Whenever I think of a blog post title in advance of actually doing the trip, nothing ever goes to plan (see: A Perfect Weekend In Perthshire, which was far from perfect). In this case, I had come up with the satisfyingly alliterated A Day At The Docks: A Layover In Liverpool, which would involve a pleasant stroll along the famous Albert Docks and a visit to the Maritime Museum and perhaps even the Museum Of Liverpool and the British Music Experience.
Unfortunately, it was Monday, which meant all of Liverpool’s free museums were shut.
And so – What To Do In Liverpool On A Monday was born, and if you thought the title was completely random then hopefully this sheds some light onto why it does actually make sense.
Here’s what we got up to on our limited itinerary that actually led to us really enjoying the city.
Stroll along the waterfront to the docks
You can’t really come to Liverpool and not walk along the waterfront. In fact, I was really surprised by just how beautiful it is in this area of Liverpool; for such an industrial city overlooking a busy port it was never going to be the most scenic place in the world, but in actual fact it’s surrounded by some really stunning buildings and there are lots of interesting stops.
We had a pleasant walk both in the evening and during the day, and both times were lovely.
You can’t really avoid the statue of the Beatles, and there are lots of museums along here – just a shame they were closed!
From there we ended up at the Albert Docks which is full of shops, restaurants, bars, museums and also a fantastic bakery which we went to in the morning.
The Albert Docks have been refurbished a lot in the past few years, which has been both controversial and from what I gather, very much needed. Unfortunately the renovations have meant that the Docks have been stripped of their UNESCO World Heritage status, but to me this seems a bit of a shame, as there are some things that shouldn’t be touched, and others that need improvement. As a staple feature of a city centre, surely tapping into its potential is a good thing rather than leaving it to ruin for the sake of “authentic preservation”? It’s not like it’s been turned into a theme park!
Take a walk to the UK’s largest cathedral
If you asked me where the UK’s largest cathedral is, I think Liverpool would have been the last place I’d guess.
It does stand out like a bit of a sore thumb, as it’s very chunky and not at all ornate on the outside. I think if it wasn’t for the largest cathedral accolade, I might not have bothered heading over there.
Turns out it is WELL worth it!
There’s actually another modern cathedral in the city which we didn’t see, but it is… interesting.
It’s also a good reason to explore the city centre of Liverpool on the way to the cathedral – including another church.
St Luke’s Bombed Out Church
In case you hadn’t guessed, this church was heavily damaged in WWII. It might not look too bad in my photo, but it doesn’t have a roof. We couldn’t go “inside” when we were there but they actually hold a lot of events in there, which I find really cool. Instead of becoming an obsolete remnant of destruction, it’s remained a reminder of the past and become a creative space for the future at the same time.
It’s also in a great area of Liverpool – I particularly liked Bold Street, right in the heart of the vibrant Ropewalks district where a lot of Liverpool’s best bars and restaurants are.
If we’d had an extra night, there were quite a few places I fancied eating! There were some really interesting shops too, like this community-based “radical” book shop.
There’s not a lot I can say about the Quirky Quarter… because it was ALSO SHUT. I don’t know why though, as apparently it’s not actually closed on Mondays. However, the window display is enough for me to include it because honestly, what the hell is this?!
The Quirky Quarter is an interactive art experience of puzzles and challenges, and I have to say it sounds GREAT. It’s the first thing we’ll do next time we’re in Liverpool!
Grab some pirate food
I found out about Smugglers Cove years ago, because it’s pirate-themed so of course I did, which meant it went straight on the list.
I was expecting it to be a little more secretive or hidden away, but it’s actually right on the Albert Docks making it very accessible and an easy addition to the day.
Despite feeling like it could just be really gimmicky, it’s actually an awesome place with such interesting décor – absolutely my type of place! Even the toilets are set up like you’re on a ship, with portholes on the doors.
The food is fairly typical – but it’s served in a bit of barrel! And they have hanging kebabs! Is that gimmicky? Sure. Is it also kinda awesome? I say YES. And the food is GOOD, too!
Obviously – OBVIOUSLY – I had to have rum. I should have taken my eye patch for the full effect.
I also have to recommend the bakery we had breakfast in – Rough. I couldn’t decide what to have but ended up opting for a very healthy white chocolate croissant. They’re right, it didn’t look as happy as Alberto, but it made ME happy, and that’s what matters, right?
I perhaps should have titled this What To Do In Liverpool If You Don’t Like The Beatles, because sacrilegiously, I do not. Unfortunately this coupled with the museums being shut led to a slightly sparse day, but that’s alright because Liverpool is a nice city to walk around, especially on the waterfront (the city centre streets are just any other UK city, if you ask me, so the waterfront and docks offer something unique with beautiful buildings all around).
However, if you ARE a Beatles fan, there’s plenty else you could do on a Monday:
- pose with the Beatles statue on the waterfront
- visit the Beatles Story museum
- visit another Beatles museum
- visit the Cavern Club
I think Liverpool has changed a lot in recent years and has really put itself on the map for being a great city to visit in the UK.