Where to stay, eat and explore in Liverpool, Eurovision 2023’s vibrant host city.
Liverpool has welcomed an influx of tourists this week for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Fans will pile into the waterfront Liverpool Arena for the final on 13 May with Sweden pinned as the favourite to win the competition.
But even after the final votes are counted, there are still plenty of reasons to visit this historic city in 2023.
The Liverpool Biennale - the UK’s biggest arts festival - is celebrating its 25th anniversary, while a slew of new hotels, restaurants and museums are opening.
Here’s our guide to the UK’S UNESCO City of Music.
What to do in Liverpool
Liverpool is a huge city with plenty of lesser-known, up and coming neighbourhoods to explore. But the big hitters - many of which can be found in the waterfront area - shouldn’t be missed.
The Royal Liver Building: For cityscapes and historical insights
This sprawling Grade I-listed structure was built in 1911 as an insurance company’s headquarters. Together with the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building, it is one of the so-called ‘three graces’ - a hat-trick of historic structures on the city’s waterfront.
Book the Royal Liver Building’s 360 Tour and you’ll get to soak up the views of Liverpool’s skyline from the building’s 15th floor, before learning more about the story behind Europe’s first skyscraper during an immersive audio-visual experience.
Liverpool Cathedral: For 360-views and local eats
Liverpool Cathedral is Britain’s largest, and has the world’s largest gothic arches. Its bells weigh 16 tonnes.
It was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott who was just 22 when he won a competition to get the job in 1902.
The cathedral even has its own restaurant, the Welsford Bistro. Head there to try a bowl of Scouse - a hearty soup (and Liverpudlian delicacy) made with beef and vegetables.
Afterwards, work off any indulgences by signing up for the cathedral’s Tower Experience, which involves two elevators and 108 steps. But it’s worth it - you’ll enjoy 360-degree views from the top of the cathedral.
The Beatles Story: For a journey into Liverpool’s musical past
You don’t have to be a fan of the Fab Four to enjoy this musical must-see. Highlights at the Beatles Story, on Liverpool’s waterfront, include replicas of locations such as the Abbey Road Studios and The Cavern Club (the Liverpool venue where the Beatles first performed).
Memorabilia on display includes John Lennon’s spectacles, Ringo Starr’s drum kit and handwritten lyrics. Don’t miss the Discovery Zone, where you can belt out Beatles classics during a karaoke session on a replica of the Cavern Club stage.
Eureka! Science + Discovery: For interactive family fun
Travelling with budding Einsteins in tow? They’ll love the ridiculously kid-friendly Eureka! Science + Discovery museum, designed with children aged up to 14 in mind.
This city centre attraction, which opened in April 2023, has areas dedicated to nature, anatomy (don’t miss the supersized body parts), crafts and architecture, and the focus is firmly on interactive fun.
The Anfield Abseil: For football fans and adrenaline junkies
Anfield is no longer simply one of Europe’s largest football stadiums and the home of Liverpool FC. It’s also a great spot for visitors keen to gain a whole new perspective on the city.
Since early 2023 visitors have been able to opt for the Anfield Abseil - the chance to climb to the top of the Main Stand’s roof before abseiling down the side of one of Europe’s largest all-seater football stands.
Behind-the-scenes tours provide a brilliant insight into both the club and the venue.
Where to eat and drink in Liverpool
Liverpool is yet to lay claim to a coveted Michelin star, but we suspect it won’t have to wait long.
Recent restaurant openings include Hawksmoor, the seriously swanky steak restaurant chain known for its 35-day dry-aged steaks.
The Liverpool restaurant opened in November 2022. It’s located in the city’s Grade II-listed India Buildings, a historic structure which covers an entire city block and which once housed the headquarters of The Blue Funnel Line shipping company.
Some of the coolest culinary hotspots can now be found in the Baltic Triangle area, an achingly hip, recently transformed neighbourhood close to the city centre.
Take the Baltic Market for example, a food hall-style venue where you’ll find everything from Middle Eastern cuisine to supersized burgers. Wash your meal down with an (alcoholic) caffeine fix from Press Bros Coffee, famous for its espresso martinis - although we recommend the Classic, made with coffee liquor, vodka, Frangelico and vanilla syrup.
For something swankier, consider the Baltic Triangle’s Manifest restaurant. It was opened by chef Paul Durand (who honed his craft at the Michelin-starred Moor Hall in Lancashire) and his partner Charlotte Jones in 2022.
Expect seasonal local ingredients and great prices (the delicious roast halibut served with locally sourced asparagus will set you back just £24/€27).
Finally, crank up the fun factor at Bold Street’s recently opened Albert’s Schloss. Here, alpine cuisine is served in a setting inspired by a mountain chalet, right in the heart of Liverpool (sounds weird, but it works).
Dishes include specialities such as spätzle and fondue, while the liquid refreshment covers everything from alpine ales to a wide range of (rather potent) schnapps.
Where to stay in Liverpool
If staying central is a priority, you can’t go wrong with Delta Hotels by Marriott Liverpool City Centre (marriott.com). It is just a few metres from the city’s Lime Street Station and a short walk from landmarks such as the Liver Building, St George's Hall and the Albert Dock.
There are several exciting new hotels on the horizon, too. These include the Municipal Hotel Liverpool MGallery, due to open inside the Grade II-listed Municipal Buildings by the end of May.
We’re also huge fans of the Radisson RED Liverpool, which opened in early 2023 next to Lime Street Station. You’ll find it inside a building which dates back to the 1800s, when railway owners built a hotel to accommodate the growing number of visitors making use of Britain’s rapidly expanding railway network.