Is it really 2.5 weeks ago that I was in Liverpool meeting my childhood heroes from the 1980s series Fame (which you can read all about here)? Yes, I had my dinner whilst sitting next to ‘Danny’, got my photo taken with ‘Bruno’, chatted to ‘Doris’, got to meet Cythnia Gibb (whom I’ve wanted to meet for years), met the gorgeous Loretta Chandler, etc. What an amazing experience. It’s wonderful to see my Facebook feed still full of photos and videos from others who shared this hopefully not-once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Although I visited Liverpool very briefly about 15 years ago for a couple of hours, the weekend away meant that I could take some time for me to explore what it has to offer. What really struck me is that it’s not a huge city and much of the attractions are within walking distance. My hotel, the Holiday Inn opposite the city’s man train station (Lime Street), meant that I was very central and my view from my bedroom window helped me get my bearings.
After I’d visited Anfield stadium I headed into the city and made my way to Radio City. It reminded me of the CN Tower in Toronto which I went up many years ago and had dinner in the revolving restaurant. Radio City, Liverpool’s equivalent, no longer revolves but it’s the base for the city’s radio station and, for just a few pounds, you can head up to the top and get the most spectacular views right across the Mersey, the two cathedrals reaching above the skyline, etc. I was really lucky as I was the only person up there but I hear it gets extremely busy during the school holidays and weekends. Well worth a trip though.
I don’t know about you but I love looking online before I go off on my travels and getting inspiration from photos that others have taken and so I knew where I was heading out to early one morning……Liverpool’s Central Library! Yes, it might not sound very touristy at all but it’s a spectacular building with an impressive atrium which makes for great photos from above and below, and you can go right to the top and sit on the terrace overlooking the city. What I also loved was the path heading in and out of the main entrance listing some of the greatest works. Genius idea. And, you know, having thought that libraries were probably in decline in this age of having information at our finger tips, it was brilliant to see the library packed with people! You can’t beat the feel and smell of a real book, can you!
My next stop was going to be a museum as Liverpool has many free ones but as I left the library, one of the tour buses came by and I know from going on similar buses in London, Paris, Barcelona and New York, this is a brilliant way to learn about the city and explore areas you might not otherwise see. The tour guide told us about certain buildings that we went past, which ones had been frequented by people like Julie Walters, Ken Dodd, etc., which ones had been bombed in the war, about how Liverpool has any more Georgian buildings than the city of Bath, about the two cathedrals being at either end of Hope Street (which were very impressed as we went past). We went past the Superlambanana! No, I didn’t just make up that word! All over the city, there are lambananas which are statues of a lamb and banana hybrid, making reference to two of the city’s historical imports. These are decorated in all manner of ways. Well, there’s a particularly large one that we went past called the Superlambanana and we were so lucky to have seen it as we only went down that road due to road closures.
Many people thinking about Liverpool will have one band in mind: The Beatles! Yes, the city is very proud of its association and if you get a chance, do go to the Cavern Club which I visited it all those many years ago. However, from the top deck of the tour bus, I managed to take a quick snap of the ‘Fabulous Four’ by the Mersey which, as you can see from the photo below, was very popular with tourists taking photos.
There are various buildings offering roof-top views but another way to see across the city is the ferris wheel situated right next to the arena called ‘Wheel of Liverpool’. It’s open every day but, on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until 11pm which must be spectacular. I popped on after attending one of the cast’s afternoon rehearsals. Again, beautiful views across the Mersey but it’s situated in Royal Albert Dock and if you were watching day time TV about 15 years ago, you might have seen this setting. Yes, it was home to Richard and Judy who hosted a very popular daily TV programme from 2001 until 2009 and the infamous weather map which used to float just outside the studio. The presenter would jump over from England/Scotland/Wales to Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland whilst letting us all know about the weather in the different parts of the UK. I think many people watched the weather forecast only to see if he would fall in!
Coming through the city late one night in a taxi, there are so many places to eat, drink, hang out, club, and here were clearly lots of hen nights happening. But, for me, Liverpool during the day is a city that you can happily get lost in and check it all it has to offer.
So, what have I got coming up over the next few weeks? I’m off to the Chelsea Flower Show this Saturday which I’m very excited about as it’s my first time and then I’m off on my Scottish road trip that will take me whale watching, to Barra in the outer Hebrides, John O’Groats and even searching for the Loch Ness Monster on an evening cruise! And then, before June is over, I’ll be joining Sussex Police on a ride-along where you get to shadow them on a busy Saturday night. Yes, my bucket list is rather eclectic!