In 2018, we made the decision to move to Liverpool, England. It was during a trip to meet people who were introduced to us through mutual friends. We were in Liverpool for 10 days to learn about their work with refugees, their desire to reach the community through art workshops and entrepreneurial training, and their focus on English lessons. So we spent the next 2 years figuring out how to get back.
When our visas were approved, we packed our stuff into a shipping container and sent it out to sea. Heading across the pond in the middle of a global pandemic and a United Kingdom lockdown was not something people were doing. But we did it. At first we couldn’t do much. We couldn’t welcome refugees into our building, or do any of the training we wanted. However, we found a great purpose in delivering food and toiletries to refugees in the area. They can’t come to us, we’ll go to them!
When we were finally able to get out and explore, we discovered that Liverpool is a fantastic city! It’s not simply the home of The Beatles, but also home to stone streets and beautiful architecture, and strangely enough, some delicious restaurants. Don’t believe everything you hear about food in the UK. Between the museums, pubs, historic sites, a really cool skyline, the iconic red double-decker buses, and amazing water views, you can’t beat the scenery in Liverpool. The photo possibilities are endless.
Things to know when traveling to Liverpool
The people in Liverpool are incredibly kind. The scouse accent is not. True Liverpudlians can be extremely difficult to understand in conversation. But, they’re usually happy to repeat anything you don’t understand.
Football is life for most people here, and just like in my home town, Liverpool is divided between red and blue: red being Liverpool Football Club, and blue being Everton Football Club. It’s an intense rivalry, and hilarious to witness.
Liverpool also happens to be a melting pot of culture and art. In my neighborhood alone there are at least 50 different languages spoken. People from all walks and seasons of life live here and it’s quite refreshing. Plus, they do have horse racing here… so I’m not too far from home.
The city is quite condensed. Liverpool has a big city vibe, but it’s small enough to walk pretty much everywhere you go. Ubers and taxis are easy to get should you require a vehicle, and e-scooters are everywhere.
Where to stay in Liverpool
When you travel to Liverpool to take in the sites you want to stay in the city center. As I mentioned, it’s not a huge city, but there are different pockets around town.
One of my favorite areas of the city center is Castle Street. A beautiful view looking toward the city hall building showcases historic brick architecture with shops, restaurants, and pubs lining the walkways. Castle Street is also right around the corner from the Cavern Quarter, which is where the Cavern Club is located along with a ton of other Beatles related bars and shops. There’s plenty to do and you have easy access to Liverpool One where you’ll find even more shops and restaurants.
I recommend The Castle Collection if you want to stay around Castle Street. This is a collection of about 5 different apartment buildings in the area that rent their apartments out on a nightly basis. More spacious than a hotel and not much more money.
In the same area you’ll find the Hard Days Night Hotel, which as you may have guessed, is a Beatles themed hotel in a historic building with restaurants and bars. The rooms are clean and you can get a city view with a balcony as an upgrade. For the true Beatles fanatic, choose between the Lennon Suite and the McCartney Suite for the ultimate experience.
The Albert Dock
Situated along the River Mersey is Liverpool’s historic docks. As the UK’s major shipping port, the docks were the most advanced port system in the world during their hay day. In fact, Liverpool was the home port for the Titanic, the Mauretania, and the Lusitania just to name a few.
In more recent years, the Liverpool docks have become home to museums, restaurants, pubs, and shops. The Albert Dock is one of the most popular spots in the city. With the Beatles Museum, the Maritime Museum including loads of artifacts from the Titanic, and the Tate modern art museum, the Albert Dock is a must see on your visit to Liverpool.
If you’re wanting to stay at the docks, your hotel choices include Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Leonardo Hotel (formerly Jury’s Inn), or The Hilton across the street.
Where to eat in Liverpool
You’ll be surprised by how man delicious restaurants there are in Liverpool. I certainly was. There’s a little bit of something for everyone around town. If you’ve never been to England you’ll find Indian curries to be incredibly popular here. Indian food to the UK is like Mexican food to the US.
The best burger
You want a burger? I’m talking about a super juicy double patty smash burger with all the fixings and chunky chips that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. That’s the burger you’ll find at The Blackburne Arms. Not only is it one of the best pubs in the city, but they have great service too. Customer service is hit and miss (mostly miss) in the UK, but there are those who get it right, and the Blackburne Arms gets it.
To be fair, their whole menu is pretty great. They have a nice selection of ales, craft beers, and ciders, plus the atmosphere is tough to beat. All around, this is one of the best restaurants in Liverpool!
The best pizza
For me, I like thin, fold your slice in half kind of pizza. But instead of New York style, think Naples, Italy. That’s right a truly authentic fast fired Neapolitan pizza is available right in the heart of Liverpool at a place called Rudy’s. These pizzas only cook for about 60-90 seconds in an oven that’s unimaginably hot. With a long ferment on their homemade dough, and the heat of the oven, they achieve a perfect balance of crispiness outside and soft chewiness inside.
With 3 locations in Liverpool, you can enjoy Rudy’s delicious pizza just about anywhere!
The best fancy pants meal
We don’t go all out very often, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more fine dining, have a fancy dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. The atmosphere is great, the service is top notch, and of course the food is amazing.
Bread Street has a great wine selection, a warm and cozy dining room, and an open kitchen. My steak was perfect. My wife had chicken with chimichurri, also amazing. Our daughter ate a burger with chips (also, kids eat free when mom and dad order an entree each). Look, I’m sure the menu changes a lot here, but you can’t wrong with Gordon’s famous Beef Wellington. Plus, anything they put on the menu is pretty much guaranteed to taste good. Treat yourself.
Best vegan / vegetarian / dietary friendly meal
Coming from the US, I’m not used to restaurants being so allergy / intolerance conscious. Virtually every restaurant in the UK has very specific policies on how they handle guests with allergies and dietary intolerances. They take it very seriously.
Even further to that, some restaurants really step it up. Maray happens to be one of those. With a menu that can please vegan, vegetarian, and carnivores, you don’t want to miss this restaurant on your trip to Liverpool. We love the Dockside location for its convenience and water views. On a sunny day, grab a seat outside.
One thing I can almost guarantee will be on the menu is the Disco Cauliflower. Look, I’m not a cauliflower guy. But this thing will amaze you! The flavor explosions are on point here. Lamb Shawarma is another favorite. You’ll be delighted that you stopped in at Maray!
There’s a lot to do when you visit Liverpool, but you can cram a lot into a little bit of time. As I said, it’s walkable, compact, and you’ll love what you discover!