While staying with my parents recently on the Wirral, we did an Urban Rambles in Liverpool. This simple act turned into us being tourists in a city I know very well, and led us to having a great adventure!
Tourist in my city
One of the goals of this year is to be more of a tourist in my city. It is so easy to get on with life and avoid the ‘tourist traps’ because they seem so, well, ‘touristy’. Having started visiting all the places around Manchester, it became quickly apparent that:
a) I don’t know all the places (even though I know the cities well)
b) It turns out that the ‘touristy’ places aren’t quite that ‘touristy’
With that obvious discovery, I am setting out to explore more of the North West with a fresh eye and a fiendish curiosity to discover new things. And that is where the Urban Rambles came in.
I discovered the Urban Rambles book while I was buying ‘The Great British Bucket List‘ for Jit for his birthday. As it always goes when I am in Waterstones, I ended up chatting with the person serving me who recommended the Urban Rambles book too. Although I am yet to purchase a copy, I have enjoyed the blog where the walks originated.
As we had a day around Merseyside with no plans we decided head over for a wander in the ‘pool.
From Lime Street Station
The walk begins and ends at Lime Street Station which worked out perfectly for our Merseyrail journey to and from the Wirral. I do love a station to station walk as you might know from my Buxton, Arnside, Chester and Blackpool walks with Northern. All of which are easy to get to from Manchester, so perfect for a day trip too.
Heading out of the station into familiar territory, I wasn’t too sure what we might discover. Turns out quite a lot! While I traditionally had been around this part of town either nights out or shopping there really were hidden gems right under my nose. Stepping through the doors of The Vines, you see beaten copper, mahogany and stained glass. Something I would not have expected when you see the crowds around it on a Saturday evening.
It was think kind of treat which made had me knowing that the adventure would uncover all kinds of interesting places and facts. It also presented an opportunity to see some of the haunts from my youth, like the good ol’ 051.
The walk takes you to some of the city’s well known buildings while meandering you through beautiful cobbled streets and into hidden gardens. I am not going to take you on the whole journey in this post. However, if you fancy a speedy video, check it out below.
The same but different
Many years ago when my cousins from Doncaster were visiting, we took them to Liverpool to see the sights. I remember going to the Cathedrals and how big and vast they were. Going into ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ (The Catholic Cathedral) this time, I realised how beautiful it was. The size was vertainly still there, but I could see the detail. Amazing what a few *cough* years do to your perspective on things.
And then there was the new, right around the corner. This reminded me of the way we like to travel. Rather than sticking to the places in the guide, step behind them, around them and wandering in the other direction and you will find something different. What we discovered (although guided in this instance) was the most glorious of red brick buildings in the university campus.
Turns out they were designed by Alfred Waterhouse who also designed the impressive Manchester Town Hall.
At the half way point you have the option to head out on a parks loop over to Sefton Park. As we were a bit late into town and were feeling rather peckish, we headed to lunch with the promise of returning another day to complete the park loop.
I am really looking forward to doing the park loop, if it is anywhere near as enjoyable as the city walk, I’ll be a very happy wanderer.
Down to the Docks
The second half of the Liverpool urban rambles took us down to the docks of the Mersey, a UNESCO heritage skyline and a very lovely place to explore.
Over the years, this part of town has become far more bustling than in the 80s (although it was pretty busy when This Morning was filmed here and Fred had his weather map on the water) Nowadays the area around Albert Dock is host to a number of modern museums as well as the Three Graces buildings. Of course, no matter where you are from in the world, you are sure to recognise the Liver Bird as the symbol of the city.
Meandering back to Lime Street
After enjoying sharing the stories of the Liver Birds with Jit and spotting a Dazzle Ship ferry, it was time to start making our meander back towards the station. But not without some more exciting discoveries about things I have wandered past for decades without a single glance.
Oriel Chambers was one of the buildings which particularly stood out for me from this part of town. The metal framed glass curtain wall were something quite amazing (and a solid reminder to look up far more often!) Built in 1864, it was pretty daring for the time. However, it did end up directly influencing the Modernist Chicago School of Architecture for the designs of the first skyscrapers towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Stories and memories
It was funny going into Exchange Flags. We only really discovered it one day last year when the trains were off and we decided to alight the bus early to explore. Turns out my Mum used to work around there! And she ate her lunch and fed the pigeons in the square on a daily basis.
Making our way past the old municipal buildings and town hall administration buildings, I took the chance to enjoy Liverpool from a different angle. As I enjoy spotting Manchester Town Hall down alleyways and through trees, I discovered some new lines towards the Liver Building.
The final stretch
The final stretch of our Urban Rambles in Liverpool we made our way through small streets and alleys and past the reputed oldest pub in the city, Ye Hole in Ye Wall. It was a cute little place hidden in the shade.
My final photo of the day was down a small car lined street, which perfectly highlighted City Tower. Once a rotating restaurant, which shut down after eight years due to health and concerns. It was then adopted and adapted by Radio City for broadcasting. Little did we know at the time, that this would be part of our second tourist in our city adventures in Liverpool.
Tourist in my City
Our day of urban rambles and being a tourist in my city, became a highlight of our stay near Liverpool and have certainly fuelled my desire to get more local adventures onto the blog, and the vlog for that matter!