In celebration of my daddy's 60 years on this planet we took a trip to Liverpool, trusting an iPad and a Mini heaving under the weight of mine and my mother's multiple outfit choices to get us there in one piece. Some four hours later we arrived at Anfield for the start of our trip - the birthday boy being a long-term fan of Liverpool F.C.
I'm not a huge football fan but I sometimes find myself watching MOTD alone and wondering why I'm still single and I've had some minor successes in work fantasy football leagues. Visiting Anfield (and twice driving past the very close by Goodison Park) felt a bit surreal to finally see these places as real structures and not just names on a TV screen. Stanley Park separates the warring factions and is a nice destination in its own right with beautifully kept flower beds and a Victorian glasshouse and bandstand.
After Anfield we headed to the Titanic Hotel which was an absolute delight - located a fifteen minute walk from the city centre on the dockside, my bedroom was at least twice the size of my flat with a high exposed brick ceiling. The bar serves up a good elderflower martini (the best sort of martini) and the restaurant has a vegan menu as well as all the usual favourites. The Titanic itself was registered in Liverpool and bore the city's name on its stern, hence the connection and the hotel is adorned with posters from White Star Line which I recalled from my visit to Titanic Belfast.
There is so much to do in Liverpool and despite none of us being big Beatles fans you can't avoid the Fab Four and it's amazing to think that (for better and for worse) we owe so much of our music today to them. The city is rightly super proud of its musical history and while I'm not quite sure if The Cavern Club that we visited was the "real" one or not it's definitely worth a walk down the stairs to the subterranean world below. Between The Beatles and the rival red and blue colours of Liverpool and Everton, the city has such a strong identity - even without hearing the Liverpool accent you could never mistake your location for anywhere else.
The Albert Dock area has been regenerated and Tate Liverpool is a must-visit, entry is free as with the Museum of Liverpool. Even if you're not a football fan (not looking at my mother here) then Liverpool is partly responsible for giving the world the WAG so obviously shopping is a sport here, too. Liverpool One has every shop imaginable and we popped into Cricket where I was tempted to pop out with a Self Portrait dress.
Food wise there's everything you can imagine a big city has to offer but keen to support independent businesses and because you can always rely on me to have researched any sort of vegan or veggie offerings we headed to Egg Cafe off of Bold Street for a late lunch - I had the hummus plate and my parents saw the next table tucking into the cheese on toast and couldn't not order it, it looked that good. Head to Bold Street Coffee around the corner afterwards. If you're a Londoner then service every where is very friendly and prices very reasonable.
Our final day started on an exciting note as a certain league-winning team joined us at breakfast (not a complete surprise due to their manager being at dinner the night before). We headed out of Liverpool late morning and on our way south stopped off at The Elephant Pub and Bakehouse in Woolton for lunch. If you watch Sunday Brunch (no shame it's my favourite lazy Sunday viewing) then you might be familiar with The Elephant as it's owned by Simon Rimmer. Woolton is a picture postcard English village and you can't miss the pale blue pub on the main street. The menu is simple pub grub but done well and served in a really lovely setting, the perfect fuel for the long drive back south.