You don’t need to take a ferry cross the Mersey or spend half the afternoon at an overpriced Beatles’s exhibition. Want to know what to do when you’re in The Pool? Let’s take a romp around Liverpool.

To say that Liverpool is a cultural hub would be an understatement. Home to arguably the most famous band ever, one of the highest regarded port cities or its time and the first area of the country that Chinese and Black African immigrants settled in, the city has become a melting pot of amazing cultures and way of life mixing together. Anyone visiting for just a day will feel the need to visit all the usual tourist attractions but there is so much more on offer. Here’s some of my top picks from my many visits there.

Quay Confectionery

Anyone visiting Liverpool to see a friend (as I have in the past) will inevitably be taken down to the Albert docks. And while I’ll admit they do make for a pleasant walk, it can be the type of place where you’ll be bored to tears if you don’t like tourist trap style shops or the idea of having to go look at modern art. There is one shop that I always visit though and spend enough money to make my dentist squirm.

Quay Confectionary is a small little sweet shop that sells just about anything to help cure a case of the sweet tooth. They do sell a lot of American confectionary (which admittedly can be cheaper in Tesco) but if you go to the far right wall you’ll see a pick and mix stall that makes you yearn for the days of Woolworths.

The Egg Cafe

Even though the town is quite compact to get about, you will find yourself walking a lot to see the sights (it’s very much like Dublin in that regard). Even though I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, The Egg Café is the type of hidden café that you’ll wish you could to for lunch every day.

Among locals it’s an unofficial meetup spot as the café occupies a very large loft space to give an atmosphere you’d never get in the local Costa. Their menu rotates daily and is prone to seasonality, but they do have some staples that work wonders. On the two times I’ve had lunch there I’ve opted for their amazing hummus salad that comes with enough dipping bread to keep you going. Their cakes are also spot on too, especially fi you’re lucky to get a window seat with your coffee.

International Slavery Museum

A mid-morning trip to see what slavery is like doesn’t sound like the best way to start the day, but this museum provides a fascinating insight in to the role slavery has had throughout history. You’ll get to learn what Africa was like before European slavery, the role international trade played and what slavery in America was like.

The most striking aspect of the museum is learning that about the pockets of the world where we still have slavery today. It’s one of those subjects we usually avoid but it really important to learn more about.

Sefton Park

Even though you’re right by the water most of the time in Liverpool, the industrial look and feel of the city can have you searching for some greenery to admire. And while there area closer to town like Wavertree Botanic Gardens and Everton Park, Sefton Park is the kind of place where a wrong turn is rewarded and you can forget you’re in a bit city for a few minutes.

There are a number of small caves and waterfalls dotted around the park to go and explore, along with a practically pristine boating lake (although you’ll need to get a permit if you want to get on your boat). The park also has one of the quieter Beatles’ monuments in the city; a blue and red bandstand that is argued to be the inspiration for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Camp & Furnace

Pretty much all of the city centre in the 00’s underwent massive renovations to give the city it’s modern look. Spots like Liverpool One have the feeling of a modern American mall. If you head out of town though down Paradise Land and in to the Baltic Triangle, you’ll end up coming across a few unique spots that have undergone renovations and refurbs. Walking through the area you’ll see a lot of old warehouse style buildings not in use anymore and wonder where you’re going, but head to Greenland St and you’ll find Camp & Furnace.

It’s a renovated warehouse that is a multi-purpose venue and extremely popular among locals. They have their lobby bar which serves amazing brunches and lunches (the black pudding and sourdough toast I once had was the hangover cure I never knew I needed). There’s a mini warehouse area to the left that projects football on to the walls at the weekend, and their back room is a very popular event spot for club nights, local food markets and even weddings.

The area it’s in might not look as posh as the middle of the town, but there are some nice little spots like Italfresh and Botanical Garden hidden in the Baltic Triangle that I’d highly recommend.

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