I was born in Liverpool. I bet you never knew that. But my Liverpool was in New South Wales, Australia… not the United Kingdom. Still, how could we be this close on our Wales road trip without visiting the city my birth city was named after? Oh yeah, and that little rock band consisting of 4 young men with ugly haircuts also came from here. You probably haven’t heard of them
Anyway, with only 2 nights up our sleeves, we decided to stay at the Hotel Ibis Liverpool Centre - situated in a very central location on Albert Dock. We simply left our rental car in the free parking lot in front of the hotel and could easily walk into town, which was a great bonus.
Liverpool Central Library
The Liverpool Central Library was quite possibly our favourite part about Liverpool and we spent a long, winter afternoon in there.
It is the largest of the 22 libraries in Liverpool and is located in the centre of the city next to St George’s Hall and St John’s Gardens. Inside you can find Wi-Fi, 150 computers, amazing views of the city and a new space for children.
The children’s area is appropriately labelled “Discover”, and filled with hundreds of books, freely available computers and comfy places to sit down and read. What could be more perfect on a blistery winter day? In fact, our kids didn’t want to leave!
In the centre of the city is Liverpool ONE. Opened in May 2008, the completion of Liverpool ONE lifted Liverpool into the top five most popular retail destinations in the United Kingdom and significantly boosted the local economy. Liverpool ONE is the largest open-air shopping centre in the United Kingdom, and was the largest city centre development in Europe since the post-war reconstruction period.
And winter was no hindrance for this shopping and leisure complex. In fact it became even more amazing. On the highest floor they created a Winter Wonderland known as the Ice Festival.
Entrance was free, but each individual activity was charged. There was a Santa’s Workshop and Grotto for the kids, which we never reached because we spotted Santa was wondering around. So the kids received a high five on the street.
We also let the kids choose one activity each.
Mia and I chose ice-skating on the undercover ice rink in Chavasse Park, set within 5 acres of landscaped gardens. Compared to other rinks, this one wasn’t in great shape with deep gouges and ample rough patches, which meant free-flowing smooth skating was ruled out, but that didn’t stop Mia. She adored it.
Josh and Caius decided to have a thrilling ride on the ice slide. And judging from the giggles, that was a win.
We followed this fun with a leisurely stroll around the street Christmas markets, soaking up the delicious aromas and admiring locally made handcrafts. We tried what claimed to be “the world’s best macaroons”. And when our tummies grumbled there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. We grabbed a bite to eat at Red Hot World Buffet and rolled out happy.
After the previous few weeks spent in rural Wales, it was refreshing to be in the “big smoke” again, even for a short while – I use that phrase very loosely since we found Liverpool to be very clean, and surprisingly easy to get around. But the open road was calling our name and more adventure was in store just around the corner.
There was still so much we wanted to do in Liverpool, but that will have to wait for next time.