UK & Ireland

Best things to do in Liverpool: your local experiences bucket list

Liverpool teems with possibility. The city is famous around the world for its music and football teams, but what is perhaps less well known is how welcoming and energetic a place it is

Formerly Northern Britain’s primary port city, Liverpool retains a global perspective, which is perhaps why it feels like a much bigger place than it is. There’s so much to experience and enjoy here–whether you live in the city or are just visiting it for a city break.

Although not a native, I’ve always felt at home in Liverpool. That’s partly down to the numerous times I’ve enjoyed its museums, pubs, parties and football grounds, but it’s also to do with what a welcoming, warm place it is. I know all of Britain’s great cities well, and only a handful are in the same league as Liverpool when it comes to combining history, culture, energy and fun. And here are the top things to do in Liverpool, so you can enhance your bucket list!

1. From Beatles tours to underground walks: live the best experiences in Liverpool

You cannot avoid The Beatles in Liverpool. The city is understandably proud of its role as birthplace to the world’s most famous pop band, but not all of its Fab Four-related tourist attractions are worth your time. The Strawberry Field Visitor Experience definitely is.

Opened in 2019, it offers free access to the gardens that John Lennon loved so much, where stones from the now demolished Strawberry Field mansion–owned then as now by the Salvation Army–are used as benches. There’s also an interactive exhibition (Tickets are £10.95 for adults, free for under-16s visiting with an adult) where you can play the first bars of “Strawberry Fields Forever” on a virtual Mellotron, and find out more about Lennon and the song itself from Paul McCartney and Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird, among others.

2. Get on board and have fun in Liverpool

If you want to understand Liverpool, the Mersey River is the place to start. Liverpool’s blend of native pride and global outlook is a result of the city’s port heritage, a heritage reflected on the Mersey River explorer cruise.

This 50-minute trip includes an audio guide to the city’s shoreline, taking in docks, history and skyline. You’ll learn about smuggling, music and war – and how those three things have moulded the city–onboard the Dazzle Ferry, designed by Sir Peter Blake, the English pop artist responsible for the cover of Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s an amazing sight, decorated with colour and monochrome patterns designed to baffle and excite the eye. (Onboard, thankfully, things are more relaxing.)

3. Explore Liverpool's best museums and get Scouse souvenirs

Liverpool played a key role in Britain’s defence during the Second World War. After France fell in 1940, shipping convoys arrived in the U.K. via the Atlantic north of Ireland, an area that forms part of what was called the Western Approaches. The defence of this area was coordinated from Derby House in Liverpool, now the home of the Western Approaches Museum.

It’s a treat for history lovers of all ages. This huge and hugely atmospheric underground bunker contains a variety of rooms decorated as they were when 300 wartime staff worked here, from the central operations room – where shipping and enemy activity was monitored–to the bunk rooms, where exhausted officers caught up on a precious few hours of sleep.

4. Bring the family to try out some of the best things to do with kids in Liverpool

Ever wanted to walk on the kitchen ceiling, or tower over your friends, or dance on the grooves of a vinyl record? Well now you can–sort of. At Quirky Quarter, a unique visitor attraction taking in a variety of interactive experiences, challenges, photo opportunities and more, you’ll find that seeing is not necessarily believing when it comes to various optical illusions.

It’s great fun. Cameras are welcomed–they’re a crucial power of a lot of the experiences–and brains should be fully engaged throughout. Opened in 2020, it’s no surprise that Quirky Quarter has rapidly become one of Liverpool’s most popular family-friendly attractions.

5. Sleep in a piece of Mersey history for one of the best hotel experiences in Liverpool

Nowhere in Liverpool combines the city’s rich history with modern comforts quite as well as the Titanic Hotel. The property is based in a chunk of the historic Stanley Dock, where rum and tobacco imported from the Caribbean were once stored, and which is now part of the Liverpool docks UNESCO world heritage area.

A short walk from the city centre, The Titanic offers contemporary design amid the grandeur of Victorian Liverpool: exposed brickwork, steel columns and original windows. There’s great food and drink, too, at The Rum Bar and Stanley’s Bar & Grill–so, yes, your weekend is completed.