As I’m sure most of you know I’m from Liverpool.
I’ve lived in London for the past six or seven years now and although I head back up to the homelands regularly I don’t really get to see it anymore. My trips up are usually jam-packed with family visits, special occasions and hairdresser visits. I’ll occasionally head to the city centre to meet a friend for something to eat and a catch-up but inevitably it’ll be somewhere new that I’ve never heard of.
The landscape of the city is so very different now to the one I lived in for twenty-something years and hardly any of my old favourite haunts are still standing.
We dropped the baby and the car off at my parents’ house and jumped on the train to Liverpool just after lunchtime. We headed straight over to the Travelodge* to drop off our bag and try and decide where to start. Tom and I both used to know Liverpool well. Obviously, I’m from there and Tom went to university in the city so lived there for about four years. So, although we know our way around, in theory, we didn’t know where we really wanted to head.
We had a vague plan of a mooch around the shops and then something to eat. Ground-breaking, right? If in doubt I will always gravitate towards shops. We knew we didn’t want to head to Liverpool One or The Met Quarter as there’s nothing there that we couldn’t find in Westfield.
I wanted to try and think outside the box. But it’s an odd place to be when you know somewhere well and not at all, all at once.
If it was a city I’d never been to before I’d have done my research, asked for recommendations on Twitter and had a bit of a rough plan in mind. I didn’t think I needed to do this for Liverpool, after all, I lived there for twenty-odd years and worked and played there for enough of them. Yet I stood there at a bit of a loss for ideas of where to start.
In the end, we decided to head for Bold Street. A pretty long road that is stuffed with independent shops and eateries of all descriptions. We figured this was a good starting point and as we wandered up towards the bombed-out church we could make a decision about where to eat.
My favourite was a vintage shop by the name of Cow. It was super cute with little birdhouses hanging inside and a large array of ridiculous 80s/90s sportswear that I was really tempted by. Why do I want a lurid skiing jacket so badly?
Forbidden Planet is also on this road and one of Tom’s favourite shops ever. He could easily spend hours in there perusing comics and graphic novels. I’m more distracted by the Pops and random memorabilia. I had to talk myself out of buying two games and all the Doctor Who Mr Men books. (Have you seen them by the way? Amazing!!)
We were also pretty excited by the fact that Pop Boutique had moved. We walked past its old home and both remarked that we used to love that shop. Its new home at the top of Bold Street is bigger, nicer and has a record store underneath it! We spent a good while mooching around in there.
Which was a bit annoying because there are a couple of places I’d have liked to stop.
Leaf on Bold Street is an old favourite. It does great food and has a lovely atmosphere. In fact, Tom and I did a fair bit of our wedding planning there. They also often hold events too and I’ve been to a great vintage fair upstairs there in the past.
Bold Street Coffee is also a firm favourite. They serve excellent coffee and I’ve heard wonderful things about their breakfasts. Plus, they are currently sporting a rather lovely palm print frontage.
Another Instagram dream in Love Thy Neighbour. The dreamy pink colour scheme complete with mural declaring Avocado is bae (which it definitely is) has won a space in my heart. I never got to sample their menu but it looks incredible and they serve vegan wine!
Down The Hatch is somewhere we’ve talked about visiting amongst my friends for a little while and hopefully when we’re back over Christmas we’ll actually make it. Vegetarian junk food has never looked so good.
If you’re after something a bit spicier Mowgli offers up Indian Street Food at its finest. I have never heard a bad word said about this place and every time I look at the menu I pretty much want everything.
We ended up heading to Lucha Libre for dinner though and it was delicious. Mexican street food is one of my absolute favourites so I was a very happy girl. We couldn’t really decide what we wanted so decided to get a taco tray to share. Six different varieties of taco later and we were trying to arrange them into a hierarchy of tastiness. I think we decided from tastiest down it went: al pastor (pork belly), lucha fried chicken, pork pibil, fish, chilli cheese and halloumi. We paired this with a portion of Dirty Veggie Fries. Which is a combination of sweet potato and normal fries covered in melted cheese, jalapenos, crispy onions, chipotle mayo, salsa and sour cream. Yum.
I’m an absolute sucker for churros so, obviously, rounded the evening off with a big old portion of them. We were stuffed and had the full belly snoozes coming on fast. We had intended on making the most of a baby free night and going for a few drinks but with the pair of us fighting off the big blinks and sleepy nods (you know what I mean), we decided to turn in for the night.
We stayed at the Liverpool Central Travelodge on Old Haymarket. It was really quick and easy to get to from the train station and was just far enough away from the very epicentre of town that it was quiet. Depending on what you want from your trip to Liverpool there is a Travelodge to suit. There are four in and around Liverpool City Centre.
We did have the option to grab a breakfast box at our hotel. There was no restaurant in our one but if there was there is usually a breakfast buffet available. We didn’t take the box and decided to head out for breakfast instead. I think we both knew where we wanted to go for breakfast that morning long before we actually arrived in Liverpool.
The last time we went for breakfast at Moose Coffee on Dale Street was the morning after our wedding. This time though I was able to actually enjoy my breakfast. (The morning after our wedding I was still drunk and then the hangover hit hard just after I’d ordered!) I chose the Cortes, which was creamy scrambled eggs and chorizo and Tom went for New Brunswick eggs benedict. Which had the addition of salt beef, corned beef and potato hash. The portions are big and delicious and it’s my favourite breakfast spot in the city.
Needing to walk off our huge breakfast – we headed for the Pier Head. We only really had time for a walk around and a little reminisce about where we’d posed for wedding photos before we had to head off to Costco for some Christmas shopping with my parents and to be reunited with Cece.
If we’d had more time though there are loads of things I’d have like to have done.
Our hotel was situated close to the World Museum and Central Library which used to be one of my favourite places to spend an afternoon. I have a lot of fond memories of the museum and highly recommend it. If that doesn’t float your boat though, there are loads of museums and galleries spanning a wide array of topics for you to check out. More recently the British Music Experience has opened in Liverpool and I’d really like to go and check it out.
Speaking of music, it’s obviously a big deal in Liverpool and I would definitely advise you to see some live music at one of the many venues in and around town.
Or if you’re looking for something a little different you should check out what’s happening at FACT. Not only is it a really comfy cinema, there are usually an array of other exhibitions and activities going on there too.
Wow, I’ve rambled on about Liverpool for more than 1500 words now. Well done if you’ve made it this far. As I’m sure you can tell I’d highly recommend a weekend in Liverpool. It’s a brilliant city and I do miss it intensely sometimes. After this weekend I’m certainly going to try and be a tourist there a bit more often.
*We were invited to spend a night in Liverpool as guests of Travelodge. I wasn’t obliged to write about them but think that they are excellent value for money and super handy for a short city break on a budget. If I didn’t mean it, I wouldn’t write about it.