Inspired by the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, we travelled by train to England in March. Combining ESC host city Liverpool with the industrial heritage of Manchester. Manchester to Liverpool was also the first steam railway line ever. A perfect pretext to travel to The North.
Researching Liverpool before travelling there, we were a bit wary. The tourism sites do focus a lot on music and football. The game and The Beatles are omnipresent, so it seems.
- The Beatles Story: Liverpool is synonymous with The Beatles, and The Beatles Story museum is the ultimate destination for any fan. It tells the story of the band’s rise to fame, with exhibits including John Lennon‘s iconic round glasses and the original Strawberry Field gates.
- Anfield Stadium: football fans should visit Anfield Stadium, home to Liverpool FC, for a stadium tour and to learn more about the club’s history.
But wandering around, that didn’t turn out to be the case. On Monday, we were on the lookout for the ESC venues, as these would provide for nice topical content.
What else is there to see in Liverpool?
- The Walker Art Gallery: the Walker Art Gallery is said to “one of the” finest art galleries in Europe, with an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 13th century to the present day.
- Liverpool ONE: For those who love to shop, Liverpool ONE is a modern shopping center with over 170 shops, restaurants, and bars.
- The Cavern Club: Music lovers can visit the Cavern Club, where The Beatles played over 292 times, and enjoy live music performances and a range of events.
- St. George’s Hall: St. George’s Hall is an impressive neoclassical building that hosts a range of concerts, events, and exhibitions.
- The World Museum has extensive collections covering archaeology, ethnology and the natural and physical sciences. Special attractions include the Natural History Centre and a planetarium. Entry to the museum is free. The museum is part of National Museums Liverpool.
What did we see, besides the museum we visited?
- The Albert Dock: The Albert Dock is a beautifully restored waterfront complex that’s home to a range of attractions, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, and Tate Liverpool.
- The Liverpool Cathedral (finished in 1978): The Liverpool Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world and boasts stunning views across the city from its tower. It’s also home to a collection of stunning stained-glass windows and an impressive organ.
- Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (finished in 1967), officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King and locally nicknamed ‘Paddy’s Wigwam‘ is the seat of the Archbishop of Liverpool and the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. Funnily, the Catholic Cathedral looks more modern than the Anglican Cathedral, but isn’t. The cathedral’s architect, Frederick Gibberd, was the winner of a worldwide design competition. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1967. Earlier designs for a cathedral were proposed in 1933 and 1953, but none were completed.
- The Pier Head, properly George’s Pier Head, is a riverside location. It was part of the former Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was inscribed in 2004, but revoked in 202. As well as a collection of landmark buildings, recreational open space, and a number of memorials, the Pier Head was (and for some traffic still is) the landing site for passenger ships travelling to and from the city. It also hosted the Eurovision Village.
Liverpool features a few characteristics which struck us.
- Most pedestrian signs are low, on eye level. So you should press the button and look not in front of you, but next to you.
- Trackies, sweatpants, whatever you call them are de rigueur. The percentage people weating trackies is high. The chav of scally level looks high as well.
- Having said that, we didn’t get a vibe of impoverishment which is often linked to The North.
- Black is a popular. From more forma outfits to hip attires to the chav look, black is popular. So pack your black Adidas trackies.
- Liverpool has so many hotels. According to Google, there are 105 hotels and 8,093 hotel rooms. So about 16,000 hotel beds. And these hotels are prominent in the city.
- Liverpool is big but manageable on foot.
- It aims at making LGBTQIA+ people feel welcome. Rainbows, a gaybourhood around Stanley Street and a LGBTQIA+ Audio Trail at the Museum of Liverpool.
We were pleasantly surprised by Liverpool. We didn’t expect much, but we had a good time. It’s nicely oriented towards tourism, but in a good way, not a Spanish costa way.
It makes sense Liverpool bid for hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. There is room, there infrastructure and visitors are welcome.
We certainly recommend Liverpool as a destination for a long weekend.
Liverpool & Manchester 2023
- BEHIND THE SCENES | Gustaph and ‘Because Of You’ to represent Belgium at 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.
- REVIEW | Avanti West Coast Lounge London Euston station.
- REVIEW | London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street on Avanti West Coast’s pride train.
- LIVERPOOL | 2023 Eurovision Song Contest venues & locations: arena, fan village, EuroClub, EUROfansCLUB.
- A visit to the Museum of Liverpool.
- LIVERPOOL | Merseyside Maritime Museum ft. Piermaster’s House, Border Force National Museum and International Slavery Museum.
- LIVERPOOL | Western Approaches / Liverpool War Museum.
- REVIEW | Radisson Red Liverpool.