Before WTM London last year I decided it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of those extra holidays I had left, and take an extended weekend trip to Liverpool on a really really tight budget.
I never plan for holidays in the UK as I like to explore and get lost in a city to get the most out of it. And there really isn’t any danger in the UK in not planning besides maybe someone finding out you’re a Man United fan. Let’s see why nothing turns out as you would expect and how you should prepare for a weekend in Liverpool.
Friday –Asda’s bathroom and Traverse Mingle
So the idea was to go on Friday night for the #traversemingle party in London, stay at a friend, then Saturday morning go to Liverpool to see Cirque du Soleil and spend a weekend at a friend’s house. Then hop back on a train to London for WTM.
Got to London quite late on the Friday and was meant to stay at a friend but she cancelled at the last minute. So got my phone out and started calling everybody I know till the one person that lives Far East London said she is more than happy to help but she is busy till 7pm. Traverse started at 7, so couldn’t have that.
I really didn’t want to miss one moment of Traverse Mingle so found myself a big old ASDA and used their bathroom as changing rooms. Never got so many stares in my life. In the end, my sense of direction failed me once again. Got lost on Oxford Road because I got off at the wrong tube stop and I am probably the only person incapable of handling Google Maps. Weeheeyy!
PS: Tip on how to solve the mystery of the underground at the end.
Traverse was brilliant though, and just coming back from Traverse14 in Newcastle, I can honestly say those guys know what they’re doing. Was so happy to see my friends again as well (Val which afterwards came for a Mancunian weekend madness, Ed, Helen, Peter, Kash. Plus I got to finally talk to Becki and Brenna and met my travel twin Theresa from Independent Travel Help).
Scouse weekend – The one with the ‘smokers’ house
Back up North I was supposed, again, to stay with a friend but she had to ditch me due to pregnancy symptoms. I don’t really know that many peeps up there so had to call in a favour from a friend of a friend that has a friend who knows someone in Smithdown in Liverpool. Which isn’t the city centre but it’s easy to get there with the bus (£1.20) And fair enough, it was a roof over my head and with such short notice couldn’t really complain about it.
When I got there it hit me: the smell (well, when you admit you’ve been smoking for the past four days cause it’s your birthday the week after, there’s really not much to be said there), then the ‘cleanliness’, and then I froze to death cause it was probably -10 degrees inside the house. It was November after all.
There is no reason I should dwell more on the housing situation: I slept on the floor in a room where the windows didn’t close on the only night there was hale in Liverpool, with a sleeping bag which I couldn’t zip and one tiny blanket. It was something like this:
I manned up and went to meet Eliza to see Cirque du Soleil. Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it makes you want to cry of joy?
That’s how I felt while watching Alegria. Gorgeous show and if there is one thing to take away from this post is go to Cirque du Soleil when you have a chance. Yes, tickets were £65, but you can’t put a price on it.
Scouse Sunday and the Beatles
Despite the hale and the storm I thought it can’t be worse than it is inside the house so went and walked around Liverpool. I loved it! I honestly believe it’s the only town I can’t get lost in. So organised and easy to find your way to everything it puts to shame a lot of bigger cities.
From the Liverpool Waterfront to the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool Cathedral and simply walking through the city centre, the city is a must if you’re in England. Oh, don’t forget the Beatles Story Museum and the Elvis and Us expo.
For some reason I thought I could do both in two hours and I couldn’t, so you might want to book a day just for this. It’s a good experience and quite cheap: it was £22 for both (£16 just for the Beatles Story). If you want to read more about the Beatles attractions in Liverpool, Brendan (The Travel Pop) wrote an entire post about it here.
My weekend in Liverpool was truly great besides a few glitches here and there but if you want a great trip here are a few pointers:
– Think in advance where you want to go and for how long as train tickets can get quite expensive. For those just travelling through the UK, short notice train tickets from Manchester to London can get up to £150. And London – Liverpool up to £80 one way. It varies a lot depending on the time of the day but expect high prices. If you are not a huge fan of plans, coaches are a waaaaaay cheaper alternative with about £50 return. Bargain!
– The London underground is a maze but there are apps that can be of massive help. I now use Tube Map London Underground. I downloaded it after this trip and now I feel like the wiz kid of the underground. And it’s free. Get it while you have WIFI and select your route, then just leave the app open on your phone. Even without WI-FI you will still be able to see the route .
– Remember the tube stops at midnight and starts again at 5 am and taxis are more expensive than I would even like to mention. So after a night out, if you are alone take the bus (or crash at friends)
– To avoid the whole ‘smoker’ house situation just book a hostel. I was broke but there are literally very cheap and amazing hostels out there. HostelBookers have offers on all the time for every taste: budget, luxury or party hostels. Read reviews: TripAdvisor for the Budget ones and Budget Traveller for the luxury hostels. I am not a fan of CouchSurfing due to my Berlin travel experience but feel free to try that too.
Ever been to Liverpool? Let me know in the comments if you have additional travel tips to the Scouse capital.