If you’ve never had a city break in Liverpool, you’re missing out. It’s got everything you could possibly ask for from a superb city break – a vibrant culture, breathtaking architecture, a thriving foodie scene, superb museums and attractions, and brilliant people. Best of all, it’s not one of those cities that will break the bank either, and you can easily have a great time here on a budget. To help inspire you, we’ve made a list of just some of the great things to do in Liverpool on a budget...
Start the day at Moose Coffee (Dale Street) for a lovely Liverpudlian breakfast with an American twist. This is one of Liverpool’s favourite breakfast spots, and if you want to fuel up for a day’s sightseeing you can’t do much better than here. Their breakfast menu is extensive and includes a mouth-watering, mind-boggling selection of pancake, egg and waffle variations. Breakfasts will set you back between £5.50-£9, and if you choose something at around the £7.50 mark you can wash it down with a very nice coffee. This is a breakfast of champions.
Like every great city, Liverpool has its own daily free walking tour that you can (and probably should) do on your first morning in the city. The tours start at St. George’s Hall (The Prince Albert Statue) every morning at 11, and give you a brilliant overview of the city and its history, as well as helping you get your bearings and decide what great things to do in Liverpool on a budget. The tour is free, but don’t be stingy with a tip for the guide – remember, they work for tips!
Liverpool Cathedral isn’t just Britain’s biggest cathedral – it’s also home to the world’s widest and highest gothic arches, the highest and heaviest peal of bells in the world, the UK’s largest and most impressive organ, and an incredible tower that offers an unrivalled 360 panorama of the city. It’s a fascinating building, and the Cathedral is totally free to explore. Climbing the tower to get those unbelievable views of the city will set you back just a fiver, and believe us, it’s a fiver very well spent.
In the heart of the Albert Dock you’ll find the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Liverpool’s port is an absolutely integral part of the city’s story, and the museum tells that story very well, using ship models, maritime paintings, full-sized vessels, and special exhibitions. The fascinating International Slavery Museum can be found on the building’s second floor, and the Border Force’s museum is in the basement. The museum is totally free to visit, and will easily occupy you for a full morning or afternoon.
No self-respecting Beatles fan would go to Liverpool without visiting Penny Lane (where John and Paul used to meet to get the bus) – and now that we mention it, you should visit Strawberry Fields and the Eleanor Rigby statue while you’re at it. In the interest of managing your expectations, we have to tell you that there’s not a huge amount to see and do at each of these locations, but they are worth seeing just to get a picture of the street signs (and maybe a selfie with Eleanor) and experience a little bit of Beatles history.
The Dale Street Eatery is a gorgeous little spot with an encouragingly small menu – the food that they serve, they do really, really well. You can build your own burger here for £7.95, with four different types of patty available (including a vegetarian option) and a selection of gourmet toppings such as halloumi, avocado, roast peppers, caramelised onions and more. Burgers come with a choice of side, and with a burger and soft drink you can still get change from a tenner.
The Liverpool Wheel, situated on the Keel Wharf Waterfront beside the Echo Arena, is 60 metres high, weighs around 365 tonnes, and has 42 separate gondolas that can fit 8 people each. In addition to being a thoroughly pleasant ride, it offers a fairly breath-taking 360 view of the city and beyond, and at only £9 a spin it’s absolutely well worth doing. Don’t forget your camera…
The Beatles might be Liverpool’s most famous band, but Gerry and the Pacemakers are behind some of the city’s biggest and best-loved anthems, with ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ being one of the most iconic. You can actually take a Ferry cross the Mersey aboard the Dazzle Ferry. This colourful vessel was designed to commemorate the First World War, painted in dazzling designs to honour those used during war time to confuse the enemy and keep boats from being targeted. A 50 minute ferry trip on the Mersey is just £9, and a super way to get a whole new perspective on the city.
The Cavern Club is one of Liverpool’s – if not the whole UK’s – most important musical institutions. This is where the Beatles cut their teeth back in the 60s, playing there for the first time in ‘61 and doing regular live shows until Beatle Mania they became too far famous and expensive for the Club to book by ’63. Its stage has been graced by many more musical legends too, including Thin Lizzy, John Lee hooker, and even (more recently) Adele herself! It’s still open and popular as a live music venue today, and you can see live music every day from mid-afternoon until late night. It’s free to enter most of the time, with a small entrance fee in the evening from Thursday to Sunday. You can see a live show and experience a slice of musical history here for a fiver or less.
Liverpool doesn’t just have a Chinatown, it has the oldest Chinatown in Europe. Just south of the city centre, Liverpool’s Chinese community began to develop as far back as 1834 when the first ship arrived from China to trade goods like cotton wool, silk, tea and spices. Today it’s a vibrant little spot worth seeing for the Chinatown Arch alone, which was built in 2000 by craftsmen from Shanghai (which is Liverpool’s twin city). If you feel a little peckish when you get there, you can easily treat yourself to some lovely Chinese food here – look for somewhere that’s full of Chinese people for the best and most authentic food. North Garden on Nelson Street is a good one.
With all these great things to do in Liverpool on a budget, we're sure you're itching to see for yourself. Get searching for flights to Liverpool!
- Dee Murray