2018 is an exciting year culturally for Liverpool, as this north-west England city embraces a year-long celebration marking ten years since it was European Capital of Culture 2008. Boasting more museums and galleries than any other UK city outside of the capital, it’s a city that has long enjoyed a world-class reputation for culture, and never more so than musically, as the birthplace of The Beatles. Just two hours by train from London and half an hour from Manchester, Liverpool’s cultural legacy is ever-evolving and, with thrilling events planned for the year ahead, 2018 is a special time to visit.
Time to check in
Liverpool city centre teems with hotels that either embrace a cultural slant or nod to the city’s heritage. Arthouse Hotel encompasses the world of classic cinema, with quirky takes on memorable movie scenes in its rooms; stay in rooms designed as a tribute to films ranging from Grease to The Sound of Music, as well as rooms showcasing how Andy Warhol blended fine art with popular culture. Tributes to the city’s most famous cultural icons can also be found at the Hard Day’s Night Hotel, the world’s only Beatles-inspired hotel, whose story is told through specially commissioned art work and memorabilia.
Liverpool’s legacy as a thriving port and industrial giant has also left its mark on its cultural offering and accommodation; stay at the Titanic Hotel, part of the redevelopment of the historic Stanley Dock complex, where each bedroom offers spectacular views over the Port of Liverpool. Back in the city centre, Hope Street Hotel is built within an original warehouse in mid-19th-century style – the Venetian Palazzo – while luxury boutique hotel Nadler Liverpool is set in a restored 1850s industrial building.
There’s also a range of well-known budget hotels in the city, from Ibis to Travelodge, as well as an Easyhotel, located just ten minutes’ walk away from the cultural haven of Albert Dock.
09:00 DISCOVER WORLDLY WONDERS
Head down to William Brown Street, in the heart of the city, to the World Museum, a treasure trove of life and earth sciences and human culture worth exploring at any time, but a visit from now until October 2018 means you’ll see the spectacular Terracotta Warriors from the tomb of China’s First Emperor, the first time in more than ten years that they have been brought to Britain. Spanning almost 1,000 years of China’s history, the exhibition will include artefacts dating from 8th century BC to the 2nd century AD.
11:00 STROLL AMONG AWE-INSPIRING ART
One of the attractions of Liverpool is how easy it is to travel from one cultural venue to another. You’ll find yourself at the Walker Art Gallery just a couple of minutes’ walk from the World Museum; immerse yourself in sculpture, paintings and decorative art dating from the 13th century to the present day.
13:00 TASTE THE CITY’S FOOD CULTURE
Set out on a pleasant 20-minute walk from the gallery, and stop for lunch at one of the many independent eateries in the bohemian RopeWalks district, an area brimming with art, music and culture and home to cultural institutions such as FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). Or stroll on a little further to another of the city’s cultural hotspots, the Georgian Quarter, where The Art School Restaurant is located. Situated in the lantern room of a Victorian building, chef patron Paul Askew has produced tasting and prix fixe menus using seasonal ingredients for omnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans alike.
15:00 EXPLORE A GOTHIC TREASURE
One of the world’s greatest buildings is arguably Liverpool Cathedral, a breathtaking architectural creation that’s home to the world’s highest and widest Gothic arches, one of the tallest Gothic towers – climb it for sensational panoramic city views – and a sculpture by celebrated contemporary artist Tracey Emin.
17:00 SAMPLE LOCALLY MADE DRINKS
Whether your favourite tipple is beer or gin, head to H1780 in the city’s creative and digital quarter – the Baltic Triangle – to sample both; this is a working brewery and distillery producing the prettily named Love Lane beers and The Ginsmiths of Liverpool gins. The bar is soon launching The Ginsmiths Experience, beer tours and gin afternoon teas – be the first to try them!
19.30 DINE AT A CREATIVE HUB
Head to the heart of cultural Liverpool to Upstairs at the Bluecoat, Liverpool's creative hub that showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. Its restaurant offers fabulous city views, walls adorned with contemporary local art and a menu created with locally sourced produce.
22:00 DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
You can’t come to Liverpool and not take in one of its most iconic cultural landmarks for a memorable night out – The Cavern Club. The place where The Beatles started out, it not only showcases their legacy, but also is a hotspot for today’s ace up-and-coming bands.
09:00: MARVEL AT CONTEMPORARY ART
Head to UNESCO World Heritage site the Albert Dock, home to the outstanding Tate Liverpool, a haven of British and international contemporary and modern art celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Visit before the end of the September to enjoy the works of Gustav Klimt’s radical protégé, Egon Schiele, alongside photography by Francesca Woodman.
In 2018, the Liverpool Biennial, an internationally renowned festival of contemporary art, returns to the city between 14 July-28 October 2018, this year entitled Beautiful World, Where Are You?. Every two years, the city’s public places, unused buildings and galleries showcase thought-provoking contemporary art. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned 305 new artworks and presented work by more than 450 artists from around the world, making it a must-see on a visit to Liverpool.
11:00 FIND OUT EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BEATLES
The Albert Dock is also home to The Beatles Story, the world's largest permanent exhibition devoted to the Fab Four. This year you’ll also be able to enjoy a special exhibition marking 50 years since The Beatles travelled to Rishikesh, India.
13:00 ENJOY A TRUE TASTE OF BRITISH CULTURE
Feast on delicious fish and chips at the Docklands Fish and Chip Restaurant, while overlooking the city’s waterfront and fabulous skyline. Don’t forget to try that side order of mushy peas!
15:00 TAKE A STEP BACK IN TIME
Just a short train or ferry ride away in Wirral is the charming village of Port Sunlight, once home of Sunlight Soap and the Lever Brothers and a unique cultural feature of Liverpool and its surrounding area. A fun way to get around is by bike – hire them as you arrive and set off to discover differently styled cottages, originally built 130 years ago for the company’s workers, explore the village via trails and pop into the Village Museum. Leave time to see the Lady Lever Art Gallery, housing the personal collection of fine and decorative art of industrialist and philanthropist Lord Leverhulme.
18:30 DINE AT ENGLAND’S ‘MOST ORNATE PUB’
Described as ‘the most ornate pub in England’ the architecturally stunning Philharmonic Dining Rooms is one of the closest restaurants to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall and is a great place to grab some traditional British fare – think tasty pies and succulent sausages – before a performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s famed for its elaborately designed, Grade I-listed men’s toilets – women can ask to have a look!
20:00 BOOK AN EVENING AT THE THEATRE
Enjoy the latest plays and musicals? You can catch shows transferred directly from London’s West End at England’s second-largest theatre, the Liverpool Empire, or enjoy comedies and musicals at the city’s Royal Court Theatre. Alternatively, catch thought-provoking works performed at the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, hosting plays such as Othello and A Clockwork Orange.