There are a couple of little facts I like to bring out when I speak about Liverpool, a city that I lived in for three years. The first is that it is home to the most museums and galleries outside of London (in the UK), and the second is that it holds the title of World Capital City of Pop, awarded by the Guinness Book of Records.
The two are indicative of a city founded upon culture, music and sport. There's also no better time to visit than during Sound City, its premier music festival, which takes over multiple venues in The Baltic Triangle this May bank holiday weekend.
This year's event will feature sets from Peace, DMA's, IDLES, Jaws and Baxter Dury, who lead a lineup of over 250 of the best underground artists around.
But enough about the festival itself, which you can find out more about here. Instead let's turn our attention to the city and dive right in with my personal tips for things to do in Liverpool if and when you're next there.
What to do
Visit The Cavern Club & Matthew Street
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Liverpool is the birthplace of The Beatles. And if you're a fan, then Matthew Street is a must. It's home to The Cavern Club, which albeit not the original, is still a great place to get all nostalgic and let your imagination run wild. It'll almost certainly have some live music on, with a few covers of a certain band thrown in no doubt.
Hit two cathedrals within a mile of each other
"If you want a cathedral, we've got one to spare," so goes the old Liverpool folk song. They're not lying either. Less than a mile between the two, the city's Anglican and Metropolitan cathedrals differ vastly in their style and architecture, making them both worthy of a visit.
The Anglican is the UK's biggest church and the world's largest Anglican cathedral. It is the work of Sir Gilbert Scott, who was behind the the red telephone box and the Southwark Power Station in London, now the Tate Modern.
Check out its huge variety of museums
As I mentioned in the introduction, Liverpool is home to the most museums and galleries outside of London. From the Tate and the Museum of Slavery down to the World Museum and The Beatles Story, the cliche "something for everyone" really does apply in this instance.
Take a tour of Anfield
Go behind the scenes at one of the world's most iconic and historic football stadiums, home to Liverpool FC. Visit the new state-of-the-art home and away dressing rooms, imagine yourself walking out the tunnel in a Champion's League Semi Final, and enjoy epic views of the pitch and city landscape from the top tier of the new Main Stand.
OK, so I am obliged to park my bias to one side for a moment and say there is another Premier League team in Liverpool: Everton FC. You can go look them up yourself.
Stroll down to the Albert Dock
Liverpool's Albert Dock is actually one of the most visited tourist spots in the UK, thanks to its extensive list of restaurants, bars, hotels, museums and galleries.
Sitting on the city's World Heritage Site waterfront, the dock features the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the whole country. So yeah, you can see why it's in this article.
Where to eat
I'll be honest, there's bloody loads of great places to eat in Liverpool. However, I'm here to give you specific tips, so here it goes: Almost Famous (burgers), Lucha Libre (Mexican), Kasbah (Moroccan), Mowgli (Asian), Casa Italia (Italian). That should be enough to keep you busy for a while.
Where to drink & go out
Forget about Concert Square, unless you're into commercial chart music and bar reps enticing you in with shot deals. Instead head up Seel Street, where you'll find a number of great alternative hideouts for a drink and a boogie, such as Heebie Jeebies, Kazimier Gardens, Brooklyn Mixer, Salt Dog Slim's, La'go and Alloha. Trust me, all are worth a visit.
Bold Street is my favourite place to head during the day. Starting at the Church of St. Luke – aka Bombed Out Church, for it's completely hollow inside – it heads down into Liverpool One and is lined with a number of great cafés, bars and restaurants. Leaf is a personal favourite, along with Bold Street Coffee, Cafe Tabac and Kasbah.
Home to Sound City, those heading to the festival will no doubt sample the creative hub and its vibrant venues, but if you're not, it's a great destination for the night owls. Hit up RA when you know your dates and check out what's going down at Kitchen Street, Camp & Furnace and Constellations.
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