Although battered by the blitz (and, more recently, by some over-enthusiastic town planners) Liverpool remains incredibly beautiful - something you can’t fail to notice if you’re here on a city break. If architecture’s your thing, you’ll be in heaven – the city has over 2,500 listed structures and more Georgian buildings than Bath. But which ones should you point your wide-angled lens at? We’ve picked a few examples that stand head and gables above the rest.
About eight miles south of the city centre, close to the airport, is the National Trust-owned Speke Hall. Distinctly Tudor in appearance with its black and white exterior and timber frame, it was restored in the 19th Century, giving it many Victorian arts and crafts features, too. It was built by the Catholic Norris family in Elizabethan times, when the religion was outlawed. As such, the building retains several fascinating Tudor security features, such as priest holes and an eavesdropper – used by servants to listen in on people waiting at the door.
No matter what brings you to Liverpool, a visit to Britain’s largest cathedral really is a must. This spectacular building boasts the world’s highest and widest gothic arches and the UK’s biggest church organ. It’s free to enter, but it’s worth paying the extra for the Tower Experience tour. The tour includes a trip to the bell chamber and a film about how the cathedral was built, but the highlight has to be the view from the top – it’s breathtaking, and definitely the best place to catch the sunset in the city. The Tower Experience includes the Great Space Film on how the cathedral was built (available in 7 languages), a visit to the Bell Chamber.
Royal Liver Building
Buy a Liverpool postcard to send home and it’ll undoubtedly feature the Royal Liver Building. With its twin Liver bird statues perched on the top, it’s one Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks – and one that the locals are very proud of. Beautiful by day, it’s even more stunning when lit up by night. Marvelling from the outside is free, but it’s not generally open to the public, except on Heritage Open Days. Should your visit coincide with one, it’s worth going to get a rarely-seen view of the Mersey.
Liverpool Town Hall
Get your camera ready if you’re going to Liverpool Town Hall – and you won’t need any fancy filters because this Grade I-listed masterpiece is seriously photogenic. The 18th century building is imposing from the outside, but the interior’s even better, with the grandest suite of civic rooms in the country and a jaw-dropping domed hall, featuring a statue of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom. Very popular as a wedding venue, you’ll need to check the website before you visit to find out exactly when tours are running.
Liverpool is one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities and was the 2008 European capital of culture. Whether you’re passing through, looking for heritage, pop culture and entertainment, checking out the universities, or planning a weekend break, there are plenty of reasons to book a hotel room in Liverpool. And with quaint fishing villages and market towns on its doorstep, there's so much to see and do in the surrounding area of Merseyside.