If “It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night” is your personal anthem and you cry every time “Eleanor Rigby” comes on the radio, chances are you’ve longed worshipped those four British guys who took the world by storm in the early 1960s. Whether you’ve been a Beatles devotee your entire life or just discovered the wonders of this early British rock music, any upcoming trip to England should include a visit to the city from which they hailed…Liverpool.
Though Liverpool has been named “The World Capital City of Pop”, thanks to the Beatles and other groups that called the city their home, there’s plenty more to see in this town that is known for its wonderful innovations and for its rich architectural heritage. As a matter of fact, much of the historic city center was dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site about a decade ago, and visitors continue to head there not only due to the love of those four long-haired rockers but also because of its other cultural offerings.
Here’s a list of some things you might want to see and do while visiting the birthplace of the Beatles.
This five-story gem is a must-do for anyone that loves natural history-type museums. First opened in 1851, it was recently refurbished and now there’s more space than ever for World Museum’s humungous collection of specimens and artifacts. The ethnology collection, incidentally, is one of the best in the world, covering Africa, the Americas, Oceania and Asia. There’s also an aquarium and planetarium as well as additional exhibits on space, dinosaurs, bugs, and much more. There’s a theater on site as well, offering movies as well as live productions.
This is an area rather than a single attraction, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to spend a good deal of time here because there’s plenty to see. Part of the city’s World Heritage site, this historic dock is surrounded by great restaurants and bars but also home to “The Beatles Story” museum, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, and a remote arm of the famed Tate Museum known as Tate Liverpool. Take a walking tour of the area for a good overview.
There are two magnificent cathedrals in Liverpool – one Roman Catholic and the other Anglican. The latter is the largest cathedral in Great Britain, 74 years in the making and finally completed in 1978. You can take an audio tour of this neo-Gothic church, watch the “Great Space” film, and travel to the top of the tower to garner a great view of the city below. It’s spectacular.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, opened in 1967, is the polar opposite of the very traditional Anglican structure. It’s about as contemporary as you can get and has been the butt of a good number of jokes, rewarded with names such as Paddy’s Wigwam and Mersey’s Funnel. Circular with an altar at its center, the cathedral includes many spectacular works of contemporary art and the 4-manual organ is fantastic. Try to catch a concert!
Wheel of Liverpool
Just as London has its “Eye”, Liverpool also has a giant Ferris wheel. The structure soars nearly 200 feet up into the sky and includes 42 capsules for riders. If you want to enjoy a “luxury” ride, reserve the VIP capsule, which includes a glass floor, leather interior, and a DVD player for atmosphere. You can arrange for champagne to be served as well. As you might suspect, the VIP capsule is popular with men who want to pop the question in a unique manner.
More Beatles Stuff
If visiting the Beatles Museum isn’t enough, you and your companions can also opt for a guided tour of the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, known as Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road. You can stand in the spot where the famous duo composed some of their most memorable pieces and hear about their humble beginnings. Tours are run by the National Trust and admission is by escorted tour only.
Beatles fans can also embark on a Magical Mystery Tour, which departs from the Albert Dock. The bus tour takes passengers to many notable Beatles-related locations including Penny Lane and the famed Strawberry Fields as well as sites pertinent to the childhood of the four men. The guides on the 2-hour trip are extremely informative and entertaining. End at the Cavern Club, where you can buy Beatles souvenirs and enjoy great live music.