4 minutes reading time United Kingdom
When you think about Liverpool, what do you think about it? Maybe your mind goes to The Beatles. Maybe you think about the football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton. Maybe you think about its maritime history. But Liverpool is so much more than that.
It’s worth mentioning that I’m not from Liverpool – I’ve recently moved here – but even in the couple of years that I’ve lived here, I’ve come to know that Liverpool is different, it’s special and it’s definitely worth visiting – even if you’re not a Beatles or football fan…
If you’re a fan of religious buildings or just architecture and history in general, Liverpool has not one but two cathedrals. Conveniently enough, they’re on the same street, aptly named Hope Street. At one end you’ll find the Anglican Cathedral which is the biggest cathedral in the UK and the 5th biggest in Europe. If you want a great view of the city, head up the tower and get a full panoramic view from the top.
At the other end of Hope Street you’ll find the Metropolitan Cathedral of the King. The first thing you’ll notice is that compared to the Anglican, the Met is not your conventional looking cathedral. Architecturally it’s striking from the outside and when you step inside it gets even better with the Lantern Tower which is full of colored glass. Definitely not your average place of worship and definitely worth checking out.
Liverpool is different from a lot of UK cities in quite a few different ways. Politically, it’s always been more socialist than its neighbors. It’s often friendlier than its Southern counterparts (looking at you, London). It’s also jam-packed with independent businesses from all walks of life with their own stories to tell.
Nowhere else in the city center is this more apparent than on Bold Street. Just around the corner from the main train station, Bold Street is full of independent restaurants, cafes and bars. Whatever you fancy, chances are you can find it on Bold Street. Italian? Try the Italian Club or Crust. Mexican? Try La Parrilla. Looking for Lebanese? Bakchich is just across the street.
This independent boom extends across the city into the suburbs, across the historic Albert Docks, into the street art-covered Baltic Triangle district, out towards the leafy parks with Lark Lane and Allerton Road. In fact, you can find an almost exhaustive list of independent places at https://independent-liverpool.co.uk.
Liverpool is a historic city – that’s not news to anyone – you can find multiple museums, galleries and even the Liverpool Waterfront is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But did you know that Liverpool is also home to one of Europe’s oldest and largest Chinese communities?
A couple of roads over from Bold Street is Chinatown, with an impressive archway imported from Shanghai. It’s actually the largest Chinese arch outside of China. If you’re in the city around Chinese New Year, be sure to check out the parade.
Possibly one of my favorite things about Liverpool is that everything you need is within walking distance. It would be unthinkable to explore entirely by foot in other cities, but in Liverpool, it’s entirely possible. You can get from the center of the city to the huge Sefton Park in under 3 miles. It feels like a completely different city.
If you don’t feel like walking, there are rentable bikes and scooters dotted all around the city. If you’re wanting to go slightly further afield to the beaches of Formby & Crosby, or out towards the parks of South Liverpool, the Merseyrail trains are a cheap and easy way to get around the city.
Liverpool is an incredible city full of incredible people. There is so much to see and do and there’s always somewhere new opening or something different going on that you didn’t realize was happening. Yes, it’s the home of the Beatles and there are numerous tours that you can go on. Yes, it’s the home of two Premier League football clubs and game days are amazing. Yes, it’s got historic features and monuments at every possible turn, but it’s so much more than that. So, if you’re visiting the UK then add Liverpool to your list. It’s a direct 3-hour train from London and under an hour from Manchester. You won’t regret it.
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