Historical Activities in Liverpool

Thinking of making a trip to Liverpool?

Although I’ve been retired for years now, I still find myself gainfully employed as a tour guide at least 5 or 6 times a year. As much as I try to mix things up, I always find myself gravitating back to the same places.

Liverpool is the perfect city for tourists. Its compact size means that attractions are only ever a short walk away, food and drink prices are very reasonable and many of the sights in the city are best enjoyed on foot, so you won’t be wasting time on public transport. Before you do plan your visit to this city, I would recommend checking the local weather just so you’re prepared for what the North West can throw at you.

There’s nothing I love more than showing newcomers around the city for a day, here are my favourite pit-stops:

Discover the Old Dock

Liverpool’s first commercial wet dock was built in 1715 and were truly innovative for the time. Before their construction Liverpool was just a small town with potential but few prospects. Local businessmen collected their wealth and invested everything they had in employing Thomas Steers to find a way of turning their fortunes around. Steers had made his name designing many of Britain’s canals and his solution made it possible for ship to load and unload, regardless of the state of the tide. Guided tours are free, but should be booked in advance in order to avoid disappointment.

Check out the Maritime Museum

The amount of information that can be found at the Merseyside Maritime Museum is really quite astounding. I’ve culled many interesting titbits from the exhibitions here, which are fun and eye-catching for the whole family. Amongst the delights here is an interesting exhibit based around the Customs & Excise department, some fascinating models depicting some of the great ships that have been associated with Liverpool and there are usually some activities to get involved with whilst you’re there too. The Museum is free to enter (just like all the other museums in Liverpool).

U-Boat Story

Whilst not strictly related to the history of Liverpool, a visit to the U-Boat story is nonetheless a fascinating one, which offers visitors the chance to explore a rather curious piece of World War II history that is as memorable as it is extraordinary. On May 5th 1945, Admiral Donitz (who was in charge of the naval operations of the Germans) ordered all U-Boats who were abroad to surrender their vessels, but for some reason U-534, bound for Norway, refused to do so. The submarine took damage and was sunk, forty-nine of the fifty-two crew survived, but it’s still unknown as to they refused to surrender. You can find out more at the exhibition which starts at £5 for kids and £7.50 for adults.

Take a trip on the Mersey Ferry

In order to get to the U-Boat story you will need to take some public transport, although I see this experience as being an essential one for first-time visitors to the city. In my opinion every visitor should take a ferry across the Mersey once in their life. The cost is relatively cheap (£4 for adults or £2.30 for kids) and if you’re planning on going to the U-Boat Story anyway then you can buy a ‘Combo’ ticket that saves you a bit of money!

Enjoy a drink at the Baltic Fleet

This last one might not be suitable for kids, but I consider it indispensable for adults. Every tour of mine ends with a pint (or three!), the pub tends to change each time but if you’ve just stepped off the ferry the Baltic Fleet is just a short walk away. This curio of a pub is, in fact, two historic establishments in one; one half of the pub was built in the 18th Century, whilst the other was built in the 19th. Today you can have a drink in both halves and even try some traditional scouse whilst you’re at it. Should your tour end somewhere else then you can take a look at my list of other historic places to drink in Liverpool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *