My first impression of Liverpool was that it is a really old washed-up town with aging buildings showing its rough history. However, looking beneath its exterior, I found a vibrant city that is filled with cultural heritage; known for its strong love of football and for being the home of the world-wide sensation, the Beatles. This is one city that holds on to its past with great pride.
Liverpool is a port city located in Merseyside, England. It has a history dating back to the early 13th century, and therefore, several areas around the city center has been named UNESCO World Heritage sites.
I am an avid Liverpool FC football fan; so visiting the city, and the stadium of Anfield has always been on my list of places to visit. I’m glad I finally made it here, and despite only passing by for a day to explore, I covered much of what the city has to offer– and this was my itinerary.
My first stop of the day was at the Albert Dock. The dock was constructed in 1846, and its buildings were the first ones in the country to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, and with no structural wood. Back in those days, the reddish buildings that adorn the port helped make the city one of the most advanced docks in the world. All clumped up together, they look old and time-worn but still– kinda pretty. It’s the perfect place for a stroll and to get to know the city, as well as to explore the many galleries and museums located here.
The Beatles Story
Liverpool is home to the Beatles, and they are mighty proud of their home boys. It was right here in this very city that John Lennon, Paul MacCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison started out, and ended up taking the world by storm. There is no way anyone should drop by Liverpool and not check out the Beatles’ Story. It is located along Albert Dock.
The exhibit is exceptional. It details the group’s first encounter in 1957, their formation, their albums and successes– basically, their entire story until they disbanded in 1970. I was thoroughly impressed with the whole experience; I Ioved the storytelling, the pictures, the props, the reconstruction of the actual locations… it actually felt like I was reliving it.
At Pier Head, about a 10-minute walk away from the main Beatles’ Story exhibition, is the Beatles’ Hidden Gallery. It showcases an impressive collection of never before seen Beatles photographs by photographer Paul Berriff. The thirty-eight black and white pictures were taken between 1963-64; and was discovered in Berriff’s attic, after being hidden and forgotten for almost fifty years.
The gallery also exhibits pictures and memories of John Lennon through the eyes of his ex-wife Cynthia, and their son Julian; and is the location of the Fab4D multimedia film theatre— featuring animated characters singing to the Beatles’ music.
The Royal Liver Building
Located in front of Pier Head, the Royal Liver Building is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city. It is home of the Royal Liver Assurance Group. Opened in 1911, the highest spires rise to 98.2m, and the building was the tallest in UK until 1961.
It is only possible to admire the building from the outside– make sure you spot the two Liver birds that are perched on the tip of the two towers. They are both facing opposite directions; one watches over the city, and the other, the sea. Legend says that they must always face away from each other because if they ever meet, mate and fly away together– Liverpool will cease to exist.
About a few minutes drive away from the dock area stands the imposing Liverpool Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool. At 189m long, it is the longest cathedral building in the world; as well as the largest in Britain and the 5th largest in the world. This Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool.
The Liverpool Cathedral is truly impressive for its sheer size; but what makes it even more majestic was its gigantic nave, the high columns, the beautifully decorated altar and the colorful stained glass windows. Do look out for the intricately carved Liver birds that adorn its ledges and corners– that’s what makes this cathedral unique.
Liverpool FC’s Anfield
The Anfield football stadium is located in the district of Anfield in the midst of a residential area; quite a distance from the city center of Liverpool. It is the home of the Liverpool football club, since the team formed in 1892. The stadium itself was opened in 1884, and was originally home of Everton FC before it was taken over by Liverpool FC.
Since my day’s schedule in Liverpool was pretty tight, I had no time to do a full stadium tour of Anfield. However, I still managed to walk around for some pictures and made a quick visit to the gift shop. As a Liverpool supporter, at least I get to say I’ve been to Anfield!
Mathew Street and the Cavern Club
After visiting Anfield– we headed back to central Liverpool and walked around the area for a little bit, admiring the old reddish buildings and medieval architecture of the city. We then came across one of the most famous streets in the city, Mathew Street. This street is known worldwide as the birthplace of the Beatles, as during the early days, the band used to perform in the Cavern Club that was located here.
The Cavern Club opened in 1957, and was a place where fans of the Liverpool music scene gathered to watch local bands perform. The original club closed in 1973; and was later rebuilt and reopened in 1984. Today it still plays live music– and is a great place to get a drink and watch a local band.
I had a good time walking along Mathew Street– trying to spot the many Beatles tributes located along it.
Last stop of the day in Liverpool was Chinatown– for dinner. Liverpool’s Chinatown is located within the city center, and is believed to be home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe. Because of the history of the Chinese in Liverpool (they’ve been here since the early 19th century), they are the city’s largest ‘ethnic’ group.
We had dinner at Mei Mei Chinese Restaurant. The place was packed, the food was commendable, and I would definitely recommend this restaurant should you be in Liverpool, and looking for a place for a good Chinese meal. It was also a satisfying end to the day’s exploration of this often misunderstood, yet historically and culturally alluring, city of Liverpool.