When you ask someone if they know England, there is no small chance that the answer will be something like this: “Yes, I was in London two or three times. It is normal, because London is one of the main tourist destinations in the world and it is one of those places that you do not finish it even in a dozen visits.
However, England is a country full of secret and wonderful corners that could never be reduced to London.
Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to tour the beautiful Cornwall and see Bath and the medieval villages of the Cotswolds. Now, it is the turn of two cities that have surprised me in a formidable way, Liverpool and Manchester, and one of the most beautiful natural regions I have visited in the United Kingdom, the Lake District (or Region of the Lakes).
In Liverpool we spent a day that left us a great taste in our mouths. These are, in my opinion, the best things to see in a day in Liverpool:
Royal Albert Dock, the new Liverpool
If your image of Liverpool is an industrial English city where there is little more to do than watch its football team and have a few pints in nice bars, it’s because it’s been decades since you’ve been here. Or that you’ve never been there.
Liverpool is a vibrant, totally transformed city that now lives facing its famous dock, The Royal Albert Dock, which was inaugurated in 1846, having the honor of being the first system of fireproof warehouses in the world, since its buildings were erected in steel, stone and red brick.
That red brick is still the distinctive element of the spring. However, during its almost 175 years of history, the place has undergone many transformations.
In its early days, it was bustling with activity and its warehouses held large quantities of tobacco, silk, tea, cotton, ivory, sugar and other valuable products that were traded by the industrial pioneer England. After World War II, the area began to deteriorate by leaps and bounds until it became a dangerous place. The necessary refurbishment would come between 1981 and 1984, being, today, a vital part of the area of Liverpool that has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Royal Albert Dock is England’s most visited outdoor attraction, not counting London. That says it all.
After a tasty homemade hamburger and pint at The Pump House, on the same dock, we stroll under a pleasant September sun, among ships, museums, restaurants, food-trucks, bars and cafes (which have occupied the ground floor of the old red brick warehouses).
Families, groups of friends, couples… It seemed that half of Liverpool wanted to take advantage of the last warm rays of summer.
Rent a car with a discount of up to 15%:
Thus, walking aimlessly, we came across the statues of the ‘Fab Four’, the nickname by which Paul, John, Ringo and George came to be known in Liverpool. These statues of ‘The Beatles’ were donated by the owner of the pub ‘The Cavern’, in 2015, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last concert the band gave in the city.
Tourists line up to be photographed with their idols. And the Beatlemania arrived in the 1960s, but to stay.
To set the scene, an urban artist was playing the song ‘Yellow Submarine’ by The Beatles, and that reminded us that we had tickets for the best show there is of the most famous band in the world.
The Beatle Story: the best Beatles exhibition in the world
You don’t have to be a super fan of The Beatles to enjoy this magnificent recreation of the story of the band that invented the fan phenomenon.
In a tour that took us a couple of hours, we enjoyed very complete explanations (there is an audio guide in Spanish) narrated by Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, and we transported ourselves to the 60’s as we passed through the faithful recreations of the places that had marked the history of the band, and to be able to admire hundreds of original objects and photos related to ‘The Beatles’.
The area staged by The Cavern, the pub in which they performed almost 300 times between 1961 and 1963, is one of the most impressive. Although nothing to do with being able to see the mythical bar live that night. Don’t stop, because you know that reality always surpasses fiction.
British Music Experience: a journey through the history of English music
Another of the cultural – and music related – attractions you can find in and around the Wharf area is The British Music Experience Museum.
In it you will find, distributed in an immense ground floor, a very complete exhibition that summarizes, to perfection, the history of the most popular English music of the last century. Thus, there is no lack of Coldplay, Oasis or Rod Stewart’s guitars, Adele’s costumes, Queen’s drums or some samples of The Beatles’ immense legacy.
It also has a fun interactive area where you can practice with musical instruments, a complete shop merchandising these idols and a fantastic video-summary that is projected on the recreation of a stage.
It’s complicated to tell you how much time you need to see the sample, because there are people who see everything in an hour and others who spend the whole day here. In addition, part of the exhibit is variable, engaging people who have the annual pass with interesting temporary exhibits.
Schedules and tickets
The British Music Experience schedules are:
From April to October: from 10:00 to 18:00 hours. 7 days a week.
November to March: 10:00 to 17:00, Wednesday to Sunday (closed the rest of the days).
If you are in Liverpool and want to experience The British Music Experience, you can buy your early ticket here:
Tate Gallery: modern art in Liverpool
Modern art lovers are also in luck in Liverpool, as the famous Tate Gallery has its headquarters in the city, and is also located on the Royal Albert docks. We visited the Tate Gallery in Liverpool for a couple of hours and would have stayed a little longer. We especially liked the temporary exhibition of the complicated and revolutionary American artist Keith Haring whose work reflects the spirit of the pop generation and the street culture of New York in the 1980s. Birth, death, love, sex, war are recurring themes in his works.
Liverpool nightlife: living ‘The Cavern
And to complete a good day in Liverpool, nothing like having a good picanha, accompanied by caipirinhas, in the Brazilian restaurant ‘Festival’ right next to the mythical pub ‘The Cavern’. We had a luxurious dinner and the service was so kind that we almost went with them to have pintas later. However, we had an unavoidable date with ‘The Cavern’.
You have to pay an entrance fee of 5 pounds, but the atmosphere you find in this mythical bar is well worth it.
To think that in this kind of catacombs of the city, the most famous band in history triumphed, makes you enjoy beer in a different way. In addition, on the walls of the bar there are photos and souvenirs of many other great musicians who performed there. An authentic clandestine museum of 20th century rock-pop music.
I would have liked to be able to enjoy Liverpool a little more, with other neighbourhoods of the city still outstanding and, among other things, the tour of Anfield Stadium (I’m a fan of Liverpool, and that helps). However, I know I will return to this vibrant city that sits on the banks of the Mersey.