Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Liverpool, Britain

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - In modern times, Liverpool is often thought of as the home of The Beatles, the influential 1960s rock band that got its start in the city on the Mersey River estuary.

But, as a port town, Liverpool played an important role in the economic development of the British Empire, which by the early part of the 20th century encompassed a quarter of the Earth’s land surface and population.

Liverpool grew from a small fishing village into a financial center that helped power the empire in part because of its crucial role in the transatlantic slave trade -- the so-called trade triangle -- comprised of Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Between 1700 and 1807, about 1.5 million Africans were transported into slavery on ships that sailed from Liverpool, Britain’s main slaving port, to the Americas.

Liverpool was also a major conduit for emigration from Ireland, Britain and northern Europe. More than 9 million people sailed from Liverpool to settle as immigrants in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand between 1830 and 1930.

Here is a selection of things to do while visiting:


5:45 p.m. - Visit the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King to hear the choir during the evening service. The round cathedral, designed by Frederick Gibberd and completed in 1967, has a unique spire resembling a crown.

7 p.m. - Stroll down Bold Street for an evening meal. Find a restaurant serving Scouse, a traditional Liverpudlian meat stew with vegetables.


10 a.m. - Take a pre-booked National Trust tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Choose the shuttle bus tour that departs and returns to the Jurys Inn at Keel Wharf.

2 p.m. - Visit the International Slavery Museum on the historic Albert Dock to learn about the part Liverpool played in the slave trade and its legacy. Tour the Merseyside Maritime Museum for insights into the history of the port.

4 p.m. - Tour Tate Liverpool, also on the Albert Dock, to see contemporary and modern art.

6 p.m. - Walk to nearby Canada Boulevard and view the early 20th century Three Graces: the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building. The historic structures comprise part of the Liverpool World Heritage site, which recognizes the contribution Liverpool made to the creation of the British Empire and maritime mercantile culture.


9 a.m. - Eat breakfast at Puccinos on Mathew Street, and then wander along the street to view the site of the Cavern Club where The Beatles got their start.

11 p.m. - Set out for the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, a modern Gothic structure designed by notable British architect Giles Gilbert Scott. It is billed as the largest cathedral with the largest organ in Britain.

2 p.m. Visit the Walker Art Gallery to see the full-length portrait of Henry VIII attributed to the school of Holbein and the 19th century history painting “Death of Nelson” by American-born artist Benjamin West.

Editing by Paul Casciato