A few millions years ago (last November), Gary and I booked ourselves a little weekend away to Liverpool.
It was just before I started my new job and I really needed a little bit of distance from London to give my brain some space to think.
So we debated a couple of different UK cities and finally settled on Liverpool, which is somewhere neither of us had ever been before.
The lovely team at Travelodge had very kindly offered us a room for our stay, so we walked the 15 minutes to the Exchange Street branch, checked in (very speedily!), dumped our bags, took a few minutes to freshen up and admire the room, then headed straight out in search of dinner!
We checked Google and discovered we were pretty much in the centre of things, so we headed off on a wander to see what we could find in the world of Liverpool food.
What we found: the lovely Olive Restaurant!
Tucked away down some stairs on a quiet-ish street, we easily managed to grab a table for two despite the restaurant being pretty busy. It’s admittedly not the prettiest of places, but the service was friendly and the food was fab and not too expensive.
We ordered wine, and a garlic and rosemary pizza bread to share as a starter, then Gary had the chicken risotto with pancetta (beautifully creamy) and I went for a deeeelicious spaghetti carbonara. It’s one of my favourite dishes and didn’t disappoint!
By the time we’d finished it was nearing 11pm and being the old fogies that we are, we decided to ignore Liverpool’s booming nightlife and head home for a cup of tea and some sleep.
So rock. Much roll.
We started the day with a full breakfast at the hotel.
I’ve stayed at quite a few Travelodges in my time (ahh those good ol’ student days!) and this is definitely one of the best ones I’ve been to. The staff are all so incredibly friendly and helpful at all times!
The food was constantly being restocked and refreshed, so no one was ever left waiting. The options are obviously pretty limited (it’s a budget hotel, duh) but the coffee was hot, there was eggs and sausages, and overall we were very happy with it all.
Bellies full, we headed off for a day of exploring the city. First stop: Albert Dock!
We started with a walk through the docks, where I convinced Gary to take some outfit photos for me. I’d just received this FAB military-style coat and knee-high black boots from Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s, so obviously: photos.
What I hadn’t counted on was the wind. Oh the wind. SO MUCH WIND.
But we got there eventually.
Jasmin, had been to Liverpool before and had recommended the Maritime museum, so we headed there next. And I loved it! Lots of history and really interesting information on the Titanic, which I’ve always had a fascination for.
The company who owned the Titanic were based in Liverpool, and a lot of the engineers and crew were Liverpudlians, which meant that when the ship went down, Liverpool was one of the most severely hit cities in terms of loss. You can listen to testimonials from the court cases that came afterwards, and read the lists of the victims, and it really hits you how much of a horrific incident it was.
Once we’d finished looking around, we decided we were in need of both food and some cheering up, so we popped into the museum’s cafe for pots of tea and very jammy fruit scones.
Then we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the docks. We popped into the Beatles shop but couldn’t really be bothered to pay to go into the museum.
We wandered round the corner instead and discovered these fantastic love padlocks! They’re chained to the bollards right on the edge of the water, so are constantly getting sprayed by waves. I particularly enjoyed the Whitney Houston quote!
For dinner we did a Google and discovered that The Smuggler’s Cove had great reviews. It’s actually run by the same company who own the Trading House in London (which I’ve been to before) so I was pretty confident we’d be eating well that night!
It’s all themed like a pirate’s hideaway, with lots of wood, dimmed lamps and a fantastic chandelier in the main room, made from armour helmets!
We ordered the baked camembert as a starter to share which was GLORIOUS. Hot, creamy, studded with rosemary, and perfect for dipping into with toast soldiers.
For mains, we both chose pies. Gary went for the steak and stout while I chose the chicken and chorizo. Because chorizo. Both were absolutely YUM. Really thick and saucy fillings, with just the right amount of pastry, and hot crispy chips on the side.
We were happily stuffed by the end of it and very glad of the (slow) 30 minute walk we had to get back to the hotel!
On our last morning we decided to do something we probably should have done on our first day: a bus tour of the city.
We only had until about 4pm and, as we weren’t sure what to go and see, we decided to do it ALL!
I’ve never actually been on a bus tour before but I’m a total convert. It’s maybe not for massive cities where traffic is a nightmare (LOL Paris or Rome) but for smaller cities like Liverpool, it’s the perfect way to get a feel for where everything is, learn a bit about the city’s background and history, and decide where you’d like to explore in more depth.
We pre-paid our £9 each online using the free wifi at the Travelodge, then checked out and hopped on at a bus stop (conveniently just down the road from the hotel).
It was a lovely (if freezing) day, so we opted to sit on the open deck upstairs which gave us a fabulous view!
We started with a drive through the Cavern quarter, passing past the Hard Days Night Hotel (lol that name) which features life-size statues of the Beatles on the exterior.
We passed the museums and the library and these fantastic colourful bird models displayed on the outside of buildings. We learned about the two cathedrals of Liverpool, admired the Chinese Arch and discovered where Paul, John, George and Ringo used to drink (before they were famous and could no longer go to the pub without being recognised. Poor sods.)
Next we drove to the docks, passed by the Three Graces (The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building) and heard the myths about the featured liver bird figures.
That was pretty much the end of the tour but we still had several hours free, so we went halfway round again and got off to visit the World Museum. It’s such a cute little museum!
The World culture exhibits were my favourites, while Gary really enjoyed the Natural History section. There’s also a really interesting horology section, which is all about the science of clocks. It’s not something I’d ever looked into, but it’s so fascinating to see how people in the past figured out a way to get a machine to tell time!
We finished off with soup and toasties in the library next door (there’s a little cafe) and then it was time for us to get a train back to London…
Overall, I really enjoyed Liverpool!
I had no idea what to expect before we arrived. All I knew about it is that the Beatles lived there and that some of my fave bloggers also live in the area (next time we WILL manage to meet for coffee ladies!).
The city is so vibrant, so friendly and so full of interesting history. There’s SO much going on, and I feel like we only just managed to scrape the surface of what’s there. We barely even touched the Cavern quarter, let alone all the historical sites we drove past on the bus, and all the recommended foodie spots I’d been given…
Conclusion: one day I will return to Liverpool.
News: Travelodge are holding a competition!
You (or me!) could win a stay in Liverpool just by entering this super simple competition on their website. Free UK holiday stay? WINNER.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to say goodbye while you say hello… or something.
*Our hotel room was comped by Travelodge. All other expenses were our own :)