Historic Sites Self-Guided Tour, Liverpool, Liverpool (Self Guided)

Three of the most remarkable buildings of Liverpool-- Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool-- are all situated in the Pier Head. They are called the Three Graces of Liverpool. This walking tour will help you discover some excellent examples of medieval architecture as well as buildings from other eras. Be sure to visit some of the attractions included here:
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Historic Sites Self-Guided Tour, Liverpool Map

Guide Name: Historic Sites Self-Guided Tour, Liverpool
Guide Location: England » Liverpool (See other walking tours in Liverpool)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
Author: irenes
Albion House

1) Albion House

Albion House is situated in Liverpool’s historic docklands, on the corner of the Strand and James Street. Located next to the Pier Head and ferry terminals, Albion House was built in 1898 to house the headquarters of the city’s famous White Star Line shipping company. After relocating to the new building, White Star Line grew to become one of the world’s most famous shipping companies. It is however best remembered for the sinking of its ship, The Titanic, in 1912. Following the disaster, crowds gathered at Albion House as employees read the names of casualties from the balcony, too afraid to face the angry mob gathering below.

Albion House was designed by architects Richard Norman Shaw and J. Francis Doyle and closely resembles their first project, the Scotland Yard building in London. A grade II listed building, Albion House has a distinctive red and white striped façade, comprised of Portland stone and red brick – earning it the local nickname of the ‘streaky bacon’ building. The entrance hall features a mosaic of South America, a continent regularly visited by White Star Line ships. The shipping company merged with rivals Cunard Line in 1927 and relocated – Albion House is now a private office building.
Town Hall

2) Town Hall

Liverpool Town Hall was built between 1749 and 1754 according to a design by John Wood the Elder. An extension to the north, designed by James Wyatt, was added in 1785. The town hall is built of stone with a slate roof and a lead dome. The building has two storeys and a basement; the stonework of the basement and lower storey is rusticated. The south face has nine bays. Its central three bays are occupied by the portico. This has three rounded arches on the ground floor, and four pairs of Corinthian columns surrounding a balcony. Above the upper storey windows on all faces are panels containing carvings. The dome stands on a high drum supported on columns. Around the base of the dome are four clock faces, each of which is supported by a lion and unicorn. On the summit of the dome is a statue, representing Minerva. It is a Grade I listed building, described in Images of England as "one of the finest surviving 18th-century town halls".
Sight description based on wikipedia
Oriel Chambers

3) Oriel Chambers

Oriel Chambers is the world's first metal framed glass curtain walled building. Designed by architect Peter Ellis and built in 1864, it comprises 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) set over five floors. A Grade 1 Listed Building, it is located near to the town hall. Oriel Chambers, and the architect's only other known building at 16 Cook Street, are amongst the city's precursors of modernist architecture. However, its simplified forms and large windows meant that the building initially courted controversy, being described as "an agglomeration of great glass bubbles" and even "a great abortion" which led to the disheartened Ellis abandoning architecture. Today it looks a little different, combining its period architecture with a 1950s extension, which was added to the building after it was bombed during World War II. The building's primary tenant is a set of barristers' chambers, which have been in occupation in various parts since 1965.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hargreaves Building

4) Hargreaves Building

The Hargreaves Building, located in Chapel Street, close to Liverpool’s docklands, was built in 1859 as a head office for Brown Shipley Bank. The bank was founded by local finance magnate and philanthropist Sir William Brown. Designed by architect and renowned local figure Sir James Picton, the building was a collaboration between two of the city’s most famous sons. Designed in the Venetian style with rounded window frames, Hargreaves Building also bears symbols of the city’s rich maritime heritage. Images relating to history’s great explorers – Columbus, Vespucci and Pizarro, amongst others – are engraved above the windows. The building is actually four stories in total, as it has a large basement level below ground.

When the Brown Shipley Bank moved to London in 1888, the building was converted to house offices. It was then taken over by the city’s Racquet Club, who turned it into a brand new premises, comprising squash courts, a swimming pool and a billiard room. This followed a grim chapter in Liverpudlian history, when the club’s previous building was destroyed during the Toxteth Riots of 1981. The Hargreaves Building is now a hotel and restaurant, still bearing the Racquet Club name. The building was awarded Grade II listed status by English Heritage in 1966.
Tower Building

5) Tower Building

Tower Buildings stand close to the waterfront in Liverpool city centre, directly opposite the ‘Three Graces’ – three grand old buildings which face out across the River Mersey from the waterfront. Tower Buildings has a rich history of its own, with the current structure bearing hallmarks of the first to stand here – a sandstone mansion, built in 1256. This was replaced by the Tower of Liverpool, a fortified house built in 1406. Throughout the 18th century, the building was used as a civic hall and even a prison. Liverpool Corporation bought the site in 1774, but it wasn’t until 1846 that a new structure, the first to be known as Tower Buildings, was built by Sir James Picton.

The current building was completed in 1910, and designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, a local architect who also created the Royal Liver Building. True to its roots, the building maintained a sandstone effect frontage, and is heavily fortified – it was one of the first buildings in England to be constructed around a steel frame. An office building for much of the 20th century, Tower Buildings were renovated in 2006, and are now a mixture of retail units and private residential accommodation. The original structure, composed of granite laid over its steel frame, with white terracotta tiling, is Grade II listed.
Royal Liver Building

6) Royal Liver Building (must see)

The Royal Liver Building is located at the Pier Head and along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, is one of Liverpool's Three Graces, which line the city's famous and iconic waterfront. A Grade I listed building, it is also part of Liverpool's UNESCO-designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.

One of the first buildings in the world to be built using reinforced concrete, the Royal Liver Building stands at 98.2 m (322 ft) tall to the top of the spires, and 50.9 m (167 ft) to the main roof. Opened in 1911 (three years before World War I), it was the largest building in Europe up until the mid-thirties. It is now, however, only the joint-fourth tallest structure in the City of Liverpool, having been overtaken in height by West Tower, Radio City Tower and Liverpool Cathedral.

The Royal Liver Building remains one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of Liverpool and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that were these two birds to fly away, then the city would cease to exist.

Over the UK Heritage Open Days, you are allowed access to all areas inside and outside of this stunning building – from the marble lobby to the roof and a climb up the "chicken stairway" under the Liver Bird cupola. Yes, you can climb to as high as it gets and it is a quite incredible, unique experience, but in order to get tickets, you need to book well in advance. Make sure you are sitting at your computer at the time bookings open.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cunard Building

7) Cunard Building (must see)

The Cunard Building is located at the Pier Head and along with the neighbouring Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building is one of Liverpool's Three Graces, which line the city's waterfront. It is also part of Liverpool's UNESCO designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.

It was designed by William Edward Willink and Philip Coldwell Thicknesse and was constructed between 1914 and 1917. The building's style is a mix of Italian Renaissance and Greek Revival, and its development has been particularly influenced by Italian palace design. The building is noted for the ornate sculptures that adorn its sides.

The building was, from its construction until the 1960s, the headquarters of the Cunard Line, and still retains the name of its original tenants. It was also home to Cunard's passenger facilities for trans-Atlantic journeys that departed from Liverpool. Today, the building is owned by Liverpool City Council and is home to numerous public and private sector organisations including The British Music Experience.

Why You Should Visit:
While there is no general public access to the building, it can be fully appreciated from all sides via the surrounding public thoroughfares.​

Consider taking an extra layer of clothing when visiting this attraction as Liverpool's waterfront can be chilly on the sunniest days.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Port of Liverpool Building

8) Port of Liverpool Building (must see)

Like its neighbour, the Liver Building, the historic building of the Port of Liverpool is opposite the mouth of the Mersey River in the historic district of the city docks of Liverpool. It forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which commemorates the historical importance of the city to the Merchant Navy. This building was designed in the early 20th century in Edwardian Baroque style, emphasizing the importance of Liverpool to the British Empire.

Throughout the building, there are numerous references to the sea and the maritime operations of both Liverpool and the British Empire. The main entrance gates are decorated with a globe supported by dolphins, while the cast iron gates and gate piers are decorated with mermaids, shells and anchors, and have shields with the initials "M.D. & H.B.". The outside light fittings are designed such that the lights themselves appear to be held in the hands of the Roman God Neptune. Similarly, the lifts are also decorated with maritime references, in the form of gilded emblems representing the globe, seahorses and anchors. In the central hall, the frieze between the ground and first floor is adorned with the words of Psalm 107: "They that go down to the sea in ships that do business in great waters these see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. Anno Domini MCMVII".

You can step inside the lobby, but that's about it. Otherwise, take some photos.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Liverpool, England

Create Your Own Walk in Liverpool

Create Your Own Walk in Liverpool

Creating your own self-guided walk in Liverpool is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museums and Galleries Walk II

Museums and Galleries Walk II

A wonderful mix of classic and contemporary art styles can be enjoyed at some of the best artistic venues in Liverpool. The city's numerous galleries invite you in. Liverpool is home to numerous extraordinary museums, as well. As the European Capital of Culture in 2008, the city is ready to show you diverse aspects of its historical and maritime past and present. Take the following...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Acclaimed Places of Worship Walking Tour, Liverpool

Acclaimed Places of Worship Walking Tour, Liverpool

The architecture of religious buildings is especially impressive in the United Kingdom. A mix of styles such as Gothic, Victorian, and Scandinavian makes Liverpool's landscape unforgettable. You will find some of the most popular religious attractions on this tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

The Beatles capital Liverpool is more than just Beatles. Other than the places associated with the Great Four, the city is noted for its historic landmarks, world-class sport arenas and shopping/entertainment. The abundance of museums and galleries will delight culture lovers and history buffs. All of this makes Liverpool a highly attractive tourist destination. This orientation walk will guide...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
The Beatles Trail Tour in Liverpool, Part II

The Beatles Trail Tour in Liverpool, Part II

Here in Liverpool, the Beatles seem to be everywhere! There are so many places associated with them in the city: childhood homes, schools, and bars. This tour takes you to some of the more popular stops for Beatles fans:

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.4 km
Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool

Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool

Rich in religious roots, Liverpool has many noteworthy places of worship for visitors to experience. A number of churches are located in the town and nearby outside of it, such as the two famous cathedrals, the antique Saint Luke's Church and the Swedish Seamen's Church. Take the following self-guided tour to discover the most interesting religious buildings of Liverpool.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Landmarks Tour, Liverpool

Landmarks Tour, Liverpool

Liverpool is an old city with many notable historical sites. Some of the landmarks you will discover during this tour are the Wellington Column, the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, and the famous St John's Gardens. Take this tour to learn more about Liverpool's history through its landmarks.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Top 18 Pubs in Liverpool England

Top 18 Pubs in Liverpool England

In this fantastic city is a great selection of bars and pubs to have a drink or two. This directory can help you decide on where to go. Choose which part of the city you would like a drink then take it from...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Liverpool for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Liverpool has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Liverpool, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.