Saturday, August 15, 2015

City Guides: 8 Free Things To Do In Liverpool

Aside from my love of the accent, I think that Liverpool is one of the friendliest cities in the UK.  Everyone always seems to be happy.  As LT is from just across the Mersey in Wirral, I've been lucky enough to be able to regularly spend time in Liverpool (and Wirral) when we visit his family.   These are my favourite free things to do in the city: 

Museum of Liverpool:
Sitting on the waterfront and opening its doors in 2011, this massive museum tells the history of the city. It contains more than 6,000 objects and has spaces dedicated to the great achievements of Liverpool's people, including its rich musical heritage and impressive footballing prowess.  It's a fabulous place to learn about Liverpool.   It's also an incredible building, where I spent many a happy hour listening to the locals chatting. 

Museum of Liverpool
Advertisement for the wonderful football exhibits at the Museum of Liverpool
Penny Lane:
Made famous by The Beatles song of the same name, Penny Lane is situated, well….in Penny Lane.   Who knew??  PL was the bus terminus that Paul McCartney changed at when visiting John Lennon and vice versa, so it was an area that the songwriters knew well.    Many of the sights mentioned in the song remain in place today, including the fire station at nearby Mather Avenue, and the white Barber shop, which is now Tony Slavin’s store.   

Throughout the years, Liverpool Council has had to spend a fortune replacing street signs for Penny Lane, which have been frequently stolen by fans of the band.  

If you’re looking for more Beatles stuff, then Liverpool is full of it.  Other sights included childhood homes, The Beatles Story in the dock area, and the famous Cavern Club in the city centre.   Abbey Road isn’t, though!  The zebra crossing made famous by the band on the cover of the album is in St Johns Wood in North West London.  

SuperLambBanana:
No, that's not a typo. Liverpool is the home of the original and possibly only SuperLambBananas on the planet. Japanese artist, Taro Chiezo, designed the SuperLambBanana for the city.  He now lives in New York, presumably with all his SuperLambBanana money. 

The original is located in Tithebarn Street in the city, but there are more in the plaza outside the Liverpool Museum. The original is basically a massive yellow lamb type sculpture with a banana shaped tail, hence the name…  You can also buy your very own SLB in any of the tourist offices.  I absolutely love them, although they do take a while to explain to people who haven't seen one.   How many can you spot??


What's not to love?? 
Walking Around Albert Dock:
You can't fail to be impressed by Albert Dock's transformation and it's a fantastic place to eat and drink and take in the waterfront sights and sounds.  AD is the largest collection of Grade 1 listed buildings in the whole of the United Kingdom, which is a phenomenal achievement for any city.   Here, you will find the Tate, The Maritime Museum, The Beatles Story and The Slavery Museum.    Just up from the dockside is the famous Liver Building, that is one of the most iconic buildings in Liverpool. On top of the spire sits a liver bird, which is the symbol of the city.   Albert Dock is one of Liverpool's 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites. 


Albert Dock...obviously.  
The glorious Liver Building

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral & Liverpool Cathedral:
The two Cathedrals in the city are a mere 0.6 miles apart and are both worth spending time in.  The Metropolitan can be identified by its unique design, which was one of 300 designs submitted from around the world when architects were invited to send details of their vision for a new Liverpool Cathedral in 1960.   This was the fourth and final attempt to design and build on the site. 

A short distance away is Liverpool’s other Cathedral, called erm.. Liverpool Cathedral.   What were the chances?  LC is the UK’s largest Cathedral and boats Britain’s largest organ and the world’s heaviest bells.   All in the same building, people!  You can access the third floor gallery and get fantastic views of the interior of the building.   In addition to this, there’s an eternal flame in place to commemorate the victims of the horrendous Hillsborough disaster, the kneeling Madonna statue, and a quite humungous stained glass window. 

Walker Art Gallery:
Situated in the William Brown Street Conservation Area, this area has more galleries and public buildings in one place than any other street in the UK.   Walker Art Gallery is one of the largest in England and features works from artists, such as Degas and Rembrandt, to 20th Century masters, Freud and Hockney.  

The Tate:
First three floors are free of charge, with sometimes only a fee payable for any special temporary exhibitions.   This is England’s largest gallery outside of London and takes pride of place on the waterfront at Albert Dock.  It houses a magnificent collection of contemporary art and holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day with more than 70,000 works of art.  

I'll be there for yoooo...
Coffee In Central Perk:

Ok, so it’s not technically free, as you should probably buy a coffee when you’re in.   Otherwise, the staff will likely wonder what you're doing there.   However, it is a fantastic place to relax after a long day of sightseeing.   The CafĂ© is obviously based on the fictional Friends hangout, and offers a great range of drinks in a comfortable setting.   On the large flat screen TV, constant episodes of the comedy are shown, so you can grab yourself a sofa and relax.   Unfortunately, unlike your favourite Friends, this Central Perk is too popular to allow you to sit in the exact same seats every time you go!


Getting our coffee fix at CP
The wonderful Liverpool skyline (as taken from Birkenhead, Wirral)