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The Empire’s Second City: Liverpool

Liverpool is one of those great cities in England that is largely forgotten by travelers. I never really understood why until I realized that “second-tier” cities can easily be missed, even though they can be some of the best places to visit in the world. Now I’m not using second tire to be derogatory, but it’s just not on the level of a London, New York, or Paris. Despite its world standing, Liverpool should be on everyone’s list of destinations for numerous reasons, particularly those related to history and culture.

Anyone with an inkling of passion for music should absolutely visit Liverpool, as it should be the Mecca of Modern Music. It’s the hometown of possibly the best musicians in modern history—The Beatles. Many of the most iconic Beatles songs have references to the city such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.

The city is full of people and companies that are willing to take anyone on a tour of the all The Beatles related landmarks. But in the age of the mobile technology, it is much cheaper to pull up Google Maps and check out the closest or most interesting places.

Liverpool is also a great location for fans of sports, as it is the home of two of the most historic venues, Anfield and Aintree Racecourse.

Anfield has been the home of Liverpool F.C. since 1892, and it was the home of the rival Everton F.C. from 1884-1891. Its age alone makes it a venue worth seeing, but the history of the Liverpool club makes it a must. Liverpool F.C. is one of the most prosperous clubs in all of soccer/football. The club has captured 18 League Titles, 11 European Trophies, and 15 other Cup Trophies.

Catching a match would be the best way to experience Anfield hands down, because there’s nothing that compares to its atmosphere. It may be a bit pricey because of the team’s extreme popularity, but it’s definitely worth the extra expense. If you can’t make it to a match however, the stadium also offers tours of the grounds.

The Aintree Racecourse is the home of one of the largest horse racing spectacles in the world, the Grand National. It’s hard to explain the Grand National, as it is more than just a race—it’s a whole affair. Men and women both dress up for the event and there’s even a Best Dressed Competition on Ladies’ Day. The women wear expensive dresses and heels, but the most unique addition to their attire is their hats. The hats can be small and elegant, but most of them are large and over-the-top. Some of best (and some of the worst) outfits are available for viewing on Pintrest.

The race itself is truly fantastic and very different than the horse races here in the States, as the Grand National features the horses jumping over obstacles. In fact, it’s very common for horses to fall during the race, which makes it more common for upsets. Right now, sports news/betting site Betfair predicts this year’s race to be a tight one. Current standings show SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR as the favorite, but it’s anybody’s race once the gates open!

When visiting Liverpool, Albert Dock is another must-visit. The dock is almost 170 years old and is considered to be the first structure to be built of stone and cast iron in Britain. Albert Dock has been renovated and turned into a wonderful bustling hub of activity. It is the home to 16 restaurants, including the great Docklands Fish and Chips. On top of the food, the site hosts two museums, three hotels, and 11 shops.

I think it’s important to be mindful of the lesser known and visited cities, and quite frankly I find them more fun. The people seem to be friendlier, or at least less desensitized to foreign travelers. This goes for almost any country or state. I would personally rather visit Liverpool than London, but Liverpool can make a nice addition to (or replacement for!) a London-based trip.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. The Empires second city: Glasgow.
    You need to do better research.

    • Hi Timmy, there are actually several contenders for the “second city in the UK” title – Liverpool and Glasgow have typically fought over the title as they often went back and forth in terms of population growth exceeding each other. Some people consider the second city to be Birmingham, some say Manchester, and then some claim that it should be Edinburgh, not on population, but because it’s the capital of Scotland. If you’re doing it on population, right now it would actually be Birmingham. Calcutta (India) and Dublin have also tried to take the title over time.

      So yes, we’ve done our research, and from our research we decided to settle on Liverpool being a major industrial center, and one of the original claims to the title.

      You may have to fight off Manchester and Birmingham as well if you want to claim it for Glasgow ;)

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