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Planning a day trip to Liverpool? Great shout! This is one of my favourite cities in the UK. Although you could spend much longer, 1 day in Liverpool makes for a fantastic introduction.
From the Beatles to the Titanic, Liverpool’s iconic history and connection to pop culture put it on the map. However, it’s a vibrant and cosmopolitan city in its own right. In particular, the Royal Albert Docks give the city a bright, outdoorsy feel with sea views.
Since I have friends and family in Manchester, I’ve taken more than one day trip to Liverpool in the last few years. I love revisiting the same places and finding new, cool spots.
When to visit Liverpool
It goes without saying that the summer months have the best weather. Liverpool is renowned for being rainy during autumn and winter but if you pack waterproof shoes and an umbrella, you’ll be fine.
Visiting out of season? Here’s what to do in Liverpool during winter
Something to note is that many of the museums and galleries are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I’d really recommend visiting from Wednesday to Sunday to make the most of the city. Of course, if you hate crowds, avoid Liverpool at the weekend.
Getting to Liverpool
By train: this is usually the quickest way to get to Liverpool. Prices from Manchester to Liverpool Lime Street station start at £2 each way! Search for tickets on Trainline.
By bus: Although buses usually take a bit longer in England, you can get super cheap tickets. Book bus tickets with Busbud.
By car: Liverpool is an expensive city for parking. The most central option is Liverpool ONE shopping centre (£19 for 12 hours). If you don’t mind a walk, park along Otterspool Promenade for free and walk into town along the riverfront. It’s a few kilometers but completely flat. On a Sunday, there’s free parking on Bold Street and Rodney Street.
Getting around Liverpool
It’s easy to explore Liverpool on foot. If you’re feeling lazy, hop on a bus. Another tourist-friendly option is taking the Liverpool hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
What type of Liverpool itinerary is this?
This is a fast-paced itinerary for those exploring Liverpool for the first time. I’d recommend arriving as early as you can as there’s quite a bit to cover.
Customise this 1 day Liverpool itinerary by choosing the museums and galleries you’re most interested in and set your own pace. If you’re speedy, you can probably do three museums but if you like to take your time, just do one thoroughly.
1 day in Liverpool highlights
- Royal Albert Dock
- Museums (pick 1-3)
- The Waterfront
- Queen Avenue
- Mathew Street (Wall of Fame & Cavern Club)
- The Bluecoats (gallery)
- Chinatown & the Bombed Out Church
- Dinner (keep reading for options).
Liverpool itinerary: Morning at the Royal Albert Dock
I’d suggest beginning your day here. If you’ve arrived by train, walk from Liverpool Lime Street Station to the Royal Albert Dock in 20 minutes.
Although there’s plenty to do in terms of culture and history, let’s start this Liverpool day trip the right way with…
Coffee & pastries at Rough Hand Made
Although I sniffed out this place by myself (if you don’t believe food hunting is my special skill, check out my foodie archives), TWO Liverpudlians have told me about it since. Rough Hand Made is apparently a local institution, describing itself as a ’boutique bakery’.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen bigger croissants, or ones stuffed and slathered with more delicious ingredients. I opted for a white chocolate croissant with flakes on top and liquid white chocolate inside. Other decadent options include dulce de leche croissants.
This cafe beside the water also serves excellent coffee, as well as sandwiches and pizza slices.
Address: Unit 2A, Britannia Pavilion Royal Albert Dock, L3 4AD.
Visit 1-2 museums
Although all the waterfront museums are worth a visit, with just one day in Liverpool you won’t be able to visit them all.
I’d suggest picking two you’re interested in and spending around 90 minutes at each.
The most popular museums at the docks are:
- The Museum of Liverpool (free)
- TATE Liverpool (free)
- Merseyside Maritime Museum (free)
- The Beatles Story (£17)
- The British Music Experience (£16).
If you’re unsure which to visit, here are more details…
Museum of Liverpool
The Museum of Liverpool makes for a great introduction if it’s your first time in the city. This colourful, interactive centre covers everything Liverpool-related from archaeology to social history, community, suffragettes and the Beatles.
Ever-changing exhibitions include Liverpool Against the Apartheid (how the city’s Black community supported the anti-apartheid movement in the ’80s) and Blitzed: Liverpool Lives (personal stories about the Blitz in Liverpool).
Opening times: 10am-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday.
Entry price: free!
Beside the Royal Albert Dock is this iconic museum dedicated to the fab four. The Beatles Story covers the history of the band from their humble beginnings to international stardom.
Admire replicas of Abbey Road Studios and The Cavern Club as they’d have looked in the ’60s, listen to an informative audio guide, and travel to another time and place via the Beatles in India exhibition.
Opening times: 10am-5.30pm (last entry 4pm) daily.
Entry fee: £17 for adults, £13.50 for concessions, £9.50 for children.
Get your Beatles Story ticket here.
Where better to learn about Liverpool’s maritime history than the Docks? During the 19th century, Liverpool was the wealthiest port in the world; there are countless tales to be told from this era.
Visit the Titanic collection to learn more about the famous ship registered to Liverpool, and the Life on Board gallery as told by past passengers.
Opening times: 10am-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday.
Entry price: free!
The Tate is worth a visit while spending a day in Liverpool. The colourful stone sculpture outside is a prelude to the many vibrant and thought-provoking works of art inside.
I especially enjoyed the Whose Tradition? collection rethinking how artists like Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brancusi took inspiration from Central and West African cultures which were not necessarily theirs to take.
2023 update – this specific exhibition is now over but I’m sure there will be more like it.
Opening times: 10am–5:50pm, Tuesday-Sunday.
Entry fee: Free but you need to book an arrival slot in advance.
British Music Experience
The British Music Experience in the impressive Cunard Building explores the iconic history of British rock and pop. Voted Liverpool’s Tourism Experience of the Year in 2020, it’s a must for music fans regardless of age or era.
See outfits worn by Freddie Mercury and the Spice Girls, instruments played by world-famous musicians and even Adele’s hand-written lyrics.
Opening times: 10am-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday.
Entry fee: £16 for adults, £10 for children, £11.50 for concessions.
Get your British Music Experience ticket here.
Wander the Waterfront
When you’ve had your fill of museums, continue your Liverpool itinerary by wandering the waterfront. This area is particularly enjoyable on a sunny day when live musicians play and boat trips cruise the harbour.
Related activity: 50-minute harbour cruise for £11.
A few iconic waterfront buildings to see include…
The Three Graces: this trio of buildings includes the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. These are some of the grandest and most striking buildings in the city.
Mann Island: this distinctive black building at Liverpool waterfront has apartments, a restaurant and a small art gallery inside. It’s free to enter so pop inside to visit the Open Eye Gallery.
By this point, you’ll have spent several hours at the waterfront so it’s time to explore other parts of Liverpool. Walk just 10 minutes to Queen Avenue off Castle Street, a hidden shopping street dubbed the ‘Diagon Alley of Liverpool’.
Support local business by browsing the shops or stopping for lunch at Queen Bistro.
Foodie pick – another fantastic place for lunch is Chop Chop Korean just across from Queen Avenue. This cafe is known for its delicious and affordable Korean food.
Liverpool itinerary afternoon – Mathew Street’s Beatles locations
You can’t spend 1 day in Liverpool and miss Mathew Street, put on the map by the Cavern Club where the Beatles played their early gigs. There are a few points of interest for fans including…
The Eleanor Rigby Statue
Located on Stanley Street just before the turning to Mathew Street, the Eleanor Rigby Statue is worth a quick stop. This sculpture of the fictional woman namechecked on the Yellow Submarine album was built in 1982 by singer, Tommy Steele.
Turn onto Mathew Street to see the following…
At number 10 Mathew Street is the venue described as the ‘birthplace of the Beatles’. The Cavern Club started life as a jazz club in the 1950s before switching to a rock ‘n’ roll venue.
After returning from Hamburg in 1931, the Beatles played their first of 292 shows at the Cavern Club.
You can go inside for a drink or night out but know you won’t be rubbing shoulders with the locals. The clientele is strictly tourists!
The Wall of Fame
In front of the Cavern Club is a wall adorned with the names of famous bands who played at the club. Don’t miss the chance to pose with the lifesize statue of John Lennon!
As you’ll read, the bar beside it named the ‘Wall of Fame’ has no affiliation to the historic wall.
The Beatles Museum is another place to learn about everyone’s favourite Liverpudlian band. Tour five floors containing over 1,000 rare items relating to John, George, Ringo and Paul.
You’d have to be a super fan to visit the Beatles Story AND the Beatles Museum during a day trip to Liverpool (and probably wouldn’t have time to do much else) but I bet people do!
Entry fee: £15 for adults, £10 for concessions, £7.50 for children.
Opening times: 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. Last admission at 4pm.
Get your Beatles Museum ticket here.
Mid-afternoon – the Bluecoat
Before finishing your Liverpool day trip, squeeze in a quick trip to the Bluecoat. This hidden gem near Liverpool ONE shopping centre is an alternative art gallery with a cafe and lovely outdoor square. Sitting with a coffee listening to the birds sing is a peaceful experience in otherwise busy Liverpool city centre.
This independent venue started life as a boarding school for poor children. Now the oldest building in Liverpool city centre, it’s also one of the most captivating. Tour exhibitions by local artists, many with a social conscience.
Address: School Lane, L1 3BX.
Opening times: 11am-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday.
Entry fee: free!
Dinner option #1 – Chinatown
While spending 1 day in Liverpool, be sure to visit Chinatown, home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe (something you’ll know if you were paying attention at the museums earlier!).
Shop at Chung Wah supermarket or eat a fantastic meal at one of the many highly-rated restaurants. Chamber 36 serves pan-Asian cuisine and cocktails while Yuet Ben has been serving authentic Northern Chinese cuisine since 1968.
A couple of other places of interest near Chinatown include:
- The Bombed Out Church (St Luke’s) – this church on the corner of Berry Street and Leece Street is now a cultural arts centre, cafe and garden bar. Visit ’til 10.30pm.
- Rodney Street – hidden away from the city centre, this grand street of houses is one of the most historic places in Liverpool. For TV filming, the paved road is removed to reveal atmospheric cobbles beneath. Stroll down it to see where Peaky Blinders was shot.
Dinner option #2 – Duke Street Market
A handful of cool Liverpool food markets have sprung up in the last couple of years. One is Duke Street Market, a stylish food court with seating upstairs and downstairs. Eat tacos and burritos at Big Lola’s or Asian bowls at Ginger.
It’s not the cheapest place to eat but it’s not the most expensive either: most main dishes are around £12. They also serve excellent coffee and cake, plus a huge range of drinks.
Food times: Weds & Thurs ’til 9pm, Fri & Sat ’til 10pm and Sun ’til 8pm. From Weds to Sun, it stays open later but just for drinks.
Dinner option #3 – the Baltic Market
For hipster dinner and drinks, finish your Liverpool day trip by walking 20 minutes from Chinatown to the Baltic Market, a colourful indoor marketplace popular with young people.
Don’t expect anything gourmet but do expect excellent cocktails and fun foodie options like pizza, fried chicken and Greek, Korean and Thai food.
My friend and I shared halloumi fries and chicken katsu curry fries before I moved onto pad Thai and she ordered (much too much) Greek food including tzatziki, pitta, chicken souvlaki and, perhaps the highlight, feta rolls glazed with honey. What a feast! We spent about £20 each including drinks.
Opening times: 5pm-10pm Weds & Thurs; 12pm-11pm Fri; 11am-11pm Sat; 11am-10pm Sun.
Tip – the Baltic Market is quite far from Lime Street Station so I’d recommend calling an Uber on the way home. Liverpool is a safe city but it’s never fun walking at night especially as the market isn’t in the best-lit part of town.
I ended my day in Liverpool by hopping on a 9pm train arriving back in Manchester for 10pm. It was a busy day but worth it. Safe travels!
Thanks for reading my Liverpool itinerary
Read my other blogs about Northern England:
- How to spend a weekend in Manchester
- Cool restaurants in Manchester
- 11 cheap eats in Manchester
- The best speciality coffee in Manchester
- Manchester street art guide
- 20 amazing Manchester day trips
- The perfect Lake District for 2 days
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Visiting the UK?
Guidebooks – LP always get my seal of approval. Use the latest copy of Lonely Planet England.
Flights (international and domestic) – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Car hire – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in the UK (and all around the world).
For UK trains, I use Trainline. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.
For buses, I use Busbud. It’s the only site that compares UK coaches and buses. Find London to Manchester journeys for £1!
Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy.
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
I use GetYourGuide for tours & activities when I don’t want to travel solo. The guides are knowledgeable and you can’t beat the prices. I also check Viator as they often have fun and unique offerings.
For food tours pairing travellers with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.
Pack the latest copy of Lonely Planet UK.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!