Travelling ‘up North’ to Liverpool.

We’d been planning to visit Liverpool for ages and eventually got round to it in October 2018. As well as spending a couple of days in the city we’d also arranged to stay with friends in Keighley and round our trip off visiting a couple of old Uni friends who aren’t old at all! A lot younger than me but we all graduated together in 2003! They live just near the coast on the Lancashire/Cumbria border.

My man had booked a hotel right in the middle of Liverpool with the rather quirky name of The Nadler. Yes I know there’s something funny about it but it was a really nice hotel and not expensive. We were chatting to the helpful guy on reception who asked if we had any specific things we planned to do and of course we mentioned the usual tourist things which you’ll see we did quite a few of them. He asked if we’d thought about going to Port Sunlight and when he told us a little about it we decided to go.

Reproduction of John's :ennui's White room where he composed 'Imagine'.
Different examples of Arts & Crafts architecture are everywhere in the village.

The village of Port Sunlight is on The Wirral and was founded in 1888 by William Hesketh Lever to house the workers at his factory, Lever’s ‘Sunlight Soap.’ It has 900 Grade II listed buildings which were designed by 30 different architects and is an absolute gem of a place and well worth a visit.

The variety of architecture and the layout of the parklands in Port sunlight is stunning.
As well as designing houses the architects created memorials and monuments set in 130 acres of parklands and gardens.

We spent a very pleasant afternoon there walking round and visiting the Museum, popping into the Victorian schoolroom and one of the worker’s cottages. The star of the visit for me was the Lady Lever Art Gallery with so many pre-raphaelite paintings – what a find! We’d planned to go back on the ferry but we were too late so we got back to the city by the very efficient train service using the Walrus card. (Unique to Liverpool).

Next day was overcast and chilly but we had one heck of a schedule so a bit of seasonal October weather wasn’t going to get in our way. The first stop was just up the road from our hotel, St Luke’s Church which is commonly called the Bombed Out Church. It’s a ruin but has been revived recently and is used as an exhibition space and arts venue. Shame we couldn’t get inside but I loved the sculpture outside of the British Tommy shaking hands with a German soldier with a football at their feet. I took a few pictures and then we were off to to the next iconic Liverpool church, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in England. In the city it’s affectionally known as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’.

Bombed out church in Liverpool
A short-lived truce
Metropolitan Cathedral
You can probably see why its known as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’

What an interesting building! Loved the design with no supporting columns in the main body of the church so a clear view wherever you sit. The Lutyens Crypt is interesting too which is accessed from a relatively new staircase co-joined now from the upper building. No photography allowed here but I managed to sneak a quick picture of the font with the sun on it and the ‘spider’s web’ window in the background.

No time to hang about though, we had another cathedral to go to! What a morning! This time as we rounded a corner to the Liverpool Cathedral we both felt disappointed. Yes it’s big but definitely not the prettiest of churches on a grey day … inside though is impressive. If you go there be sure to walk right to the back of the building where there is a second nave in the oldest part with some very interesting stained glass. There’s lots of things to photograph and a lot of walking to do so it wasn’t long before we headed for the cafe and a sit down. You get a great view from there which was even more interesting as they were setting up for a venue that evening with trolley after trolley of food arriving from a large lift which appeared to rise up from underground! The lighting technicians were busy too getting some great effects around the chancel area.

Great lighting effects
The older part of the Cathedral

Some great architecture.

After our quick lunch we headed off in the direction of the Royal Albert Docks. It just so happened that on our way there we passed that traditional boozer with its cellar-brewed ales, the Baltic Fleet pub. How could we go past the door without popping in for a pint?! So we did. I ‘lift’ here a couple of sentences from their website which says it all …

The Baltic Fleet, dating from the mid 1800’s is a traditional pub in the heart of Liverpool. Ask any of the 3 ghosts that inhabit the pub and I’m sure they’d agree that the Baltic Fleet is part of the very soul of #Liverpool.

With 2 secret tunnels leading from the cellar to the docklands and another leading to the old red light district of Cornhill, the Baltic Fleet connected crews of the square rigged ships with their two most fundamental needs, beer and ladies of the night.

We didn’t see any of the ghosts and although we were tempted to have another pint, we had a rendezvous with The Beatles.

China town and the Baltic Fleet and now the Royal Albert Docks

I can’t imagine anyone visiting Liverpool and not going to ‘The Beatles Story’. It’s in the Albert Docks and is a museum about the ‘fab four’ and their history. If you grew up with the Mersey Sound then a visit to this museum is a must. We thought it was done very well and the replicas of Mathew Street and The Cavern were particularly good although it was ‘The White Room’ which brought a lump to my throat. Standing there listening to ‘Imagine’ brought the memories flooding back.

Afterwards we decided to walk to Mathew Street which housed the original Cavern Club and what a tacky street it is now! Loads of bars with guys outside touting for your business. I took a couple of pics including one of the statue of Cilla Black before heading quickly round the corner to get away from the crowds and the blaring music.

Mathew Street

And just around the corner is the iconic figure of Eleanor Rigby symbolising homeless people everywhere. More relevant today than ever …

Eleanor Rigby

The afternoon was drawing on but we’d not finished yet. If you’re still reading this Blog, well done! It’s going on a bit but there’s so much to do in Liverpool and we still hadn’t gone on the ferry across the Mersey. It had to be done! It’s the only way to see The Three Graces properly. They define the skyline and consist of ‘The Royal Liver Building with its two Liver Birds on the top, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. They look a little grey in the picture below but they still look impressive, if slightly at an angle. (Blame the photographer!).

The Three Graces.

So that was our day in Liverpool finished off by an excellent Italian meal that evening which we thoroughly deserved! If it spurs you on to visit the city then my enthusiasm for Liverpool has come through in this Blog. We had a great time and I’m sure we’ll go back.

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