Around Liverpool

A loop through a great city, starting and finishing on the waterfront.




4.75 miles (7.7kms)

180ft (55m)
1hr 45min

About the walk

The most famous 'scousers' of the 1960s were undoubtedly John, Paul, George and Ringo, The Beatles, who shot to fame in 1962 with their first single Love Me Do. But they weren't the only Liverpool musicians of the era who helped ignite an explosion of British music: Billy Fury, Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Merseybeats, to name just a few, helped broadcast the 'Mersey Beat' far and wide.

Cultural life

But music had always played a big part in the city's cultural life; the Liverpool 'Phil' is the country's oldest symphony orchestra and there has long been a tradition of folk music, vitalised by maritime links across the world. Out of Mathew Street, site of the Cavern Club, came the annual Liverpool International Music Festival, one of the biggest in Europe. Liverpool's cultural heritage extends far beyond music, and countless Liverpudlians have dominated stage, screen, radio and television in both high drama and comedy. The city has several theatres, two art galleries and various top-class museums. The magnificent neoclassical St George's Hall was built as a venue for concerts and festivals and to host grand occasions, with Charles Dickens regularly giving readings. Liverpool also proudly possesses two magnificent cathedrals, both only completed in the last decades of the 20th century.

Maritime past

Liverpool's roots are in its maritime past, although until the beginning of the 18th century it remained a minor port, overshadowed by Chester on the neighbouring River Dee. But Liverpool was able to accommodate larger ships and rapidly expanded on the back of the Slave Trade, ironically perhaps, since several of the country's most vociferous abolitionists came from the city. Liverpool became a hub of international trade, its ships travelling to every major port in the world. The first wet dock opened in 1715, and a complex array of docks and basins eventually spread for several miles on either side of the estuary. Liverpool's wealth came to exceed that of London.

Grand architecture

The city's grand architectural heritage grew from this prosperity and only London and Bristol have more listed buildings. The Town Hall and Rodney Street are fine examples of Georgian architecture, while St George's Hall, the impressive buildings surrounding William Brown Street and the Albert Dock are all from the 19th century. The Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings at the Pier Head, known as the Three Graces, were built at the start of the 20th century, as was the slightly later Queensway Tunnel ventilation building, which stands in front.

Despite the devastation of the wartime blitz and the often ill-considered reconstruction that followed, together with the decline of many major industries during the 1970s, the city's spirit remains undaunted. Recent regeneration has brought new life, and its mix of cultures, humour, inventiveness and heritage makes it one of England's most exciting cities.

Walk directions

Enter the Albert Dock complex through the Britannia Pavilion by the Beatles Story and pass through to the dockside. Walk right, winding round to emerge by Albert Salthouse Bridge. Follow the service road left and then right to the main road. Cross at the traffic lights and go left. Turn right up James Street and on past the Victoria Monument down Lord Street. Later pedestrianised, it continues as Church Street. Towards the end, opposite Marks and Spencers, Church Alley on the right leads to the Bluecoat School.

Return and carry on to the end of Church Street, crossing to Bold Street, beside the Lyceum Post Office opposite. Reaching the top, turn right in front of St Luke's Church Gardens along Berry Street. After 0.25 miles (400m), at the next major junction, the ceremonial archway into Chinatown can be seen ahead to the right. The route, however, is left along Upper Duke Street, off which is the entrance to the Anglican Cathedral.

Return to Upper Duke Street and cross into Rodney Street opposite. Take the first right up Mount Street and go left at the top along Hope Street, passing the Philharmonic Hall. At the end, turn left in front of the Catholic Cathedral down Mount Pleasant.

Reaching the bottom, go left and then right in front of the Adelphi Hotel along Lime Street. On the corner by the Crown Hotel, turn up right to enter Lime Street Station. Walk forward past statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock, then swing left to leave by the front entrance. Back on Lime Street, continue right to the Empire Theatre.

Cross left at the lights and carry on past the end of St George's Hall down William Brown Street (the Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Museum is down on the right). Behind St George's Hall, swing left into St John's Gardens. Walk down right, leaving by steps at the bottom onto Victoria Street by the Hillsborough Memorial. Go left and left again up St John's Lane, then turn right just before the Marriot Hotel, passing beneath an arch into Queen Square. Leave along a canopied walkway at the far side, swinging right and descending steps into Whitechapel.

Walk left past the bus station, continuing forward as it becomes pedestrianised. Turn right into Stanley Street, then left along Mathew Street, past the Cavern Club. Emerging onto North John Street, go left to a major junction, there turning right along Lord Street back up to Victoria's statue.

Now, go right along Castle Street, swinging left in front of the Town Hall along Water Street before taking the second right into Rumford Street. Go left along Chapel Street and at the bottom by the Parish Church, cross the main dock road on the traffic lights and bear left beside the Royal Liver Building to the riverfront, crossing a tunnel that brings the Leeds and Liverpool Canal into the Albert Dock.

Go left past the Pier Head and Museum of Liverpool, crossing a lock bridge. Keep ahead past the Pier Master's House and Tate Gallery into the covered walkway overlooking the Albert Dock. At the corner swing left and then right to return to the car parks.

Additional information

Streets and pedestrianised waterfront

Great city with wide river views

Dogs may not enjoy this walk, need to be kept on lead

OS Explorer 275 Liverpool

Huge pay car park for Albert Dock complex

In Albert Dock complex (and others on route)

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About the area

Discover Merseyside

A metropolitan county on the River Mersey, with Liverpool as its administrative centre, Merseyside incorporates the towns of Bootle, Birkenhead, St Helena, Wallasey, and Southport. In the 19th century, Liverpool was England’s second greatest port, and the area has been affected by urban deprivation and unemployment. 

When the port of Chester silted up in medieval times, Liverpool took up the slack. The first dock was built in 1715 and the port came to prominence with the slave trade. Following abolition, the port grew to a seven-mile stretch of docks, busy with cargoes of cotton, tobacco and sugar and the huge wave of emigration from Europe to the New World in the 19th and 20th centuries. In its turn, immigration brought an influx of people to Merseyside to join its expanding population, including many from Ireland fleeing the potato famines. In the second half of the 20th century, accessible air travel brought an end to the era of the ocean-going liners. Meanwhile, trade with Europe was picked up by the southeastern ports. Merseyside’s population dwindled, but it remains one of Britain’s most vibrant and interesting areas.

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