stone (and no flammable wooden materials!). This was attractive to the merchants, and so the docks helped fuel Liverpool’s boom.
But Royal Albert Dock was eventually abandoned and, despite being a Grade-II listed symbol of the city, fell into disrepair. Visit the docks today, though, and you’ll find that they’ve been utterly transformed once again as part of a massive modern regeneration project.
You’ll now find some of Liverpool’s best museums and attractions among the red-brick warehouses. There’s The Beatles Story, the Maritime Museum, and the Tate Liverpool. You’ll also find excellent pubs, bars, and restaurants lining the bustling waterfront location.
Adjacent to the Royal Albert Dock, the ACC Liverpool and M&S Bank Arena provide the city with two new and exciting cultural venues, where high-profile bands play and performances are staged. The Royal Albert Dock is a masterclass in historical preservation and urban regeneration, and we know you’re going to love it!
4. Enjoy British works of art at Tate Liverpool
Art lovers can rejoice because Liverpool is home to one of the largest collections of British artwork outside of London. You’ll find the collection in Tate Liverpool, a branch of the Tate institution that’s located in the redeveloped Royal Albert Dock area.
“Tate” is essentially a national gallery for British art, and there are galleries in London, Cornwall, and Liverpool. The institution holds works dating back to the 16th century, although the focus at Tate Liverpool is on contemporary art rather than historical art.
The exhibitions at Tate Liverpool are ever-changing, and you’ll find contemporary exhibitions tend to have overriding political or cultural themes linking them together. For example, there have been exhibitions focused on migration or colonialism, as well as tradition and democracy.
Best of all, Tate Liverpool is completely free to enter! You do need to make sure you book a time slot and ticket in advance, but if you’re looking for free things to do in Liverpool, then this is the place to visit!
5. Get musical at the British Music Experience
If you’re a big fan of British bands and want to learn more about Britain’s contributions to the musical world, then you’re in the right place. Liverpool is a city of music and culture, and you’ll love how you can delve into contemporary pop history during your visit.
One of the best places for music fans to visit is the British Music Experience, which in our opinion, is one of the best things to do in Liverpool. This “experience” is dedicated to showcasing the story of British rock and pop music, and you’ll be able to learn all about diverse British bands – from The Beatles and David Bowie to Oasis and Blur.
Explore the museum, and you’ll find hundreds of different exhibits and pieces of musical memorabilia (from guitars and drums to posters and album covers) spanning decades of British music. Plus, there are plenty of great tunes to listen to in the background.
The British Music Experience also has an excellent merchandise shop if you’re after a few souvenirs from your time in Liverpool. Plus, the venue also hosts album launches and film screenings.
The British Music Experience is located within the famous Cunard Building, and you can fuel up with drinks and refreshments at the Star Cafe before heading off to see the many other brilliant cultural sights in the vicinity.
6. Step back in time at the Museum of Liverpool
One of Liverpool’s newest museums is also Liverpool’s most extensive, and if it’s your first time in the city, a visit to the Museum of Liverpool should be top of your Liverpool bucket list!
The Museum of Liverpool is located in an impressively modern venue in a prime location overlooking the River Mersey. It’s a modern addition to Pier Head that only opened in 2011, and the museum offers the chance to step back in time and look back at centuries of Liverpudlian history.
There are upwards of 6,000 individual exhibits, all of which are spread across multiple permanent exhibitions. You’ll learn about the city’s mercantile, maritime, and trading past, the influence Liverpool has had worldwide, and the history of the city from Neolithic times to the present.
There are galleries showcasing Liverpool’s contribution to the Industrial Revolution and exhibits focused on transportation, while children will absolutely adore the “Little Liverpool” exhibition.
There are ever-changing galleries and temporary exhibitions, too. So, always check what’s on if you’re interested in local history. There have been exhibitions on the Liverpool Blitz during World War II, for example, and the city’s musical history.
7. Explore Liverpool’s history at the International Slavery Museum
Liverpool was built on international trade, and during the Victorian era, the city became one of the wealthiest cities in the world. But much of this wealth was built off the back of the international slave trade, as Liverpool became an important point in the triangular trans-Atlantic trading routes.
During your stay in Liverpool, you can learn more about the city’s involvement with a visit to the International Slavery Museum. This forward-thinking museum is part of the Maritime Museum, and you’ll find it in the old warehouses of the Royal Albert Dock area.
The International Slavery Museum explores the slave trade itself, including the history of slavery and Britain and Liverpool’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The museum looks at the origins of slavery, the trading routes that took so many Africans to the Americas, and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
It’s a poignant and moving museum, highlighting a part of history that Brits tend to overlook. You’ll also appreciate how the International Slavery Museum explores the legacy of slavery today (including the contemporary exhibitions on Black Lives Matter) and looks at the problem of modern-day slavery across the world.
8. Visit Liverpool’s oldest museum
The World Museum – Liverpool’s oldest museum – first opened its doors to the public in 1851, and to this day, it contains an impressive collection of exhibits collected from across the world.
If you love archaeology and natural sciences, this is the museum for you. Inside you’ll find a vast array of objects spanning millions of years of natural history and thousands of years of human history.
There’s Anglo-Saxon gold, Ancient Egyptian artifacts, and Greek and Roman archaeological finds. There are dinosaur fossils, skeletons, and a planetarium for stargazing. One of the coolest things about the World Museum is its newly-renovated aquarium that’s filled with marine life.
Explore this permanent exhibition, and you’ll have the chance to watch rescued terrapins (freshwater turtles) from the viewing bubbles, marvel at sharks and rays gliding through the water, and say hello to Polpo the octopus.
9. Marvel at Liverpool’s Cathedrals
You don’t have to be religious to marvel at Liverpool Cathedral, an outstanding work of architecture that can claim to be the largest religious building in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in the world.
The scale of this cathedral is intended to impress, and you’ll be awed by the tall central tower that reaches a height of 100 meters. Work began on the cathedral in 1904 when the city’s Anglican Bishop decided that Liverpool needed to make a statement.
The cathedral certainly does that. Although, it took decades before the original plans could finally be completed in 1978. Step inside Liverpool Cathedral, and you’ll also be impressed by the interior architecture and design, as well as the extensive collection of art (both old and new) which decorates the nave.
Liverpool is home to two cathedrals, and you’ll find the second by walking out of the Anglican Cathedral and along Hope Street. The second cathedral is Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral, which opened in 1967 after the completion of its rather unusual circular design.
10. Explore Europe’s oldest Chinatown
Take a walk to Lord Nelson Street, and you’ll find one of the most fascinating Liverpool attractions. This is where Chinatown begins, and Liverpool’s Chinatown just so happens to be the oldest Chinatown in Europe.
You’ll love how the entrance to Chinatown is colorful and cultural, with a traditional Chinese arch looming over the main street. The arch was donated to Liverpool by the Chinese city of Shanghai because both cities are officially twinned together.
Head to Knight Street, and you’ll also find that street signs are bilingual, while across the district, you’ll have your pick of some of the best Chinese restaurants in the United Kingdom.
Chinatown’s history and heritage are fascinating, and as you stroll around, you’ll be intrigued to learn that the area’s Chinese associations go back to the 1830s. Chinese sailors began settling here after Liverpool was linked to Chinese ports through trade routes, and as they say, the rest is history!
11. Take the Dazzle Ferry across the River Mersey
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Liverpool, then why not take the Dazzle Ferry across the River Mersey? This unique ferry has become a symbol of Liverpool, and you’ll love the colorful color scheme. Plus, you’ll have the chance to explore the River Mersey!
The Dazzle Ferry is part of the Mersey Ferries fleet, a historic collection of ferries that connect Liverpool with Birkenhead. Ferries depart from Pier Head Terminal. After crossing the River Mersey, you can explore the town of Birkenhead or head off to the beaches and nature reserves found on The Wirral Peninsula.
The Dazzle Ferry is particularly unique because it’s a tribute to the city’s involvement in the First World War. During the war (from 1914 to 1918), the city’s ferries were commandeered for use in the war effort. They were painted in “Dazzle Camouflage,” which aimed to dazzle the enemy.
To commemorate the centennial of the First World War, the MV Snowdrop was painted in a wonderfully colorful “dazzle” scheme, albeit a much jazzier version. The ferry’s new color scheme was designed by none other than Sir Peter Blake, the same artist who designed the cover for The Beatles’ most famous album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
You’ll see the Dazzle Ferry crossing the Mersey all day long, and you can hop on for a ride across to Birkenhead. Alternatively, you can book a ticket on a River Explorer Cruise and join ferries heading up and down the River Mersey while taking in the history and commentary along the way.
12. Cheer on local teams at a football match
Liverpool is home to two of England’s most popular football clubs and to one of the world’s greatest sporting rivalries. The city divides its support between two football teams (or soccer, as they say in the US!), Everton and Liverpool. Both battle it out in the top leagues, although it’s Liverpool FC that has the most titles and wins.
Liverpool FC plays at the legendary Anfield ground, and while you’ll have to be seriously lucky (or have deep pockets) to see a top Premier League game here, you can join a tour of the stadium.
Everton plays their games at Goodison Park, and again, as they are a Premier League team, you’ll be lucky to get tickets when they are playing at home. You can also join a tour of Goodison Park, where you’ll learn all about the Liverpool versus Everton rivalry and the history of the club.
13. Embrace Liverpool’s creative side in the Baltic Triangle
If you’re still looking for Liverpool’s most up-and-coming district, then you haven’t paid a visit to the Baltic Triangle. Located just a short walk south of central Liverpool, this formerly industrial and often abandoned part of the city has, in recent years, been transformed into the city’s creative hub.
The Baltic Triangle is centered around Jamaica Street, where you’ll find a collection of warehouses that have been taken over by quirky coffee shops, buzzing breweries, and creative companies. The area is covered in street art, including famous works such as “The Liverpool Wings.”
You’ll love dining out at The Baltic Market, which is well known for its international street food-style offerings. Plus, the district is literally littered with craft beer bars and events venues that have given Liverpool’s nightlife scene a refreshing new focus.
As the cultural hub of an already cultural city, you can also expect to find that the Baltic Triangle plays host to countless unique festivals throughout the year, including the popular Baltic Weekender, which takes place across the area during summer.
14. Be awed by the view from St John’s Beacon
St John’s Beacon is one of the most exciting Liverpool attractions, and we guarantee that you’re going to absolutely love the view from the top of this tall sightseeing tower!
St John’s Beacon is otherwise known as “Radio City Tower” because it’s home to one of Liverpool’s most popular radio stations, which broadcasts shows from the top. The top of the tower stands 138 meters above sea level, and you can take the elevator to the viewing gallery in just 30 seconds.
From the St John’s Beacon Viewing Gallery, you’ll have unrivaled views over the entire city. It’s an impressive 360-degree observation deck, and you’ll be able to see across to the city’s docks, over the River Mersey, and on a clear day, The Wirral Peninsula.
15. Stroll among sculptures at Crosby Coastal Park
Escape the city with a stroll among sculptures at Crosby Coastal Park. This unique outdoor area is located just a few miles north of the city center, and with beaches and artwork to enjoy, this is one of the most unique things to do in Liverpool!
Crosby Coastal Park is famous for being home to Antony Gormley’s unusual outdoor art installation. Take a walk through the coastal park, and you’ll find 100 cast iron sculptures lining the beach.
Crosby Coastal Park is naturally stunning, too, and you’ll love taking in the sea breeze and the beautiful views of the Irish Sea as you walk along the coastal path.
There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Liverpool. What’s your favorite thing to do in Liverpool?
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