Tuesday 23 April 2019

Solo Travelling - Living My Best Life in Liverpool

Continuing the Solo Travelling series, this week I spent two days in another fab British city, the Merseyside capital of Liverpool. As a novice solo traveller, I decided it would be best to explore some of the UK's cities before venturing anywhere further afield and Liverpool is somewhere I've wanted to visit for quite some time. I've been to Liverpool twice before, once as a child on a shopping trip which meant I couldn't fully appreciate it or really remember it and once simply to get to the Isle of Man ferry terminal, again not really allowing me to explore.

This time, I went as a proper tourist and did all the typical touristy jaunts. This city is a favourite of my grandparents who visit regularly and after my short stay, I can totally understand why. Liverpool is a city drenched in fascinating history and one with popular culture just running through its veins. This is what appealed to me, as a media and music buff, it seemed it would be right up my street and it proved me absolutely right. 

I decided to spend only two days in Liverpool as its obviously much smaller than my first solo travelling location, London. But I still managed to cram in so many cool experiences whilst there. On the first day, I ventured into the centre where the shops and Liverpool One (the city's famed leisure and shopping complex) are situated. I hadn't planned to spend any time shopping during my stay (despite my inherent shopaholic status, of course) as I knew I had a number of things I wanted to see, but as I needed to pass through here to get to my digs, I decided to have a little peek. 40 minutes later and £70 down, I came to the conclusion that Liverpool is great for shopping. Although this is something you can do anywhere, the high street stores were huge, they have a Forever 21 unlike a lot of places and spending a few hours meandering around Liverpool One in the sun, was really quite lovely. This will definitely be a choice destination for future shopping sprees.

The wonderful sights of Mathew Street

After dropping my luggage and freshening up, I decided to have a walk down to the Cavern Quarter to check out the pop culture bits and bobs down there. I passed through a number of streets booming with restaurants, bars, nightclubs and instantly thought this is somewhere I also need to come with a bunch of friends for a drink or two in the near future. When I arrived at Mathew Street, known as 'the home of The Beatles', I could not believe the amount of cool little nooks and crannies there could be on one little street. From the John Lennon and Cilla Black statues and the Liverpool Wall of Fame to the Cavern Club and Pub and all of the vibrant shops, bars and restaurants in between. You feel instantly happy just walking down here and it makes you feel like you're right there in the middle of the hustle and bustle back in the day amongst the Teddy Boys and Girls.

The super colourful 'T' monument outside the Tate, Museum of Liverpool and Albert Docks in the sun

I then ventured over to Pier Head for a bit more sightseeing and again, was not disappointed. The 'three graces' are the magnificent buildings dominating the docks, more formally known as the Royal Liver building, the Cunard building and the Port of Liverpool building and these alone are breath-taking and so very rich in history. The Beatles statue welcomes you to the fronts and it's great to see so many people snapping their selfies with the bronze lads, recreating just the tiniest bit of Beatlemania. The docks are lined with museums such as The Museum of Liverpool, Tate Liverpool, The Beatles Story and many more. I didn't get to browse these but some are on my itinerary for next time. The walk up to Albert Dock and back down again was so refreshing, looking out to the Mersey with headphones in, shades on and ice-cream in hand; absolute bliss. This lovely afternoon was topped off with a visit to an amazing pizzeria named Rudy's which was fittingly right next door to my hotel and so the day was nicely concluded with a gorgeous pizza and sneaky little gin cocktail.

The Royal Liver Building, Beatles statue and The Port of Liverpool building all on Pier Head

Day two entailed breakfast at Moose, an American style Northern café chain that has branches in Liverpool and Manchester. They offer the nicest waffles, pancakes and other less sugary breakfast options but I opted for the former and a gigantic cup of cappuccino. A lovely spot for breakfast or brunch in the city and its décor and vibe made me feel like I was in Frasier. This place was recommended by a friend who is no stranger to Liverpool and a friend who I met up with later that morning. Upon meeting we spent a couple of hours in the British Music Experience, a fab museum detailing a timeline of Britain's best loved and talented musicians and the eras they defined. An excellent place and quite possibly the focus of an upcoming post so stay tuned for that! 

After the museum, we headed back down to the Cavern Quarter to spend a couple of hours in the Cavern Club, something I wanted to do more socially. It was around 1:30pm on a Tuesday and the Cavern had free admission all afternoon, which was great. We headed in, deep down the numerous spiral steps and headed straight to the bar, which I found hilarious given that most headed in and went straight to the exhibits or stage! However, with a beer in hand, we wandered slowly round the Cavern, looking at all it had to offer and were totally awestruck. Known globally as the old stomping ground to The Beatles and a hub of live music in Liverpool for decades, The Cavern was hands down the most down to earth, casual and inviting pub I've ever been in. Everyone was so friendly, live music played throughout the day and the walls were just adorned with the most fascinating and nostalgic memorabilia. If it hadn't been for the small matter of a train to catch, I could've happily stayed there into the night. And that was indeed the most perfect ending to this trip. 

An afternoon in the Cavern Club, my new favourite watering hole!

Liverpool far exceeded my expectations and is a city beautifully formed through its deep historical heritage into a vivid place rich with musical nostalgia and enriched by culture of many different forms. Its a must visit and somewhere I will now definitely be a regular day tripper to. A real Northern gem!

Liked this? Check out Solo Travelling - London Called, the first post in this series.

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