As we travel to various places - maybe mostly in the UK - I thought it would be interesting to record my impressions and thoughts after each trip. We have just spent a few days in Liverpool - the first time that I have visited the city. We got a good deal for the Aloft hotel via TravelZoo. We decided that going by train might be enjoyable - it also saved a lot of money!
Our journey to Liverpool was very straightforward. The trains were on time and we had a comfortable journey. We arrived at around lunchtime and walked to the hotel - about 20 minutes. It was too early to check in, but we were welcomed in a friendly fashion and dropped off our bags and went out to explore. This initial good impression of the hotel persisted: friendly staff, great room and very good breakfast.
Our visit was from Sunday to Wednesday and the city was very vibrant, even though it was not weekend or university term time. Overall, people seemed very friendly and there is clearly much pride in the city.
Like most cities, Liverpool has plenty to offer to keep a visitor busy. There are numerous museums and galleries, lots of places to eat and drink and the waterfront areas are enjoyable to stroll around. I had no shortage of photographic opportunities.
We took a bus tour, which I have found in the past is a great way to get an initial impression of a place. I really enjoyed the tour, which was focussed on Beatles history. The guide was both entertaining and informative.
There are two cathedrals, both fairly modern. The Protestant cathedral is more traditional in design, but impressive nevertheless. Going up to the roof gave some really great views across the city. The Catholic cathedral is an amazing building of very innovative design. Even though it has stood for 50 years, it feels very contemporary. It is the kind of place that needs you to be there to really appreciate the scale and feel the vibe - pictures do not do it justice.
Everywhere has some downsides, but Liverpool does not have many. At this time, the city is not very pedestrian friendly. It seems very geared up for cars. It can be hard to find crossing points and many drivers speed through the wide streets at a dangerous pace. I understand that there is work in progress to address this problem and the situation should improve.
Although there are lots of museums and galleries, there is one to avoid: the Open Eye Gallery. This a a gallery dedicated to contemporary photography. Sadly it is used to showcase some very pretentious photographers who are keen to show how clever they are. They entirely miss the point of photography. At least it is free to enter and mercifully small.
Overall, I felt Liverpool was a great place to spend a few days. As we did not exhaust all the possibilities by a long way, a return at some point is likely.