Liverpool guide: What to do outside Labour Conference
(Illustration | Tracy Worrall)
6 min read
Liverpudlians love their city – and it is easy to see why. Having been crowned City of Culture in 2008, Liverpool’s cultural heritage has gone from strength to strength, with even more restaurants, bars and activities adding to its city’s offering. Tali Fraser presents some of the highlights.
Liverpool is a hub of political, cultural and historic activity, not just when conference is on. When you have a break between events, try to make the most of it!
Set in the oldest building of Liverpool city centre, the Bluecoat Gallery hosted the first Post Impressionist exhibition in 1911, including works from Matisse, Picasso and Van Gogh. The institution continues to be a hub for artists. Its current exhibition examines the building’s history as a charity school and there is a picturesque courtyard to eat lunch in.
Located in the historic Royal Albert Dock, the Maritime Museum provides an insight into Liverpool’s seafaring past and merchant navy, with the International Slavery Museum just next door revealing Liverpool’s own horror in the slave trade through a series of personal experiences and displays. Exhibits include original shackles, chains and instruments used in the slave trade.
Liverpool Cathedral. Britain’s largest church is also the world’s largest Anglican cathedral. Designed by the creator of the classic red telephone box, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, you can climb its grand 100m tower from Upper Duke St to get an unparalleled view of the city. It is now also home to artwork including a piece hanging over its West Doors called For You by Tracey Emin: a pink neon sign that reads ‘I felt you and I knew you loved me’.
Sefton Park is Liverpool’s biggest park by far. Inside you will find the beautiful Grade-II listed iron Palm House – with stunning spiral staircases – filled with an exotic botanical collection of over 200 plants and representatives of five continents.
St Luke’s Bombed Out Church is a cool and unique venue. Located at the top of Old Street, the former Anglican parish church was bombed during the May Blitz of 1941, leaving just its external masonry standing. Although without a roof, the Grade II listed building now exists as a hub for music, arts and culture, with its own garden bar.
Canapes can be nice but even better is a good local recommendation – and in Liverpool there are plenty to choose from.
If you want fast food, get great fast food – and there isn’t better than Bundobust, serving vegetarian and vegan Indian street food classics like Bundo Chaat, Vadodara Pav and Okra fries. It even has its own brewery with a range of IPAs and lager.
Award-winning Duke Street Market is one of the city’s most popular venues. It is home to six independent kitchens: Cuban Cahita; Cucina Di Vincenzo, for Italian food; Ginger, which does Asian-inspired fare; Kelp, a seafood kitchen; Bone & Block for the meat-eaters; and Mexican, Big Lolas.
Carlisli is great for cheap eats, with a fantastic £5 offer for a sandwich and a coffee. The sandwiches are large and can be filled with your choice of Italian meats, cheese and salads.
Buyers Club at the top of Hardman Street is a mix between a restaurant, bar and music venue. The menu has plenty of options set by head chef Daniel Heffy, a winner of the North West Young Chef award.
If you feel like a treat, head to The Art School Restaurant. Housed in an old Victorian building that was once a home for destitute children, The Art School is focused on incredible British cooking.
Bars and Nightlife
It is tricky not to have a good time on an evening out in Liverpool!
The Grapes in the Georgian Quarter has stood on the corner of Roscoe Street since 1775 and is one of the area's most distinctive pubs, with unconventional decor and a range of local ales. As one of the Beatles’ favourite haunts, there is a good array of memorabilia here and a weekly jazz night every Sunday.
Cocktail bar Berry & Rye is a stylish prohibition-themed bar, with drinks menus hidden in bibles – perfect for a cool evening drink. To get in, knock on the unnamed door and you will be shown through. The bar doesn’t take bookings and is restricted on numbers so you may end up with a slight wait.
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms is special in many regards but most of all for its impressive gentlemen’s loos, which have survived from their original Victorian design. The first purpose-built Victorian pub to have Grade I list status, the Beatles used to drink here and Paul McCartney returned to perform a gig with comedian James Corden in 2018.
Heebie Jeebies, on Seel Street is the place to go for a good time. Set across two floors and a courtyard, the bar/club has been home to a good atmosphere for years. And if you want a change of scene, there are plenty of other bars on Seel Street to choose from.
A close one for delegates to visit is The Pumphouse, a cosy pub in the Grade II listed former pumphouse, set in the Royal Albert Dock. It is a nice spot for a bite to eat or a quick pint.
Every resident of the city has a decision to make football-wise: Everton or Liverpool? While no matches are scheduled during conference, there are other ways to get involved.
On the LFC tour through Anfield you can sit in Jurgen Klopp’s manager seat in the Dugout next to the pitch, visit the home team’s dressing room, walk through the players’ tunnel and go under the famed “This is Anfield” sign. The £23 ticket also gives you access to the Club’s interactive museum The Liverpool FC story, the six European cups and a story walkthrough of Klopp’s “dream team”.
The behind-the-scenes tour of Everton’s Goodison Park lets you into the players’ changing room, to take a look from the Director’s Box, walk the tunnel to the sound of sirens the players hear while heading into a match and pose for photos in the manager’s seat in the Media Centre. Adult tickets are £22.
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