There’s more to Liverpool than you thought.
Go on these 5 badass missions and you’re likely to have a unique experience during your stay in Liverpool.
Feeling badass? Let’s go.
1. Hire a mean green bicycle and simply wander
Perched all over Liverpool City are these very vibrant green bicycles ready and waiting for you to ride around town. I feel like if Mary Poppins were around with her magic bag and flying umbrella in this day and age, this would be the bicycle of her choice.
Don’t you be judging though. They’re actually quite popular among the tourists and even some of the locals of Liverpool.
For around £10 you have yourself a bicycle for the whole day, meaning you’re free to roam wherever your itchy feet feel like taking you. So potentially, you could save yourself a taxi fare or two, while unknowingly doing your dreaded daily exercise.
Register and pay online and find a map of where to grab a bike from here.
Now get gallivanting, there’s lots to see.
A few free things every traveller in Liverpool ought to check out:
Built and opened to accommodate sailing ships back in 1846, things got all too modern for poor Albert Dock to handle and it was sadly closed in 1972. However, “it’s lofty colonnades and statuesque columns now make up the largest group group of Grade 1 listed buildings in the country,” says albertdock.com.
After years of neglect, the warehouses were refurbished and opened back up in 1984, just in time for the arrival of the Tall Ships Race and the International Garden Festival.
Now Albert Dock is the place to bring all your friends. Particularly joyful on warm summer afternoons, largely down to it being the home of ‘Liverpools finest ice-cream’, there is a huge array of things to get your mits stuck into. This consists of mainly food and alcohol – but we weren’t complaining.
Oh and if you’re into The Beatles, you’re probably going to have some fun.
Find Albert Dock down at pier head (along the river).
Royal Liver Building
To be honest, I don’t know a huge deal about the Royal Liver Building other than a few interesting facts and that it is a marvellous sight that no one should miss.
1) When it was built in 1911, it was the tallest building in Europe until 1932.
2) It is a grade I listed building (I’d be surprised if it wasn’t)
3) The building is home to 2 fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. And apparently, if these two birds were to fly away, then the city would cease to exist.
So they better bloody well stay right where they are.
We were lucky enough to catch the Royal Liver Building on a blissful summers afternoon, when its beauty was able to radiate to its full potential.
This is one of Liverpool’s Three Graces, which dominate the city’s waterfront. You can find it at Pier Head – no need to look too hard, it’s difficult to miss.
Port Of Liverpool Building
The building that will make you say “holy shit “.
Another one of Liverpools’ Three Graces that line the waterfront, the Port Of Liverpool Building is just one of those spectacles that will leave you staring in admiration.
Built between 1904 and 1907, the grade II listed building was designed in Edwardian Baroque style, hence the dome like shape on top. It once acted as the headquarters of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board but it was sold in 2001 and turned into high-end (pretty darn expensive) residential and office space. The restoration began in 2006 and cost a mind-boggling £10 million. Pounds!
Again find it at Pier Head (difficult to miss) and if you’re feeling a little thirsty, enjoy the amazing view over the dock from the open rooftop of Matou Asian Restaurant & Bar.
Georges Dock Ventilation Station
You won’t get this place. We didn’t. But nonetheless, it was major badass.
When you arrive the first thing you’ll notice is the sheer size of the thing. Seriously, it looks like Lord Farquaads castle from Shrek. Remember that little tosspot?
Then you may notice the Egyption style detail and that there are no windows all the way up or around. So then you may think there’s some sort of weird secret shit going on around this place.
But in fact, in all its glory, it’s a freaking ventilation shaft for the river. It ventilates air.
The building is one of the tallest in the city centre. But I’d have to say it’s definitely the most eye-catching. Built between 1931 and 1934, the monstrous art deco building was inspired by the ancient Egyption findings at the time.
Find it poking up just behind the Three Graces at Pier Head.
This is your shopping area. But if you don’t fancy shopping you’re probably going to enjoy it just as much, what with all the street performance shenanigans going on around the place.
We simply wandered around the streets nearby, pushing our bicycles along in the sunshine, people watching and enjoying the music.
And we’ve got the video to prove it!
There’s plenty of places to dine, grab a coffee (I think there was 2 Costa Coffee shops within 2 minutes walk of each other) and of course shop til you drop. And hey look! You can even do your Amazon shopping and pick it up from this yellow fellow.
2. Browse and devour at Cow&Co.
This was the first little café we walked into after our arrival in Liverpool. It was a sunny Sunday morning and coffee was calling. We stumbled upon Cow & Co. as we were jumping out of the van, munching on a banana.
When we walked in we were pleasantly welcomed by a bright table quietly sat in the corner with our names on it, the comforting aroma of fresh coffee brewing and an array of indie magazines on the wall screaming read me.
After ordering two cappuccinos, we took a seat, grabbed a Frankie Magazine for a dose of weekend inspiration and connected to the free WiFi on offer.
Coffee was awesome by the way.
Then I saw it. The £2 granola on the menu. Served with my choice of pretty much anything I wanted for 40p extra per item, I ordered and so did Dan. The breakfast menu is simple yet scrumptious. Serving granola, waffles and thick toast you’re pretty much guaranteed happy taste buds.
Not only a café, Cow&Co. is your one stop shop for all things unique. They stock goodies such as limited edition prints to knitted jewellery, lighting and stationery to magazines and books, gifts and vintage, garden and kitchenware from around the world.
They’ve also sourced a large range of independent magazines from food journals, craft & design publications, zines, fashion books and kids mags.
It’s kinda cool.
Find this tiny little hidden gem at Cleveland Sq – just around the corner from the historic Albert Dock and TATE.
3. Go to TATE and get inspired to release your inner creativeness
We’re not usually the art gallery type but on this particular day we were feeling curious. There were hundreds of people flowing in and out of the doors all day so we thought there must be something good going on.
Upon stepping in, we headed straight for the doors in front of us where everyone else seemed to be going. And inside we found art. As we expected.
On top of finding pieces of weird and wonderful art, we had stumbled upon an awesome ‘In Conversation’ talk that left us both wandering out very inspired with new ideas floating around our brains. The conversation was taken by the creative minds behind Tusk Journal, Spiel Magazine and The Double Negative and basically went into all sorts of things from starting up a new creative business to using social media and increasing productivity.
If you feel the need for a good dosage of inspiration or you’re searching for new ideas, whatever your project may be, I’d recommend taking a little stroll (or ride on your green machine) to TATE, located at Albert Dock.
4. Drink beer at The Cavern Club and boast about it
The Cavern Club. You just can’t miss this place.
This is where The Beatles were born and recognised, going on to become one of the worlds most famous bands. Between the years of 1961 and 1963 The Beatles performed on the stage of the Cavern Club a whopping 292 times!
But the amazing thing is, since it’s opening in 1957, Cavern Club has hosted a number of huge names, including the likes of Queen, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, The Who, plus hundreds more. In fact, the external brick walls to the club are engraved with every artist that has ever played there. And the wall is pretty damn big.
I don’t want to spoil the experience for you too much, the best part is wandering around curiously, checking out who’s feet have graced the stage in front of you.
And who’s naked bodies have been behind this door.
We grabbed ourselves a pint and took a seat right next to Queen whilst watching a fantastic Beatles Tribute band.
Oh and a hilarious drunk couple fighting pretty much on top of the stage.
Much to the audiences’ entertainment, the band played ‘All You Need is Love’ while this couple were yelling in each others ears over the song, completely oblivious to the fact that all attention was on them.
Find Cavern Club on Mathew Street in Liverpools’ city centre. There’s live music every evening to set the scene so grab a beer, wander around and boast to all your friends that you’ve stood right where The Beatles were established.
That’s pretty badass.
5. Bus it to Southport and go on a treasure hunt
A 20 mile journey north of Liverpool and you’re in charming Southport, the wondrous seaside holiday town of the north.
It’s difficult to pinpoint why we fell in love with Southport pretty much instantly.
It could have had something to do with the alluring architecture softly lit up with elegant street lamps that lined the main street. Or it could have been the warm, inviting feel the town had to it. Or maybe it was its wide array of stylish cafés, restaurants and shops softly complementing its well preserved history.
I don’t know. But I do know that Southport is full of mysteries, little gems. And the best way to find them is to go on a treasure hunt.
Southport Town Hall
The biggest, shiniest, gold treasure is found at Southport Town Hall and Gardens. Visit as the sun is going down and you’ll capture some rather nice pictures. Built in the Victorian era, the town hall is recognised as a listed building and makes for the perfect spot to sit and chill out for a while.
The town hall is home to some beautifully landscaped gardens and plenty of seating areas Perched around a fancy fountain. I think you’ll like it.
Southport Town Hall is located on the main street as you make your way into town. Just look out for the tallish building with a clock, dazzling in the sunlight.
The next treasure can be found at the end of the ridiculously long Southport Pier. So if your legs don’t feel like working, hop on this super cute little yellow train that takes you there.
On the way you’ll notice just how weirdly massive the beach is. Hence, why the pier has to be so weirdly massive. If you go at around 5pm, chances are you won’t even see the ocean. Seriously, the tide goes out for miles. It’s strange but purely amazing to see, especially during sunset.
What’s pretty cool is that if you have a car, you can actually drive down onto the beach for the day. The only reason I’ve come up with for this is because walking down to the water for a quick swim will probably take you half an hour alone.
Head for Marine Drive and you’ll spot the pier poking out amongst an array of fun shit, including Funland (pictured above), an old fashioned carousel, candy floss and ice cream kiosks and much more.
The Hungry Monk
Hidden away in a sneaky little alley off the main strip, you’ll find the most special gem of all.
It’s called The Hungry Monk and it could possibly be the most unique restaurant you ever step foot into.
While the menu is jam packed with a distinctive collection of delectable dishes and badass beverages from around the world, that’s not all this mysterious hideaway offers.
I’m not sure if anyone can really explain this place properly, only that it’s like a quirky little playground for adults.
Sound fun? It is.
You don’t even have to leave your seat to have a blast. Just look around at all of the random mismatched items placed anywhere and everywhere. Grab your beer served in a jam jar with an orange twist and let it increase your curiosity to wander a little further.
After ordering your Emperor Platter with one of the chirpy staff members, go on journey. Start at one end of the restaurant and work your way around until you get to the staircase. Have a giggle at the bright green socks hanging on the washing line stretched out beside the fancy-pants chandelier and then carefully make your way up the stairs.
There’s a wonderfully creepy surprise waiting for you at the top.
Going by what we ordered, your food will be insane. The Emperor Platter – filled with ribs, duck spring rolls, salt ‘n’ pepper squid and marinated chicken pieces will start a party in your mouth. And the mixed marinated olives will carry it on until the early hours of the morning.
With regular bursts of awesome live music and complimentary reading glasses to borrow at the counter (smart thinking), The Hungry Monk has to be the rad-est restaurant experience I’ve had yet. So I wrote some letters to the staff on a couple of vintage stickers, picking the most appropriate of course.
No person in their right mind should miss The Hungry Monk on their treasure hunt around Southport. They’re open for lunch and dinner so there’s double the chance to catch a bite.
Make your way to Cambridge Arcade. Now!
So there you go, 5 badass missions to set yourself for a unique experience in Liverpool. Hop to it.
Who’s had more unique experiences in Liverpool that were totally badass? Fancy sharing? Share away in the comments section below! Thanks!