Liverpool is without question one of the UK’s greatest cities. A vibrant mix of heritage and culture, commerce and nightlife, it offers something for every visitor to enjoy – and a few surprises they might not have been expecting. For in among the exceptional architecture, the bustling docks, the retail havens and the characteristically welcoming community are a number of hidden gems well worth seeking out.
The Metropolitan Cathedral – Built in the 1960s by architect Frederick Gibberd, the largest Catholic cathedral in England is not what you would expect from your typical religious building. It’s a structure of sharp lines and perfect curves, boldly balanced in a thoroughly contemporary design heightened by bright colours and modern materials. Light filters through stunning stained glass, falling onto carved wood and chiseled stone sculptures in the eaves. Whether serenely empty or filled with the voices of worship, it’s a magical place that welcomes every visitor regardless of their beliefs.
Bluecoat – Mere metres from the bustling city centre lies a little haven of peace and inspiration. Housed in a beautiful 18th century building with UNESCO world heritage and Grade One listed status, Bluecoat is now used as a hub for the contemporary arts. Visitors can enjoy an exhibition area with regularly changing displays, an impressive craft and art gallery, a tranquil enclosed garden, and an espresso bar and restaurant. The centre champions the work of over 30 independent creative industries, with a lively programme of events and regular involvement with local community groups.
Picton Reading Room, Liverpool Central Library – On entering, this contemporary and practical library appears to be the domain of local bookworms and students studying. However, venture upstairs and you’ll enter another world – the kind you might read about in a novel. Rows and rows of spines stretch horizontally and vertically across a circular room, topped by a beautiful opaque skylight. Ladders climb against the shelves and ornate features catch the eye as you crane your neck in awe. There is something about the beauty, the order and the quiet that soothes the soul.