After we made it to Manchester via our Singapore Airlines business class flight, two quick train rides had us to our starting destination of the trip: Liverpool, England.
Now, if you’re like most people we told about our trip, your first question is probably…um…Liverpool? Why? But there’s a few things you need to know about Mrs. Millennial:
- I grew up in a family obsessed with the Beatles.
- I took a Beatles class at University, and aced it.
- I walked down the aisle at my wedding to a Beatles guitar medley of Blackbird, Here Comes the Sun, and In My Life.
So, yeah, if I was flying to the West of England anyways, I was definitely going to be making a stop in Liverpool to soak up all the Beatles culture I possibly could. The fact that it was also the same time as the 50th anniversary of the Sgt. Pepper release was just gravy.
The first step was to book a hotel, and that was easily accomplished with a stockpile of Starwood points I had leftover thanks to the Starwood American Express card. We booked two nights at the Aloft Liverpool for just 7,000 points total. Given that an average night at that property runs for about £65 a night (currently about $84 USD), that means we not only saved more than $160 by booking our stay on points, but we also got a redemption value of about 2.4 cents per point! That’s a very healthy redemption rate for Starwood points.
And the Aloft Liverpool was absolutely fantastic. The building itself was central and close to everything we wanted to see, and the staff exemplified the excellent Starwood service. Our room itself was a generous size for a European room, and was surprisingly quiet, given how close we were to the raucous Cavern district.
Once we were checked in, we took a quick jetlag-recovery nap before heading to our first attraction: The Beatles Story. A museum (of sorts) located on the tourist-friendly Albert Docks, the Story takes you through Beatles history mainly using re-creations of albums & places featured along the way. You’ll move through a life-size model of the Sgt. Peppers album cover, for example, as well as John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s “white room”.
The museum provides a nice introduction for a casual Beatles fan, but if you’re more of a die-hard, this isn’t the tour for you. We were happy we scheduled this as our first activity, and had already planned for a much deeper-dive into Beatles culture for the following day.
After checking out the museum, we headed to another important Beatles landmark nearby: The Jacaranda Bar. Here the Beatles played some of their first gigs, found their first manager, and (allegedly) first called themselves the Beatles. Today, it’s just a regular-old pub that still offers live music nightly on their famous — and tiny — basement stage. We enjoyed our first pints of the trip here, before heading towards dinner.
Ready for some dinner, we had chosen the East Avenue Bakeshop as our first meal of the trip. And it was a fantastic choice. Not only was the food fresh, hearty, and delicious — but it was also served with a smile in a cute, quaint venue.
By this time, we’d had just a few hours of sleep over the past 48 hours or so. We headed back to the hotel for a much-needed 12 hours of sleep before waking up the next day to a surprise: the Liverpool Marathon!
While it was very cool to see the marathon in progress, the street closures did block us off from our intended breakfast destination. Not to worry, though, because we stumbled into a great little find at HUS, a combination coffee shop/bar/restaurant/gathering place with a distinctly Swedish feel.
Here, I enjoyed a delicious latte and the “scandi” breakfast, consisting of a thick hashbrown, beautifully poached eggs, smoked salmon, and celeriac slaw. This was a fantastic way to start off the day.
Up next we walked around St. George’s Place, a lovely public park, before heading off for our main attraction of the day: The Fab Four Taxi Tour.
There are plenty of tours in Liverpool (walking tours, bus tours, etc.) that cater to Beatles fans. But if you want to get up-close-and-personal to the sites…to be able to take a photo with each attraction along the way…then you need a personal tour.
And luckily, the Fab Four tours don’t break the bank: the “Original” 3-hour tour that takes you past the birthplace and childhood homes of each of the Beatles, Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, the original clubs where the group met and played is just £60 and can accommodate up to five people.
Finally, with my Beatles obsession mollified, we were able to go check out some other Liverpool highlighs. We wandered over to the warehouse district where we found Ghetto Golf: a miniature golf park + bar + street art “sanctuary” that was—as our waitress put it—the “coolest thing Liverpool’s ever had.” (I’m guessing she’s *not* a Beatles fan…)
But, in fairness, it was pretty cool. We enjoyed tiki cocktails and played about 12 of the 18 holes on offer in the old brewery building, while enjoying 80s and early 90s hip-hop before heading out for our dinner reservation.
For our final meal in Liverpool, we decided to stop by Salt House Tapas, which turned out to be a fantastic reservation.
After dinner, we headed down to a local pub for what was supposed to be a “quick pint.” Instead, we were “adopted” by some native Liverpudlians who were visiting home for the bank holiday weekend, and decided to show the Americans a “proper good time.”
To be honest, it gets a bit blurry from there on 🙂 But we know that we had a great time, made it home to the Aloft Liverpool that night, and somehow still managed to make our ferry the next morning.
Stay tuned for the next installment, detailing our train and ferry trip to Dublin!