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72 Hours in Legendary Liverpool

Sometimes it takes an outsider to really appreciate a city. And appreciate Liverpool I did. Worthy of a visit in its own right (you didn't think London=England, did you?) it's more than just the Beatles museum to check out.

Robert Nadler's stellar apartment-style hotel is superbly located right in the middle of a neighbourhood called the Ropewalks which gets my vote for best nightlife and shopping. Key cards to get in and out the front door of the hotel and duplexes that mimic all the luxuries of a Liverpool dwelling, there's free coffee and computers in the lobby, and the Secret Garden suite is perfect for the deck parties you're dying to have.
29 Seel Street
+44 151 705 2626

Hope Street Hotel
Liverpool is basically on a slope facing downward to the sea and this hotel is right in the cultural centre of the city at the top of the hill. It is smack dab between the two Cathedrals; the Anglican and Roman Catholic one are actually connected by Hope Street. With the Philharmonic down the road one direction and the legendary suitcase sculpture "Case History" by John King outside the College of Art (where yes, the Beatles went to school) the simply decorated rooms at this five star hotel gets its fair share of celebs who want out of the prying eye.
40 Hope Street
+44 151 709 3000

Jurys Inn
You might wonder why of all the hotels in Liverpool, we chose this chain. Location and price. Situated on the docks across from Liverpool ONE (the shopping and restaurant centre), this uncomplicated hotel faces the ferris wheel, overlooks the water, is directly across from the Beatles Story on Albert Dock, and just in front of the convention arena. For the traveller on a budget, their prices (which include breakfast) can't be beat, and everything is right outside your window.
31 Keel Wharf
+44 151 244 3777

Also worth checking out (though we think we chose the three best) are the Hard Days Night Hotel, the Malmaison (if they're done with the construction across the way), and the just-opened Indigo Liverpool which features a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.

The tallest restaurant in the city, this puts you at eye level with the statue of the Liver bird, the fictional bird of Liverpool, which overlooks the docks where many sailed for the Americas.
West Tower
Brook Street
+ 44 151 236 5534

The Restaurant Bar & Grill
Called Bar & Grill by the locals, everyone (notable TV presenters down to locals trying to land a footballer) converges here after work at the central bar in the middle of the room. The perimeter caters to diners having simple but well-presented fare such as steak or shrimp pasta, that can be best described as a mix of Italian and New American.
Halifax House
Brunswick Street
+ 44 151 236 6703

Short for Hope Street, this spot across from the Hope Street Hotel serves delightful Pan Asian dishes with a mostly Thai flavour. It's worth noting that despite the casual decor (something like an upscale Wagamama) the prices sneak up on you. Dinner for two (if you want to be full) will run you $75. Though Hope Street is not exactly velvet rope-y, here there's a constant parade of singles, dressed to the nines.
31 Hope Street
+ 44 151 708 5831

The Quarter
Around the corner from the Hope Street Hotel, this popular brunch and lunch place serves up fresh deli sandwiches, pizzas, and bowls of pasta, to get your day started. Tons of locals who live nearby descend on this spot on Sunday, bringing family in tow for various celebrations such as Mother's Day. p.s. even Yoko Ono has been here for a slice.
7 Falkner Street
+44 151 707 1965

The London Carriage Works
Though inside the Hope Street Hotel, make no mistake about it; this one's worth making its own trip to check out. Delicious roasted fish, sausage, game and other meat lover type selections are their specialty, with an emphasis on locally sourced fare and fresh presentation. Humble care and love is given to every dish and while they certainly deserve to have a big attitude about their status, they just don't.
40 Hope Street
+ 44 151 705 2222

A great place for breakfast near the Ropewalks/Liverpool ONE, this spot also delivers to base2stay but you might as well get your day off to a good start in person.
18 College Lane
+44 151 706 9770

The Noble House
Wonderfully good prix fixe lunch menu, their wow items are the stand-up skewers. Available in fish, meats or even roasted fruits (strawberries, bananas), it's worth getting because the presentation is so picturesque. We liked the lamb, chicken, chorizo skewer with harissa and raita on the side. Also popular for hen parties and the like, they teach master classes on cocktail-making to groups.
5 Brunswick Street
+44 151 236 5346

Alma de Cuba
It's the one everyone will tell you not to miss. Inside an old church (though this isn't really a new concept anymore), this pretty space does a petal fall every Friday and Saturday night at 11. And if you're looking to drink where you're sure everyone else will be, this is it. They even have their own CD, recorded in Havana.
St Peter's Church
Seel Street
+ 44 151 702 7394

The Jacaranda
Where the Beatles really did play, with John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe paintings on the wall and just refurbished. If you don't want to descend on the Cavern Club like every other tourist in town, the owner here has a real association with the Fab Four and there is local history and authenticity in every thing this bar does.
21-23 Slater Street
+44 151 707 8281

The Masque
Chibuku put Mark Ronson on earlier this year here and it's worth checking out to see what else they have coming while you're in town. Liverpool gets all the good talent in music (some things haven't changed since the days of NEMS.)
90 Seel Street
+44 151 707 6171

Heebie Jeebies
Three floors of cavern- like corridors, nooks and crannies, including what some have described as a "sweaty dance floor", this student-friendly spot does skew young but welcomes all types and if you can't stand big corporate clubs and martinis, this indie-vibe spot is for you.
80-82 Seel Street
+44 151 709 3678

Also by Graham Clark and managed by Alfie Torres-Silva, Peacock has a free hog-roast/BBQ every Friday at 6pm, and serves great pizza, made to order in a pizza oven at the end of the bar till 2am every night.
49-51 Seel Street
+ 44 151 709 5052

The Belvedere
A real Victorian pub at the back of Hope Street. John O'Dowd, the landlord, has philosophy evenings most Mondays in the two small snug rooms.
8 Sugnall Street
+44 151 709 0303

Ye Cracke
Reputed to be John Lennon's favourite boozer, the claustrophobic table in the "War Office" is what everyone wants while trying the selection of local microbrewed real ales.
13 Rice Street
+44 151 709 4171

The Shipping Forecast
For younger pub goers; this is the quintessential modern Brit pub, and well- liked by the locals.
15 Slater Street
+ 44 151 709 6901

There isn't enough space to list all of Liverpool's good nightlife. There's PARRJAZZ At Studio 2 (33-45 Parr Street), or The Kazimier which does performance art and a ton of other smaller interesting bars such as Santa Chupito, Mojo, and the newly- opened first floor venue at Leaf on Bold Street.

If you're going to do a lot of sightseeing, check out the Liverpool Visitor Card (yourticketforliverpool.com) to save money on entry fees.

Opening June 24 (till Oct 16) at the Tate Liverpool, this is the first major exhibition of the surrealist in 20 years in the UK and includes 100+ artworks many never seen before in the UK.
Tate Liverpool
+44 151 702 7400

Beatles Story
I know, I know, seems so obvious, but it really is fun. The first part is chockfull of stuff you didn't know with a re-creation of the Cavern Club. And the second part is, well, bluntly speaking, the Yoko Ono story. Your heart will break for Cynthia Lennon, which is ironic since the exhibit is mostly Yoko and Julian's arrangement and memorabilia. It also has a nifty 3-D Beatles "ride". (Don't wear anything that can't get splashed!)
Starts at Albert Dock
+44 151 709 1963

Mersey Ferry
A ride that will give you the best view of the ocean and the city, it's lovely to do.
+44 151 330 1444

Spaceport's Wallace & Gromit
The ferry goes across to Seacombe which lets you off next to this exhibit. No lie, it's not as good as the one in London and when we went, some things were broken, but still, kids will love it and learn something about science and it features my favourite cheese-loving duo.
+44 151 330 1566

Liverpool Cathedral Tower
The UK's largest cathedral is worth seeing even for the not-religious. It has Tracey Emin artwork, a gift shop and a restaurant so, conventional it's not. Plus the twilight tours of the top are well worth the dual elevator ride and climb up.
St James Mount
+44 151 709 6271

Excursion to Dunham Massey
About half an hour away in Cheshire, home to wealthy footballers and the like, is the UKs largest winter garden. There's deer, ducks and rabbits, running all around you and the garden tour is quite amazing with its camellia walk and over 10,000 plants in the brilliant cyclamen grove. There's a blue and purple bluebell meadow; crocus, narcissi and iris in the yellow meadow; cress that used to feed the estate, and a delightful chicken rescue pen where the fowl lead happy lives. The estate also has a delightful cafeteria-style restaurant serving traditional English fare at lunch, with the best Victorian sponge cake I've ever had.
WA14 4SJ
+44 161 941 1025

Great music events coming up include the Mathew Street Festival - 28-29th August www.mathewstreetfestival.org and the great Cream Birthday in October (exact date to be announced), at Nation in Wolstenholme Square www.cream.co.uk.

Till next time

above: A bit of Banksy art in legendary Liverpool

SPONSORED LINK: Check in, and check out base2stay Liverpool, a fabulous new hotel conversion of a 19thC industrial building, in the centre of Liverpool, on Seel Street, just voted one of the Hippest Streets in the UK in the Google Street View Awards 2011.


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