Liverpool is one of the most interesting cities in the UK with a rich and vibrant history. There are many wonderful things to do in Liverpool from learning about its maritime history, famous football club, and the Beatles, to visiting museums, various shops, and some great bars and restaurants.
I’ve been visiting the city for years (not least to quickly replace lost passports) and love wandering around the docks and checking out some of the great eateries in the city. The scousers (a colloquial term for Liverpudlians) are famed for their friendliness and hospitality so visiting is always fun.
Some of the top places to visit in Liverpool include the area around Albert Docks, Chinatown, and the vibrant city center. Liverpool is also a great base for exploring nearby national parks and wilderness areas such as north Wales and the Lake District.
Best Things To Do in Liverpool
There are many fun things to do in Liverpool from taking a cruise on the River Mersey to exploring its excellent museums, galleries, and experiences. Below are some of the best tourist attractions in Liverpool that any visitor to the city should include on their itinerary.
1. Take a Hop On, Hop Off City Tour
One of the best ways to see some of the top Liverpool attractions is to take a “hop on, hop off” city tour. You’ll get to see the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, stop at the famous Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane sign, and follow the River Mersey out into the pleasant suburbs.
The route also takes in the famous Cavern Club which saw the rise of Rock n’ Roll in the 1950s and 1960s and passes the waterfront where you can stop and see the Liver Building; one of the symbols of the city. This is definitely one of the best things to do for first-timers visiting the city.
There’s an option to stay aboard for a 1.5-hour Beatles and sightseeing in Liverpool tour with a guide, and then you can use your ticket to hop on and off around the city at your own leisure. The ticket costs just £18.00 per person and can be booked online through Get Your Guide.
2. Visit the Liverpool FC Ground at Anfield
My father is a lifelong Liverpool supporter, but I’m afraid I don’t share in his passion for the “beautiful game”. That being said, there’s no denying that Liverpool FC is one of the top clubs in the world. For football fans, Anfield is definitely one of the best places to visit in Liverpool.
This guided tour of the Liverpool Football Club museum and stadium at Anfield includes interactive exhibits and the chance to see the six European cups won by the team, as well as lots of other interesting memorabilia. You’ll also get to see the dressing room where the team gets ready for a match and walk through the player’s tunnel for yourself.
The experience includes entry to the grounds and museum, an audio guide, and a knowledgeable tour guide, complimentary Liverpool FC headphones, and a tour of the stadium. Tickets cost £23.00 and you can book online with Get Your Guide.
3. Take a Cruise on the River Mersey
The River Mersey separates the city center from Birkenhead and the Wirral and is one of the top attractions in Liverpool along with the old docks and waterfront. One of the best ways to see the river is by taking one of the many cruises that ply the estuary.
I always enjoy getting out on the water and have been on many Mersey cruises. There’s even a boat from Liverpool to Belfast that I’ve been on a couple of times. This sightseeing Liverpool cruise takes in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as Albert Docks, the 3 Graces, and two of Liverpool’s cathedrals.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot one of the bottlenose dolphins or porpoises that live in the Mersey estuary. Tickets cost just £11.50 per person and there’s a live commentary on the history of Liverpool as well as a bar onboard (drinks cost extra).
4. Visit the Beatles Story
The Beatles are arguably Liverpool’s most famous export and the “Fab Four” started their careers in the clubs of the city. The Beatles Story is a museum dedicated to all things John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and during your visit, you’ll learn all about their rise to stardom.
Take a trip on the Yellow Submarine and discover Abbey Road Studios. There’s also a replica of the Cavern club where it all began. Even if you’re not the biggest Beatles fan, it’s still interesting to learn their history. As an enthusiast of a lot of music influenced by them, I’ve been to the Beatles Story a few times and always found it fascinating.
The Beatles Story is definitely one of the best things to see in Liverpool for music fans. Tickets cost £18.00 per person and include an audio guide and entry to the museum and the interactive exhibits.
5. Take a Peaky Blinders Tour
If you’re a fan of the television series Peaky Blinders then this half-day tour is just the thing for you. You’ll get to see many of the filming locations of this award-winning BBC show and walk in the footsteps of your favorite characters.
Discover the onscreen homes of Polly and Ada, see the place where Tommy was almost killed by Father Hughes, and explore over 10 different locations that were used on set.
You’ll get to see a side of Liverpool many don’t see and also get to see clips from the show as you see each location. The tour costs £35.00 per person and sets off from St George’s Hall in Central Liverpool.
6. Visit the Western Approaches Museum
The Western Approaches is an underground bunker and WWII museum that was an important part of the war effort against the Nazis. Explore secret rooms and documents that helped lead Britain and allies to victory. At one point Britain’s top military advisors worked day and night in the war rooms here.
I’m a huge fan of 20th Century military history and this is one of the best museums in the country. The war rooms have been left exactly as they were at the end of hostilities in 1945 so it feels like a time capsule and gives a great glimpse into wartime Britain.
You can take a self-guided tour which lasts approximately 75 minutes or opt to take a guided tour of the bunker. You can book an entry ticket with Get Your Guide or book a full tour directly from their website.
7. See the Views from the Royal Liver Building
The Royal Liver Building is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and is one of the best places to see in Liverpool. The Grade I listed building was once the tallest in Europe at 340 feet (104 meters) tall. At the top of the spires are two Liver Birds, a mythical cormorant-like creature and the symbol of Liverpool.
It’s possible to take a tour to the top of the building for 360-degree panoramic views of the city and estuary. You’ll get to enjoy a 270-degree audio video experience, see the famous clock tower, and listen to the interesting history of the building and city. There’s also a visitor center with exhibits to see.
The tour includes entry to the building, visitor center, and viewing platforms at the top, an English-speaking guide, and a visit to the famous Liverpool Waterfront. The Royal Liver Building is definitely one of the top attractions in Liverpool and somewhere I love to visit for the amazing views.
8. Walk Around the Largest Chinatown in Europe
Having lived in China for over six years I like to think I know a thing or two about its food and culture. Liverpool’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The entrance is marked by a large traditional Chinese arch that was imported from Shanghai (Liverpool and Shanghai are twin cities).
This is definitely one of my favorite places to visit in Liverpool when I get homesick for China. Be sure to pay the North Garden Chinese restaurant a visit which is located in the heart of Chinatown on Nelson Street. I highly recommend the crispy duck; it’s some of the best I’ve had outside of Beijing.
9. See the Famous Albert Docks
One of my favorite places to walk in Liverpool is around the historic Royal Albert Docks that’s home to a hip mix of old and new, and some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. The main dock building dates back to 1846 and was the first of its kind to be built without wood.
There’s plenty to see and do around the docks from visiting the Maritime Museum (see below), Slavery Museum, and Beatles Story to seeing the art on display at Tate Liverpool or simply enjoying a pint or a bite on the waterfront.
Pop into the Smugglers Cove for a pirate-themed night of BBQ and cocktails.
10. Visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum
The Merseyside Maritime Museum at the Royal Albert Docks is one of the top things to do in Liverpool to get an idea of the history of the city and its seafaring connections. Find out about Liverpool’s involvement with the Titanic, take a tour of the old dock, or see what life was like on luxury liners of days gone by.
Discover the tragic story of the RMS Lusitania sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 killing over 1,000 passengers, and learn about Liverpool’s association with smuggling (just like Cornwall). Visiting the Maritime Museum is definitely one of the best free things to do in Liverpool as there’s no ticket needed.
11. Spend the Day at Crosby Beach
Visiting the gorgeous three-mile stretch of sand at Crosby beach is one of the best things to do near Liverpool, as it’s only seven miles from the city and docks. The views here are incredible and it’s even possible to see as far as North Wales.
The beach is home to the famous array of sculptures by renowned British sculptor Antony Gormley. You’ll notice a series of 100 iron figures staring out to sea that seem to change with the tides. These sculptures stretch for two miles and are well worth a visit.
Spending a day at the beach is definitely one of the best things to do around Liverpool. Be aware that the waters around Crosby (and the Mersey Estuary too) are known for very strong currents so swimming isn’t advised. However, the soft, golden sand is the perfect place for picnics and building sandcastles.
12. Go on a Spooky Ghost History Tour
If, like me, you consider yourself something of a dark tourist, then taking the Dark Side of Liverpool Ghost Tour is definitely something you should do. Listen to some ghoulish stories and find out about some of Liverpool’s more infamous residents.
You’ll get to walk down one of the most haunted streets in England and finish up at St James’s Garden necropolis and cemetery, where a staggering 58,000 people are buried. You’ll also get to see both of Liverpool’s historic cathedrals and some other top sights along the way.
This is one of the best things to do in Liverpool for (brave) families as you’re regaled by ghost stories by your experienced guide. Tickets cost £16.50 per person and can be booked online through Get Your Guide.
For more spooky things to do in England check out these Jack the Ripper tours in London.
13. See a Live Band at the Cavern Club
I’m a huge lover of live music and nowhere is more synonymous with this than Liverpool’s very own Cavern Club where bands like the Beatles first started out. Descend beneath the streets of Liverpool into this cozy little venue full of rock and roll memorabilia that still hosts bands today.
There’s live music every day from 11:00 am, a live lounge, a pub, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop selling lots of cool archives. No trip to Liverpool is complete without witnessing the city’s music scene which is still going strong 60 years after the Beatles made their debut.
Catching a band at the Cavern Club is one of my favorite things to do in Liverpool at night and this iconic venue, which labels itself as “the most famous club in the world”, is definitely worthy of a visit.
14. View Contemporary Art at Tate Liverpool
Another one of the great free things to do in Liverpool is to visit the Tate Gallery (sister gallery to Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London). This collection of modern art is housed in one of the old warehouses at Albert Docks and is a must for fans of contemporary art.
Even if you prefer alternative art styles, Tate Liverpool has some interesting displays and it’s nice to explore the old warehouses around the docks. It’s also perfectly located for many of the great bars and restaurants in this part of the city.
As well as a selection of free displays, Tate Liverpool hosts a variety of visiting exhibitions throughout the year. Check the website to see what’s on during your visit. If you’re looking for cool stuff to do in Liverpool, a visit to the Tate should be high on your list.
15. Take a Day Trip to the Lake District
If you’re looking for some interesting places to visit near Liverpool then the stunning Lake District is well worth a visit. See the majestic Lake Windermere and go boating, walking, or hiking in the hills and mountains in this beautiful part of the country.
This full-day tour from Liverpool to the UK’s largest National Park will take you on a journey through some of the most scenic places in England. You’ll get to explore some of the region’s most charming towns and villages like Grasmere Village, which is home to the grave of English poet William Wordsworth.
The tour departs from the World Museum in central Liverpool and costs just £59.00 per person for a nine-hour trip through the Lake District.
Quick Travel Itineraries For Liverpool
Below, you’ll find some useful itineraries to help get the most out of your time in the city. If you’re wondering what to see in Liverpool and how best to use your time, these itineraries will get you off to a good start.
1 Day in Liverpool Itinerary
With just one day in Liverpool take a city sightseeing tour and spend time around the Royal Albert Docks which is central to many of the city’s top attractions such as the Beatles Story Experience, Maritime Museum, and Tate Liverpool art gallery. Head to the Cavern Restaurant in the evening, followed by a stop at the Cavern Club for some live entertainment.
2-3 Days in Liverpool Itinerary
Follow the above itinerary for your first day and on day two take a sightseeing cruise on the River Mersey. If you’re a footy (soccer) fan you can head along to the Liverpool Football Club stadium at Anfield and relive the dreams and dashed hopes of one of England’s (and indeed the world’s) best teams.
For day three climb to the top of the Royal Liver Building for the best views in the city and then explore Liverpool’s massive Chinatown (stopping at the North Garden Chinese Restaurant for lunch or dinner). Head back to Albert Docks in the evening and enjoy a few pints or cocktails at the Smugglers Cove.
1 Week in Liverpool Itinerary
Follow the above itineraries for the first three days and include a day of seeing the sculptures and having a picnic at Crosby beach. With a week in Liverpool, you can add in one or two day trips to nearby national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty such as North Wales, the Lake District, or the North Yorkshire Moors.
With any spare time left, check out a few of Liverpool’s excellent museums such as my favorite, the Western Approaches Museum or the Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool, or the Beatles Story.
Where to Stay in Liverpool
These are a few of the best neighborhoods in Liverpool for tourists.
City Centre – Best for First-Time Visitors
Liverpool’s buzzing city center is the perfect place for first-time visitors. With all the major attractions, restaurants, and nightspots on the doorstep, this is where I usually stay when in Liverpool. The Ibis Styles Liverpool is a great option as it’s within walking distance of all the main sights.
Albert Dock – Best for Couples
The regenerated Royal Albert Docks is the perfect place for couples to stay with lots of excellent bistros and restaurants down by the waterfront. The Leonardo Hotel offers four-star accommodation right in the heart of the docks and is within walking distance of the city center.
Crosby Beach – Best for Families
The long stretch of sand at Crosby beach is just seven miles from Liverpool’s city center and is the perfect place for a family vacation. Aberly House is a comfortable beachfront hotel that offers guests complimentary use of bikes, bbq facilities, and onsite parking.
Best Restaurants in Liverpool
Below is a selection of some of the best places to eat in and around Liverpool. If you’re looking for things to do in Liverpool at night, you can’t go wrong with a meal (and a cocktail) at one of these fab eateries.
The Art School Restaurant
This fab modern restaurant is housed in a former home for orphans and offers up some of the best contemporary British cuisines with a strong focus on Liverpool and Merseyside. An eight-course tasting menu with Champagne start is available for £110.00 per person.
Roski is the restaurant opened by Masterchef winner Anton Piotrowski. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience with a modern twist this is the place to go. Located in the city center, you can expect contemporary European cuisine using only the freshest British ingredients. The tasting menu costs £95.00.
If you’re looking for a prime piece of steak then look no further than the Cowshed in the city center. An 8oz ribeye will set you back just £18.00, but there are lots of other interesting cuts on the menu from fillet and rump to flat iron. There are also vegetarian options available such as spiced cauliflower florets.
North Garden Chinese Restaurant
My favorite Chinese restaurant in Liverpool is right in the heart of Chinatown. I’m a huge fan of Chinese cooking since spending so much time in the country, and this is definitely one of the best. Come here for the duck, spicy beef, and dumplings.
The Cavern Restaurant
The Cavern Restaurant was the winner of the 2021 Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards and for good reason. The restaurant is part of the famous Cavern Club where the Beatles started out, and today serves a fantastic menu of classic and contemporary British and European dishes. This is the place to go if you want to try traditional Scouse (Liverpudlian stew).
Getting To Liverpool
Liverpool is served by John Lennon International Airport which is just 6.5 miles (10 km) from the city center and is easily reachable by shuttle bus and taxi. There are direct flights to and from the rest of the UK, mainland Europe, and further afield.
Liverpool is linked to other cities in the UK such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham by an excellent rail and road network. The journey by train from London is just three hours and thirty minutes and from Manchester just 30 minutes.
Getting around central Liverpool is easy with most places within walking distance. You can also take advantage of the city’s great bus network (including the hop-on, hop off-buses) and taxis are another way of getting around. Unless you plan on exploring the countryside, a car is not necessary.
Things To Do in Liverpool: FAQs
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Liverpool.
Liverpool is known for the Beatles, Liverpool and Everton football clubs, its old docks, and as a prominent city of culture in the UK. It’s famous for spawning the “Mersea Beat” sound, the Cavern Club, and for its friendly locals; the Scoucers.
Liverpool can be visited at any time of the year as there’s so much to do both indoors and out. Summer is a great time to see the city and enjoy al-fresco dining on the waterfront and enjoy the many festivals and activities on offer.
Liverpool is definitely worth visiting. From taking a cruise on the Mersey to learning about the birth of Rock and Roll in England, seeing champion football to exploring the many excellent museums and galleries, there really is something for everyone.
Four to five days is the perfect length of time to discover the best of Liverpool and it’s a great city break destination for a long weekend. If you want to spend time exploring the nearby beaches like Crosby and some National Parks then a week is better.
Central Liverpool is as safe as other cities in the UK. Violent crime towards tourists is rare, but opportunist crimes like pickpocketing can happen in busy places and on public transport. The city has been voted the fourth safest place for a night out in the UK.
The most popular things to do in Liverpool include learning about the Fab Four at the Beatles Story Experience, walking around the Royal Albert Docks, and seeing Liverpool Football Club stadium at Anfield. Climbing the city’s iconic Liver Building is another popular thing to do.
The most famous food from Liverpool is scouse (so popular that the word now refers to people from Liverpool). This meat and vegetable stew is made from lamb or beef with carrots, potatoes, and a pastry top. The city also has restaurants serving many cuisines from around the world.
Now you know what to do in Liverpool, one of the UK’s most culturally rich cities with so much to see and do, which of these top attractions will you visit first? Whether you are a football fan, a music fan or just looking for a city break, Liverpool never fails to entertain and enthrall.
With a restaurant scene rivaling London’s, the historic waterfront, and lots of wonderful things to do, I’ll certainly be returning to Liverpool again and again. There are so many fun things to do in Liverpool for couples, families, and solo travelers (I’ve done all three), this gem of a city should be on the list of every traveler to the UK.