This isn’t your ordinary Liverpool travel guide. I don’t know about you but in a city that’s so bursting with exciting things to do, Beatles monuments and open top bus tours just don’t cut it. While I’ve got a long list of my favourite places to eat and shop, I wanted to mark one of my first weekends as an official city resident by exploring some of the lesser-known things to do in Liverpool. And best of all? I’ve kept all those spots within the immediate city centre so you won’t need to hop on a single bus or train!
Whether you’re a fellow resident or a weekend breaker who’s already ticked off all the usual sights, this alternate guide to a day in Liverpool is for you. If you’ve never visited this wonderful city before, why the hell not? Hotels in Liverpool are relatively well-priced so get yourself over here for a completely fabulous break!
I don’t know about you but for me, a great city break always starts with a delicious breakfast. Joined by my ever-patient boyfriend, I set out with my camera dangling from my shoulder in anticipation and ended up stumbling upon a few amazing gems along the way.
Years ago, I saw a photo of a quaint looking alleyway in Liverpool and it’s been on my mind ever since. As it looks so different from anywhere else in the city centre, I always assumed it was completely out of the way but it turns out, it’s hidden in plain sight. Adjacent to Castle Street and Dale Street – roads that I’d walked down hundreds of times before – Queens Avenue is a charming street that looks like it should be sprinkled with snow and slapped on the front of a Christmas card.
While the blogger in me knew this would be the perfect spot to grab a picture, self-consciousness prevailed: I was totally windswept, bundled up in my heavy coat against the winter chill, and contented myself with snapping away at the picturesque buildings instead. They look way better than me anyway!
Down this street, you’ll find dot art which is the perfect place to pop into if you want to take home a stunning Liverpool-themed piece, or you could treat yourself to brunch at Moose Coffee, a Canadian-style eatery located just at the Dale Street entrance to the alley. The pancakes here are well known for being some of the best in the city (particularly if you enjoy anything drizzled in bacon and maple syrup) but we were resolute in our quest to discover places we’d never tried before and continued onwards.
En route to the Baltic Triangle where our breakfast of choice was waiting, we cut through Liverpool ONE where an exciting store opening distracted me. Yes, us Liverpudlians can now enjoy & Other Stories on our doorsteps – what a dream. I nipped in for a quick browse but when my stomach began to rumble, I tore myself away from a green velvet clutch and continued wandering towards our end destination.
Finally we arrived at our destination craving hearty breakfast to warm us up from the icy chill. A colleague recommended the tiny Baltic Bakehouse with the words “BEST grilled cheese in Liverpool” and I’m happy to confirm that she was totally right. Go with an empty stomach and be prepared to spend quite some time working your way through the UGC (you guessed it, Ultimate Grilled Cheese) because this baby is hefty. Think two different types of cheese, sandwiched between delicious freshly baked bread alongside spring onions. Swerve if you’re on a diet but if you’re hungover, you’ll want to dive right in.
Stomachs well and truly filled, we were off for a spot of window shopping. I’ve always loved how there’s an abundance of free things to do in Liverpool and Red Brick Hanger Market is one of my favourite places to browse if I’ve not got a penny to spare. As you walk in, vintage furniture, clothing and accessories shops clamour for attention, alongside those that bring together a bit of everything into a delightful mayhem that really works in the former warehouse space. If you’re more into a quirky modern offering, head straight into the back room where you’ll find a selection of stalls offering everything from cute greeting cards to paintings and photographs. A local artist has even adorned the walls with graffiti style art that really brings the character of the venue to life.
After an extensive browse, we stopped off for the most delicious hot chocolate at Ryde, a bicycle-themed cafe just opposite Red Brick Vintage and the much-loved Baltic Market. This area of Liverpool has really come to life in the last few years and it’s one of my favourite spots to explore on a lazy weekend. Along with my favourite drinking spot ever – check out my post about Liverpool’s gin garden here – locals flock to Ghetto Golf, Camp & Furnace (a cool events space and home to Bongos Bingo!) and even a Peaky Blinders themed bar.
Now, it was time to head back up towards Hope Street for an experience I’d had on my list of things to do for years. I’m not religious in the slightest but if there was one touristy attraction I’d recommend every visitor must do, it would be to pop inside Liverpool Cathedral. The interior is stunning and I love how they get involved with the cultural heart of the city during events like Light Night. Sure, you can’t exactly call it a hidden gem as it’s the tallest building on Liverpool’s skyline but the Tower Experience is something I’ve heard surprisingly little about on those generic lists of things to do in Liverpool. It’s unfortunately not accessible to those who can’t make it up 100 winding stairs as the lifts only take you as far as the 10th floor but if you’re able, put this on your list of things not to miss!
Forget the Liverpool Eye: on a clear day, you can’t beat the view from the top of Liverpool Cathedral. We arrived at the top at around 3.30pm but thanks to those long winter evenings, the sun was already casting a stunning pre-sunset glow across the entire city as it began its descent. Look west forwards the waterfront to catch the Liver Buildings and the Radio City Tower, north to spot Anfield and the Metropolitan Cathedral and east to check out the Georgian Quarter from above.
The sunset was so beautiful that we decided to head back down to the waterfront – hey, we needed to exercise off that grilled cheese! – to stroll along the Albert Dock. This is the heart of tourist Liverpool but there’s a new store opening I’d love to draw your attention to. Friends of my flatmate created the amazing Owen Drew candles and their business has been going from strength to strength, with multiple awards already under their belt! As well as their Birkenhead showroom, they now have a brand new store on the Albert Dock so take a trip down there to check out their gorgeous scents. I loved my Rose Velvet & Oud candle so much that I had to ration it carefully and I’ve got my eye on their Peppercorn & Raspberry scent next.
As well as getting my luxury candle fix, we nipped into the Tate Liverpool to check out the latest exhibitions. While I admit that art isn’t really my thing, I do enjoy a wander around some of Liverpool’s museums and galleries – especially because most of them are totally free!
After a full day out and about, we decided to forgoe any further sightseeing in favour of a delicous dinner. I’ve raved about Liverpool’s incredible food scene so often that I won’t go on for too long but with new places springing up all the time, my list of restaurants to visit is virtually never-ending. However, after a chilly day of walking, I was craving a filling Indian. Usually, Mowgli would be my recommendation of choice for a complete taste sensation but I’d heard talk of an equally delicious (and fully vegetarian) Indian restaurant taking the city by storm.
On our way, we spotted another art installation – this time, stacked water containers filled with colourful lights – but after scratching our heads trying to figure out what it was about, we gave up with a shrug and continued cheerfully on our way. Located close to Moorfields train station (and dangerously close to my flat!), Sanskruti offers up a divine selection of food from the Indian sub-continent.
We started our meal with veggie sheek kebabs and delicious dahi puri before moving onto mains of kathal lazeez (jackfruit curry) and channa palek (chickpeas and spinach cooked in a spicy aubergine gravy), all soaked up with a serving of rice and hefty naans. If you’re a fan of spicy food, you’ll absolutely love this spot and I can see myself ordering takeaway from here on the regular! The portions were so big that we both had enough for lunch the following day too which is always a bonus when you’re living on a budget!
After such a huge meal, we had to turn our backs on Liverpool’s incredible nightlife to nurse our food coma in front of the TV but I do have one final tip for you. It’s only been open for days but I’ve got a feeling that Liverpool Gin Distillery is going to be the next big hotspot in the city. With a bar, kitchen and gin tasting experiences on offer, this is a place you’ll want to build into your itinerary for sure.
If you enjoyed this guide to Liverpool without even a hint of Yellow Submarine, let me know! I’m hoping to do tons more of posts about the great things going on in Liverpool so if it was helpful in assisting you with your perfect city itinerary, comment below or chat to me on social media.
The spending money in this blog post was kindly gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own (as always!).
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