England, Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral, The Grapes, The White Star

Liverpool : The Warmest Welcome & Most Gracious Goodbye


The Nadler Hotel

Liverpool isn’t just about The Beatles and the famous football club. The city was voted the Capital of Culture in 2008, and there’s a reason for it. Home to the famous Mersey River, one of the largest Anglican cathedrals in the world, a Roman Catholic Church, Chinatown, a number of award-winning restaurants, coffee shops, bars, pubs, boutiques and barber shops, there’s something for everyone.

Liverpool’s Lime Street Station

After arriving by train at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station yesterday afternoon, I made my way to check in at The Nadler, a “contemporary budge” hotel, which is located in an 1860s warehouse. The friendly Damian checks me in and provides me with a map of the area, so I set out to explore the city for the remaining daylight hours.


Near Albert Dock


Learning to speak Liverpudlian

I head down to the famous Albert Dock, which is Liverpool’s waterfront. If you’re an architecture buff, you can marvel at the three iconic buildings here – The Royal Liver Building, Cunard and Pier Head. Off to the side is the much more modern Liverpool Museum, which offers an interesting illustrated history of the city, at no charge. There’s also a gift shop and cafe on the ground level.

My favorite part of the exhibit was the lesson on speaking like a Liverpudlian… see attached photo.

The afternoon brought a cold and low hanging mist, which made the river Mersey look magical, but wasn’t really conducive to walking, so I headed to the Beatles Story musuem for a little refresher before this morning’s tour. I arrive with just under two hours until closing time, and purchase the £15.00 ticket.

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Looking across the river Mersey

I spend the rest of the afternoon listening to an audio tour and watching videos and exhibits that truly bring the Beatles’ story to life.

I realize it’s dinner time, and I’m starving. I really fancy something flavorful, so I head to A Passage to India on Bold Street. I have a lovely chat with the Bangladeshi man who runs the restaurant while I wait for my curry

This morning, I have just enough time to pop down the road for a coffee before meeting up with Stevie T of Mop Top Tours. I head to Root Coffee, just a few doors down from my hotel and find a nice selection of teas, coffee, and tempting cakes and pastries. I reluctantly take just a coffee to go and head back to meet Stevie for our Beatles adventure, which you can read about in full detail here .


Liverpool Cathedral

When Stevie drops me at Pier Head after my tour, I have only a few hours to see a bit more of Liverpool. I’m wishing I had taken Damian’s advice and booked in for another night at The Nadler and got a cheap ticket to the Liverpool v Exeter City football match this evening, but with a non-refundable train ticket, I decide to stick to the original plan. (Future regret!)

Liverpool Cathedral’s peal of bells

I head to the impressive Liverpool Cathedral, which, due to its size, can be seen from almost all areas of the city. The cathedral is one of the largest in the world and was designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott. Scott was selected as the lead architect after winning an open design competition in 1901. He was only 22 at the time. He would later go on to design the infamous red telephone box in 1924.  On the west-facing side of the church stands one of the iconic red telephone boxes, commemorating Scott.


The views from Liverpool Cathedral’s Tower

As sunset is only a few minutes away, I purchase a ticket to go up the tower. Two lifts take me most of the way, and I then have a total of 108 steps to climb to the top. On the way up, I can see into the interior of the bell tower and have a birds eye view of the highest and heaviest set of church bells in the world.

Looking out to Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral

Once on top of the tower, I am 500 feet above Liverpool, and I’m afforded panoramic views of the city, the river Mersey and Birkenhead.

The temperature is dropping, and there are a couple of other stops I want to make, so I head back to Seel Street, pick up my bag from the hotel and make my way back to Matthew Street. I can’t come to Liverpool and not have a drink where the Beatles used to.


Inside The White Star

Bagpipes for Burns Night

I head to The White Star, a place where Stevie had said the boys used to hang out, and I open the door to a lively bar scene. A few tables surround a horseshoe shaped bar, and in the back room are more tables for diners and drinkers. I make my way to the bar and order a drink and get chatting to a local Liverpudlian named John. John’s a lovely character, who wants to hear all about my trip and tells me his stories of working the docks for years. (The Bon Jovi song, “Johnny used to work on the docks” creeps into my head)


Sampling Haggis

In the back room, a group of people are celebrating Burns night, a Scottish holiday that celebrates the poet, Robert Burns. They’re a few nights early but are well prepared with Scottish whiskey and bagpipes. The bartender comes over to me and says, “Have you ever tried haggis, love?” I think my expression is a mix of fear and slight interest, and before I know it, I have a plate in front of me. The bartender explains, “you’ve got haggis, turnip and carrot. Don’t eat it if you don’t like it.” I hesitantly take a bite and I’m pleasantly surprised by what tastes like stuffing.

I ask John if he wants some, but he says he’s full… I don’t think he’s a fan of the stuff!

Having a drink at The Grapes

He says to me, “Come on love, it wouldn’t be right for you to leave Liverpool without me buying you a drink.” I tell him I have a train to catch in just over an hour and that I also want to check out The Grapes, so he says he will accompany me there. We head out and make our way around the corner to The Grapes. A little less lively than the White Star, this pub was known as the place where The Beatles has their pre-show drinks, seeing as The Cavern Club didn’t sell booze. To the back of the bar is a small room with Beatles memorabilia and a photograph of the four boys sitting in a booth. They’ve even left the old wallpaper up in this room. John snaps a picture of me sitting where the boys used to and then  treats me to a farewell drink at the bar.


My new Liverpudlian friend, John

He tells me of his past trips to America, and that if he ever won the lottery that he’d buy a house in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. I can’t believe this local man has been to Pawley’s Island!! In September, he and his family will be in Boston so we exchange info. I have to hoof it to the station now to catch my train back to London, so I thank John for his hospitality and make my way.

I get back to Lime Street Station and one thing is certain. I’m reluctant to leave. Since I arrived just 28 hours ago, I’ve received one of the most gracious and genuine welcomes I’ve ever experienced, especially in a city. I realize that along with its sights, its history, its music and its football, what truly makes Liverpool great is its people. They have a lot of heart for their city, they’re proud of where they’re from, and just strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere, and they will be more than happy to share that with you.

Liverpool, I will see you again one day soon for that football match!

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