I’m sorry to say, but it wasn’t until the 2020 pandemic forced me to stay put in the UK and explore my homeland more, that I finally got to visit the iconic city of Liverpool for the first time and all the amazing things to do in this city.
And this is even more shameful given that I studied for my undergraduate degree, and therefore lived for 3 years, in the city of Leeds, which is not even 2 hours from Liverpool!
But such is that nature of our own back garden… we rarely explore it.
But now I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Liverpool not once, but twice, and honestly my love for this city only grows and grows!
So I’ve now added to and updated this list of the top things to do in Liverpool, and are now calling it the definitive guide to the city!
Honestly, there’s so much info in this article, using it will help you jampack a day or weekend trip there to the rafters!
And if that’s your plan and you’re looking for a super place to stay in this city, don’t miss the grade II listed Radisson RED Liverpool.
Located in the heart of the city, right next to the main train station, this really is the perfect spot from which to explore all the best fun and cultural things there are to do in the wonderful city of Liverpool…
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#1 See a Famous Stadium
So I’m putting this at number one, mostly because it’s the reason many people travle to Liverpool!
And for that alone it’s getting the top spot on this list, even if I don’t care 2 hoots for the game personally!
Yes you can pick from either of the city’s major team stadiums – either Everton who play at Goodison Park (although are soon to move to their new stadium on Liverpool’s Waterfront) or Liverpool FC who play at Anfield – and see their amazing grounds for yourself.
Tours of the stadiums can be booked if you’re looking for the full works (check out this top-rated option), or you can just wander around and enjoy these iconic locations independently outside of match days.
In fact, both grounds happen to be quite close to each other so, if you’re super keen (and don’t have any clear allegiances), you can squeeze in the double whammy!
Public buses can easily be caught from the city centre of Liverpool to either of the stadiums, which is the cheapest way to get there if you’re on a budget.
Personally, I caught the number 17 bus from Queen Square Bus Station, which is near to the main train station, and paid just a few pounds to get to Anfield in around 15-20 minutes; but you can use the free app Citymapper to check out the best journey options for you.d!
If you’d rather grab a cab to Goodison Park or Anfield, then it’s easy to do so, as both Uber and Bolt work in this city.
Personally, I like Bolt more, because its drivers get a higher commission than Uber.
#2 Check out the Bluecoat
The bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre’s oldest building, and swinging past to say you’ve at least see it, is definitely one of the top things to do in Liverpool if you’re a history buff.
Located on School Lane, this building is almost 300 years old, Grade I listed and has been beautifully restored.
Now a bustling, creative hub – and the centre of the city’s Contemporary Art movement – the Bluecoat holds regular events, networking socials, performances and exhibitions.
It also has some beautiful gardens at the back you can wander and enjoy.
See what’s on at the Bluecoat and learn more about what it does to support creativity in Liverpool here.
#3 Climb the Cathedral
Next up is another old building and city landmark, it’s the Liverpool Cathedral, which is set a short distance from the city, but is well worth the stroll.
Also a Grade I listed building, amazingly, this is the largest religious building in the UK and the 8th largest church in the world!
Pretty impressive, especially when you climb the tower of this Cathedral and experience amazing 360 degree views it offers over the whole city at a height of over 500 feet!
Different tours of the Cathedral happen regularly and the Above and Beyond Tower, which costs £25 includes access to areas of the church not accessible to the general publi, as well as a climb to the top of the tower!
Book your spot here.
Other tours include the War Memorial Tour and the Embroidery Gallery Tour.
And if you are visiting the Liverpool Cathedral, to take a tour or just wander around by yourself, then don’t miss the Welsford Bistro located within the Cathedral.
I have it on good authority from a local, that this place does which does the best scouse in town!
Ps. If you don’t know what scouse is, it’s a local kinda stew that is Liverpool’s iconic traditional dish, so don’t miss it!
#4 Scale the Liver Building
One of this city’s greatest icons, the Liver Building is an example of Liverpool’s incredible historic architecture.
Grade I listed and gracing the city’s waterfront, it opened in 1911 and stands at an impressive 98.2m tall, making it Europe’s first skyscraper.
The purpose-built home of the Royal Liver Assurance group, which had been set up in the city in 1850 to provide locals with financial assistance, the building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, a Liverpudlian architect.
Now owned by Liverpool council, you can take amazing tours of the Liver Building, which includes an impressive CGI movie, screened in the buildings rafters, that shows the changes across the city through the ages, as well as the chance to enjoy the epic 15th floor viewing platform.
Here you can also spot the 2 Liver birds that adorn the roof – Bertie and Bella.
It is said the Bertie looks after the city, well Bella looks after the ships, but also that Bertie looks out for the pub go-ers, while Bella looks out for the fellas!
A city emblem, these birds were designed by the man who also designed the gates from Buckingham Palace apparently!
#5 Visit Royal Albert Dock
The heart of the cultural action in Liverpool, the Royal Albert Dock area is a treasure trove of museums, attractions, eateries and historic sights – perfect for visitors!
Opened in 1846, this dock area was the centre of global trade in the 19th century and grew to have huge prominence and economic clout.
It was also ground-breaking in its construction – it was the first structure in the UK to be built with cast iron, brick and stone – meaning these docks heralded a new way to trade away from the risk of fire and theft (problem hugely associated with wooden docklands).
2 years after it opened, the world’s first hydraulic cranes were used here, meaning the time inwhich ships were unloaded and turned around was cut in half!
Wonderfully regenerated after Liverpool was named the European City of Culture on 2008, the Albert Docks became the Royal Albert Docks in 2018 and are Grade I listed.
Nowadays, the sweeping wide walkways of this atmospheric waterfront area are ideal for strolling and taking in the sights and sounds of the Mersey on one side and the city on the other.
Absolutely one of the top things to do in Liverpool, heading here to soak in the ambience and check out some of the city’s best cultural assets (many of them free) is a must!
#6 Explore the Merseyside Maritime Museum
And one of the flagship museums located at the Royal Albert Dock is the Maritime Museum in Liverpool – very apt given this used to be the working dock at the heart of Liverpool’s seafaring and trading history!
Opened in 1986, in a warehouse formerly used to store tea, silk, sugar and spirits, this museum was the first public building to open at the regenerating docks!
And it remains a poignant heart of the cultural action here today.
Still free to enter, and open everyday Tuesday through Sunday from 10am – 4pm, the fantastic exhibitions here chart how Liverpool came to prosper thanks to global maritime trade and introduces many of the leading characters that shaped the story!
In particular, the wonderful Titanic exhibition here is a must see if you’re keen to learn about the strong Liverpool connections to this most famous of ships, as well as the story behind her construction and her demise.
#7 Educate Yourself at the International Slavery Museum
And on the top floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, you can find the International Slavery Museum – a wonderful series of exhibitions that covers the history of slavery, Liverpool’s connection to this dark chapter of the past, as well as information about modern slavery, human rights and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Absolutely one of the top things to do in Liverpool, this moving and incredibly important exhibition is worth taking your time to explore, so valuable and relevant is its confronting and powerful message.
#8 Explore the Walker Art Gallery
Yet another free museum space in the city (I haven’t talked about the nearby World Museum, but that is also free and worth a visit!) the Walker Art Gallery boasts the city’s most important art collection, which it has housed for over 130 years.
It is widely considered to the be the national gallery of the north and one of Europe’s finest art museums housing, as it does, an internationally renowned collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art.
Again located in a wonderful heritage building, the John Moore’s Painting Prize 2023 was the best exhibition on here when I visited and it was fantastic to see the winning artwork by Graham Crowley.
The UK’s longest-running painting competition is over 60 years old and was named after its founding sponsor Sir John Moores.
Permanent pieces in the other rooms upstairs also feature a number of previous winners, including David Hockney, who has a painting displayed permanently here.
Next door, there’s also 2 Degas pieces (1 painting and 1 statue) if you’re looking to do some name dropping!
Open from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Sunday, plus bank holidays, the Walker Art Gallery can be found on William Brown Street and is absolutely another of the best things to do in Liverpool.
#9 Check out the Museum of Liverpool & Tate Liverpool
And also situated on the Royal Albert Dock (see I told you it was a hub of arts and culture for visitors to this city!) is the Museum of Liverpool.
Opened in 2011, this building now receives almost a million visitors a year and is home to some incredible exhibitions that chart the history and development of Liverpool as a city.
In particular, the brilliant Wonderous Place gallery is a must if you want to learn more about the legends across sport, TV and film, art, music and design this city has produced!
Celebrating internationally-recognised creative expression and influence through exciting displays and immersive experiences, I loved revisiting all the pop icons of my 90’s childhood here!
From iconic Beatles suits to Spice Girl Mel C’s stage costume, the gallery also explores Liverpool’s enviable reputation for musical creativity.
The People’s Republic gallery window is also another must-see spot in this museum with its stunning waterfront views.
And then, nearby, you’ll find the Tate Liverpool.
A a fantastic arm of Britain’s most famous art gallery institution, it’s also worth a stop if you’re not in exhibition overdrive yet!
Showcasing British art from the 16th century to the present day, as well as international modern and contemporary art, this treasure trove of a gallery is also free to enter, meaning it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Liverpool for those on a budget.
#10 Enjoy the Beatles Story
And next we come to the city’s most famous residents!
Yes if you didn’t know already, The Beatles hailed from Liverpool and unsurprisingly, the city offers a lot for fans of this popular music group to do see, and experience.
And the flagship attraction to enjoy is the Beatles Story – a permanent exhibition dedicated to the life and work of the famous four.
Award-winning and accompanied by a great audio guide tour, you can buy your ticket to this brilliant exhibition here.
I recommend grabbing yours in advance as it regularly sells out!
#11 Snap a Celeb Selfie
And while we’re on the subject of famous Liverpudlians, of which there are a lot, few visitors who come to this city can resist a selfie with at least one of them!
Yes brilliantly, Liverpool manages to capitalise on its famous residents care of the many sculptures that dot the city, particularly along the Waterfront and around the Royal Albert Dock.
The Beatles are there of course, often next to a jolly busker strumming out their top hits, but so too is Johnnie Walker, Billy Fury and Bessie Braddock.
In fact, there are 20 sculptures of famous people across Liverpool city centre, but my favourite was… (drum roll please)… obviously Cilla Black!
If you’re not British and weren’t born before 1990, it’s unlikely you’ll know who this lady is!
But if you were, my oh my did she give us a lorra lorra laughs!
Find out where to spot Cilla and all the other sculptures with this handy guide.
#12 Ferry Across the Mersey
You can’t beat the song and you can’t get through a list of the most iconic things to do in Liverpool without mentioning this one!
Yes the Mersey is the river come estuary that runs between Liverpool and The Wirral and you can get a lovely ferry ride across it for just a few quid and sing the song as you go (no extra charge!)
If you love a transport ride, then an open-top sightseeing bus tour in Liverpool might suit you too.
It’s a great way to see a lot of the centre’s best sights in super quick time – ideal for day trippers.
#13 Shop Till You Drop
No question, Liverpool doesn’t disappoint on the retail front either, so for all you mad keen shoppers this is a great city to head to!
With a centre that’s much more manageable than London, walking around for some retail therapy is a great relaxing way to spend time in Liverpool.
Top spots to head for include COW and 69A vintage stores, along with Liverpool One for a more classic mall experience.
#14 Wander China Town
And talking of wandering, why not head off to explore Liverpool’s cultural diversity with a trip to China Town?
Near the Liverpool Cathedral I mentioned early, it’s a great idea to combine these 2 attractions, so grab some top eats here before heading over the church!
#15 Catch a Show at the Playhouse
A hub of evening activity and a great way to kick off a night in Liverpool, is catching a performance in one of the city’s many theatrical spaces.
The Empire is the mainstream spot, but the Everyman Theatre is my personal fave.
The Playhouse is also very cool and an architectural gem you can enjoy from the outside as well inside!
In fact, this is a Grade II listed building!
Found on Williamson Square, I love its intimate vibes and you can check out what’s on here.
#16 Munch at Duke Street Market
And after any show, it’s time to head for dinner, because one of the top things to do in Liverpool is definitely eat!
Duke Street Market is the place to head for the best vibes and trendy feels in the city.
Revel in the relaxed atmosphere along huge tables and enjoy an amazing range of different culinary delights.
Duke Street Market is also a great place to enjoy a drink and soak in the good-time ambience of Liverpool even more!
#17 Enjoy a Drink & Live Music in the Cavern Quarter
Otherwise, the other top spot to head in this city for a beverage or 2, is the Cavern Quarter.
Complete with a John Lennon statue, this part of the city is the stuff of legends and, wandering along the small streets here to discover the many bars and their musical performers, is absolutely one of the must-do things in Liverpool.
Needless to say, the Cavern Quarter is the best spot in Liverpool for live music.
Almost every pub and bar here offers some form of live entertainment, so tap into this city’s great musical heritage the way it’s been done for decades!
#18 Catch a Concert in St George’s Hall
Built between 1841 and 1854 as a music and entertainment space, St George’s Hall also, rather strangely, doubles as a courtroom and holding prison cell!
Althoug last used as an actual courtroom in 1984, this beautiful historic building is still filled with drama, as its regularly employed as a shooting location for films and TV shows – including for the famous movie In the Name of the Father .
Interactive tours, as well as evening ghost tours, lead you through the underground cells here too, which used to host up to 30 people each in pretty cramped conditions.
However, the more picturesque side of St George’s are the Concert Room and Great Hall, which are frequently used for all sorts of recitals and public events.
With the 3rd biggest organ in the country, the Great Hall is pretty impressive, but it’s the gorgeous and intimate Concert Room, with its £250,000 chandelier that really steals the limelight.
Strolling these stunning interiors, as well as admiring the building from the outside, it’s easy to see why this iconic architectural piece is another Grade I listed building on the Liverpool skyline.
#19 Have Fun at the Kazimier
If you want a trendy evening venue, then the Kazimier Gardens is a super spot in Liverpool.
With a huge outdoor space, as the name suggests, this funky spot is downbeat in its aesthetics, but anything but in its atmosphere!
They also host club nights here if you really want to keep the party going.
#20 Hit the Rope Walks
The Kazimier Gardens is actually set along the Rope Walks – a part of the city that leads up to China Town and then onto the Liverpool Cathedral.
This area is also full of happening bars, many with roof terraces, which make a great spot to enjoy Liverpool after dark.
#21 Marvel at Crosby Beach!
And finally, last on my list of the best things to do in Liverpool is to head out of the city and take in the amazing coastal location nearby.
Top of recommendations is Crosby Beach, which sits just north of the city and is most famous for its Antony Gormley statues.
If you’ve seen any other Gormley pieces around the UK, including in Margate, then this is a must-see!
Called Another Place, you can walk both along the beach and the coastal path here to enjoy the artwork, the views and the fresh air to the max.
Drive here if you’ve rented a car in the UK, or else there’s 4 train stations along this strip of coastline you can use to access the beach from Liverpool city.
Otherwise, the National Cycle Route that runs along here too means grabbing a bike and enjoying the scenery is also possible.
Top Travel Tips for Liverpool
When to Visit?
There’s no question in my mind that the best time to visit Liverpool is during the summer months, although I’ve been in January too and loved it!
How to Get to Liverpool?
Liverpool can easily be accessed from most major cities in England.
As always, I use Trainline to find the best deals on UK train fares.
National Express also have some fantastic deals and you can compare these tickets to the train prices, care of Trainline too.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to hire a car in England, Discover Cars offer some very competitive rates.
It’s worth noting however, that much of the parking across Liverpool city centre is paid, so don’t forget to factor that and fuel costs into your budget.
How to Get Around?
Liverpool city centre is easy to navigate on foot – it’s a great way to take in the city too.
Otherwise, local bus services are cheap and easy to use – especially if you’re heading out of the city to some of Liverpool’s football stadiums or coastal areas for example.
Get timetable info here.
You can also take a tour around Liverpool. This is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of this diverse and fascinating city.
My top recommendations would be…
Where to Stay in Liverpool?
Located in a grand, 19th century, Grade II listed building, right next to Liverpool Lime Street Station, the stunningly restored Radisson RED Liverpool oozes style and fun!
Pairing stunning period features (check out the original grand staircase and stained glass window) with contemporary quirky design, the Radisson RED’s interior also pays homage to the vibrant cultural heritage Liverpool is so famous for.
My gorgeous room, with its work desk, Nespresso station and smart TV, was so cosy that I couldn’t bring myself to leave on my first night here!
So instead, I used the hotel’s fab Click and Collect service to order a delicious plant-based burger from their top in-house restaurant, Stoke Liverpool, and enjoyed the ultimate hotel treat – room service in bed!
Cosy bedding and black-out windows meant I slept a treat too.. and then woke up, fresh and ready, to enjoy an amazing day exploring Liverpool’s fantastic museums and galleries, which are just minutes from the hotel’s front door.
5 Packing Essentials for Liverpool
And now here’s my list of the top 5 packing essentials you shouldn’t head to the great city of Liverpool without…
#1 A Good Camera
#2 Decent Walking Shoes
You’ll probably be walking a lot around the city centre here, so be prepared with a decent pair of walking shoes like these cross trainers from New Balance.
#3 Light Waterproof Jacket
Whatever the time of year, ensure you have a good lightweight and waterproof jacket with you. This North Face one is perfect.
#4 Compact Hiking Day Pack
I never go on any UK trip without a sturdy backpack and this super featherweight Kompressor from Marmot is my go-to.
#5 Portable Charger
I’d never head off anywhere without my trusty Anker Portable Charger, which keeps my phone and camera batteries full all day.
Where to Go After Liverpool?
If you’re still keen for more UK travel splendour after Liverpool (and, quite frankly, why wouldn’t you be?!), then you have some more great options on the doorstep.
North of the city, the amazing Lake District is full of beautiful views and some great hiking opportunities.
Check out this top-rated day trip which runs there from Liverpool.
Otherwise, the mighty Snowdonia is actually closer to Liverpool and is definitely one of my top bucket-list things to do in the UK!
Alternatively, you could head east from Liverpool and explore the county of Yorkshire with its amazing Dales National Park and stunning coastline.
Check out my list of the 35 best things to do in Yorkshire for more ideas.
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So there you have it, my list of the 21 top things to do in Liverpool.
Whether you are there for a day, the weekend, or even longer, I hope this post has given some great ideas about how to get the best from your time in this amazing city.
Have any other top things to do in Liverpool to add to the list?
Then please drop them into the comments below and help a fellow traveller out…
My trip to Liverpool was sponsored by Radisson RED Liverpool but, as always, all views are my own.
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