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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To Liverpool With Leanne Best

Actress Leanne Best (Young Wallander, Line of Duty) shares her insider guide to Liverpool, taking readers on a whistle-stop tour of her hometown.

Growing up in Liverpool, Leanne Best (the niece of former Beatle, Pete Best) knows the city like the back of her hand. Offering up her favourite Liverpool hangouts, from low-key eateries to culture hotspots, like The Liverpool Beatles Museum and Tate Liverpool, here, Best shares her tried-and-tested checklist of great things to see and do in the city.

Read on to discover why Carl Jung described this city as “the pool of life”…


Essential items to pack?

Your glad rags and sense of adventure… you will need both! 

The best time to visit Liverpool is…

Anytime, sincerely. 

Our first pitstop should be…

Go and have a pint of Guinness or a Lemo at The Philharmonic pub and take a tinkle in the loo… the Titanic based their toilets on the illustrious latrines in there. I kid you not! 

Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…

Hope Street Hotel. Beautiful food, beautiful place, beautiful staff, beautiful location. Luxe and friendly. 

For an early morning workout head to…

If you do Liverpool right, there may not be too many early mornings (unless you are coming home)… but my go-to is White Wolf Yoga, a Liverpool-based studio run by the amazing Louise Fitzsimmons who provides classes and retreats worldwide. And if you don’t make it out of the hotel room before noon, you can always grab her classes online.  

Where should we go for breakfast?

There are so many amazing spots for a brekkie but a fave of mine is The Quarter. Fresh ingredients, lovely service, and the coffee is banging. Something for everyone, so it’s a crowd pleaser. 

And a long, lazy lunch… 

For a long lazy lunch with friends I’ve just discovered the Buyers Club on Hardman Street. Tucked away under the arches, it’s low-key gorgeousness and the staff are boss. Also the cacio e pepe butter beans are actually life changing (I do not say this lightly).

And for dinner with friends?

For dinner with friends, I love Maray on Bold Street. Try the disco cauliflower. Thank me later. 

Photography by Diana Gomez www.dianagomez.com

Photography by Diana Gomez www.dianagomez.com

Your favourite restaurant in town?

Budget: The Egg Cafe. [It] reminds me of being a kid. You’ll find all the hippies and vegetarian food that your heart desires.

Blow out: The Arts School. The restaurant upstairs is Michelin-starred and fabulous. Downstairs is cool, [with] beautifully sourced produce. They will also rustle you up a gorgeous non-alcoholic cocktail on request. 

Where should we head post-dinner?

There is literally something for everyone. My advice is: see what takes your fancy and follow your feet. The best nights in Liverpool are the ones where you toss the guidebook out the window and see what takes your fancy, who you meet, and where you end up. 

The drink to order at the bar…

Bunch Wine Bar is great if you love your vino and they really know their stuff. Berry and Rye is a speakeasy on Berry Street with a fantastic ambience and a phenomenal choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Order a virgin mojito for me. 

The best place for people watching…

I love Castle Street for a people watch. Grab a coffee and a pew. The architecture is stunning and you have the docks a stone’s throw away. In the sunshine it holds a candle to any piazza and in the colder months, sit indoors and watch the town go by. There are no better people to watch. 

The culture spot to rave about…

The Liverpool Beatles Museum on Matthew Street – it’s my dad’s gaff and a treasure trove of Beatles history and never seen before memorabilia. A perfect place to spend a few hours, whether you are a music fan or just up for a magical mystery tour. The Casbah Coffee Club (and soon to be hotel) is always an eye opener. Come in the summer for Best Fest and visit the first place the Beatles ever played, with live music from around the world. Or book year-round for a tour in this gem of Beatles history. 

The best place to treat yourself is… 

Wilderness Hair, a vegan hair salon and apothecary run by hair witch extraordinaire Louise King. Get your hair done or treat yourself to something incredible and, usually, homemade from the shop. Loveliness – and the best curly haircut on the planet – awaits. Also, check out the spa at the Hope Street Hotel. I swoon. 

For great shopping head to…

I am gonna go quintessential Scouse girl for shopping and say Cricket if you have a few quid to spend. They have well-curated collections of all your favourite designers and there’s always a piece you can treasure for a steal in the sale. That being said, Liverpool shopping is to die for on any budget. There’s vintage pit stops and boutiques on Bold Street, all your high-street essentials in Liverpool ONE, and there is something wild and wonderful to discover down every side street. 

Your favourite neighbourhood(s)…

Lark Lane is gorge but I think top of [the list is] Hope Street. Lived there for years and went to drama school at LIPA. Waitressed at loads of the restaurants and barmaided [so] much. Makes me really nostalgic! The Magnet has gone but the memory lives on!

One place only locals know about…

The Cathedral Gardens at St James Mount. A little haven away from the hustle and bustle, the graveyard gardens at the Anglican cathedral are stunning, an other-worldly place full of history. Take a wander and get lost under the shadow of our great cathedral.

Also, Greatie Market if you are looking for bargain.

Photography by Diana Gomez www.dianagomez.com

Photography by Diana Gomez www.dianagomez.com

For the best views head to…

The docks. Watch the sun go down over the Mersey, and beyond.

For a change of pace try…

The Tate Liverpool in Royal Albert Dock. Beautifully curated with visiting exhibitions from across the globe. Grab a lamb banana from the gift shop to take home… someone will explain when you get there.

Great day trips include…

A ferry across the Mersey (of course), the ghost walks, and walking tours. I’m not sure if you know, but we also have a couple of football teams, so thats always a fun family day out.

A book to read before we go (or while we’re there)?

If you are looking for a good book, head into News from Nowhere, the radical and community bookshop on Bold Street. It’s a non-profit run by a women collective, and you can grab shirts and postcards along with a bold, brilliant selection of factual or fictional literature. 

How should we spend the final day of our trip?

For the final day of your trip, head to the Antony Gormley statues at the Marina in Crosby. The beach and coastline are breathtaking, and the array of birds in this conservation area make it a must for nature lovers and a beautiful place to relax, whatever the weather. 

What’s your Liverpool secret?

My Liverpool secret is Liverpool. I work all over the country and the world and my favourite thing is to introduce people to my home town. They are never not surprised, in the best possible way, by its energy, its culture, and its people. 

In a word, Liverpool is…

It is impossible to sum up Liverpool in one word, not least of all because us Scousers love to talk! I shall leave it to Carl Jung, who famously referred to Liverpool as ‘the pool of life’. 

Feature image: Photography by Diana Gomez www.dianagomez.com

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