12 Famous Buildings To See In Liverpool
Once one of the busiest and most integral ports for the world’s trade, Liverpool is a city brimming with buildings steeped in cultural significance and a legacy that reaches far beyond the UK shores.
Now a hugely attractive tourist destination, the city welcomes over 54 million tourists and 4.8 million overnight guests annually*, with more galleries and museums than any other city in the UK, excluding London. In addition to this (and despite the best efforts of the council over the years…), Liverpool is also the city registered as having more Grade 2 listed buildings than anywhere else in the UK outside of London.
Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of 12 of the most interesting & famous buildings for you to get your mince pies on when visiting;
1. Liverpool Cathedral: Also known as the Cathedral Church of Christ & is one of the largest Anglican cathedrals in the world. Boasting stunning ‘Gothic Revival’ architecture. Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1978 (74 years in the making, for those of you not so hot on maths…). The cathedrals’ organ holds the record of being the biggest organ in the UK, and one of the largest in the world, made up of 10,267 pipes.
2. St. George’s Hall: Completed in 1854, this neoclassical building is an iconic symbol of Liverpool. Get a train into Liverpool Lime Street, walk down the front steps and offset just to your right, you’ll see the stunning St George’s Hall, with its 16 huge Corinthian dominating pillars & several statues populating the front. It is equally as impressive on the inside, housing concert halls, an old law court, marriage registration offices and various exhibition spaces.
3. Royal Liver Building: One of Liverpool’s most recognisable landmarks, the Royal Liver Building was completed in 1911 and is notable for its distinctive Liver Birds, Bella and Bertie, atop the towers. At the time it was built, it was considered one of the world’s first skyscrapers, as the tallest building in Europe until 1931 & holding the record for being the tallest building in the UK until 1961! The clock faces are larger than those of the Westminster clock in London (‘Big Ben’).
4. Albert Dock: This historic complex of dock buildings and warehouses was constructed between 1841 and 1846. Considered as quite the architectural feat at the time, the dock played a significant role in Liverpool’s maritime history. After falling into decline throughout the decades leading up to the 90s, it has been transformed again and is now a massive tourist attraction in and of itself with over 4 million visitors per year, home to various museums and galleries (including the Tate), along with an array of bars and restaurants.
5. Port of Liverpool Building: Located at Pier Head, this building is another part of Liverpool’s iconic waterfront. It was constructed between 1904 and 1907 and is notable for its grand architecture and ornate interiors, having been used for filming several films and TV series. It is now utilised as mostly office space.
6. Cunard Building: Situated in-between the Port of Liverpool Building and the Royal Liver Building as one of the city’s 3 graces, the Cunard Building was built in 1916 and served as the headquarters for the Cunard Line shipping company. As with its neighbours, it features beautiful and intricate architectural details both inside and out.
7. Bluecoat Chambers: Built in 1717, it is the oldest surviving building in Liverpool city centre. Originally a charity school for orphans, this historic building is now a hub for contemporary art exhibitions & social outreach with a café and outdoor space. You can learn more here.
8. The Philharmonic Hall: The original hall opened in 1849, built as a purpose built concert hall. Situated on Hope St, it was renowned and noted for its exceptional acoustics at the time. The current building, constructed in the Edwardian style, dates back to 1939 after the original hall was destroyed by fire in 1933. The hall is frequently in use for events ranging from classical music to comedy.
9. Sefton Park Palm House: The only one on the list that isn’t in the city centre, the Palm House is located in Sefton Park towards the south end of the city. This Victorian glasshouse was completed in 1896 and features an array of exotic plants (as was its intended purpose). It also serves as a venue for concerts and events.
10. The Bombed Out Church: St. Luke’s Church, to give it its official name, is located in the city centre on the corner of Berry St and Leece St. Built between 1811 – 1832, it was bombed during the May of 1941 in World War II (clue is in the name…) and has since been left as a ruin. As well as a central point of reference and meeting point, it is now often used as an open-air venue for events.
11. The Adelphi Hotel: situated on the end of Renshaw St in the city centre (next to the famous Vines pub, known locally as “The Big House”), the hotel looks down over the top of Ranelagh St. The grand building we now know is actually the 3rd incarnation of the (in)famous hotel. The original being built in 1826. The hotel has an interesting tapestry of historical significance, ranging from hosting Charles Dickens to serving Turtle soup (although I am unable to substantiate if the two happened at once…), to having a docu-soap made about it in the 90’s. You can read more about the hotels’ history here.
12. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral: Affectionately known locally as “Paddy’s Wigwam” owing to its somewhat unique design, the Roman Catholic cathedral was opened to the public in 1967. Sitting across from the Anglican Cathedral, with the appropriately named Hope St adjoining the two, its looks are in stark contrast to its gothic counterpart. Interestingly, upon opening, the Catholic church sued the architect Sir Frederick Gibberd, for £1.4 million pounds after it became apparent the structure was riddled with flaws.
What have I missed?….I could have compiled a list of 100s if interesting and historic buildings around Liverpool (something I might revisit down the line…). Please let me know if you feel like I’ve missed something!
If you are looking to book accommodation in Liverpool or arrange a trip…just get in touch!