When you visit Liverpool as a tourist there are several `must do` sights including The Cavern, The Albert Dock (The Beatles Story and Tate Liverpool), both the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals, St George`s Hall and the iconic Ferry cross the Mersey.
Whether you’re a fan of the ` Merseybeat ` sound or Gerry and the Pacemakers it’s almost impossible not to sing along to the song as the ferry makes its way across the river Mersey. During the morning and evening rush hour the ferries transport commuters back and forth to Seacombe/Birkenhead but at other times in the day you can grab a fifty-minute cruise from which you can view this former European Capital of Culture 2008 from a different perspective.
As much of the city is built on hills it is also the best way to see many of its sights and its much photographed skyline. The ferry leaves from a brand new dedicated landing stage which was officially opened in January 2012. Facing the Pier Head are a trio of architectural landmarks referred to as “The Three Graces“. The Royal Liver Building – crowned with the two famous mythical Liver Birds, the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building. Wait until you are on the ferry to get a much better photo opportunity of all three buildings.
As expected the ferry left to the dulcet tones of Gerry Marsden singing out from the PA system and I was quickly transported back to those heady days of the sixties! No, seriously I sat back and watched Liverpool`s famous skyline drift by me whilst listening to the expert commentary throughout the trip.
I didn’t get off the ferry at either of the two stopping points at Seacombe or Woodside but for those interested in exploring a World War II German submarine or take an inspirational journey through space via an exciting audio visual display you should alight at both of these places allowing at least four hours in which to view the exhibits and catch the ferry back to the Pier Head. If you are lucky there may be a cruise ship in dock at the new cruise terminus for you to view from the river too.
The day I took the river cruise the weather was very windy so that spray from the river and rain forced me inside for much of the time but I was still able to appreciate the maritime heritage of this wonderful city from the river.
Having left the ferry I felt it was time for a cup of tea and cake at the recently refurbished Beatles themed Fab 4 Café inside the Pier Head terminal Building. Just outside the entrance to the café there is a sculpture of the four mop tops walking to the ferry. The Beatles did actually play on the ferry alongside Gerry and the Pacemakers and other Mersey beat stars during the sixties.
If you have time go and visit the Museum of Liverpool where you can discover the amazing story of Liverpool through its people, music and sport. The museum contains over 6,000 exhibits over three floors. A fascinating museum which puts you in touch with the heart of Liverpool.
Feeling refreshed I set off down the waterfront to the renovated Victorian warehouses of the Albert Dock. I decided to leave the Beatles Story for another day but I did go in to Tate Liverpool to view the excellent Henri Matisse exhibition which was free.
There is so much to do at the Albert Dock that I would need another day to come back and view everything and still not see it all! I had to pass on the Maritime Museum, the Customs and Excise Museum and the Museum of International Slavery which all looked interesting and once again were free of admission charges! I made a mental note that all of the last three museums were in the same warehouse so less walking around from one museum to the other.
There are plenty of souvenir shops and two hotels located in the old docks, Express by Holiday Inn and Premier Inn. For much younger people than me it looks like a great place to visit in the evening with lots of trendy and expensive bars and restaurants.
Museum of Liverpool:
Facebook: Museum of Liverpool