Liverpool: More than a Beatles City
A fantastic city to visit, whether you’re a Beatles fan or not
When I went to study abroad in England, one of the top cities I wanted to visit was Liverpool because, yes, I am a Beatles fan. However, there was so much more to do and see there than simply visit the Beatles museum and take a picture of the Strawberry Fields gate. I can confidently say that even had I not been a Beatles fan I would have enjoyed the city. It was much bigger and prettier than I expected – probably because my mind had been filled with post-war and Beatles era images – and it was a lovely for a spring trip. However, what I learned in Liverpool was beyond maritime history and Beatles trivia- that sometimes a city is bigger than the time you have to spend with it.
But first and foremost, if you are a Beatles fan, you need to go to Liverpool, no questions asked. I remember thinking as I walked along the sidewalk, unable to escape the face of at least one Beatle wherever I looked, that Liverpool should have been renamed “Beatles Land.”
There are so many things to see and do there that are affiliated with the Beatles, too many to do in just one day, as I found out. I went to the Beatles Story, a museum of the detailed history of the Beatles, with rooms recreated to look like the pub they first played in, recording studios, and even a yellow submarine. I took a tour bus around the city which was a cheap, fast and easy way to see the main sights the city had to offer, and I was able to hop on and off wherever I liked. It made it easy for me to see all the important sights I’d wanted to see, such as the Cavern Club, where the Beatles first played in their early days, and the major shopping center in the center of the city along Lord Street. If you like to shop, you would definitely fit in there. There were also other attractions I hadn’t been aware of, such as stately buildings and the art schools John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison attended. Liverpool has a lot to show for its musical history far beyond that of the Beatles. It has been host, and still hosts, many famous stars as well as budding musicians. It’s definitely a musical city and a great place for a music fan to visit.
And important lesson visiting Liverpool taught me, however, is that even if you try hard to fit everything into one day, it’s not always possible. As much as I wanted to complete my ‘Beatles Day Tour,’ I simply didn’t have time to get to the sights outside of the main city area, such as the gates of Strawberry Fields and the childhood homes that the Beatles lived in, which are open for touring. These place are located farther out of the city than I expected, and it taught me to plan better the next time I visited a city, as well as to accept that sometimes you might not do everything you hoped to, but to make the most of what you are able to do.
So, for those of you who for The Beatles are not an important factor in your travels, I took advantage of other attractions Liverpool had to offer. While it may be known for the famous band, Liverpool has a lot of history as a seaside city. Albert Dock is a wildly popular tourist area, which in addition to housing boats, it offers an assortment of shops and restaurants to visit and eat in along the water. The Beatles museum can be found along Albert Dock, along with a maritime museum. A city museum stands a short walk away, which offers free admission.
One of my favorite places in Liverpool was the Liverpool Cathedral. Located on the outskirts of the city, it’s a bit of a walk from Albert Dock as well as the city center, but well worth it. It’s an enormous and gorgeous cathedral and the surrounding gardens are also beautiful to see. While I simply walked around the cathedral without aid, tickets can be purchased for audio tours as well as a visit up to the tower for a grand view of Liverpool and its surrounding towns and cities.
It also happened that, in true Liverpool spirit, a musical show telling the history of the Beatles was taking place inside the cathedral the day I visited, which I would guess doesn’t happen often, but isn’t exactly rare either.
While I loved the day I had in Liverpool, I left with the certain knowledge that if one can spend more than a single day in the city, you should do it, especially if you are a Beatles fan. While it’s not exactly London, it’s a famous tourist city for its music, maritime, and war history, and if you find yourself interested in any of those things, I would definitely recommend the trip.
At the end of my busy day I found a bench along the waterfront and watched ships sailing past as the sun sunk in the sky, which turned out to be one of my favorite moments in Liverpool. Even if every attraction is worth seeing, taking the time to let the city move around you for a change can be rewarding, too.