Most people immediately associate this British city with the Beatles, of course. But Liverpool once had more ships registered than just about any other city in the world. It was a huge port and shipbuilding center, and the architecture in the city center is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Great strides have been made in recent years to show off more of Liverpool’s attractions.
What We Love
The Skyline: The best way to see the city from the water is to take the “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” as the 1964 song says. Go to Birkenhead and look back at the Three Graces that define the riverfront: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. In the distance you can also spy the Liverpool Cathedral, which is well worth a visit.
The Nearby Town of Birkenhead: The city’s public park was a major inspiration for New York’s Central Park, and Britain’s first streetcars (“trams”) ran on these streets. Two vintage double-deckers carry visitors to and from the Wirral Transport Museum.
Best Known For
The Maritime Museum: Housed in former shipping warehouses in the old Albert Dock, the museum teaches visitors about Liverpool’s evolution from a small village along the River Mersey to a major commercial center. Murals, paintings, photographs, ship models, and videos tell its story, including its place in the slave trade. Admission is free.
Its Historic Streets: To appreciate the city’s commercial importance, walk from Lime Street Railway Station through the heart of the city until you reach the River Mersey. You will be surrounded by 19th-century grandeur.
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Who It's Best For
Urban History Buffs: The bones of this great port are still there, as is the architecturally rich commercial center, the waterfront on both sides of the Mersey, and especially the Pier Head and Princes Landing Stage, where cruise ships tie up.
Beatle Maniacs: Follow the trail on your own, or book a tour to places like Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, the Casbah Coffee Club, the Cavern Club, and the Beatles Story, a museum and exhibition in the Albert Dock.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Urban Issues: Not all of Liverpool has benefited from the recent revival. Some parts of the city are poor and run-down.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.