Liverpool is one of the most famous destinations in England for its rich history, cultural significance, and variety of attractions, but the United Kingdom, however, isn’t exactly the cheapest country you could visit. Fret not, Liverpool has plenty of activities and attractions to offer which can be enjoyed absolutely free of charge! These aren’t second-rate either, but some of the best that Liverpool has to offer. Here’s our list of the top 8 free things to do and places to visit in Liverpool.
1. Formby Beach
A stunning stretch of clean, glistening coast, easily accessible from Liverpool via Merseyrail, Formby Beach is a prime destination for tourists and locals alike. It’s a great place to stretch out those weary legs and spend a few blissfully relaxing hours in the sun and sand. The beach’s high sand dunes offer visitors breath-taking views of the Irish Sea, and there are picnic areas should you like to have a quick meal. Do note that the beach has no lifeguard support, so exercise caution and keep an eye out for beach safety flags or signage.
2. Crosby Coastal Park
If you’d rather not venture so far out of town for a trip to the beach, Crosby Beach would make for a great substitute. It’s a non-bathing beach, however, and you’d still have to travel a little, though not as far north as Formby. It can also be very conveniently accessed via Merseyrail. Crosby Beach is certainly clean, and the view indeed marvellous, but its primary attraction is “Another Place,” a sculpture installation by Antony Gormley, consisting of 100 cast-iron, life-sized human figures spread out along three kilometres of coast, spanning one kilometre out to sea. Needless to say, visitors should never attempt to walk out to the farthest figures. Weighing 650 kilograms each, they make great props for photoshoots. The coastal park also features water sports and visitor centres, as well as a children’s play area for the kids.
3. Liverpool Cathedral
A truly majestic sight to behold, Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral and religious building in all of Britain. Constructed between 1904 and 1978 based on a design by Giles Gilbert Scott, you’ll find few better examples of Gothic revival architecture anywhere around the globe. Admission is free, as you’ve probably guessed from its place on this list, and there are daily services should you like to attend one. If you’re willing to shell out a little, £5.50 can get you to access to the Liverpool Cathedral Tower and the glorious panoramic views of Liverpool from its peak. The Tower Experience also includes the chance to see the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells, and a visit to the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery—which houses exquisite specimens of Victorian and Edwardian ecclesiastical embroidery and provides visitors with excellent views of the Liverpool Cathedral’s interior from 16m above the cathedral floor level.
If you’d like to commemorate your unforgettable trip to the cathedral with a souvenir to take home, you may purchase one at the cathedral’s gift shop. Pick from their wide array of trinkets, books, cards, and even religious resources. Looking for a place to have a quick bite before or after your tour of the cathedral? The cathedral is home to two restaurants—the Welsford and the Mezzanine Café Bar—conveniently located to cater to hungry tourists and churchgoers alike.
4. Tate Liverpool
You’ve likely heard of the Tate. It’s the institution that houses, across its four museums, the national collection of British art. Tate Liverpool is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason. Not only is admission free of charge, but the repurposed former dock warehouse now exhibits a world-class collection of both British and international modern and contemporary art. Time your visit well and you might just catch one of the numerous free events that Tate Liverpool hosts, such as a talk, workshop, or exhibition, though some of these must be paid for as well. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the art on display here!
5. Royal Albert Dock
Tate Liverpool is located on the Royal Albert Dock, which is by itself very much worth a visit. The dock may at first glance look like no more than an assortment of red-brick warehouses, but the former dock buildings have now been renovated, and the Royal Albert Dock today houses a varied assortment of restaurants, museums, bars, and shops. You won’t run out of things to do here! There’s the Merseyside Maritime Museum, containing all kinds of exhibits on Liverpool’s shipbuilding industry, such as ship models, maritime paintings, and posters from ages past. It also houses the International Slavery Museum, which is dedicated to the transatlantic slave trade and the impact of slavery throughout history as a whole. If the museums are beginning to bore you, simply take a relaxing stroll along the Royal Albert Dock Promenade, with the sea breeze in your face, and delight in the cool Liverpool air.
6. Liverpool Waterfront
The Royal Albert Dock is but a small part of the iconic Liverpool Waterfront, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s nothing quite like it—there are few other places in the world that offer its combination of culture, history, art, and wine & dine, all in one magnificent setting by the River Mersey. Besides the Royal Albert Dock, the Liverpool Waterfront has a number of other attractions you should visit, including the Open Eye Gallery and the fairly-recently-opened (in 2011) Museum of Liverpool, both of which may be entered for free. The latter is the place to be if you’d like to delve deeper into Liverpool’s vast history and rich culture, the former an independent, non-profit gallery dedicated to the art of photography. Like a bite to eat? The Liverpool Waterfront certainly isn’t short of options, with numerous conveniently-located restaurants, cafés, and bars open for business.
7. World Museum
Just can’t get enough of museums? The World Museum of Liverpool features a spectacular and varied assortment of exhibits. Learn all about exotic foreign cultures from the World Cultures Gallery’s immense collection of over 1600 exhibits, be transported 5000 years into Egypt’s past through the Ancient Egypt Gallery, take a closer look at the insects that live among us than you’ve ever dared to before in the Bug House, or dive right into the deep, deep underwater world of the Aquarium—here at the World Museum you’re bound to find something for everyone among the aforementioned exhibits and others. Admission is, of course, free, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to go on this learning adventure of a lifetime, whether it’s for a day of family fun or a quick trip to satiate your inner nerd.
8. Central Library
Bookworms rejoice, Liverpool is home to one of the most impressive libraries in the world. Established in 1860 in a classical style to resemble the buildings that surround it, the Central Library is the largest of its kind in Liverpool. Featuring an atrium staircase, rooftop terrace, and a humongous collection of books, the library also frequently plays host to various talks and workshops. For a first-hand, in-depth look into the history of Liverpool, the Central Library’s archive of well-preserved old books and original documents could shed some light on the past. The library also features a massive collection of 15000 rare books in the Hornby Library, Oak Room, and Picton Reading Room—from engraved prints to medieval manuscripts to early prints—though the primary attraction is, of course, John James Audobon’s gargantuan The Birds of America, widely considered the greatest natural history book ever produced and one of the rarest books in history.
So there you have it, eight of the very best absolutely free attractions to visit in Liverpool. The key to not breaking the bank on vacation, however, is finding accommodation that’s both affordable and comfortable. Tune Hotel Liverpool ticks both those boxes and is conveniently located within the Liverpool city centre as well, just a 10-minute walk away from the Liverpool Waterfront. You really can’t go wrong with a stay here! Book your vacation in Liverpool at Tune Hotel Liverpool today!