Liverpool – My Magical Mystery Tour

The 3 ornate buildings known as The Three Graces in Liverpool. The Royal Liver Building is the tallest of the three, and has a tall spire with clock faces on each side, and a bird with outstretched wings on the top. The Cunard Building is shorter, and is a very simple rectangular box shape, but it's still very wide and deep, The Port Of Liverpool building is the widest, with a small domed spire on each corner, and a large dome on top of a raised section in the middle.

Even though I will never tire of all that my home city of London has to offer, I’m also keen to travel and explore other places as well. Yet I’ve never fancied going on holidays by myself. Some people love doing that, and I’m well aware that there are companies that enable visually impaired people to do so. But I much prefer to go away with people I know. It’s much more sociable and fun as well as helpful.

And now I have someone very special to go on adventures with – my girlfriend Claire. The prospect of expanding my geographical horizons and sharing new experiences with her is a lot more exciting and makes things much easier.

So earlier this month, we had our first trip away, to the city of Liverpool. Claire has been there before, but I hadn’t, so I was very much looking forward to it, as it clearly has a lot to see and do. We could only scratch the surface for 2 days of course. but we certainly packed plenty in and really enjoyed it.

So I thought I’d give you an overview of what we saw there. Rest assured this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by any companies mentioned here. We simply decided to go there ourselves and we paid our own way for everything. I hope you enjoy reading about it!

We stayed at the Premier Inn in the historic Royal Albert Dock, and they deserve a shoutout because they were very good to us. The lady who greeted us at reception on our arrival was really friendly and helpful, and she kindly booked a taxi back to the station for us when we left. We were also very ably assisted at breakfast to get everything we needed from the buffet, which was great. Indeed, everybody we encountered in Liverpool was friendly, without fail. We felt very welcome.

Royal Albert Dock. The large square expanse of water is surrounded by wide brick buildings on each side. Each building is 5 stories high, with large archways and red pillars at the bottom. The River Mersey is visible through an opening between buildings at the top left, and another exit from the dock is mid-way between two buildings on the right.

The hotel is in a prime spot, because The Royal Albert Dock and the surrounding area is effectively a holiday resort in itself, before you even begin to consider the rest of the city. You certainly can’t go hungry, as there’s a wide choice of restaurants, including the delightful Smuggler’s Cove to name one of the places we tried. And there are plenty of shops too, some of which also have delicious treats of their own, as we discovered in Roly’s Fudge. There are also tourist attractions like the Tate Liverpool museum as well. We didn’t go in that museum, although I’d like to one day, but we did visit another one.

The Beatles Story

Sign for The Beatles Story Exhibition, written in gold letters on the brick wall of the museum. Below the lettering is a cartoon image of a yellow submarine.

As a big Beatles fan, as you can see from my reviews of the Sgt Pepper and White Album box sets, I naturally had to visit The Beatles Story, the museum dedicated to the band. It was particularly convenient to go here too, because it’s next door to the Premier Inn. And I don’t mean that in a vague “nearby” kind of way. It literally is right next to the hotel!

And it’s an amazing place, we spent a good couple of hours happily exploring it, learning about one of the most influential and famous pop groups of all time. There’s a huge amount of stuff to look at, covering every aspect of their lives. It’s very atmospheric too, with recreations of key places such as the Cavern Club, so it really feels like you’re walking in their footsteps. And of course there’s lots of their music playing throughout. And towards the end, there’s a room dedicated to each of the group members, detailing what they went on to do after the band broke up. It’s a very comprehensive exhibition.

Everybody gets an audio guide as well, which furnishes you with facts, interviews, videos, photos, etc as you go around. You simply select each section as you enter the different areas. I had trouble finding the numbers in the exhibition itself sometimes, but the guide has a menu system with everything listed, if you can see it. The guide isn’t audio descriptive, and it’s not particularly easy to see if you have poor vision. But if you are able to use it, and thankfully I could just about manage it, it’s well worth it. It really does enhance the experience all the more.

Unsurprisingly, I ended up buying some souvenirs when we left, namely a bag, a couple of t-shirts, a baseball cap, and a couple of fridge magnets. So that was a nice selection to end our visit. If you’re a fan of the Beatles to any extent, I can definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

Large white cloth bag, with artwork showing statues of all 4 members of the Beatles in front of the Royal Liver Building, whose spire with a clock on each side it can be seen in the background. White text below the statues says Four Lads Who Shook The World.

Black T-shirt featuring a grid of 4 photos of the members of The Beatles. Above the photos in white text is the wording Let It Be, while below the photos is the band's logo.

Beatles Fridge Magnets

River Mersey Walk

The rest of the weekend was spent exploring the city in various different ways, getting a thorough sense of its history, culture and sights. As a first-time visitor, it gave me a great overview.

We did a lot of walking by the River Mersey across both days, enjoying the views and other delights as we went along. For example, among various other things, we discovered:

Museum of Liverpool, a long white building with an unusual design. Taken lengthways, the left half of the building has a top floor longer than the the ground floor, so part of it sticks out with a large window at the end. Text in the window reads Imagine Peace. The right half of the building slopes down from the top floor to ground level along its length, with the lowest point below the large high window.

Life-size statue of Billy Fury, standing legs apart with one arm stretched out and pointing in front of him, and the other arm stretched out behind, as if he's in the middle of a dance move. The River Mersey is in the background.

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The spire of the Royal Liver Building, with a black and white clock face on the front, and a statue of a bird with outstretched wings standing on the very top of the spire.

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Much like London, there’s something of interest to spot pretty much everywhere you look. And even if you walk past an area twice, it’s possible to see something you didn’t notice before. So our strolls were both pleasant and interesting, and I know there’s so much more that we haven’t yet seen along the whole stretch of the river.

River Tour

Taking on board the words of another of Liverpool’s musical heroes, we also got on board a ferry across the mersey – the beautifully colourful Dazzle Ferry to be precise. And it was a great experience. It’s amazing how wide the river is, and the views of the city during the cruise are impressive. A very interesting audio commentary plays during the ride as well.

View from the Mersey Ferry towards Liverpool. The front and rear spires of the Royal Liver Building can be seen in the distance, along with a large cruise shop moored near it. A curved trail of frothing water, left behind by the cruise during its journey, is also visible.

The colourful Dazzle Ferry boat, with bold, striking patterns in yellow and blue, along with large checkerboard patterning and wide diagonal stripes in black and white.

Halfway through the trip, on the opposite side of the river, you can hop off to explore The U-Boat Story. This is a small museum all about life on board the German submarine U-534, which was salvaged and preserved. It’s one of only 4 German World War II submarines in a preserved condition left in the word.

With my eyesight it wasn’t always easy to read things, and I struggled to see when looking through windows into some of the rooms. However, what I was able to read and look at, along with the informatively narrated video footage we watched, was very interesting. The engineering that goes into building submarines like this is very clever, and it’s hard to imagine just how restrictive and uncomfortable life on board must have been. So the exhibition is very enlightening, and I’m glad I had a look around. We then caught the next cruise back to the starting point without a problem.

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Bus Tour

And finally, back on terra firma, we went on a Liverpool Sights Bus Tour, where half of the top deck has no roof, so you can have an open top experience if you wish. The commentary was delivered live this time, by a very entertaining guy who was both humorous and knowledgable, and also enjoyed chatting to the various passengers.

Starting by The Three Graces, the tour took us past various key sights of Liverpool, including the World Museum, Wellington’s Column, St John’s Gardens with a Hillsborough Memorial just outside, St George’s Hall, the unusually shaped Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, and the beautifully ornate Chinatown Arch. And as a big Queen fan, I was pleased to hear Freddie Mercury’s connection with Liverpool recognised, because he joined a band called Ibex in the city in his pre-Queen days.

The large World Museum building in Liverpool, the entrance of which is under a high canopy held up by tall pillars. Posters outside the museum advertise the Astronomy Photographer Of The Year, The Planetarium and Big Art For Little Artists.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The large building resembles an upturned cone with a wide circular tower on top. The top third of the tower is open with tall vertical metal poles around the circumference, linked in between by metal railings.

The Christmas Truce statue on a patch of grass outside the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool. The statue, called All Together Now, shows 2 soldiers facing each other as they shake hands, with a football on the ground between them.

The large, tall and colourful Chinese Arch in Liverpool, decorated very ornately with symbols of Chinese culture.

It was great to see so many highlights of the city all in one go like this, so it’s well worth doing both the river and bus tours, especially if you’re a new visitor.

Conclusion

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Liverpool, and I’m very grateful and delighted to have shared the experience in such wonderful company. There’s so much going on that you’d need to spend a long time there to see it all. So I have no doubt that we’ll go back there again. If you’re familiar with the city and know of anything we should particularly check out on future visits, do comment below to make me aware. And I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my first adventure there!

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger & Youtuber with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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