Now that I’ve moved back to my hometown of Liverpool, I see it through different eyes. I see a city I took for granted; a city I’d probably still take for granted had I never left to live elsewhere.
But the beauty of moving away is that over the years I’ve seen my city evolve in a way I probably never would have noticed otherwise.
So when Travelodge asked me to spend a day out in Liverpool to celebrate it as an evolving city, I jumped at the chance. Here was an opportunity to take the time to really get under the skin of my city, and to show more of it both to you, and to my Scottish Mr Holiday Addict. Let’s face it, he’s been on my case like forever to see more of Liverpool, but our trips to town since we moved have been mostly focused on shopping (new house and all that).
As a music lover and avid Beatles fan, I knew the Fab 4 Taxi Tour would be brilliant for Mr Holiday Addict, but when I saw that they now do a history tour, I got all excited. Obviously there was some Beatles stuff in there, but this was so much more – perfect from the point of view of really getting to know the story of the evolution of this world famous city.
Our driver and guide, Phil, collected us from Lime St station and off we went for a history packed three hours. The tour took us all around the city centre, giving us the opportunity to stop and appreciate Liverpool’s architecture – among countless other things!
We visited John Lennon’s birthplace (the maternity hospital is now student accommodation) while Phil told us all about the legendary Beatle’s somewhat troubled early life. And we went right back to Liverpool’s origins with stories of its long gone castle and the birth of its success as a port city.
Phil talked us through Liverpool’s highs and lows from the perspective of its waterfront; how the ships brought wealth with them into the docks, but how they also dealt in misery through the part they played in the slave trade. Indeed, the International Slavery Museum is an important and moving place for everyone in the city to spend time in, whether visitor or local.
We also learned how the wonderfully popular tourist hotspot that is the Albert Dock, lay derelict for many years following the demise of the city’s docking heyday. Phil showed us old photos from his collection as he sat with us in the back of the cab, and it was the way he did this, several times through the tour, that made me feel like I was experiencing something special. I love how he’s curated his own journey through Liverpool’s history, a real labour of love. As a local girl, I felt genuinely privileged to take this trip.
I now know that Lewis’s department store was once home to a zoo (in a shop!), that Charles Dickens liked to eat turtle soup in the Adelphi Hotel’s once super-posh restaurant and that the link between mosquitoes and malaria was discovered here in the world’s first school of tropical medicine. Oh and there was something about four local lads changing the world with their music, of course!
Although the sights we saw were plentiful, the highlight for many on this trip would no doubt be the half hour long guided tour inside the magnificent Anglican Cathedral. And it was truly awe-inspiring. But for me, the best moment was the final one.
“The people in who live in this street tell me I’m the only tour guide who comes here,” Phil said.
And when I saw why he’d brought us here, I all but welled up. Tucked away on an inner city residential street was the Holy Cross Pieta, a beautiful statue of Mary cradling her dead son, Jesus. Encased in glass and located within a lovely memorial garden, the Pieta serves as a tribute to the now demolished local church, and to its parishioners who fell during wartime. It’s a symbol of community, of remembrance and of how in Liverpool, we look to the future but we never forget the importance of bringing the past with us. It was a fitting finalé.
We ended our tour by asking Phil to drop us off at the Baltic Fleet, Liverpool’s only brew pub. It seemed appropriate to drink some local ale and to eat a bowl of local Scouse after everything we’d learned. But as we ate the food we needed to fill our rumbling bellies, it was the food for thought that really had an impact, and we talked non stop about the secret sights we’d seen and the stories we’d heard.
Fast forward to later that week, and Mr Holiday Addict called me when he came home from work. He’d driven by Strawberry Fields that day, spotting happy tourists snapping photos at the famous gates. There was a Fab 4 Taxi parked nearby.
“It was Phil!” he exclaimed happily, in the way one does when referring to a friend. “I wanted to wave!”
I smiled. If there’s one thing you’re bound to leave with after a day out in Liverpool, it’s the feeling that you’ve been among friends.
Our Fab 4 Taxi Liverpool History Tour cost £60 and lasted approx 3 hours. This also includes a guided tour of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.
The original Beatles tours are also available, and you can choose a tour in the flavour of your favourite Beatle! These cost £50 – £110 depending on your choice.
My day out in Liverpool was sponsored by Travelodge, but my opinions remain completely my own (well, I’m biased about Liverpool as it’s my hometown, but the scouser in me can’t help but tell it like it is either way!).