The Northern UK city of Liverpool is famously known for the Beatles and Liverpool FC. But this popular and accessible English port city is becoming more and more famous for the way that they do Christmas. Personally, I’m celebrating early this year due to my flight to Cambodia! I hope that you enjoy my guide to spending Christmas in Liverpool.
How to get to Liverpool
Liverpool is accessible by plane to John Lennon airport. If you are travelling long haul, you might also consider flying into Manchester which is only around an hour away. There are good motorway and rail links from Manchester Airport to Liverpool. Manchester is a much larger airport and has direct flights from New York.
If you are already in the UK and travelling to Liverpool by train, there are national links to Liverpool Lime St, Liverpool’s main train station. There are direct train links to Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and London.
Christmas in Liverpool
Christmas in Liverpool is a real treat. Think Christmas markets, shops dressed like presents and a giant light up Christmas tree that you can drink inside! The people in Liverpool are very friendly and love to celebrate Christmas, so you will see people in Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and wearing sparkle!
I’m going to outline the key Christmas experiences in Liverpool along with the best restaurants for Christmas Dinner and the best hotels to stay in at Christmas.
One of the funniest things for me about spending Christmas in Liverpool is the competition between Liverpool FC and Everton regarding their Christmas colour schemes! In North Liverpool (Anfield and Tuebrook particularly), people will decorate their trees Red for Liverpool or Blue for Everton! It seems to be a competition even on single streets in proximity of the stadiums!
Liverpool Christmas Market
You won’t miss the Liverpool Christmas market if you arrive in Liverpool by train. As soon as you come out of Liverpool Lime Street station you will see the Christmas market directly ahead in front of St George’s hall. Enjoy the mulled wine and karaoke in the Apses-ski cable cars and take a ride on the festive big wheel.
There is plenty of Christmas food on offer including Bratwurst, filled Yorkshire puddings, waffles and pancakes.
St John’s Shopping Centre
St John’s shopping centre is extremely festive at Christmas. It’s a good place to pick up Christmas gifts and has a cheap indoor market. But what St John’s is most famous for at Christmas time is the Santa’s Grotto! It’s a tradition that has been held for 140 years in Liverpool and has been named in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest Santa’s Grotto in the world. The Santa’s Grotto usually has a theme such as Fairytale or Peter Pan. And of course, every child gets a gift at the end and gets to sit on Santa’s knee!
Liverpool ONE shopping centre is beautifully decorated with lights and light up reindeer during Christmas time. It’s a great place to go for Christmas shopping. Liverpool ONE has shops that are a combination of high street names such as Zara and GAP and also several high end luxury names including Reiss and Guess.
Central to Liverpool ONE is Bar Hutte. The light-up love heart Christmas tree is key to the Christmas light display. But did you know that you can actually drink inside it? Bar Hutte opens from 15th November until 5th January. On offer at Bar Hutte is a selection of festive tipples including mulled wine (£5), hot spiced toffee apple punch (£7) and hot winter G&T (£8). Also on offer is prosecco and a selection of Hot Chocolates and Martinis. Check out the drinks menu here.
Around the tree are traditional Apses ski ‘Hutte’ that you can book for a small private party. The word ‘Hutte’ comes from the German word for hut or cottage. Each Hutte has its own karaoke machines with ‘carol-oke’ – karaoke with Christmas songs to get you in the mood!
If you would like to drink inside your own private Hutte under the Liverpool ONE Christmas tree, you can book your Hutte online and there is a booking fee of £40 for a party of up to 6 for 1 hour 45 mins. Walk-ins are accepted if there is availability.
The waterfront is a fantastic place to see lights and festivities of Liverpool at Christmas. The Albert docks will be decorated with an abundance of Christmas lights and market huts. There are also some fantastic buildings on the waterfront that will be beautifully decorated. Check out the lights on the Liver building and sneak into the port of Liverpool building to see their fantastic tree!
The Liverpool Cathedrals on Hope Street
Both Liverpool Cathedrals – the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral on Hope street – welcome visitors and are beautifully decorated at Christmas time. Don’t miss the Winter Arts Market at the Anglican Cathedral – it’s the North West’s biggest arts and crafts fair. The aisles of the Cathedral fill with over 200 independent craft stalls and artists. You will find all types of jewellery, woodwork, art and crafts that make perfect Christmas gifts.
Sefton Park Palm House
The Sefton Park Palm house is a Victorian built palm house full of lush tropical plants located in the middle of Sefton Park. It’s a must at Christmas due to the festive events that they put on throughout December including markets, Christmas decoration making, gin festival and even a tropical Santa’s grotto! You can check the Sefton Park Palm house events calendar here.
Where to Eat and Drink
Browns, Liverpool ONE
We had a fantastic Christmas meal in Browns – they do a festive menu from mid November through to New Year. The traditional roast Turkey dinner was lovely and I also tried the belly pork. The decor and presentation of the food was lovely at Browns – very festive!
The Shipping Forcast
Seemingly rough around the edges, the Shipping Forecast on Slater Street has more of an indie feel than a posh Christmas dinner vibe. But it offers a traditional English setting with one of the best Christmas dinners around. I totally recommend eating here!
If you are looking for a pan-Asian Christmas dinner in an exquisite festive setting, definitely head to Dash. Mains include Korean Barbequed lamb, Ponzu glazed duck breast and Ko Pork Belly. There’s also a Sunday roast menu (12-6pm Sundays).
Dash really go to town on their fancy and elaborate Christmas decor and chandeliers.
Slims on Bold Street
If you’re up for a New York diner style Christmas dinner, head to slims of Bold Street. Think chicken wings, barbecue ribs and fries, with glazed Turkey, sprouts and pigs in blankets for those who want traditional style!
My all time favourite place in Liverpool is Baltic Social on Parliament Street. This gastro pub/bar in the hipster and up and coming area of the Baltic Triangle has an industrial setting with leather seats. Baltic Social now offers a fabulous BOTTOMLESS traditional English Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Perfect if you really want to go all out with Turkey, Cranberry, pigs in blankets, Roasties and all veg – as much as you can eat!
Where to Stay in Liverpool at Christmas
A great hotel choice for Liverpool at Christmas is the Shankley hotel. It’s a central location and as you can see, they really go to town on their decorations…
What to wear to the UK Christmas Markets
If you want to know what to wear to the UK Christmas markets, you definitely need to wrap up warm! Wear jeans, jumpers, boots and a coat. Add a hat, scarf and gloves set. You should also take an umbrella as it rains a lot in England, especially in the North and at this time of year.
Don’t Forget your Travel Insurance
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
You might also read about Liverpool – Getting there and Away