A weekend in Liverpool: Things to see and do

We’ve all been there – attending a wedding or a conference or something, in a brand new city. Your schedule is already packed, but you really don’t want to miss out on some of the places or things that make this particular city so special. Even just finding a list of things to do is a nightmare.

Well, if you’re coming to Liverpool (maybe for the awesome Liverpool MakeFest??) then I’ve got you sorted. Here are roughly 10 things to see and do, and 10 places to eat and drink – for all times of day.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Things for history fans

Simply the best place to get a feel for Liverpool’s history—from football, to the slave trade, to the Beatles—is at the Museum of Liverpool. Free entry, open 10:00–17:00 every day.

Museum Of Liverpool

If you’re coming with kids, and want to give them something fun to do, check out the World Museum. There’s everything from Egyptian mummies to dinosaur bones. Free entry, open 10:00–17:00 every day.

If you’ve got more than a few hours to spare, and you fancy a deeper delve into the history that made Liverpool what it is today, check out the Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the International Slavery Museum.

Things for art fans

Tate Liverpool is probably the first art venue that pops to mind, but, speaking personally, there’s nothing here that you couldn’t find in any other modern art gallery anywhere else in the world. If you’re really into completely unfathomable modern art, though, then feel free to give it a try.

For a proper unique insight to art and architecture in Liverpool, give the brand new RIBA North visitor centre a try, and right next door, the Open Eye Gallery which regularly features photographic work from local artists.

Open Eye Gallery

At the other end of town, the Walker Art Gallery is a lovely visit if you’re into proper “traditional” painting and sculpture. It’s just up the road from the World Museum, so works well as a double bill, especially for families with kids. Free entry, open 10:00–17:00 every day.

And if you’re willing to travel a few minutes out of the city centre, catch a Merseyrail train to Bebington Station (20 minute journey, £3.60 return ticket from the city centre) and spend an afternoon at Port Sunlight and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Port Sunlight is a beautiful “model” village from the Victorian age, built around the first Lever Brothers (now Unilever) factory. And the Lady Lever Art Gallery, nestled in its centre, has probably the best collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the country.

Port Sunlight

Beautiful sights

Liverpool has two cathedrals a few hundred metres apart: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is huge and gothic, while the Metropolitan Cathedral is full of non-traditional, 70s chic. Both are open 08:00–18:00 every day, and the street linking them—Hope Street—is packed with other classic Liverpool buildings, like the Everyman Theatre, and the Royal Philharmonic. Visiting the whole lot will only take you an hour.

If it’s a clear day, and you fancy a bird’s eye view of the city, head up to the Panoramic bar, on the 34th floor of West Tower. Food can be a bit pricey here, but it’s a great spot to grab a beer or a cocktail, as the sun sets, before dining elsewhere. And the view is fantastic.

View from Panoramic 34

And Liverpool Central Library is my favourite hidden gem. Make sure to check out the central atrium, the rooftop terrace, and the three gorgeous Victorian reading rooms. Free entry, 09:00–20:00 weekdays, 10:00–17:00 weekends.


Places to eat and drink

Early breakfast (opening 08:00 or earlier)

Check out Bold Street Coffee and East Avenue Bakehouse, both opposite each other on Bold Street in the centre of town. Or get away from the crowds at Ryde, a 20 minute walk from the city centre. All three open at 08:00 or earlier, and do really good breakfasts.

Ryde cafe Liverpool

Late breakfast (opening 08:30 or later)

The Brunch Club, on Duke Street, is a lovely place to grab a lazy breakfast on a weekend. Coffee & Fandisha, in the Baltic Triangle, does the most amazing hot chocolate, and beautiful fresh food and cakes.

Lunch or dinner

Definitely too many places to list here! You can’t go wrong with any of the places on the Independent Liverpool list. If you need a decision made for you, search out Free State Kitchen, just off Hope Street, for proper American-style comfort food.

Free State Kitchen

Drinks

For an excellent range of beers and craft ales, check out the Ship & Mitre, The Baltic Fleet, and the Dead Crafty Beer Company.

The Philharmonic Pub has a slightly less exciting range of drinks, but makes up for with with a simply gorgeous Victorian interior.

Philharmonic Pub

For cocktails and spirits, check out McGuffies and Pinch on Castle Street, or Berry and Rye, the 1920s-style “speakeasy” behind the plain black shopfront on Berry Street.