Liverpool is one of the largest metropolitan boroughs in the United Kingdom, and a popular travel destination. There are many things that Liverpool is famous for which makes it a culturally and historically rich city to visit.
What is Liverpool Famous For?
Liverpool is famous for being the home of the Beatles, Anfield Stadium, the Albert Docks, and its vibrant citizens – Scousers. From its beginnings as the heart of the Industrial Revolution to a contemporary city with World Heritage status, Liverpool continues to grow in prominence for visitors and the global economy. The city also has a large number of interesting museums, art galleries, and colleges.
Here are 20 fascinating things that Liverpool is known for that you should know before visiting.
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Famous Liverpool People
The most famous Liverpool people are The Beatles – known as the most influential band ever. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison formed the rock band in Liverpool in 1960 and are considered pioneers of the modern music industry.
They famously began playing at The Cavern Club in Liverpool city center before Beatlemania launched them to international success. The Fab four became the best-selling band ever and sold over 600 million records.
The Cavern Club is still open as a music venue and worth a visit, as is The Beatles Story museum – the largest permanent exhibition on the Beatles.
In addition, Liverpool also has another Beatles Museum situated in the iconic Mathew Street. It is right next to the Cavern Club in the heart of the Cavern Quarters. This is a great spot to continue your trip down memory lane with the Beatles.
William Ewart Gladstone was a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He served for 12 years, with 4 non-consecutive terms between 1868 and 1894. He was born in 1809 in what is now known as the Georgian Quarter. His father was John Gladstone, a rich slave owner.
Despite starting his career campaigning for the High Tory party, his politics later took a more liberal turn and he campaigned for equality of opportunity, making him popular with the working classes.
Cultural Things Liverpool Is Known For
Cultural Diversity and Friendly People
Due to its history with the international slave trade and its proximity to the Irish sea, Liverpool is now home to people of numerous nationalities and cultures. The city has the oldest Black community in the United Kingdom and Europe’s oldest Chinese community.
When you visit the city center, you’ll find an abundance of restaurants serving every cuisine you could imagine. There’s also a full calendar of events celebrating different religions and cultures throughout the year.
Liverpool is known for being one of the friendliest cities and whoever you are, you’ll be welcomed into the community by the lovely locals.
European Capital of Culture
Liverpool was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2008. The award is designated by the European Union, which then arranges activities throughout the following year to celebrate culture in the city.
The award brought significant economic investment and regeneration to Liverpool and its citizens. Following the scheme’s success, the UK government established the UK City of Culture program.
Liverpool was also granted World Heritage City status in 2004, recognizing the historical importance of its docks. However, UNESCO stripped Liverpool of its title in 2021, blaming the vast amount of property development along the docks for devaluing the waterfront area. It is only the third ever UNESCO world heritage site to be revoked.
That said, the Mersey River cruise is still an extremely popular and relaxing activity for sightseeing. You can see the city from another angle which can give you a perspective of how the city’s waterfront has developed over the years.
The Bluecoat is a hub of contemporary creative activity and culture. This beautiful Grade II listed building is the oldest in Liverpool city center. It was built in the early 1700s as a charity school for deprived children.
The venue has since exhibited world-famous artists, including Van Gogh and Picasso. The Bluecoat now hosts incredible music and dance performances, literature events, guest speakers, and art workshops. They also run important community projects.
When you visit, you must stroll around its magnificent gardens, shop at its independent retailers, and grab a bite to eat in the café.
The Cultural Quarter
There’s so much interesting culture in Liverpool that an area of the city was named after it – the Cultural Quarter! The area around William Brown Street is known as the Cultural Quarter because of its high concentration of listed public buildings, libraries, galleries, and museums.
It’s home to the World Museum, St. George’s Hall, the Walker Art Gallery, Lime Street train station, and the Central Library, to name a few.
Some of its grand, stone structures are hundreds of years old, making a lovely spot to take a stroll and enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
Traditions and History Liverpool Is Famous For
The First Inter-City Passenger Railway
In 1836, the world’s first purpose-built public railway between two cities was built in Liverpool by George Stephenson. This is one of the many proud and fun facts about Liverpool.
The 51.5-kilometer line carried steam trains from Liverpool to Manchester and is still used by modern trains today.
Stephenson’s creation boosted the Industrial Revolution by transporting goods and helped to develop the modern railway system.
World War II
Liverpool was the most heavily bombed city during the Second World War. An estimated 10,000 homes were destroyed, 4,000 civilians lost their lives, and thousands more injured.
The first major air raid hit in November 1940 then in May 1941, there were eight consecutive nights of bombing. Many more attacks followed over the war years, ravaging the city’s architecture.
The docks were targeted multiple times and the nearby houses where dock workers and their families lived were destroyed. St Luke’s Church endured catastrophic destruction – only the external masonry was left intact.
The remains were preserved and became the Bombed-Out Church – a venue holding events from outdoor theatre to weddings. Some other heavily damaged buildings include the World Museum, The Bluecoat, and Albion House.
If you are interested in Liverpool’s role in World War II, be sure to visit the secret bunker under the streets of Liverpool.
The Liver Bird
Liverpool’s mascot is the liver bird, a mythical creature originating from a misinterpretation of another bird in the 13th Century. The liver bird has been adopted by Liverpudlians as a symbol of the community and is part of the city council’s official coat of arms.
Two 5.5-meter-tall copper liver bird statues sit atop the Royal Liver Building. One faces the sea to watch over ships and ensure sailors arrive safely at the docks. The other faces the city center to protect the people of Liverpool from harm.
Leeds and Liverpool Canal
The canal connecting Liverpool to Leeds is 127 miles long and has 91 locks. It was completed in 1816 to transport textiles and coal to and from the port during the Industrial Revolution.
It’s the longest single waterway built by one company in England, crossing the Pennines in East Lancashire. The journey from Leeds to Liverpool took 56 hours by boat so as the road and rail networks improved, it became an inefficient way to deliver goods.
When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city center, the canal is the perfect place to take a long stroll and relax. Bingley Five Rise Locks is one of the most structurally impressive sections to visit – the steepest staircase of locks in the country.
Landmarks And Architecture Liverpool Is Known For
When it comes to Landmarks, what is Liverpool known for? The city is home to a plethora of interesting buildings and historic architecture.
One of the most notable is Liverpool Cathedral, the biggest cathedral in the United Kingdom and the world’s longest. It’s a Grade 1 listed building. Despite its grand, traditional appearance, it was only built in the 1900s which is very modern in Cathedral terms!
Anfield Stadium is the home of Liverpool Football Club and is the 7th biggest stadium in England. The name Anfield is derived from the old English for “a field on a slope”. The stadium opened in 1884 and has been extended several times to increase capacity, which is set to be 61,000 by 2024.
A stadium tour makes a great cultural experience and is worth adding to your city break itinerary. It’s extremely popular, so book in advance. Learn more about famous players and go backstage in the dressing room, players’ tunnel, and manager’s dugout.
There’s also a fascinating museum displaying the club’s many trophies, and a chance to buy merchandise at the Anfield Superstore gift shop.
Royal Liver Building
The Royal Liver Building is one of the most iconic buildings in Liverpool. It’s a Grade 1 listed building and has been a major landmark since it was completed in 1911.
Along with the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool building, it is one of the Three Graces on Liverpool’s waterfront. The building is also home to the famous Liver Birds that Liverpool is known for.
As mentioned, the two copper liver birds on top of the clocktower are about 5.5 meters tall and represent Liverpudlians looking out over the city – one bird faces the sea to watch over the ships while the other looks inland to protect the people of Liverpool.
You can admire its grandeur from the outside, or a more popular activity is to head up to the towers for a stunning city and waterfront view.
The Philharmonic Hall
Another listed building that Liverpool is famous for is the Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street, where the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society is based.
The current building was built in 1939 after the original concert hall was destroyed in a fire. The three-story structure has an interesting castle-like design, with two turrets positioned at the front. It’s mainly home to classical music performances but also hosts shows by major international pop artists.
County Sessions House
This former courthouse is one of the most striking buildings in Liverpool. The Neoclassical-style building was constructed in 1882. It’s notable for its distinct eight stone columns and five arched windows.
The interior is also beautiful, with an Italian Renaissance staircase and ornate decorative tiling covering the floor and ceiling. It was used as a judicial facility until 1984.
After a brief stint as the Merseyside Museum of Labour History, it’s now used as office space for the nearby Walker Art Gallery.
Radio City Tower
St. John’s Beacon is one of Liverpool’s most iconic landmarks and is home to Radio City and Greatest Hits Radio. The tower was built in 1969 and is the second tallest building in Liverpool.
Climb 120 meters to the viewing gallery and you’ll enjoy panoramic views as far as Snowdonia and the Lake District.
If you don’t fancy the 558 stairs, a lift zooms to the top in 30 seconds. To clean the windows, specialist teams are employed to abseil the outside of the tower!
You can read more about the famous statues, monuments, and landmarks in Liverpool here.
Attractions Liverpool Is Known For
The International Slavery Museum
Liverpool’s 7-mile-long Albert Docks was central to the International Slave Trade in the 18th Century – due to its proximity to the Irish Sea. The city became very wealthy from the trade until slavery was abolished in England in 1807.
The International Slavery Museum opened on the docks in 2007 to educate future generations on the horrors of the past. The museum is free to visit and a fascinating place to learn about a significant time in Liverpool’s history.
Some of the most interesting exhibits include the Freedom Quilt, the Diaspora Collection, the Modern Slavery Collection, and the Racist Memorabilia display.
The World Museum
Liverpool is known for having many fascinating, free museums and one of the most extensive is the World Museum. It’s the oldest museum in Liverpool and opened in 1853 after the 13th Earl of Derby left his personal natural history collection to the city.
If you only have time to visit one historical museum during your trip to Liverpool, the World Museum is a great choice.
Its displays cover a vast range of subjects, including archaeology and science. The aquarium and planetarium are two of the most exciting sections, and the Ancient Egypt gallery is not to be missed. This museum is a great educational resource for children but there are plenty of displays to interest adults, too.
Another fantastic free museum that Liverpool is famous for is the Tate Liverpool. It opened in 1988. This impressive art gallery sits by the docks and is home to an incredible collection of British art dating back to 1500. It also displays modern art from around the world.
Some exhibitions worth visiting are the Turner Prize 2022, Liverpool Mountain, and the Liverpool Biennial. You’ll also be able to listen to captivating talks on important historical topics, which change monthly.
In addition to a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Tate holds daily art workshops and children’s activities.
Food Liverpool Is Famous For
When it comes to cuisine, what is Liverpool famous for? The colloquial name for people from Liverpool, “Scouser”, comes from a traditional local delicacy “lobscouse stew”.
The stew was typically made with leftover beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and peas served with crusty bread. It was commonly eaten by sailors at Albert Dock during industrial times.
You can still buy scouse stew in many pubs and restaurants around the city – it’s delicious and filling!
Liverpool Tart and Wet Nelly
Visit any bakery in the city and you’ll find two local delicacies, Liverpool tart and the strangely named “Wet Nelly”.
Liverpool tart has been popular since the 19th Century. It has a sweet, short-crust pastry base with filling made by blending boiled whole lemons with butter, molasses, and eggs.
Wet Nelly is a moist, spiced version of bread pudding served with custard.
Discovering More Things Liverpool Is Famous And Known For
The English city has a rich and interesting history. Liverpool is famous for its music, its football teams, its maritime heritage, and its connection to The Beatles. With its many insightful museums, inspiring architecture, and culinary delights, there’s so much to enjoy in this amazing city.
Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or staying for longer, there are plenty of things to see and do in Liverpool. These are just some of the things that Liverpool is known for, but it has many more hidden gems to discover so why not book a visit and explore the city yourself?