Category Archives: Liverpool

UK, action packed 3 day side trip to Liverpool – Beatles, art galleries, Docks, Beach and those friendly scousers too.

Just 2 hours and 15 minutes out of Euston and you are in Liverpool – not very far but a world away from London. Everyone I know who has been told me I would love it here – and they were right. My first visit ever was lots of fun.

First afternoon I headed down to the well renovated docks – a short walk from the town centre – which is no a mixture of museums, cafes, restaurants, shops and areas to stroll by the water. It is also where you can pick up ferries – but I decided against that given limited time and there does not appear to be much on the other side?

So first stop , after a walk through Cavern Quarter in town, was to get a dose of Beatles at the Excellent Beatles Story at Albert Dock. Everything you ever wanted to know was well organised and explained with headphones included.

The Cavern Quarter including the entrance to the original Cavern and a wonderful statue of Cilla Black. Every bar down, including the Cavern a few doors down, here plays music sets all day long. And I succumbed to a Beatles hoodie.

The impressively revitalised docks of Liverpool

Statues of Billy Fury, the Beatles and the majestic “Three Graces” at Pier Head – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard HQ and the Port of Liverpool Building.

Inside the Beatles Story Museum

Close by in the Dock area is the excellent International Museum of Slavery which shares its home with the maritime museum. While there is not a lot to photograph it is a great place to spend a couple of hours to understand the horror of slavery both in the past and sadly also in the present. Liverpool was a key port during the slave trade and it is impressive that they are willing to take ownership for those wrongs and educate people now so that it never happens again. I am not sure all those involved in the slave trade are quite as open on this topic.

A visit to the Tate Liverpool also by the Docks was next – like the Tate Modern it focuses on contemporary art and I was glad to be able to see the Keith Haring exhibit which I had just missed on my visit to Melbourne earlier this year. I also got the pink triangle t shirt!

Keith Haring artworks

A Matisse from the permanent collection plus some more Kusama dots of light – because I love her!

The British Music Experience – which moved to Liverpool from London was probably my biggest disappointment. Somehow it just didn’t work very well (and of course I have been spoiled by the superlative Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is super fab. I amused myself of checking out “my era” and the album covers and clothes I remember well.

Some great memories at the BME

Back to the Beatles. On the advice of my friend Sylvie, I had pre-booked the National Trust’s tour to the homes where John Lennon and Paul McCartney grew up. Only this tour lets you inside both houses with two excellent guides who take you through what it was like growing up in these houses and their early years and you get to see the rooms where many well known early tunes were written. Lots of great photos inside taken my Paul’s brother Mike and all sorts of stories too. Both of them lost a parent when they were young. It was very cool and interesting – has to be pre-booked online. Lasted 2.5 hours.

The houses where John and Paul grew up. Only John gets the blue plaque – you have to be dead for more than 20 years for one of them.

Again on the advice of my friend Ann this time I took the Mersey Metro to Port Sunlight about 20 minutes away. This is where what is now known as Unilever started his empire but what makes him and this place so interesting is that he didn’t just build a soap factory but he also built an entire village, school, church, pub, leisure centre etc for his workers and as long as they retired with the company they could stay in their houses. He also introduced old age pensions and medical cover and allowed women to work (but only if they were single or widowed:) – it was the late 1800s! Beautiful place where people still live and work at the factory and locally. Everyone from the royal family at the time and beyond came to visit this experiment!

Lord Lever understood the power of advertising – both locally and globally. Love the fancy gear they ladies are wearing to do the washing!

The grounds and some of the houses in Port Sunlight

All the houses are different in design and so are the front door colours. Individuality was encouraged.

The Lever soap factory and people working in it today

Also good to stop by at the Lady Lever art gallery – also funded by him. Great art collection.

Lady Lever Gallery at Port Sunlight

Now that I had figured out the Mersey Metro system I decided to get good use out of my GBP 5.30 unlimited day pass and headed out to Crosby to see Another Place by Anthony Gormley on 1.5 miles of fabulous beach. I’d been advised to check to tides so that I could see all the 100 life size male nudes that are scattered at various points (some disappear as the tide comes in which would be very Reggie Perrin to see). It is well worth visiting – walking along the beach was lovely as it was a warm day and these pieces are very thought provoking. This was his first (and was meant to be temporary) large installation of nude men – there are a few different ones around the world now.

A visit to a local theatre is always a must whenever I can make it happen so was pleased to visit the Liverpool Empire theatre (holds 2500 people) to see the Motown Story – seen it before; liked it then, liked it now.

Final art gallery visit was to the Walker Gallery (Liverpool is pretty darned good for art and culture). Excellent and broad collection of masters and also a lot of pre-raphaelite which I am quite fond of – so here we go.

Rembrandt and Cranach to name a couple of the famous names!

Love all this whimsy and color

More pre Raphael it’s plus the tinted Venus (kind of browny colored to look more human?) and a Lucien Freud

Also the famous “When did you last see your Father painting is here”

So yes I crammed a lot into my 3.5 days here but still had plenty of time to enjoy what I visited. Highly recommended that you visit Liverpool for something different.