Landmarks Tour, Liverpool (Self Guided), 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.
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Landmarks Tour, Liverpool Map

Guide Name: Landmarks Tour, Liverpool
Guide Location: England » Liverpool (See other walking tours in Liverpool)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Author: irenes
Royal Albert Dock & the Waterfront

1) Royal Albert Dock & the Waterfront (must see)

Albert Dock, a historic complex of docks and warehouses on the banks of the Mersey river, is Liverpool’s biggest tourist draw, attracting over 4 million visitors each year. It was built in the 1840s and designed by local architects Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick. The new dock was ground-breaking in two ways – one of the first dock complexes to allow direct unloading of cargo into warehouses, it was also the first UK development not to use wood in its construction. The complex was crucial to Liverpool’s rapid development as a global trade port, with ivory, sugar, silk and tobacco stored in its five vast warehouses.

The dock ceased to function for trade purposes after the outbreak of WWII, instead becoming a base for Royal Navy ships. In the post-war era, Albert Dock fell into disuse, before a redevelopment plan was drawn up in the 1980s. The dock itself was regenerated and hosted the Tall Ships Race in 1983, bringing a million tourists into the city. Gradually, the historic warehouses around the water were renovated and used for a wide range of new attractions. They now host a Maritime Museum, the world’s only dedicated Beatles museum, and Liverpool’s Tate Gallery.

Albert Dock houses the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in the UK and is the jewel of Liverpool’s historic waterfront area. Immediately west of the dock, you will find the Pier Head, a peninsula jutting into the river which houses the Three Graces – three of Liverpool’s most famous buildings, including the Royal Liver building. The ornamental birds on the Liver building have become a symbol for the city’s university, council, and eponymous football team, Liverpool FC.

Why You Should Visit:
Industrial heritage, museums (some are free entry), art galleries, countless shops, bars & restaurants – a focal point of Liverpool.
The only problem with this place is, it is too big to discover in a single day.
Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas

2) Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas

The Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas stands on the corner of New Quay and Chapel Street, in the heart of Liverpool’s historic docklands. It is the parish church for the entirety of the city’s waterfront area, and has played an important role in its history. Sailors and local traders have been coming to this spot to worship for over 750 years. The small chapel of St Mary del Key has stood here since the 13th century.

The chapel was expanded and redeveloped repeatedly throughout its history, eventually assuming its present name, and finally becoming the parish church for Liverpool’s waterfront as recently as 2006. The church has had an eventful, often troubled history, not least in 1810, when the tower collapsed, falling onto the roof of the partially rebuilt church and tragically killing many of the congregation.

The church is open from 9am to 5pm, as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. Masses are held on Sunday mornings, each weekday at 12.15pm, and on Friday at 1pm. Visitors are also welcome to tour the church’s building and extensive grounds during opening hours. The building is fully wheelchair accessible and has facilities to accommodate visitors with guide dogs.
Victoria Monument

3) Victoria Monument

The Victoria Monument stands in the centre of Derby Square, a secluded section of the docklands area, close to St. James rail station. Built in 1906 as a memorial to Queen Victoria, it contains her statue at its centre, surrounded by pillars and topped with a domed roof. Around the monument, there are four groups of statues representing areas where Liverpool and the UK as a whole have excelled – Agriculture, Commerce, Industry and Education. The four dark figures on the domed roof represent Justice, Knowledge, Medicine and Sciences. At the monument’s summit stands a cherubic statue, representing Victory, and bringing the height of this imposing creation to 18 feet in total.

The monument was designed by C.J. Allen, an artist and architect with a fondness for mystical and allegorical statues. It has stood in Derby Square for over a century, although the landscape around it has changed remarkably in that time. Much of the square and nearby Castle Street were destroyed by German bombs in World War 2, yet the monument somehow survived virtually intact. Iconic photographs show the statue of Victory atop the monument, surveying the rubble. The statue, and the monument as a whole, became a symbol for the city’s post war recovery as a result.
Nelson Monument

4) Nelson Monument

The Nelson Monument is a tribute to Lord Horatio Nelson, the renowned British Admiral who died whilst defeating the French Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It was designed by Matthew Coates Wyatt and sculpted by Sir Richard Westmacott. Unveiled in 1813, the monument was the first major public sculpture to appear in the city of Liverpool. It is situated at Exchange Flags Square, behind Liverpool’s town hall. Whilst Lord Nelson had no great association with the city, his navy’s victory was of great local significance. The war with France had greatly restricted maritime trade, and the victory at Trafalgar allowed Liverpool to build a reputation as a global shipping centre.

The Nelson Monument is circular and carved from stone, and holds a bronze statue of Nelson sitting astride a cannon. The other bronze figures surrounding the Admiral are a sailor, the goddess Britannia, a skeleton, and an angelic body representing Victory. At the base of the monument are four prisoners of war in shackles, and panels showing four of Nelson’s greatest naval victories. The inscription around the circumference of the monument reads “England expects that every man will do his duty” – words uttered by Nelson himself during the fateful battle of Trafalgar.

5) Superlambbanana

Superlambanana is one of Liverpool’s most unusual attractions. A modern sculpture by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo, it is a bright yellow, 17 feet high abstract installation, said by the artist to be a cross between a lamb and a banana. Initially sited next to the Albert Dock, it was later moved to Tithebarn Street, adjacent to Liverpool John Moores University. Chiezo designed only a miniature scale model of the sculpture – four local artists created the full size version. It was designed ahead of a 1998 exhibition celebrating modern art in Northern England.

The installation of Superlambanana formed part of Liverpool’s growing reputation as a centre for modern art. The city also hosts the Tate Liverpool, a branch of London’s famous Tate Modern gallery, and the largest collection of modern art in North West England. Liverpool was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008; to celebrate this achievement, 125 miniature versions of the giant sculpture were placed all over the city and surrounding region – one even made it to the top of a mountain in nearby North Wales. Whilst the subject matter of Superlambanana may appear random, it does have links with the city’s history. Sheep and bananas were two of the more exotic items stored in the Albert Dock warehouses during Liverpool’s maritime trade boom.
St. John's Gardens

6) St. John's Gardens

St. John’s Gardens are an area of public park land close to William Brown Street, in Liverpool’s city centre. One of two parks within Liverpool’s World Heritage Site, they are bordered to the east by St. George’s Hall, a fine Neoclassical building which houses law courts and a concert venue. The Green Flag awarded gardens house ornamental shrubs and flower beds, as well as a number of memorials to the city’s famous citizens. These include statues of Liverpool University founder William Rathbone and former British prime minister W.E. Gladstone.

The spot of land on which St. John’s Gardens now stand has had a chequered history. Once an area of heath land known as the Great Heath, the land was swallowed up by Liverpool’s rapid development in the Victorian era. Through the intervening years, it has housed the city’s first hospital, a naval infirmary, an asylum and a range of industries – including potteries, windmills and a marble yard. The site also housed a church (St. John the Baptist) and a cemetery until the church was demolished in 1898. Six years later, the cemetery was relocated, and the land was redeveloped into ornamental gardens by Thomas Shelmerdine, who also designed the nearby Hornby Library.
Steble Fountain

7) Steble Fountain

The Steble Fountain is located on William Brown Street, immediately to the west of another famous Liverpool monument, Wellington’s Column. The fountain is named after Lieutenant Colonel Richard Fell Steble, a local army officer and former Mayor of Liverpool, who paid for the construction of a fountain on the site. Designed by Paul Lienard, it was unveiled in 1879, though low water pressure meant the opening ceremony was something of an anti-climax.

The Steble Fountain is formed from cast iron, and comprises a 30 foot circular basin, with a tower rising from its centre. At the top of the tower are statues of four marine gods – Neptune, Amphitrite, Acis and Galatea. As well as a natural accompaniment to the elaborate water feature below, this is a nod to the city’s rich maritime history and location, close to the Irish Sea. The fountain is 23 feet high, and is a Grade II* listed monument.

The water which flows through Steble Fountain is driven by an electric pump housed in the basement of nearby St. George’s Hall. The original steam pump was replaced when the noise began to disrupt sessions in the hall’s court rooms. The fountain was restored in 1992 as part of the city’s preparations for its hosting of the Tall Ships Race.
Wellington's Column

8) Wellington's Column (must see)

Wellington’s Column is a towering memorial to the Duke of Wellington, located on William Brown Street in the historic heart of Liverpool city centre. Commissioned after the Duke’s death in 1852, it is the work of two Scottish siblings – Andrew Lawson, who designed the Greek style column, and his brother George, who created the statue of Wellington. It was one of the last column monuments to be erected in the UK, largely because of lengthy delays in its construction. Wellington’s Column was eventually completed in 1865.

Built from stone sourced at local quarries in Runcorn and Darley Dale, the column is 81 feet high. The statue of Wellington, said to be cast in bronze taken from the cannons used at the Battle of Waterloo, is facing to the southeast, towards the Belgian fields where Wellington claimed his most famous victory. Brass plaques at the base of the monument list the Duke’s many military victories, as well as a relief of the final charge at Waterloo.

The style and scale of the monument draw obvious comparisons with one of the UK’s most famous landmarks, Nelson’s Column. Wellington’s Monument measures 132 feet in total, just 30 feet shorter than its London counterpart. Full details of the measurements of this impressive feat of engineering can be found around the base of the column.

Why You Should Visit:
Unfortunately, visitors can’t climb to the top of the column, but an impressive part of Liverpool’s museum quarter, nevertheless.
Empire Theater

9) Empire Theater

The Empire Theatre is situated on the corner of Lime Street and London Road, a two minute walk from the city’s main railway station, Liverpool Lime Street. The theatre is the second to be built at this location, and was opened in 1925. Throughout its 85 year history the Empire Theatre has hosted variety shows, musicals, pop concerts and even opera. Its two tier auditorium is the largest of its kind in the country, with a capacity of 2.350 people. A sell out crowd have witnessed two Royal Command Performances, a Royal Variety Performance in 2007, and even a performance from the city’s most famous musical sons, The Beatles.

The first theatre to stand on this spot opened in 1866, before being replaced by the current building sixty years later. A Neoclassical building typical of this area of the city, the second Empire Theatre was designed by W. and T.R. Milburn. The theatre is known for its ornate interior, designed in the Louis XVI style and featuring several unusual engravings. A Grade II listed building, the Empire theatre has been renovated and extended several times, and has become one of the region’s most successful venues. The theatre still hosts regular plays and touring musical productions.
Prince Albert's Statue

10) Prince Albert's Statue

Prince Albert’s Statue can be found outside St. George’s Hall in the William Brown Conservation Area, a historic region of the city centre. The statue depicts the popular Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria, riding his horse. Victoria herself is depicted in a similar pose in a statue nearby. Both statues were designed by Thomas Thornycroft, a Cheshire-born architect, known for his equestrian sculptures. His most famous work, a depiction of Bodecia, stands on Westminster Bridge in London. His statues of Victoria and Albert, completed in 1866, made his name as a sculptor – though the rarely amused queen was said to be unhappy with the likeness to her late husband, and declined to attend the unveiling.

Prince Albert lends his name to countless monuments, streets and buildings in the UK, not least Albert Dock, the most popular tourist attraction in Liverpool. The prince was especially popular in Liverpool as his visit to open the aforementioned dock was the first royal appearance in the city – an important step in Liverpool’s emergence in the Victorian era. The statue, which shows Prince Albert in a relaxed, philosophical stance in comparison to Thornycroft’s other statues of the prince, is formed from bronze, and stands on a granite pedestal.
Chinese Arch

11) Chinese Arch (must see)

Like many major cities around the world, Liverpool has its own Chinatown, located at the southern edge of the city centre. Liverpool has had a large Chinese community since the first ships from the Orient began docking in the 1830s, trading silk and wool. Almost 2% of the city’s population are of full Chinese descent, whilst high estimates suggest that Liverpool is home to around thirty thousand Chinese people. Initially established in the docklands area, Chinatown was relocated after World War II and continued to expand. In 1992, a regeneration scheme commissioned a ceremonial arch to stand on Nelson Street, marking the entrance to the Chinatown area.

The arch was constructed by workers from Liverpool’s twin city of Shanghai. Designed with the guidance of the local community, the Chinese Arch was completed in 2000 and opened at the advent of Chinese New Year. Standing 44 feet high, the arch is the tallest in Europe and the second tallest in any Chinatown outside mainland China. The arch boasts 200 hand carved dragons of which 188 are ordinary and 12 are pregnant, the meaning of which is to symbolise good fortune between Liverpool and Shanghai. In 2010 multicoloured, low energy illuminating lights were added to the arch as a way to highlight one of Liverpool's significant structures.

For those who are peckish, this is where you'll find Chinese food until the early morning hours on weekends.
Make sure to also check out 'Bon Bon Bakery' on Berry Street for delicious sweets and cakes.

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.
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
Historic Sites Self-Guided Tour, Liverpool

Historic Sites Self-Guided Tour, Liverpool

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:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

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Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool

Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Museums and Galleries Walk I

Museums and Galleries Walk I

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: 3.4 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

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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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...