After my morning in the Georgian Quarter, I moseyed on further west and spent the second half of my day in Liverpool back at the waterfront. One of the things I loved the most about this charming English city was its walkability. I’d say I easily logged six to eight miles a day on foot. And every road, it seems, leads to (or through) Albert Dock in Liverpool.
I’d already seen most of the waterfront area, dubbed Albert Dock, when I walked around before my Dazzle Ferry ride the previous day. It’s chock full of museums and shops, restaurants and other attractions that cater to visitors. If you’re the museum-fanatic type (hi, Mom!), you could easily kill the entire afternoon here.
And ice cream: Who knew Liverpudlians—sidebar: funnest word ever or funnest word ever?—loved their ice cream so? I counted no fewer than half a dozen ice cream trucks down by the waterfront alone!
About Albert Dock in Liverpool
Admittedly, Beatles heritage aside, I didn’t know much about Liverpool before I arrived, but talking to taxi drivers proved invaluable to the learning process, particularly when it came to this booming little pocket. The construction of Albert Dock began in 1841, but like much of the city, it fell into a state of disrepair. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that its revitalization was given the attention it deserved; in 1988, HRH Prince Charles reopened the dock.
Liverpool as a whole was in a poor state after the last world war; more than 3,500 buildings were destroyed, and there are still scars all around (the taxi driver pointed out more than a few on our 15-minute drive to the center). But at the turn of the millennium, massive amounts of money—to the tune of billions of pounds—began to be poured into the city’s future, most noticeably around the now attractive waterfront. As a result, Liverpool’s population is booming, now numbering more than 400,000 residents.
And while, today, Albert Dock is indeed swimming with tourists—I wondered briefly if it was like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco or even Times Square in New York where an actual local would never dare venture—I talked to many Liverpool dwellers who were quick to brag about “the Dock” and say what a great thing it has been for their city, putting it back on the global map.
The Art in the Dock
On a Sunday, it was brimming and I first detoured to the Tate Liverpool to see the Jackson Pollock exhibit, Blind Spots, which ran through the end of last week. Though special exhibits as this one require an entry fee, the first few floors of the Tate are free, like many other attractions around the city.
From what little I saw, this was indeed a positive change for the city.
Biking around downtown Liverpool
Since I’d already strolled up and down the length of Albert Dock the previous day, I had a new plan for day two following my quick stop at the Tate. After seeing the neon green City Bike stands all over the city, I just had to hop on one and take it for a spin.
Not only were they easy, but they’re also cheap. At one pound an hour—or 10 pounds for an entire day—renting a City Bike is far more affordable than taking taxis to get around; plus, I didn’t manage to hit the gym once while in New York or the UK, so it was nice to get a little exercise beyond walking.
Staying at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool
At this point, I’d logged plenty of miles on foot in 24 hours, not to mention biked a few more, so nothing felt better than returning to my digs, the Titanic Hotel Liverpool, for a hot stone massage. Speaking of waterfront renaissance, this former rum warehouse is one of the first parts of Stanley Dock to get renovated with eventual plans for the entire area between there and Albert Dock to get a similar treatment.
If the massive 153 rooms and well thought-out common spaces at the Titanic are any indicator of what’s to come, Liverpool’s waterfront is about to take off!
The hotel itself is a stunner in all its glory, and the Spa at the Titanic was no different. Located on the basement level, I felt like I was retreating into a secret grotto on a private island in Mediterranean Italy.
My massage therapist, Lisa, was one of the best I’ve ever had, and the whole treatment was the perfect cure to any lingering jet lag. Afterward, I had the heated pool area to myself as I unwound and re-hydrated.
Yes, my time in the United Kingdom was off to a good start indeed.
Looking for more travel tips for England? Start here:
- Food, Spirits & Sculptures: The Many Faces of Art in Liverpool
- It Turns Out Hogwarts Does Exist — at John Rylands Library
- Up in the Clouds: The View from Manchester’s Sky Bar
- Wit & Whimsy: Art in Manchester, England’s Cultural Hub
- Welcome to Gotham, the Sexiest Hotel in England
- Art & Design in the Vibrant Northern Quarter of Manchester