• Liverpool, England


Wedged between serene North Wales and the even-more-serene Lake District, Liverpool provides an opportunity to sample the "real" England. It's the best look at urban England outside of London. Beatles fans flock to Liverpool to learn about the Fab Four's early days, but the city has much more to offer — most notably, a wealth of excellent free museums, a pair of striking cathedrals, a dramatic skyline mingling old red-brick maritime buildings and glassy new skyscrapers, and — most of all — the charm of the Liverpudlians.

At a Glance

▲▲ The Beatles Story Well-done if overpriced exhibit about the Fab Four, with a great multimedia guide narrated by John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird.

▲▲ Museum of Liverpool Three floors of intriguing exhibits, historical artifacts, and fun interactive displays tracing the port city's history, culture, and contributions to the world.

▲▲ British Music Experience Immersive and interactive museum on the history of British music from 1945 to current times.

▲▲ Liverpool Cathedral Huge Anglican house of worship — the largest cathedral in Great Britain — with cavernous interior and tower climb.

▲ Merseyside Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum Duo of thought-provoking museums exploring Liverpool's seafaring heritage and the city's role in the African slave trade.

▲ Walker Art Gallery Enjoyable, easy-to-appreciate collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Western Approaches WWII Museum A top-secret command center's vast warren of rooms, with intact furnishings and equipment, where Battle of the Atlantic Offers strategy was plotted.

Liverpool Beatles Museum Offers the best historic artifacts of the group with a special focus on the very early days.

▲ Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Striking, daringly modern Catholic cathedral with a story as fascinating as the building itself.

▲ Lennon and McCartney Homes Guided visit to their 1950s boyhood homes, with restored interiors.