48 Hours In Liverpool

Above: The entrance to the Cavern Club in Mathew St, Liverpool
Above: The entrance to the Cavern Club in Mathew St, Liverpool

Liverpool used to have an image problem. It was seen as derelict, super sketchy and run down until some bright light on city council realized that its historic docklands were treasures. Redevelopment and revitalization followed with new attractions, museums and a giant stadium added to the mix. The lovely Albert Dock sparked a city-wide revamp that turned the city into a great travel destination, just a two –hour trip from London.

What to see

Liverpool is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so it has oodles of wow sights. Albert Docks is chock full of attractions: The Beatles Story, Tate Liverpool (known for its modern and contemporary art collections), and the glitzy new Liverpool Museum (more Beatles memorabilia and local history). In the city centre, it’s a cornucopia of great (and questionable) architecture, from the gothic Liverpool Anglican Cathedral (the world’ fifth largest) and the love it or hate it modern Metropolitan Cathedral (dubbed “Paddy’s Wigwam). Roam the side streets for quaint traditional pubs and tip back a Guinness or two.

What to do

There is plenty of buzz around The Beatles this year as the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s arrival to the U.S. is celebrated. In Liverpool, the opportunities to experience all things Beatle are plentiful, enough to fill eight days a week. To get a good overview, sign up for Magical Mystery Tour. In two hours, you’ll see iconic places associated with John, Paul, Ringo and George, from Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, to their childhood homes and schools. The tour ends at the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles appeared 292 times. Return to the Cavern on Mathew Street in the evening when Beatles cover bands hit the live lounge. The nightlife on the weekends in the area doesn’t quit until the wee hours of the morning.

Sporty types can head to a match featuring the Liverpool Football Club or St. Helens Rugby League Club. It’s quite the experience whether you’re physically in the area or not. There’s a party hearty atmosphere that invades the city on game days.

Where to shop

If you’re looking for souvenirs, visit the new Liverpool Football Club museum or head into the massive Liverpool ONE, a behemoth, shopping complex at more than 1.6 million square foot of retail space. For more unique fare, check out the gift shops of the various museums. The Beatles Story at Albert Dock has a good one, stocked with everything from HELP! socks to psychedelic Sgt. Pepper mugs.

Where to eat

Whether you are staying there or not, check out A Hard Day’s Night hotel, a boutique hotel featuring a tasteful Beatles theme. Book a table at Blakes (named for Peter Blake, the English pop artist who worked on album design for The Beatles, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). Its menu stars local produce and classic British dishes, but all you need is lamb here. It’s divine! If you desire more star power in your restaurants, there is also Jamie’s Italian, one of celebrity chef’s Jamie Oliver’s eateries.

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Michele Sponagle

Canadian journalist Michele Sponagle is a prolific creator of lifestyle editorial, from travel to style, from relationships to food trends. She has been there and done that in more than 60 countries — and still counting. She has contributed to most of Canada’s leading media outlets and racked up more than 10 National Magazine Award nominations and one win from the Travel Media Association of Canada for best family feature.

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