Top things to do in Liverpool

A little fact readers may not know about is my mum comes from Liverpool which has given me the chance to visit the amazing city practically every year since I was a child. Over the past few years I tend to try and get there a couple of times a year to visit family so I’ve definitely experienced lots of different aspects of the city. Here are some of my top things to do in Liverpool, ranging from cultural activities to those all important Beatles venues!

1. Beatles Museum – This is an obvious one for Beatles fans but I think even if you’re not a hardcore fan there’s something for everyone. I’ve been twice now and both times there have been families enjoying the exhibition, children seem to love the Yellow Submarine themed room!

2. Tate Modern – I made the mistake of visiting the Tate with my cousin once, he hated every minute of it! Now the Tate is not for everyone, modern art doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy but it’s definitely worth it to get some culture in you one afternoon, it won’t hurt 😉

3. Shopping in Liverpool One. Liverpool has one of the best shopping centres in the UK, I absolutely love it and I’m not really a shopping fanatic at all. So that must be saying something! There are also lots of restaurants to choose from in the shopping centre.

4. Magical Mystery Tour – Now this one may only be interesting to big Beatles fans. Jump on the Magical Mystery Tour at the Docks, it’ll take you on a tour of important locations in Beatles history; the lads childhood homes, Brian Epstein’s home, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and ends at The Cavern Club.

5. Enjoy the nightlife! Liverpool is one of the top places for a night out in the UK, the drinks are cheap (by London standards at least), the people are lovely and there are so many bars to choose from you’l be spoilt for choice! For my next visit, I’ve got my eyes on The Florist .

6. Head up St. John’s Beacon and see Liverpool from above! Tickets are available here.

7. World Museum – oh i do love a good museum, the history geek in me gets excited seeing historical portraits and sculptures. Don’t even get me started on those marble busts :’).There are so many museums to choose from if the World Museum doesn’t take your fancy

Taken during Liverpool Pride 2016

8. Take the infamous ferry across the Mersey. You can’t visit Liverpool without jumping on the ferry!

9. Co-ordinate your trip around any number of the amazing live events that take place. There are so many great live venues across Liverpool, big and small.

10. The Beatles Story is a great museum covering the early days of the fab four right up to their solo careers. Even if you’re not a massive fan of The Beatles you can’t visit Liverpool without taking a look at music history!

I initially planned on featuring 5 things to do in Liverpool but there is so much more to do I had to extend it to 10 which still doesn’t cover all of the great things the city has to offer!

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Copenhagen and AirBNB

In April 2018 me and my best friend Georgie went to Copenhagen. We bagged relatively cheap flights with Norwegian then started looking for accommodation. Scrolling through AirBnb and found the weirdest apartment I had ever seen in my life. I sent Georgie the screenshot and she reluctantly agreed to letting us book the apartment, I’m fairly certain that I won’t be allowed to choose any of our future trips and you’ll understand why…

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This is actually quite cute not gonna lie!

Honestly I feel like these images don’t even do it justice, there was just stuff EVERYWHERE. One thing that really freaked us out was the fact before we had even left the UK the host messaged us some strict rules to follow upon our arrival. We had to make sure we did not pull our suitcases through the apartment building, we had to carry them to ensure we didn’t make any noise.. this freaked us out before had even left! It made me feel like we were arriving somewhere we weren’t allowed to be. The fact I knew the apartment looked so odd probably didn’t help this feeling of unease. When we arrived at the apartment, after following our strict suitcase instructions, waiting for the guy to open the door he was playing loud classical music which made me feel like I was waiting to meet Hannibal. When meeting the host (I’m a terrible person I can’t remember his name) he gave us a quick tour of the apartment which we found out this was his actual HOME and he would be staying with a friend for the duration of our stay, this made me feel super awkward and bad for the guy! He told us he was an artist and the below piece was something he created, it’s not my type of thing but each to their own I guess

Art?

When showing us the toilet he pointed to a large shell he had placed on a shelf which contained sage with a feather next to it. He explained to us after we had been to the bathroom we should light the sage and waft it with the feather in the bathroom, fair enough?! I do feel super bad writing about the apartment as he seemed lovely but the place had the creepiest vibes and the toilet advice was just odd. Maybe it felt creepy because when sitting on the sofa in the evening watching Netflix it felt like you were being watched! For all of its faults the apartment was in a great location and like I said the host was really lovely although he looked like Ru Paul but with face tattoos.

We were within walking distance of Tivoli Gardens, Christiansborg Palace and Nyhavn which was great, everywhere we wanted to visit was within walking distance so personally I can’t really fault the apartment, Georgie might have a different opinion! Saying that I don’t think I would use Airbnb again just because I always felt slightly on edge knowing that the owner could access the apartment at any time, the feeling of “I could be murdered at any point” didn’t really help me get a good nights sleep! I quite like the anonymity of hotel stays, you can come and go as you please without anyone really acknowledging you leaving, that sounds slightly depressing when I think about it..

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Guide to booking holidays through Wowcher and Groupon

I’ve used Wowcher a number of times now when booking cheap city breaks and personally I can’t really fault it. As mentioned in my Budapest post the key to booking holidays through sites like Wowcher and Groupon is having low expectations. Here are some of my top tips if you’re thinking of booking a holiday with them:

  1. The first and most important point is flexibility. In order to get the best deal you will need to be flexible on the dates or even month that you are looking at going away. The deal will present you with the cheapest price you can get but remember this is never going to be for a popular time of year i.e. half terms. Also, if you’re able to be flexible with leave at work then you’re good to go. If you are unable to be flexible with the dates you have chosen, I would suggest booking a trip through these sites probably aren’t the best option for you.
  2. Low expectations. As I mentioned in this post low expectations are really important when booking cheap deals. You can’t expect to get a 2 week all inclusive deal for buttons. Although, I have seen some amazing deals for all inclusive holidays the point made above will assist or hinder you in grabbing that amazing deal. Most of the hotels booked via these deals are going to be 3 star at the most but I haven’t had any issues with any of the hotels I have stayed.
  3. Be prepared to fly with Ryan Air! If you’re going for 2-3 nights you can easily fit everything you need into hand luggage but if you like to pack on the heavier side be prepared to pay extra for luggage. When travelling to Tallinn I managed to fit everything I needed into my trusty Fjall Raven backpack which saved a fortune on those extra fees Ryan Air like to bombard you with. If you’re travelling with someone else you’ll have to pay to sit together, yep I’m not lying! If you’re thinking of visiting Tallinn in the near future you can read about it here, this is just one trip I booked through Wowcher.
  4. Don’t be surprised if you’re flying from Stansted Aiport. There doesn’t seem to be a great selection of UK wide flights so if you’re based in the north or Scotland you may not be able to get the super cheap deals they are advertising.
  5. Once you’ve found the trip you’d like to book and made the purchase, more times than not you will be contacting by the tourist operator who the trip is actually booked with. This is their chance to get more money out of you by offering extra days or better flights from more accessible airports but stick to your guns. When booking BUDAPEST I was offered earlier flights to give me an extra day for £50 I declined and after a ‘”quick conversation with my manager” they were able to give me the earlier flights for a £10 admin fee, sneaky.

Happy holiday hunting!

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Budapest

At the start of 2019 me and one of my faves Marnie went to Budapest for 3 days. Some would say this was a ridiculous idea, Hungary in the middle of January, but we loved it. Much like Tallinn this was a cheap Ryan Air, Stansted Airport deal. 2 nights, with early and late flights giving us an extra day in Budapest…£80! This was booked through Wowcher, the first time I had actually booked one of their deals I didn’t have high hopes but I would say it’s definitely worth it. One thing to keep in mind when booking deals like this via Wowcher or Groupon is to have low expectations, you’re paying £80 for a trip, you’re not going to get a 5 star hotel and first class flights! If that’s how you choose to travel I strongly recommend not booking a trip through Wowcher or Groupon. We stayed in the Golden Park Hotel, a 3 star hotel which included a continental breakfast (LOVE A CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST!!). The hotel was nice and clean, fairly central location, perfect for 3 days of sightseeing. Personally I don’t think you need to pay out big bucks for a hotel on a city break as you’re out sightseeing most of the day, all you need is a comfy bed and clean room to get ready in before heading back out again. Breakfast is a bonus!

There were three things I loved about Budapest; Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building and Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Buda Castle sits on Castle Hill looking down on the tourist area. If you’re lazy like me instead of walking uphill to the castle you can get the Funicular which takes you directly to the Royal Palace. The cost for an adult is HUF 1,200 one way and a return is HUF 1,800.

This is the view on the way down from the castle and Royal Palace if you take the Funicular, it’s worth leaving the hill when it’s dark as personally I think Budapest is at its best of a night time.

After leaving the Royal Palace and Castle Hill I would highly recommend going on a boat tour, seeing the Hungarian Parliament Building reflecting in the Danube at night is beautiful and not to be missed.

You can’t visit Budapest without going to one of their thermal spas. We visited the Széchenyi Thermal Bath situated in City Park. If you’re travelling by public transport you can take the trolleybus routes 72 and also the millennium underground train. Prices start from around HUF 5200 but you can swap and change your add ons dependant on whether you want a cabin and a locker or not, highly recommend having a cabin because otherwise where are you going to keep your belongings?! Also I didn’t fancy getting naked in front of everyone in the changing rooms, a cabin gives you privacy. Full prices can be found here. We spent our last day here moving from steam room to sauna back into the pool for a swim and then repeat. It was a nice relaxing end to a busy city break.

Staying on theme, here are the key places to visit for those lazy readers!

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48 Hours in Tallinn, Estonia

Back in May 2019 I went to Tallinn for a city break with my sister. With most of holidays I decided on visiting Tallinn due to the beautiful pictures I had seen on Instagram. So with this plan in mind I headed straight to Expedia to check out what deals were on offer. To my surprise I managed to bag flights and a hotel for £80! Yes I had to endure flying with Ryan Air from Stansted but I can’t resist a cheap 2 night break.

As with most of those cheap city breaks, our flight was at the break of dawn leaving at an eye watering 05:55am. Personally, I don’t mind these early flights as I can catch some z’s on the plane and be ready for great first day in a new city.

My first tip for visiting Tallinn would be to grab a Tallinn Card, we purchased ours from the hotel we were staying at, City Hotel by Unique Hotels who were super helpful with tourist information. They can be purchased throughout the city but also online here. The card cost around €49 for a 48 hour plus card which included a free hop on hop off sightseeing tour which was ideal for us as we used this as transport around the city, but you can also use it to travel for free on all public transport. The free public transport would have been ideal if we were there for one more day as I would have tried to get outside the main tourist area if we had extra time. Also included in the card is free admission to over 40 attractions which we used to enter Kadriorg Palace, KGB Prison Cells and TV Tower.

As we arrived super early we weren’t able to check into our hotel for a couple of hours which wasn’t a problem as it gave us some time to explore the district we were staying in. The hotel was just on the outskirts of the Old Town next to Toompea Castle.

After getting checked in at the hotel, showered and ready for exploring we headed into the Old Town which is just the perfect mix of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The cobbled streets with winding alleyways reminded me of classic Eastern European Old Towns like Krakow and Prague. The quirky colours and architecture reminded me of Copenhagen. Hopefully you can see where I’m coming from with this comparison…

Whilst exploring the Old Town we discovered the best ice cream parlour either of us had ever been to, Gelato Ladies . Hidden down one of the side streets it would have been easy to miss.

Most people I have spoken to about Tallinn are only aware of it because of the DM Baar, fans of Depeche Mode flock to the city to visit the DM Baar. After ice cream I dragged my sister to the bar for ‘just one drink’ which turned into several..

The second day saw us making full use of our Tallinn card, looking back we could have done with the 24 hour card instead as the first day was mostly spent in the Old Town without needing public transport or entrance to attractions. We had breakfast in the hotel which consisted of a continental buffet, my fave! Our first stop was catching the sightseeing bus from Toompea Castle to the TV Tower, as we had such short amount of time left we had to be savvy with our timings on the day. The TV Tower was around 20 minutes from our hotel which would be the furthest we’d travel within Tallinn during this trip. If I’m being completely honest I didn’t really rate the TV Tower, the views offered at the top were nice but if had it not been for the Tallinn Card and free entry to the site I would have been slightly disappointed.

We worked our way backwards from the TV Tower to Kadriorg Palace and Art Museum which was my favourite attraction we went to. I’m a sucker for an art gallery or museum and the fact this one was within an imperial palace was a double bonus for me. Once again access to the attraction was free with the Tallinn Card.

We headed back to the Old Town on the hop on hop off bus and decided it was time for dinner before either of us started to get hangry and ruin the whole trip. We get very aggressive when it comes to hunger, especially my sister. We found Thai Boh the kookiest Thai restaurant I had ever been in. We filled up on Pad Thai and headed back into the Old Town once more, taking a slow stroll towards our hotel. You can’t visit Tallinn without stopping by the beautiful Russian orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

And that was my 48 hours in Tallinn, to summarise (if you’re lazy like me and can’t be arsed to read a whole blog post)

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