Starting at the quayside itself, we come immediately to the so-called Three Graces adorning Liverpool’s historic waterfront: The Royal Liver Building, 1911, that would not look out of place in Manhattan, the Italian palatial style Cunard Building, 1917, and the neo-baroque Port of Liverpool Building, 1917, form a formidable waterfront trio, recalling an age of pre-first world war confidence and optimism. On the Liver Building, look out for the twin Liver Birds – the city’s guardian angels. Ornate sculptures adorn the Cunard, and the Port Building’s sheer opulence is a sight to behold.
Moving south along the waterfront, the daring lines and curves of the Museum of Liverpool remind us that we live in very different times today.
Behind the Museum of Liverpool, the bold but elegant steel and glass of Mann Island’s Longitude and Latitude buildings complete the contrast with a century earlier.
In its heyday, Albert Dock’s innovation was to enable ships to berth right alongside warehouses. Built in 1846, its pioneering iron, brick and stone construction involved no wooden framework. Later, a cargo store, today comprehensively renovated, it boasts an excellent selection of hotels, bars, and restaurants.
Heading up into the city, we pass by the Beaux Arts style Queen Victoria Monument at Derby Square, built on the former site of Liverpool Castle. From here, it is on to Matthew Street and the world-famous Cavern Club, one time haunt of house band, The Beatles.
The city center contains many buildings of architectural note, reflecting different stages in Liverpool’s trading history. Amongst these, we will pass by the former Adelphi Bank building, 1892, with its stripes of red and grey sandstone, onion domes, and bronze doors; the imposing Town Hall, 1754; Oriel Chambers, 1864, with its ground-breaking metal framed glass curtain wall; the Unity Liverpool office block at 20 Chapel Street, 2006.
Before returning to the ship, the 19th century Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, damaged in and renovated after the Second World War, serves as a poignant reminder of Liverpool’s past.
This tour is not suitable for those with walking difficulties or those with young children as walking is continuous.