When Is A Walk Not A Walk?

Exploring England #17

With the forecasters predicting sushine and record breaking warm temperatures, the day seemed ideal for a trip to Liverpool. Rather than braving the traffic and trying to find a car park, we decided to travel by train and spend the day on a self guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed city centre and docklands. That was the plan…

It was overcast when we arrived – not the sunshine we were expecting, but perfect for walking. Lunch was our first priority and the menu at the busy Pump House restaurant was enticing. A local lady dining at the next table gave us some friendly advice. “Have the fish and chips,” she said. “They’re the best in town.” We did, and she was right.

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We weren’t so sure about her next statement. “It’s going to rain this afternoon,” she said. “It’s going to pour at 2 o’clock.” That’s not what the weather forecast said, we were thinking, although we were too polite to say so.

Fortified by our delicious lunch, we set off to explore Albert Dock. Opened in 1846, Albert Dock was once the centre of a bustling port for sailing ships from around the world. As these ships were replaced by modern vessels, the docks and warehouses became redundant and they finally closed in 1972. After a restoration project lasting six years, Albert Dock reopened in 1988 with cafΓ©s and restaurants, galleries, shops and museums bringing people back to the old warehouses along the River Mersey.

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This part of the river is more than a kilometre wide and the buildings on the opposite bank looked like doll houses. Undeterred by the heavy, grey clouds gathering low in the sky, we wandered along Kings Parade where hundreds of engraved love locks decorate the path by the river.

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Even on this dull day, tiny ferries were busy on the river and we thought a cruise would be a pleasant way to see the city. But just as we turned towards the ferry terminal, it began to rain. Our lunch time companion’s prediction was correct. It wasn’t just a light shower – it was pouring!

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Even with our raincoats walking was no longer enjoyable, so we decided to see Liverpool from a different perspective and boarded a CityExplorer bus. We sat downstairs, where the view wasn’t as good but the seats were dry. The driver’s live commentary was as entertaining as it was educational and for the next hour we listened to his stories of Liverpool and her beautiful buildings.

Eventually the rain eased enough for us to start walking again. We left the bus on Victoria Street and went around the corner to Mathew Street, home of the Cavern Club, where the Beatles performed nearly 300 times in the early 1960s. One benefit of the rain was the lack of people and we walked straight in…or down, as the steps went below street level to the basement. It was warm and dry and a great band was playing Beatles music – it was fun to stop for a while and enjoyΒ  the vibrant atmosphere.

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After browsing in one of several Beatles shops, we headed once more towards the River Mersey.

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The city’s maritime history is commemorated at Liverpool Parish Church where a weather vane in the form of a golden sailing ship sits on top of the tower. In the Church gardens, the Liverpool Blitz Memorial depicts a young mother taking her children to shelter during a bombing raid. On the roof of the Royal Liver Building, once the tallest building in Europe, sit two mythical Liver birds, medieval symbols of the city.

Our last stop was St John’s Garden, a terraced sculpture garden featuring statues of well-known Liverpudlians including Prime Minister William Gladstone and a memorial to the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

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We arrived back at the train station just as the leaden skies opened again. We’d had enough of walking in the rain and, as the Beatles would say, we had tickets to ride!

 

Go for more Monday Walks with Restless Jo.

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51 thoughts on “When Is A Walk Not A Walk?

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed that, Carol, rain or no rain! When you have a limited amount of time there’s no option but to find an alternative and I appreciated being taken to The Cavern. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ That area of river is vast, isn’t it? We’ve flown over it a time or two, and will again next Monday, when we head for Florence. I’ve always meant to add some time on to see the city before or after a flight because it’s years since I was there, and then only briefly. Perhaps a day trip is warranted later in the year. Many thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  2. Well that was enjoyable. Liverpool is one city I have never been to and keep saying we should, but you have shown me around perfectly adequately. What do you think of the accent then? Liverpudlian has never been a favourite of mine, but it is certainly distinctive!

    • There was no time to waste and we didn’t want to wait for the rain to stop. Funny thing though, everywhere else in England they did have record breaking high summer temperatures that day and we missed it! There were some huge electrical storms that night, including one in Manchester. It was raging when we arrived back in Manchester on the train and, after our big day, it then took us more than two hours to get back to our Airbnb home on the local bus. The trip was normally about half an hour but some train stations flooded and the roads were chaotic.

      • Quite the adventure. Never having been to England (other than various stops at Heathrow), I pictured England as cool and rainy. So happy you have shown that I was wrong. The rain here, just shows that England is like everywhere. Some rain and some sunshine. Thanks for showing true England.

    • Thank you CC. We weren’t going to let a bit of rain stop us, although I was disappointed that we didn’t go on the river and I didn’t mention it took half an hour for that bus to come. Mr ET was getting a little cross by the time it arrived. πŸ™‚ Next time we want to stay for a week. There is so much history here.

  3. What a fun outing, despite the rain, Carol. It gave you a great excuse to ride the city bus and hear some great commentary and listen to vibrant music. And it looks like it cleared up enough so you could enjoy the gardens.

  4. What a fun walk! I loved visiting Liverpool, but most of my memories involved diversions into the pubs, so Thanks for helping me remember that there were other things to see aside from the bottom of my pint πŸ˜‰

  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Spring at Crook Hall, Durham | restlessjo

  6. What a shame about the weather, but at least it didn’t stop you from exploring. I’ve been to Liverpool once, many years ago now, and really just on a shopping trip with a friend who lived not too far away, but I only remember Albert Docks and looking at the outside of the Cavern Club, so it’s good to look at your pictures and see what I missed!

  7. Great photos, Carol. I’ve never been to Liverpool even though I have quite a few relatives living in that neighbourhood. The Cavern Club would be a must to visit, as I’m still an avid Beatles fan, πŸ™‚

  8. Very cool, indeed. I have never been to Liverpool. It is on my list of places. And I want to cross that river. Who was it that sang that song about crossing the Mersey? Not the Beatles, eh? Love the piece with the spiral staircase!

  9. Love the title! You walked, so it still counts as a walk! I love that fish n chips was your fortification for the day. It’s a great lunch for fueling walks of all types!

  10. Cute, you had tickets to ride. Perfect! and now we’ve seen the River Mersey. I always loved that song. Are you planning your next trip back to London yet? It’s never too soon to plan!

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