Everyone knows that there’s lots to see and do in Liverpool, but what about Liverpool of the beaten path? Well, you’re in luck, because there’s just as much to experience there too. Merseyside seems to be absolutely brimming with unusual things these days – it seems like a really quirky Liverpool is beginning to develop. There’s now an endless amount of tours and exhibitions that showcase just how unique the city is. There’s also the legendary arts and music culture that has been growing in Liverpool for many decades now which has given the world some of it’s most iconic artists and musicians. Add to this the bohemian bar and restaurant scene as well, and you can probably see why Liverpool has become such a renowned international destination. I’ve tried to combine all of this to make my list of the ten weird things to do in Liverpool that you should really consider seeing or doing. You probably won’t be finding these in your guidebook, so you’ll be able to leave that back at the hotel for this one and enjoy getting right off the tourist route.
Shiverpool ghost walks
Like pretty much any historic city, Liverpool has plenty of myths and legends to get to grips with. You can actually now go on a very good ghost walk that takes you around the Victorian and Georgian parts of the city, which over the years have had their fair share of ghost sightings. It’s good fun to do one of the weird things to do in Liverpool for a change – it’s something that doesn’t really take itself too seriously and can be a lot of fun. The company that runs these tours is called Shiverpool, and there’s a couple of good ones for you to consider. You can go up to the Cathedral Quarter and look around the gothic buildings after dark, which I could imagine being really quite creepy. For the not so brave, you can choose the bus tour which takes you around all the spots but from the safety and comfort of an old vintage styled bus. That’s more my cup of tea, I think!
Visit the old city docks
There’s also a really unique tour that people can take, down underground to the original Liverpool docklands. These were built all the way back in 1715, but they were only discovered when builders stumbled across them whilst redeveloping the ground above. They had basically just been filled in with rubble over time, but thanks to a lot of hard work from various individuals, we’re now able to visit the very first docks of this famous port city. The tour is quite basic, but you do get some incredible views over the hand built stone docks from the raised platforms up above. If you’re trying to find a few free things to do in Liverpool when you’re here, you should really think about giving this a go.
Explore the Mersey Tunnels
You can also now get a fairly similar tour down into the Mersey Tunnels ventilation system. I know this sounds a bit odd, but at the time of being built the tunnels were some of the most advanced in the world. These days, it’s the main way of getting across the Mersey to Wirral so it can actually be quite interesting to learn about how it functions as well as its history. The tour includes a look at the ventilation system in use, a visit into the control room, and even an intriguing look underneath the road surface itself. The tour goes on for about three hours and it only costs about eight pounds per person, which is very good value for money if you ask me. Even though there’s actually quite a lot of unusual things to do in Liverpool, but I think this is up there with the most unique.
Liver Building Audio Visual Tour
The Liver Building is one of Liverpool’s most iconic symbols that’s probably everyone's first tourist stop off point. These days, you can go all the way to the top and get incredible panoramic views of Merseyside, but I don’t know if I’d say that’s very unusual. Instead, it’s the audio/visual tour from inside the clock tower which I find the most interesting. There are some really quite incredible cinematics that tell the storey of how the city of Liverpool came to be, through its many docks and factories. Both the views and the visual tour come within the Royal Liver Building tour – a journey that starts on the bottom floor before heading up into the famous clock tower. This has only been running for a couple of months now, but it’s looking like it’s going to be one of the most popular alternative things to do in Liverpool. Take it from my wife, she thinks it’s fantastic!
Liverpool Cathedral at Twilight
Going to the Anglican Cathedral isn’t really seeing Liverpool off the beaten path, in fact it’s probably in pretty much every tourist brochure there is. But there is a twilight option that I don’t think ever gets enough attention. The cathedral itself is one of the biggest in the world, so as you can imagine the views from the top when the sun is setting are quite spectacular really. You can see the whole city all around you as it starts to turn from daytime to night time – there’s nothing quite like it I’d say. They actually call this experience twilight Thursdays, although it only takes place from April to October so bear that in mind. If you go on the cathedral’s website, there’s a really good planner kind of thing that tells you exactly when the sun sets each night which can be quite handy. You can also find all the tickets on there as well.
Liverpool Roman Catholic Cathedral crypt tour
In Liverpool’s second famous cathedral, you can pretty much do the exact opposite to heading up the tower of the Anglican Cathedral and take a guided tour into the crypts deep underground. Although the cathedral is quite clearly very modern, the grounds on which it is built or not. It was originally designed to be the largest cathedral in the world, but the Roman Catholic church ran out of money and could only complete the beautiful crypts that you see today. They are huge stone brick vaults with some very pretty stained-glass windows – it would have been quite something had it been completed. Not only is the building itself is very impressive, but the collection of items within the treasury is also very interesting to look at too. This is up there with my favorite hidden gems Liverpool has to offer, I think. It only costs a couple of pounds as well which is always a good thing.
Mersey Ferry ride
Something that’s slowly becoming more and more popular in Liverpool is the Mersey Ferry. Since Liverpool has such a long history with being a port city, you can see quite a lot from out in the river. It’s a really good opportunity to see Liverpool off the beaten path and look at the famous city landmarks, like Pier Head or the Royal Albert Docks from a completely different perspective. There’s also a running commentary on the various sights along the river which is handy if you want to learn a little bit more about Merseyside’s maritime history. The tours take place from the pier head and only last for about fifty minutes or so, so you can fit them easily into pretty much any daily itinerary. Just remember to wrap up warm because it can be quite cold out on the water – especially when it’s winter time.
Underground Bunkers at the World War II Museum
Because Liverpool was the headquarters for the battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War, the city was actually very heavily bombed. To escape the air raids, large underground rooms were built deep underground to allow the planning for the sea battle to continue. These days, you can actually go down into them, inside the Liverpool War Museum and see the old operations rooms where the battle was coordinated. The highlight of it all is the map room – you can see just how they knew about the enemy’s locations and protected the precious convoys from being attacked. It’s a fascinating insight into one of the most overlooked parts of the great war which many people don’t even know about. These war rooms really are one of the best hidden gems in Liverpool, especially if you’re a history buff like me!
For cool places in Liverpool, there’s nowhere quite like the Cains Brewery Village. This ex-industrial site has been transformed over the last couple of years to become one of the city’s leading food and drinks venues. You’ll find some really unusual restaurants inside, along with a food market that takes place every weekend from lunch all the way into the evening time. The food market sells quite a few different types of food from all around the world, so it’s handy if you want to try out a few different things. As well as food and drinks, you can also play crazy golf at Ghetto Golf, or go shopping for some vintage clothes at Bijou and Vintage. It’s all very young and creative around here, so you’ll be mixing with some of Merseyside’s cool young things. It’s interesting to see this fun and quirky Liverpool begin to emerge now – I hope it continues long into the future and more hidden gems like this continue to get developed.
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