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On the Mersey Beat

A loop through a great city, starting and finishing on the waterfront.

Distance 3.7 miles (6km)

Minimum time 1hr 30min

Ascent/gradient 180ft (55m)

Level of difficulty Easy

Paths Streets and pedestrianised waterfront

Landscape Great city with wide river views

Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 275 Liverpool

Start/finish SJ 343896

Dog friendliness Dogs may not enjoy this walk, need to be kept on leads

Parking Huge car park for Albert Dock complex

Public toilets In Albert Dock complex (and others on route)

1 From the Britannia Pavilion entrance, beside The Beatles Story, walk through to dockside and turn right. Follow it round and cross the Albert Salthouse Bridge, then go right, skirting the Salthouse Dock. Cross the main road at the lights and bear left, past the Yellow Submarine and across Chavasse Park, then through Paradise Street Bus Station. Go left to a shopping area then right up Church Street.

2 Opposite Marks and Spencer a short side street leads to the Bluecoat Chambers. Return to Church Street, then bear right past the Lyceum Post Office and up long, straight Bold Street, once a centre of rope making. At the end cross to St Luke's Church then turn right on Berry Street. Bilingual signs are in evidence before the arch leading to Liverpool's Chinatown appears. Opposite the arch, turn left on Upper Duke Street, and the Anglican Cathedral looms into view. Turn left into Rodney Street, right on Mount Street then left on Hope Street. Halfway along is the Philharmonic Hall and opposite is the Philharmonic Hotel, arguably Britain's grandest pub.

3 Turn left down Mount Pleasant. Bear right at the bottom past the monumental Britannia Adelphi Hotel, then turn right by the Crown Hotel and then up left into the cavernous train shed of Lime Street Station. This was the terminus of the world's first passenger railway, linking Liverpool and Manchester. The concourse is worth visiting just to see the clock. Double back to an exit just past the Underground station, out into Lime Street and turn right. If you can see past the traffic, you now get one of the country's great city views, dominated by St George's Hall.

4 Turn left above it, and down William Brown Street, past the Walker Art Gallery and Liverpool Museum. Turn left across the bottom of St John's Gardens. Cross St John's Lane and up left then turn right before the Marriott Hotel and under the arch into Queen Square. Go under the canopy then right down the steps and left into Whitechapel. Follow this down to a pedestrian zone then go right on Stanley Street.

5 Follow the street along to the statue of Eleanor Rigby. Backtrack and turn into Mathew Street. This bears slightly right past The Grapes, Cavern Walks, and the Wall of Fame. At the end, turn left then second right into Lord Street. This leads to Derby Square, the site of Liverpool Castle. Continue up Castle Street towards the Town Hall, a modest building compared to its counterparts in Manchester or even Bolton. Turn left on Water Street then right on Romford Street. Oriel Chambers, near this junction, was a pioneer of iron-framed construction and a forerunner of skyscrapers the world over.

6 Turn left on Chapel Street, then diagonally left behind St Nicholas Church. Cross The Strand and go down the side of the Royal Liver Building to the Pier Head. Walk along the Pier Head past the Ferry terminal and continue along Riverside Walk to return to the start at Albert Dock.

Liverpool is ideally suited to exploration on foot. It has the exhilarating sense of space that only harbour cities enjoy, plus a rich history and a unique place in the cultural history of the modern world. Sadly, for many people the name of Liverpool also carries associations with labour problems and riots. Ironically, it was the Toxteth riots of 1981 that sparked a huge effort to revitalise the city, of which the main permanent product was the renaissance of the Albert Dock complex. Dating from 1845, and one of the grandest examples of an enclosed dock anywhere in the world, it's now home to four museums, a Tate Gallery, and a range of shops and bistros.

Key buildings along the route include the great trinity of Liverpool's seafront - the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Buildings and the Royal Liver Building. The Liver Birds on top, apparently an improbable cross between a cormorant and an eagle, are 18ft (5.5m) high. Away from the waterfront, the Bluecoat Chambers, dating from 1717, is the oldest, and one of the loveliest buildings in the city, and the massively elegant St George's Hall, with its an awesome interior, is one of the most impressive.

Beatles fans will find plenty to remind them of Britain's most famous group, including the Yellow Submarine, the statue of Eleanor Rigby, the Cavern Walk, Wall of Fame and The Beatles Story.

What to look for

Liverpool's two cathedrals face each other down the length of Hope Street, but they could hardly be more different. The sandstone Anglican Cathedral is the biggest in Britain and took 74 years to complete. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King is far more contemporary in appearance yet was completed (in 1967) 11 years earlier.

Where to eat and drink

In this cosmopolitan city, there's no end of choice. Of numerous pubs two stand out: the Philharmonic for its awesome interior; and the Baltic Fleet, back at Albert Dock. This has a strong, and largely genuine, nautical flavour.

While you're there

If you're into the Beatles, don't miss Paul McCartney's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road (best reached by minibus from Albert Dock). But surely the essential Liverpool experience is a ride on a Mersey Ferry from the Pier Head.

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