Travel Log: Liverpool, UK


Continuing our travel posts! I can't believe it's already been two weeks since we came back. It  was so nice not cooking or cleaning or, well just dealing with all of life for a bit ;)

I've only been to Europe once before, and that was in college for an 11-day January term trip with a class to Greece. Jordan has never been to another continent before. We liked the idea of going to England because we knew it was going to be relatively familiar to us at least as far as the language and general customs. We were definitely going to spend a few days in London during the trip, but we also wanted to travel to a couple different places around England.

Liverpool was Jordan's must-go #1 destination because he's a big fan of their football (soccer) team, and we either wanted to try to see a game or do an Anfield Stadium tour. So Liverpool was the first location we officially booked (and it was honestly what finally sold Jordan on the idea of actually doing the trip!). We were in Liverpool for 2 days and 2 nights and stayed in this Air Bnb. (If you have never used Air BnB before, you can use my referral link and get $40 off your first trip. I've now used Air BnB six separate times and had great experiences for all!)

You may have heard of Liverpool because it's the home of The Beatles. There was a carpool karaoke with Paul McCartney where they drove around Liverpool! You can watch it on YouTube, and if you skip ahead to 15:42, they go into the pub where Jordan and I ate dinner our first night (Sunday).
We flew into London (Gatwick) Sunday morning and immediately took a train from the airport to the main London Victoria station. From there we both bought an Oyster card and took the underground to another train station, which took us to Liverpool Lime Street Station (roughly a 2-hour train ride; Liverpool is to the north west of London). I ended up sitting next to a guy who was from Liverpool and worked in administration at one of the universities. He was super nice and suggested a few places to eat and things to do.

We didn't end up doing anything Beatles related, although there are a ton of different tour buses and suggestions for Beatles things in all the Liverpool guide books we read. The train that was taking us to Liverpool was delayed an hour or so, but we finally got there around 3:30 in the afternoon. After dropping our backpacks off in our Air Bnb, we headed out for dinner (to the place pictured two pictures up). Then we wandered around for a little bit, but mostly we were super tired from our travels and ended up falling asleep while watching the first Harry Potter movie around 8:30, despite our best efforts to stay awake until a reasonable hour.

Monday was a full day in Liverpool. We took a 9:00am tour bus to Anfield Stadium for a 10:00 tour. They also a Liverpool football museum inside, so we went through that after the tour. Jordan time in the gift shop, and then we stayed and ate lunch at the stadium restaurant. Our tour guide was engaging and funny, and we really enjoyed ourselves. Neither of us have ever taken a stadium tour of any kind! It was cool to see the home and away locker rooms, the press room, and actually go down onto the field (though we couldn't step on the grass!). Jordan loved it so much and couldn't stop smiling the whole time. Definitely a highlight moment.

Our bus took us back to the Albert Docks, which is a main tourist area with a huge shopping mall and a few different museums (all free except the Beatles Museum because it's privately owned). 

One thing we (or, at least I) didn't know about Liverpool is how much history is there. Of course, anywhere in Europe has a ton of history compared to the US, but Liverpool specifically has an important history because it used to be a main trade and migration port in the 18th-20th centuries. It is closely tied to both the Titanic and Lusitania ships from the White Star Line, both of which tragically sank to a large loss of life. 

The Lusitania was traveling from New York to Liverpool. The Titanic registered Liverpool as its home port. A majority of the crew of both ships were from Liverpool, and Liverpool's Maritime Museum has a large exhibit about each disaster. It was really cool to see one (of only 2) salvaged propellers of the Lusitania. The other is, interestingly enough, in Dallas! I need to go see it some time I'm down there and then I'll have seen the only two in the world. Kind of neat! (There were four, but one is down with the ship and one was melted and reused.)

One thing we found interesting about the three towns we visited in England was that everything closed really early. By 4:30 or 5:00 coffee shops and museums and stores and even restaurants were shutting down for the day. We were like, do people here not go out in the evenings? We were literally in the Liverpool Museum until the very last second, and then we had some time to kill before it was time to find somewhere to eat dinner, so we wandered around the docks and the shopping area. It was starting to get a bit chilly outside but overall beautiful weather really the entire week and a half we were there.
Eventually we started walking back in the direction of our air bnb and figured we'd find a place to eat along the way. We ended up stopping at a pub and got a pizza and some drinks. We aren't big drinkers by any means, but Jordan enjoyed trying out a local beer, and I tried out a cider. A friend who recently went to England recommend ciders in a pub if I don't like beer (which I don't). 

Eating at pubs was probably one of our favorite things about England, and we tried to do it as often as we could find somewhere to go. They serve great food that is inexpensive, and it's a pretty chill atmosphere, which we enjoyed. It's so different than a restaurant in the States. At most of them you find your own table and then go up and order food and drinks at the bar. Someone brings your food out to you, but otherwise there is no actual wait service, so you don't leave a tip. No one comes to check on you during your meal except maybe to swing by quickly and ask, "You ok?" Depending on the pub, you also pay when you order, so when you're finished you can just leave. We absolutely loved it!
The next day was Tuesday! We got all packed up and headed to the train station for our next adventure in York. We were sad to leave Liverpool and could have spent another day or two there, but we were also excited to explore somewhere else.

I combined our Liverpool and York travel videos into one and embedded it below! Hope you enjoy! It's always fun to make these. I'll be back with pictures and stories from York later. It was definitely an amazing place to visit. If you can't see the video, you can also click here.

Any questions about Liverpool or about our trip so far?
Feel free to leave them in the comments! :)

Liverpool and York from Amanda Bumgarner on Vimeo.
Maria said...

Yes! I love these posts. We almost always stay in Air BnBs and actually really dislike hotels after having experienced rooms/houses with kitchens, washer and dryers, and actual space for your luggage. In our experience, most of them have been much cleaner than hotels, too.

The Beatles carpool karaoke is gold! Like most people, I only know the city from the Beatles, but I just spent 10 minutes researching the Titanic and Liverpool. Very interesting.

Thank you for mentioning how the pubs work. I love hearing about the dining culture in other countries. I would have appreciated that ordering setup too and find most restaurants in the US to be annoying with how much they bother you. In The Netherlands, we had wait service for all meals, but they generally left you alone and never rushed you to clear the table. They encourage, and it's totally normal, to stay at your table all evening drinking tea and enjoying the company of your dining companions. It was so relaxing. Also, tips were not common at all. I find tipping confusing, so it was nice not to have to worry about it.

Audrey said...

I love this little recap. I kind of love that you watched HP while in the UK. That feels very authentic :)
What a cool city! That Air BNB is adorable!! I'd love to go to England some day! Right now touring through your posts will have to do :)

Rach said...

Aww, Jordan does look so happy at the stadium! How neat to tour it all! I had no idea how much history was in Liverpool either. So interesting about the Titanic. And I think you definitely need to see the propeller in Dallas now!

The view from your AirBnB in York was amazing! How cool! The whole video has me wanting to make our UK trip soon! That's the next place we're hoping to go. :)

Carolann Chambers said...

What an epic trip. I'm so glad that you and Jordan got to go! I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip. I'm glad you got to go to a few areas too. I liked New Zealand for a lot of the same reasons you liked England - language was easy, customs were generally the same. One thing that was kind of funny in New Zealand was that I tried to order a regular coffee and the barrista didn't understand what I was talking about. I wanted to order drip coffee but you can't there. She was like, "so you want a flat white?" I was like, um sure. Then I started ordering cappuccinos!

Jen said...

What an amazing trip! I've never been to Europe so it's definitely on my list of places I want to visit in the future.

Unknown said...

So fun to read about your trip! That's fascinating to hear about the propellers. Learning about history is so interesting! And how crazy that the other propeller would be in Dallas, which isn't too far away.

I have very mixed feelings about the "everything closes early" reality. On one hand, I love how different countries highly value family time and leisure time and don't pressure people to work ridiculous hours like in America. On the other hand, when you're visiting from America and not expecting the limited hours, it can be tricky to suddenly figure out how to fill the evenings. When my now-husband and I were studying in Austria, it was a challenge that we faced in many countries-churches, stores, and even some restaurants all closed fairly early, so the main things to do in the evenings were bar hop, but neither of us are big drinkers (I also think beer is gross) so that wasn't really appealing. It was nice to take evening walks and relax, but at some point it also would have been fun to be able to do something else in the evening hours.

Sarah @ Sweet Miles said...

So fun!! What I notice most in your video is how happy you guys look :)

Lindsay C said...

Revisiting your vacation just makes me want to go back to England so so badly. I don't think I will be getting over there again until at least end of 2019. Why does it have to be so costly to travel overseas??

Amanda said...

Right? I feel you. I already want to go back!