I have lived in Liverpool for about eight years now. I love it here. I moved here to be with my husband, and we have created a family life here just outside the city. I work and study here and I'm planning my PhD around Liverpool and its rich history. We were delighted to be invited to spend overnight in this beautiful city - two full days in the summer at the Albert Dock. Even though we live here it is hard to visit the city as a tourist. Sometimes your home-town just becomes the usual run of the mill place, but when you just look up at the skyline, the beautiful buildings and places you see the city for what it really is and uncover some of that rich history - places, people, feelings. It's all there.
The Albert Dock was created in 1846 as a series of warehouses used for unloading cargo from ships from all over the world. The present day sees a vibrant and colourful dock, full to the brim and buzzing with people; the number one tourist site for Liverpool.
The kids were really excited to be having a little "holiday" in the city.
We planned two full days and an overnight stay, visiting as many places as we could along the dock. First stop was Matel Play! This is a huge child's play area on the dock, with three themed zones for the kids to have fun in; Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam. As you can tell from the photos our girls had a great time. Emily even got involved although she probably was a bit too old for the play area!
We spent a long time walking along the water front. We had a mixed bag weather-wise. A bit of rain, lots of sun and at one point lots of wind. It is usually colder near the water though and in any case we were glad for the fresh air.
We wandered along past the love-locks. These are padlocks that people have put along the chains by the water. The padlocks - thousands of them - have inscriptions, engravings or just an old fashioned sharpie scrawl of lover's or loved ones names. I love it there.
Next we spent time at the Museum of Liverpool. This museum is relatively new and reveals Liverpool's history. I particularly love it here for obvious reasons. The kids really love the museum and we spent a long time in here, although Rosie is starting to be a bit naughty and we have to chase her around a lot. As it was raining we stayed in doors and explored the museum. It covers some of the maritime history as well as cultural history like music and football. It is right up our street.
Next we stopped at Revolution for some food. The kids were ready for some food by then and we were more than ready to sit down - chasing after Rosie and Alice is hungry work! We had a lovely meal. Warren picked a burger and I had a pasta dish. Em opted for ribs and the kids had pizzas - all rounded off with ice cream of course. I swear that 98.5% of my kids' summer days off all include pizza and ice creams! I can think of worse ways to spend days, I suppose.
I opted for a cocktail. Well, it would be rude not to wouldn't it?
After our lovely meal we walked along the docks again before heading to our hotel for the night. The Holiday Inn Express was the perfect hotel for us. Situated right on the dock, we had a family room with a wonderful view of the dock.
We settled the kids (OK - it took us quite a while - they were so excited to be on their "little holiday"!) Myself and Warren spent a good while just watching the water outside, and feeling grateful. For each other, for the kids, for the city. For life in general. Strange how some trips can make you slow down, stop and think about what it is you have. Sometimes life has to slow down, taking a break can do you the world of good - even in your own city.
The Albert Dock has a lot of summer fun activities to do with the kids over the summer. There are the traditional family rides, the Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum and The Beatles Story, There is also the Big Pirate Festival on the Dock which runs on September 10th and 11th this year. One thing is for sure if you visit the Dock this summer, you won't be short of things to do - I wholeheartedly recommend a trip!
Visit the Albert Dock Website http://www.albertdock.com/ or follow them on Twitter to keep up with the latest news and events.
Disclosure: Were we invited to enjoy our day out at Liverpool Albert Dock free of charge for the purpose of this article. All words and views are our own.