Liverpool, Merseyside, England – A Liverpool Cruise Port Guide
Liverpool is situated on the eastern shore of the River Mersey. It is most famous for one of three things – depending on who you talk to! It’s history as a port, as the birthplace of the Beatles or for one of its two football teams.
People born here are known as Liverpudlians or Scousers – a term of endearment not an insult! Scousers are proud of being very friendly and straightforward so I will start this guide with the words of one of our lovely Cruise Addict Group Scousers…
“Please, please don’t take a city tour – the city is so compact you could walk from the furthest attraction to the cruise port in about 3/4 hour. Please just ask and we’ll (us scousers) will help as much as we can xx”
Language: English (Scouse)
Currency: UK Pound Sterling
Time Zone: UTC +0. ( Greenwich Mean Time)
Liverpool – what you need to know
From a small fishing village, Liverpool grew to be an important port in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Its wealth was built on transporting sugar, tobacco, cotton and the slave trade. Liverpool became a City in 1880 and became a major industrial hub and shipping port.
The Cunard Line had its beginnings in Liverpool in 1840, with its first Transatlantic crossing leaving from Liverpool in 1870. The White Star Line, was also based in Liverpool and the two companies merged in 1934. Their famous ship RMS Titanic never called into Liverpool but had many links with the city – she was designed and commissioned from the White Star offices. Many of the crew on board came from Liverpool, including the lookout, Fred Fleet, who spotted the iceberg. In addition the Captain and the chief engineer lived in nearby Crosby. There are many small memorials and references to Titanic throughout the city.
Huge bomb damage sustained in WW2 led to a time of hardship and deprivation but this led to one of the most vibrant periods of the cities history in the 1960s. Many musicians went from local Club ‘The Cavern’ to achieve worldwide success in the 1960s. Scousers celebrate the success of other Scousers and will happily list many famous Scousers such as the 60s pop stars such as Cilla Black, Billy Fury, the Searchers. and Billy J Kramer. Also comedians Ken Dodd, Jimmy Tarbuck, Kenny Everett and actors Jodie Comer, Tom Baker and Daniel Craig. The most famous Scousers of all were of course. the Beatles. All four were born and brought up in Liverpool so you could spend a whole days sightseeing completely devoted to them! They have their own section below…
Liverpool – the immediate port area…
Your cruise ship will lie alongside the 350m floating pontoon at the Princes Dock Cruise Terminal on the River Mersey. This lies directly adjacent to the iconic Liver Building. It opened in 2007 and meant that tendering ashore or entering the locked docks was no longer necessary.
There are walkways up from the ship to the shore which may be a little steep at low tide.
There are not a huge amount of facilities here but it is very close to the town, restaurants and bars. Taxis are available but the HOHO bus begins at Albert Dock although there is also a nearer stop and ticket booth at Canada Boulevard. A new cruise terminal is due to be competed in 2023.
Note: IF YOU ARE CHECKING IN FOR A CRUISE HERE At the time of writing in 2022 Covid restrictions/ testing are still in place. You need to check in at the ACC Centre with your luggage NOT at the Cruise Terminal – please check before travelling.
What is within walking distance of Liverpool Cruise Terminal?
- ‘The Three Graces’ – these are the three imposing buildings – The Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool that form the iconic Mersey skyline. Visible from your ship they were recently controversially stripped of their UNESCO designated World Heritage status due to new development in the area.
- Royal Liver Building has two imposing clocktowers that each bear a copper Liver Bird. These mythical birds have been the symbol of Liverpool for over 800 years. The two magnificent 18ft copper Liver birds, named Bella and Bertie, have been perched on top of the Royal Liver Building since 1911. Bella looks out to sea, watching for the safe return of seamen and Bertie looks inwards, watching over the their families. A magnificent building, it is open to visit with phenomenal views from the top.
- The Port of Liverpool Building Built in 1907 this grand building was the headquarters of Mersey Docks and Harbour Board for 87 years. It is decorated internally and externally with maritime themes. Nowadays the ground floor is open to the public and the grand, ornate interior has featured in many films including Danny Boyle 2019 film ‘Yesterday’, which imagines a world where the Beatles never existed in the first place!
- The Cunard Building was built in 1914. It housed both Cunard’s offices and passenger facilities until the 1960s, when the UK operations relocated to Southampton and Cunards global headquarters to New York. Today it is home to the
- British Music Experience – a national museum covering British Popular music. Described as an interactive experience, it showcases over 600 pieces of memorabilia, covering music dating back to 1945.
- Pier Head is where you will find the iconic larger than life, Beatles Statue. This was the original landing spot for all passenger ships calling at Liverpool. It is still in use as the terminal for the Mersey Ferry.
- The Museum of Liverpool Life – is about ten minutes walk from the terminal – very popular with great exhibits covering the 800 year history of Liverpool and its people. Its maritime history and WW2 sections are fascinating. There is also a Social history section, Liverpool on Wheels and a Scousers Tribute.
- Albert Dock – just one of the many Docks that make up Liverpool Port – is just outside the museum. Here you will find the Tate Modern Gallery, Maritime Museum, & Museum of Slavery. The Beatles Story is here (see below), as well as many cafes, shops and restaurants.
- Floating Grace canal boat – join a. tour with a commentary as she travels through the canal and the historic Liverpool Dock Basins – prebook for a lunch or afternoon tea tour.
- Liverpool One is a huge modern shopping, residential and leisure centre with top restaurants.
- The famous Cavern Club where The Beatles made their first appearances is in Mathew Street, within walking distance of the ship. It is a recreation of the original with Tribute acts playing during the day. It was home to the Mersey Beat – the name given to the music of many famous 60s acts who started here including Cilla Black, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy Fury, the Searchers and Billy J Kramer.
For many people Liverpool IS The Beatles so here are some ideas for a day seeking out the Liverpool of the Fab Four. This is mainly out in the suburbs so you will need some sort of transport – there are options…
The Liverpool City Sights HOHO bus begins its Beatles ‘blue route’ at Albert Dock but also runs a Red route that covers tourist sites which are closer into the City Centre It is a short walk to Albert Dock from the ship, on the way you will pass the larger than life, compulsory photo op The Beatles statue. At Albert Dock itself you’ll find The Beatles Story – the worlds largest Beatles exhibition, covering their journey from Liverpool to International Superstardom.
Outside, you can pickup a yellow Magical Mystery Tour Bus which takes you to see some of their most important locations. This takes about 2 hours and drives past Penny Lane and the childhood homes of both Paul McCartney and John Lennon before concluding at the Cavern Club.
The only way you are able to go inside the two houses – ‘Mendips‘, John Lennons home and 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartneys – is on a National Trust minibus tour from the city centre. Other tours either stop briefly outside or just drive by the houses. You must prebook a National Trust tour and I would do that well in advance as access is limited – they are very small houses!
Another ‘book in advance’ option is The Fab Four Taxi Tour which takes you further and shows you more – for example it visits Strawberry Fields and all four Beatles homes. It is £135 for up to five people so as long as you get a group together it is good value. This tour will collect or drop you from the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles made their first appearances. It is in Mathew Street within walking distance of the ship. It is a recreation of the original club, with Tribute acts playing during the day. Home to the Mersey Beat – many famous 60s acts started here including Cilla Black, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy Fury, the Searchers, Billy J Kramer as well as the Beatles.
What can I do on a longer walk, hike or bus from Liverpool Cruise Terminal?
- Mersey Ferry – from Pier Head take the famous ‘Ferry cross the Mersey’ which leaves hourly. You can choose from the standard, commuter ferry or take a Mersey Ferry Heritage trip which although a little cheesy ( they play ‘Ferry Across the Mersey’ for the whole trip) also has a very informative narration about the history of Liverpool – you can buy combined tickets that include entry to The Beatles Story.
- Birkenhead – plenty to see while you’re here including the Secombe Space Museum and a German U boat.
- The Cathedrals – Liverpool is only British city with two cathedrals. Vastly different in architecture but both majestic and beautiful, they are located at opposite ends of the aptly named Hope Street. Halfway between them two bronze statues commemorate the lives of Bishop David Sheppard and of Archbishop Derek Worlock who worked together as a uniting force for the City during the 1970s and 1980s.
- The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral dates from 1904 and is Britain’s biggest Cathedral. Its tower is open visitors every day and boasts spectacular views across the city.
- The Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King was originally a similar design to the Anglican Cathedral but only the Crypt was built before rising costs meant that the the design was abandoned. It was completed in 1967 as a modern, circular Cathedral featuring modern works of art and glorious multi-coloured windows above the original Crypt.
- Liverpool and Football. As well as two Cathedrals, Liverpool has two football clubs – both stadiums are on the HOHO bus route. Both offer tours of the stadium, pitch and grounds which need to be booked in advance. The rivalry between the two clubs is legendary – Everton play in blue and Liverpool FC play in red – confusing the two teams will make you unpopular with any supporter! So alphabetically (so as not to cause upset!) Their grounds are:
- Anfield – home of Liverpool FC – six times European Champions, seven times FA Cup winners, they are known as the Reds. This was the site of the tragic Hillsborough disaster of 1989 where 97 supporters lost their lives.
- Goodison Park – home of Everton, known as the Blues, winner of five FA cups. A founder member of the football league their home was the first major English football stadium, opened in 1892.
- St Johns Beacon – 360 Experience. There are also great views from the top of the old Radio City tower which is topped with a modern glass round observation deck. The highest tower in the City it has views across the waterfront to the Wirral and even to North Wales on a clear day.
- Walker Art Gallery has many important works of art, the Walter Sickert Galleries and hosts the John Moores Painting Prize.
- Baltic Triangle is the name given to the area of trendy bars, markets and street art close between the Anglican Cathedral and the riverfront.
What can I do further afield by train or taxi from Liverpool Cruise Terminal?
Moorfields train station is a ten minute walk inland from the Cruise terminal. You can buy tickets in advance online or from the ticket office and machines at the station. Simple ideas for a day out from Liverpool by train include
- Port Sunlight (10 – 15 mins – Wirral Line) a model town specifically built to improve the lifestyles of employees of the Unilever Factory. The company is still based there today and owns well known brands such as Ben and Jerrys ice cream, Dove, Liptons tea and more. The model town was built in 1888 and is well preserved. The Lady Lever or Port Sunlight Museum showcases its history and that of the Lever brand.
- Crosby (20 minutes – Blue Line) The beach is home to Anthony Gormleys art installation, ‘Another Place’ – 100 statues of iron men stand at at different points on 3km of beach and shoreline being covered and uncovered at different points of the tide. There are many links here to the Titanic with the owner, captain and chief engineer all living in Crosby.
- Southport (45 minutes – Blue line) is a Victorian seaside town with a beach and small funfair. Like many. British seaside towns it has seen better days but it is still worth a visit. There is a nice stroll around the boating lake.
- Manchester (45 minutes from Lime Street Station) Loads to see here including the set of the iconic Coronation Street and two more famous football clubs… You might want to organise to meet a guide to make the best of the town.
- Chester (an hour from Lime Street Station) is an exceptionally important historic town with well preserved Tudor buildings, and Roman walls and amphitheatre. You can walk the city walls in an hour, stroll by the River Dee or visit the world famous Chester Zoo.
What should I do by cruise excursion or private tour from Port Cruise Terminal?
Well, to be absolutely honest, not much! You will get a better price and a more individual experience booking local tours and river cruises yourself. Nothing is that far from the cruise terminal so it is a safe place to do a bit of DIY exploring without worrying about missing the ship.
Trips to Chester and Manchester are probably quicker by train and a trip out to visit castles in North Wales or the scenery of the Peak District seems a bit excessive – stunning though both are- when there is so much to see in town!
If you do choose to explore elsewhere for goodness sake don’t tell any Scousers that you happen to meet, you will break their hearts!
I hope you enjoyed reading all about a day ashore in Liverpool and that it has given you lots of ideas for a day ashore. Maybe pin this on Pinterest so that you can come back to it later!
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