A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool

I’m pleased to introduce the fourth blog post in my series called ‘A Local’s City Guide to’, where I call upon savvy women from around the world to share an insiders guide on the city they call home. This next instalment comes from Liverpool-based travel blogger Laura from Wander With Laura. Despite being on an epic trip through Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, Laura kindly took the time out to write this awesome Liverpool guide, exclusively for The Travelista.

The Three Graces in Liverpool

An Introduction to Liverpool

No matter where in the world I visit, my love affair with Liverpool remains strong. Situated on the North West coast of England, Liverpool is well known for football, the distinctive regional accent and most of all, The Beatles! To me though, it’s a thriving city filled brimming culture alongside the added bonus of stunning countryside and beaches less than 30 minutes away. I’ve been lucky enough to live close to the city for my whole life and yet there’s always something new to discover.

You can reach Liverpool easily by train; it’s a speedy two hour journey from London on the West Coast Line and just forty minutes from Manchester.

A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Weekend Highlights

Liverpool’s compact city centre lends itself brilliantly to a weekend break so I’ve compiled a list of the must-do activities if you’re only spending a short amount of time in the city. Whether you’re looking for retail therapy or an influx of culture, you’ll be sure to discover something you love about Liverpool.

Liverpool by day

1. Take a ferry across the Mersey

Dominated by the Liver Buildings, the famous skyline of Liverpool is a beautiful sight by day and by night, when the buildings light up and twinkle across the river. The view is best enjoyed from outside the city so taking an hour-long round-trip on the ferry is a tourist favourite that you don’t want to miss!

2. Bar hop the night away

If you’re looking for nightlife, Liverpool has it all. Achingly cool cocktail bars, rowdy Irish pubs, crowded student dives and hidden independent venues: whatever your scene, you can find it. Head to Concert Square for a ton of nightclubs, explore the surrounding area for quirky venues located just off the main strip or head down to Matthew Street for a thriving gay scene.

3. Check out Liverpool ONE

In 2008, Liverpool was crowned the European Capital of Culture which lead to a number of brilliant developments in the city including Liverpool ONE shopping centre. I may be biased here but it’s by far one of my favourite places to shop in the UK. Highlights include large branches of popular high street stores and Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar, three indulgent floors of make-up, skincare, fragrance and haircare. 

4. Explore Bold Street

Filled with quirky stores and cafes, Bold Street is one of the most popular parts in Liverpool city centre. The street is dominated by the shell of St Luke’s Church, which was bombed in WWII and now plays host to art installations each summer. Check out an exhibition or indie film at FACT or hop between vintage shops for a fun-filled afternoon.

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5. Enjoy the independent restaurants

One of the best things about Liverpool is the food and spending a few days eating your way around the city is so much fun. The number of interesting dining options has exploded over the last few years and new places are constantly opening up all over the city. From budget yet delicious pizza option Crust on Bold Street to Michelin-star dining at Fraiche across the river, you’re utterly spoiled for choice. Keep reading for my top restaurant recommendations!

6. Spend an afternoon at the museums

One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon in the city is at the World Museum Liverpool. It’s a great museum filled with history including an Egyptian mummy and a planetarium! The Albert Dock also plays host to the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum which are small yet interesting for all ages. 

7. Visit the two cathedrals joined by Hope Street

Liverpool has two cathedrals in close proximity, joined by the aptly named Hope Street. Liverpool Cathedral is older and incredibly grand while Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is modern and unique. Check out the two, stopping for a bite to eat in between at The Quarter or Gusto, then see a play at the Liverpool Philharmonic or the Everyman Theatre.

8. Walk in the footsteps of The Beatles 

If you are a fan of the Fab Four, take a bus just out of the city centre to visit Penny Lane or pop your head into the Cavern Club, a live music venue where The Beatles started out! 

a-locals-guide-to-liverpool-travel-blog-the-travelista-Liverpool Docks at Sunset

A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
The Top 5 of Everything

Top 5: Restaurants

Mowgli
67 Bold Street, L1 4EZ / 3 Water Street, L2 0RD

Mowgli has a stellar reputation for providing the best Indian street food in town. Founder Nisha Katona creates simple dishes that are packed with flavour, many of which are also vegan, and the new Water Street branch is stunningly decorated. I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t rave about Mowgli.

Bakchich
54 Bold Street, L1 4HR

For my Lebanese street food fix, I always head to Bakchich. The relaxed eatery has a huge menu where you can enjoy shawarma, grills and mezze options. Falafel lovers, this is the place for you.

Lucha Libre
96 Wood Street, L1 4DQ

A tucked-away Mexican with a ton of character. Lucha Libre is always packed full of chattering groups and it has a menu that makes you want to try everything. Can’t decide? Their sharing platters mean that you don’t have to!

Neighbourhood
62 Castle Street, L2 7LQ

A hip place perfect for a post-work bite to eat accompanied by gorgeous cocktails. Trust me, it’ll be hard to leave after just one drink.

Host
51 Hope Street, L1 9HX

This large Pan-Asian restaurant is light and spacious but the food takes the starring role. Experience delights such as Vietnamese pho with beef so tender that it falls apart with a prod from your chopsticks and and Nasi Goreng for a taste of Indonesia.

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A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Top 5: Cocktail Bars / Pubs / Bars

Alma de Cuba
St Peter’s Church, Seel Street, L1 4BH

Alma de Cuba is a Liverpool institution, famed for its incredible setting in an 18th century former church. The drinks here are pricey but swing by for one to check out the candlelit ambiance.

Berry & Rye
Berry Street, L1 4JQ

Cosy up in this hidden bar with out of this world cocktails and table service. Berry & Rye doesn’t take bookings so just turn up – if you can find the door!

Goodness Gracious
West Africa House, 25 Water Street, L2 0RG

Sister to Oh Me Oh My, a stunning afternoon tea and wedding venue, rooftop bar Goodness Gracious is a summer hangout with a difference. Sip refreshing drinks while enjoying the view of the Liver buildings and Liverpool docks.

Bierkeller
6 Thomas Steers Way, Liverpool One, L1 8LW

If you like your nights a little more rowdy, Bierkeller is for you. The Bavarian-style venue includes a sports bar and long wooden tables where you can toast with steins and dance on the benches to the live weekend band.

Botanical Garden
New Bird Street, L7 4LD

Liverpool’s very first gin garden is my favourite place in the entire city. Opening from March until September, spend lazy weekend days relaxing with great drinks and new food pop-up each year.

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A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Top 5: Places to go for Breakfast / Brunch

Moose Coffee
6 Dale Street, L2 4TQ

Based on the great American breakfast direct from New York, the brunch menu at Moose is unbelievable. Massive portions await so go with an empty stomach!

The Tavern
621 Smithdown Road, L15 5AG

Their full English was voted the Nation’s Best Breakfast so this student haunt is well worth checking out to kickstart your morning. It’s not just for the meat lovers though as their breakfast menu includes plenty of veggie and vegan options.

The Bagelry
42 Nelson Street, L1 5DN

The concept behind The Bagelry is simple yet it works. Pop in for one of their delicious bagels and a coffee if you’re after a quick yet tasty breakfast.

The Hub: Alehouse and Kitchen
16 Hanover Street, L1 4AA

A seriously great gastropub in the heart of the city, The Hub buzzes with workers enjoying after-work drinks each Friday but their breakfast offering is equally impressive.

Hickory’s Smokehouse
Village Road, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 3JN

We’re headed out of town to the Wirral for this one but believe me, it’s worth it. Their huge portions are a force to be reckoned with and while the pancakes are stunning, check out the special Chicken Fried Waffle for an unexpected flavour sensation.

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A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Top 5: Coffee Shops

Leaf
65 Bold Street, L1 4EZ

Expect interesting food choices and so many types of tea from this hugely popular café. It’s not just a daytime haunt however as the evenings often feature open mic nights and arty events.

The Font
1 Arrad Street, L7 7JE

Situated in the heart of the Liverpool University campus, The Font is a popular student bar whose budget friendly prices still lure me back from time to time. Enjoy the quieter lunchtimes for a bite to eat or head back later on for their purse-friendly cocktail offers.

Brasco Lounge
27A Mann Island, Liverpool Waterfront, L3 1BP

As part of the relaxed ‘Loungers’ chain, Brasco lounge is great to visit at all times of day. Their speciality gluten free and vegan menus go down a treat with visitors and seasonal specials change regularly for a great variety.

Bold Street Coffee
89 Bold Street, L1 4HF

This hipster hangout opened in 2010 as Liverpool’s first speciality coffee shop. Since then, it’s remained popular with locals and the small interior ensures that the atmosphere stays cosy and friendly.

Rococo
61 Lord Street, L2 6PB

Whether it’s taking a break from the shops or spending a few hours there with a good book, Rococo is the perfect oasis from the busy city streets. This friendly spot has been my favourite café for years thanks to its cute décor and reasonable prices.

a-locals-guide-to-liverpool-travel-blog-the-travelista-Rococo Liverpool

A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Best Place to go for Afternoon Tea in Liverpool

Baltic Social
27 Parliament Street, Liverpool

With so many quirky eateries in Liverpool, it’s little surprise that the traditional afternoon tea gets the same treatment. Head to the Baltic Social for their famous ‘Punk Afternoon Tea’ which eschews delicate finger sandwiches in favour of slider burgers, hot dogs, cakes with a twist and teapot cocktails. There’s even a fab veggie option so get a group together and head down for an afternoon of laughter and full bellies.

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A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
The Hidden Gems of Liverpool

Hardman Street

Visitors to the city often pass Hardman Street by and yet it’s a popular student stomping ground without the cheap feel. Check out Buyers Club, a kitchen and bar with live jazz nights and Sunday roasts galore.

Amalia Italian
2 Campbell Square, Liverpool L1 5FB

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle off Duke Street, Amalia is one of the cities most popular Italian restaurants. The classic menu is unpretentious but Amalia delivers great quality food made to be enjoyed with friends.

Sefton Park

Okay so it’s not exactly a secret but unless you’re staying outside the city centre, visitors don’t often make it out to Sefton Park. However, it’s a gorgeous place to spend lazy summer days. Plus, it’s worth a visit just to peek inside the absolutely gorgeous Palm House located within the grounds.

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A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
Where to Stay

Tune Hotel – The Budget Option 
3-19, Queen Avenue, Castle St, Liverpool L2 4XE

An interesting concept hotel that focuses on high quality essentials like power showers, comfortable beds and a central location. This allows you to budget hard if necessary or upgrade for extras like toiletries, towels and wifi. Book Tune Hotel.

The Nadler Liverpool – The Boutique Option 

Boutique hotel The Nadler focuses on providing great amenities without the hefty price tag. Each room comes with a mini kitchen for that home away from home feeling. Book The Nadler.

Titanic Hotel – The Luxury Option

Located at Stanley Docks, the Titanic Hotel boasts spacious, waterfront rooms and a luxurious spa for those wanting a little treat. Book Titanic Hotel.

Hard Days Night Hotel – The Novelty Option

The Hard Days Night Hotel is one of Liverpool’s most famous places to stay, themed after – you guessed it, The Beatles. The Grade II listed building is pretty magnificent and it’s located right in the city centre near James Street Station. Book Hard Days Night Hotel.

A Local’s City Guide to Liverpool
About the Author

Laura documents her adventures on travel blog Wander with Laura as she travels through Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia in 2017. With a penchant for great food, gin and Harry Potter, you’ll find her working in Marketing when she’s back in the U.K. Be sure to follow her her adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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What did you think of Laura’s Local city guide to Liverpool? Are you heading to Liverpool soon, or perhaps you’re from Liverpool and have more great tips you could add? If so, please leave me a comment in the box below! Jess x 

Want to read more from the blog series ‘A Local’s City Guide to’? Check out

Want to contribute a guide on your own home city? Get in touch! 

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8 Comments

  1. 16th May 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I LOVE this post. I’m originally from Liverpool but have lived in Manchester for 8 years now so when I go home, it feels like a new city to me. Everything is always changing faster than I can keep up between visits so these tips are very helpful 🙂

  2. 12th May 2017 / 10:12 am

    Thanks for your guide to Liverpool. One of my favourite things about Liverpool is all of the beautiful buildings and architecture. You already mentioned the Hard Days Night Hotel which is a listed building, but there are actually 2,500 listed buildings across Liverpool – I think this is the most listed buildings in any city outside of London! A couple of really interesting ones to look out for are Speke Hall, Liverpool Town Hall, and of course many of the buildings around the Victorian Albert Dock.

  3. 27th April 2017 / 9:21 pm

    When I first visited Liverpool I didn’t really expect to like it, but I really enjoyed my visit. I think the World Museum is absolutely fantastic and I loved going to Alma de Cuba for the petal drop. Will definitely be checking out some more of these places when I next go!

    • Jessica
      29th April 2017 / 10:46 pm

      Thanks for your comment! There are some great recommendations in here and it’s been great to see some other Liverpool-based bloggers agree with the places featured. Alma de Cuba sounds great! Will definitely try and get there when I am next in Liverpool. It’s such a great city! Jess x

  4. 25th April 2017 / 2:02 pm

    I will definitely check out this post again if I go to Liverpool – so helpful! Jenny x

    LuxeStyle

    • Jessica
      29th April 2017 / 10:44 pm

      Yes please do Jenny! Really hope it comes in useful for you. I’ll definitely be using it too next time I go to Liverpool. Jess x

  5. 25th April 2017 / 1:04 pm

    Babes I LOVE this series that you’re doing, so, so interesting! I’ve never actually been to Liverpool but would love to go, I’ve always heard so many great things!

    Hayley xo
    http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

    • Jessica
      29th April 2017 / 10:43 pm

      Hey girl! So glad you are enjoying this series! I am so overwhelmed by the response and how many ladies want to contribute about their home city! Hopefully everyone is learning some great local tips. I will definitely be using these recommendations next time I go to Liverpool! x x