Things to Do on the Liverpool Waterfront (Museums, Music, and More)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Liverpool Waterfront offers more than enough culture and charm to earn a place on any travel bucket list. From music to museums, here are some of the coolest things to do at Liverpool's riverside heritage site.
Find Your Groove at the British Music Experience
As the UK's Museum of Popular Music, the BME has plenty to keep visitors entertained. Expect flamboyant costumes, retro photos, throwback videos, and a few hologram performances too. Then there's the Gibson Studio – an interactive space where budding rock stars can try playing drums, keyboards, and more. You might prefer to belt out a tune in the vocal booth or kick off your heels for a stint in the virtual dance studio. Heck, why not do everything? Costing £14 for adults and £9 for children, a single day wristband allows you to come and go – so there's plenty of time to fit everything in. And if you feel like you might come back to see it all again, a few pounds more earns you an upgrade to an annual pass.
Discover the City's History at the Museum of Liverpool
When the Museum of Liverpool opened its doors in 2011, it became the first national museum in the world to devote itself to a regional city's history. And what a city it is. There's a ton of things to see inside, though the star turn might just be the replica Liver Bird in the People's Republic Gallery. Trust me when I say, it's huge. Elsewhere, the Social and Community History collection includes Blitz photos and one-off treasures like a 1950s rocking horse and a Billy Fury poster. And for families, themed trails and the Little Liverpool play area add to the fun. Admission to the museum is free, though that's not the only reason MOL should make it onto your Liverpool bucket list. The video below offers a closer look at what you'll find inside the waterfront's newest museum – and a great shot of the real Liver Birds too.
Explore "The Beatles Story"
It's pretty hard to miss the many references to the Beatles that dot Liverpool. These lads are, after all, the city's most famous sons. One of the best Beatles attractions in Liverpool is the Beatles Story at the Albert Dock. It's the world's largest permanent Beatles exhibition and packed with highlights. There's the piano on which John Lennon composed Imagine for starters. Not to mention delightful replicas of the Cavern and Abbey Road Studios. An audio guide will help you discover the best of the rest, including photos and memorabilia. Expect to pay £10 for children aged five to 15 and £17 for adults to explore the Beatles Story. Short on time? At the nearby Pier Head, a smaller site in the Mersey Ferries terminal building features a FAB4 cafe and merch store, along with a snazzy staircase. One of the city's Beatles statues stands outside.
Get Arty at Tate Liverpool
So many people walk through the doors of Tate Liverpool that it has become one of the most popular art galleries outside the British capital. It showcases modern and contemporary art, both from the UK and around the world – including stunning permanent collections from masters including Picasso and Matisse. And a rolling calendar of displays and exhibitions ensures there's always something new to see. There’s an airy cafe for a break and a bite to eat, along with a shop packed with postcards and art materials to take home. "Liverpool Mountain" will sit outside the gallery until October 2020. It's the first of the UK's public artworks by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. The artist introduces his work in the video below. Take a look. You'll see some great views of the Albert Dock too.
Ride the Wheel of Liverpool
Set on the piazza near M&S Bank Arena, the Liverpool Wheel towers above the waterfront heritage area. It goes without saying that you can expect a decent view out of a ride. Especially so when your capsule hits the top point of the wheel at 60 metres above the ground. It's a sweet spot, for sure. On a clear day, riders can see as far as the Welsh Mountains. Expect to pay £10 for adults and between £2 and £6.50 for kids depending on their age (babies under one go free). You can upgrade to the wheel's VIP capsule for special occasions. This posh pod features a leather interior and a glass-bottomed floor. Gulp!
Discover the Merseyside Maritime Museum
A must-see at the historic Albert Dock, The Merseyside Maritime Museum offers a unique insight into life at sea. Its exhibitions highlight the stories of the Titanic, Empress of Ireland, and Lusitania disasters – though it's not all doom and gloom. Watch out for the museum's shipping poster collection. This set of more than 100 posters documents travel in the region from the 19th century to the early 1990s. Entry to the museum is free and it's open most days, except a few days at Christmas and New Year.
See What's on at M&S Bank Arena
Together with the city's Exhibition and Convention Centres, M&S Bank Arena is part of the Liverpool Event Campus. It's a lively spot, with everything from horse shows and ice festivals to stand-up comedy on the bill. Then comes the music – a line-up that has seen the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, and Stormzy take to the stage. The official website maintains a current list of what’s on at M&S Bank Arena. Be sure to check it out ahead of your trip to Liverpool. And if you needed another excuse to visit, may I add that the arena plays host to the decadent Liverpool Gin Lounge. Enough said? The video below shows the arena’s signage getting its update in 2019.
Admire the Three Graces
The Port of Liverpool, the Cunard Building, and the Royal Liver Building make up Liverpool’s Three Graces. Taking centre stage on the city's heritage waterfront, they’re a sight to behold. And difficult to miss. A simple stroll around the Pier Head will serve up a good view of these historic gems - though you might not get to go inside unless you book an official tour. The weekday waterfront walking tour, available to book at Liverpool City Walks, includes access to all three buildings. The video below captures the Colour Project's projection and light show at the Three Graces in 2015. It's nothing short of spectacular.