Liverpudlians are fiercely proud of their musical and comedy heritage, and rightly so. Merseyside has produced some of the biggest stars in UK history, from the Beatles to Ken Dodd. It’s not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, either, with UNESCO awarding Liverpool a permanent City of Music status in 2015. The city fizzes with creative talent all year round, playing host to both A-list stars and up-and-coming acts. And our guide to the best music, comedy, dance and theatre venues will help you plan what to see and where to go. You’ll never be bored in this town!
The biggest names in music and comedy flock to the Echo Arena, with everyone from Beyoncé to Billy Connolly appearing on its purpose-built stage. Situated in Liverpool’s Waterfront area and just a stone’s throw from the centre, the arena has built up a reputation for hosting the city’s most prestigious events.
For a theatre experience with a twist, the Royal Court Theatre really is something special. Set in a quirky art deco building every show that appears here has a Liverpool theme, cast and crew. And the best thing? You can eat! The audience dines together at cabaret-style tables, then everyone just sits back to enjoy the show.
Step back into Liverpool’s entertainment past and soak up the atmosphere - something this Grade II listed theatre has by the bucketload. Housed in one of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings with an interior to match, it’s easy to imagine what it would have been like when The Beatles performed here at their peak.
If you like your venues dark, rocking and sweaty, the O2 Academy is the place to be. Forget sitting down – this is the place to mosh ‘til you drop. While it has played host to big hitters like Paul McCartney, this 19th Century warehouse also has a reputation for showcasing indie bands and up-and-coming talent.
After its radical refurbishment in 2014, a visit to the Everyman is a truly accessible experience for all. Excellent facilities and an intimate seating plan that means no one is far from the stage, the people behind the Everyman have a real passion for theatre, something that is obvious from the minute you arrive.
Small, friendly and utterly charming, you’ll find the Epstein Theatre in the heart of the city centre. A cultural gem, it shows a wide variety of shows from dance and live music to comedy and theatre. Named after the late Beatles manager, a portrait of the man himself can be seen while having a pre-show tipple at the aptly named Brian’s Bar.
At the forefront of Merseyside’s theatrical renaissance, this traditional theatre is a real local landmark. While a recent refurbishment provided a new box office, bar and bistro, the Playhouse has kept many of its original features. Expect high quality productions – this is the oldest repertory theatre in England and the home of classic drama, from ancient to modern.
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.