A few weeks ago, I embarked on a trip to Northern England with a very tight schedule. 3 train tickets, 2 nights in 2 cities, and one friend in tow I made my way down south. Liverpool was our first stop, Manchester our second, and we would only have around 24 hours in each city. But how to make the most our of it? Here is how to spend 24h in Liverpool.
1pm: Arriving & Check-in
We arrive in Liverpool in the city centre at Lime Street station. The best thing about train travel is not just the beautiful scenery you get to lay your eyes on along the way, but that you usually arrive smack bang in the middle of the city and can start exploring pretty much right away. But first check-in!
We had booked a night at the famous Hard Days Night Hotel*, as a trip to Liverpool is not complete with a big slice of Beatles!
2pm: Quick Lunch
Sightseeing isn’t fun with an empty stomach, so we head for lunch first. Thanks for the Happy Cow app we find a hidden gem of a community centre, called Meeting House. The cafe is fully vegetarian and has vegan options, such as the humus and veg sandwich.
The location of the cafe is perfect to combine our stroll there with a brief visit to the Cavern Quarter as well as Probe Records shop for some music.
3pm: Quirky shopping
There are loads of quirky design and second hand shops around Liverpool, like the radical bookshop News from Nowhere, the cafe and design ship The Cow & Co or the craft gallery at that Bluecoat Display Centre, but the mother of alternative weirdness must be Grand Central Hall.
Located in a former Methodist church, the Grand Central Hall is an alternative shopping centre with tattoo parlours, a great second hand record shop, stacks of vintage fashion or tie-dye t-shirts, gothic wear and quirky accessories.
4pm: The Beatles Story
No city has a closer to relationship to its most famous band like Liverpool has with the Beatles. Who could not love the tunes of the Fab Four and want to visit the place where they formed their music style?
The Beatles Story is a museum dedicated to John, Paul, Ringo and George, the early years they spent in Hamburg, their international breakthrough in the US, Beatlemania and the inevitable breakup and subsequent solo careers. You could easily spend 3 hours in here, listening to the audio guide, checking out little interview videos, image and video archives on your handset, as well as reading the posters on the walls and looking at the exhibits. It’s almost too much to stomach. We spend around 1.5 hours here, which I’d say is pretty average!
7pm: Pre-dinner drinks at Bar Four
Even though we are already starving, we decide to check out the cocktail bar at the Hard Days Night Hotel. Bar Four has a relaxed atmosphere for pre-dinner drinks and a cocktail menu with drink names inspired by Beatles songs. John Lennon-ade anyone?
8pm: Dinner at Yardbird
Dinner should be a big vegan feast in the Baltic Triangle – at least that is the plan. By the time we’ve finished our drinks and reached Jamaica Street though, it is really late. Many places we had on our list already stopped serving food, others had big party nights on and weren’t serving any food. Hungry and frustrated we make our way back towards the city centre. Guided by Happy Cow we make our way towards Bold Street.
However, we never make it to the many vegan options on Bold Street, but blindly stumble into Yardbird, a cool chicken grill parlour that also serves up mean cocktails. The only vegetarian item on the menu is a halloumi burger, and driven by hunger I break my vegan streak.
(For vegan dinner options in this area check out Mowgli Street Food.)
10pm: Dancing & cocktails at Santa Chupitos
While many go to Liverpool to party at the Cavern pub and club to see where the Beatles swooned the crowds, we decide to check out some cocktail bars instead. The first one we find is so good, we never make it anywhere else.
Santa Chupitos is a fantastic cocktail bar with two floors, great tunes and the infamous ‘$5 Shake’. If you come here make sure you stay close to the bar to see as many different cocktails being prepared as possible – you’re in for a treat!
Midnight (or something like that): ZZZZZZ
Tired (and a bit tipsy) we make our way back to our hotel and fall fast asleep dreaming of George Harrison, whose picture hangs above our heads.
8am: Rise & shine
With the last cocktail still buzzing in our heads, we manage to get up early – the sun shining in from the outside surely helps too.
Excited we make our way down to the Albert Dock. The sun in our backs and a light breeze in our faces, this is the perfect place for an early morning stroll.
Enough walking though, it’s finally time to check out the culinary scene on Bold Street. We head to Leaf on Bold Street, a popular brunch spot with a great vegan (and non-vegan) selection of cooked breakfast, smoothies and cakes.
The vegan fry-up is the best weapon to defeat a hangover!
So is shopping – luckily Bold Street is also home to some awesome vintage shops, such as Pop Boutique, which even has a record shop in the basement!
12pm: Some sightseeing
Our 24h in Liverpool are almost over and we’ve hardly done any sightseeing yet! From Bold Street it is just a hop, skip and a jump to China Town and Saint Luke’s Church. The church was bombed during the second world war, but the bomb fell right in the middle of it, leaving the outer walls more or less untouched. Sadly, the church is closed at the moment for renovation, but usually you can go inside and marvel at this little wonder of architecture.
1pm: A quick pint
Our train is leaving soon, but a local chats us up and recommends a little historic pub around the corner, that sounds too good to ignore. The Roscoe Head pub is a very traditional family-owned establishment, with fireplaces scattered around the various rooms, and even a tiny snug with your own little access to the main bar.
Living in an age of gentrification and luxury real estate developments, the owners of Roscoe Head get a lot of interest in their building – or rather the ground it stands on. Unwilling to sell though, in order to make room for yet another luxury apartment development, they delivered a petition to the Liverpool City Council to save the pub. They are currently still raising money on order to ensure that the Roscoe Head does not have to yield.
Still buzzing from the beer and the taste of authentic local history, we make our way back to Lime Street station. 24h in Liverpool are definitely not enough to see it all. We merely scratch the surface, but one thing is sure – it’s worth to come back and dig deeper one day!
Goodbye, Liverpool – for now!
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