When most people think of cities to shoot in the UK, they tend to think of places like London, Edinburgh and Manchester but to name a few.
I wanted to write to you today about a city I love, a place that is photographed all the time but is often overlooked as a great place to photograph.
Yes, it’s The Sights and Sounds of Liverpool.
The Home of the Beatles.
When most people are asked about Liverpool, I can guarantee that it’s either The Beatles or the Local Football clubs that crop up in conversation, but there is much more to see. This brings me nicely to my first place to photograph in Liverpool, Mathew Street.
As you probably know, Mathew Street is the spiritual home of the Beatles and The Cavern Club. This area of Liverpool is a great place for capturing a small part of Liverpool life.
The area is made up of a few small streets and alleyways, and can be found just off the main shopping street of Lord Street, and is only five minutes away from Lime Street Station, so is extremely accessible for a quick photography trip. The notable places are the entrance to the Cavern Club and the Statues of John Lennon and Cilla Black.
The street can get quite busy in the afternoons and evenings and is often frequented by tourists wanting to get their snapshots with the iconic statues.
If you want to get a clear shot of the street, then it’s best to visit early in the morning. If you are into street photography or want to capture the hassle and bustle of daily life, then later in the day is the time for you!
The Iconic Waterfront.
I think that if you asked anybody to name a famous landmark in Liverpool, I bet the top of the list would be the iconic Royal Liverpool Building which is home to the mascot of Liverpool, the Liver Birds.
This building form is one of three buildings known as the Three Graces, with the neighbouring Cunard and the Port of Liverpool Buildings.
If you want to capture the Three Graces in the best light, I highly recommend jumping on the ferry across the Mersey at the nearby ferry terminal and getting off at Seacombe. In this location, you’ll find a full view of the Liverpool skyline.
If you choose to stay on the waterfront, then be sure to check out the iconic Beatles statue between The Museum of Liverpool and the Mersey Ferry Terminal, if you want it to yourself then its best to visit early in the morning, and on a clear day, you also get the bonus of the sun coming up behind the statue and the Three Graces. In this area is the Museum of Liverpool, with its iconic shape and design, definitely a place to go if you like your urban or architecture photography.
If you are looking for great reflections of the local docks, then these can be found in some of the local docks such as the Canning and Albert Dock.
The best reflection can be found further down the waterfront on the Princes Dock and this provides an excellent image of the Liver Building.
This area becomes a totally different place when darkness falls and the buildings light up, and the reflections cast in the water of the docks. So don’t forget to visit later in the evening too.
The Churches of Liverpool.
If you decide to venture out of the centre, then the place to visit is Hope Street, which is home to two of the most iconic churches in the world, The Metropolitan Church of Christ the King and the Liverpool Church of Christ to give them their proper titles. They have two contrasting styles from the Modern Metropolitan Church at one end of the street, and the Historic Anglican Church at the other with its wonderful ceilings and Tower.
The Metropolitan church known locally as the Rocket or the Wigwam due to its iconic shape is a wonderful place to visit if your looking for something a little different.
This church is a very special place inside, with its unique lighting, but can be a challenging place to shoot, so may require the use of a high ISO or a tripod, be sure to ask permission if you wish to use a tripod. This place looks very spectacular in the evening when lit up. Don’t forget to nip round the back of the church for that clear panoramic view of the church.
The Anglican Church is a totally different proposition with its wonderful architecture and its high vaulted ceilings. Some of the best shots to be captured are often above your head so don’t forget to look up.
There is also an opportunity to visit the top of the tower for a small fee, which gives you a wonderful view of the city. This is another place that can be dark, and challenging to photograph, so will require a high ISO or a tripod. I have used a tripod in this church, but be sure to ask permission before using it.
It can also get very busy so might be difficult to photograph, be sure to turn up early for the best opportunities to get a clear shot. As with most places like this be sure to leave a donation when you visit, to help keep these places open for us to visit.
Just down the road from the Anglican Cathedral is St Lukes Church or the Bombed out church as it’s known locally. This church was damaged when struck by a bomb in 1941 at the height of the Second World War which damaged the roof and the insides of the building. If you stand in the right place, you can capture some of the Liverpool Skyline through its iconic windows.
The Baltic Triangle and Chinatown.
The Baltic Triangle is a unique place to visit and shoot. When you first walk into the area, it just looks like any other industrial area, but it’s the hidden gems that really take you.
This place was the factory and workshop heart of Liverpool dating back to the 1800s and is transformed into a cultural and creative part of the City. The places to photograph are the famous Paul Curtis Artworks, which you may have seen once or twice on Instagram, the bustling Cains Brewery complex and the Red Brick Market which is Liverpool’s answer to Camden Market in London.
Just up the road from The Baltic Triangle is Chinatown, which is home to the Great Arch forming the entrance. This area of Liverpool comes to life in the evening, with its bustling restaurants and the wonderful aroma of China. It will certainly make you hungry!
As with most busy places, it can be great for capturing life in the city and is a great place for street photography.
I could go much longer about the other places to shoot in Liverpool. If you have the time, then be sure to visit some of the iconic Beatles locations such as Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields.
There are also the local football grounds, Goodison Park and Anfield. Just a tip, there is an open-top bus service called The City Explorer that runs in front of the Cunard Building that allows you to jump on and off at the iconic places in Liverpool for a reasonable fee. It’s great for visiting those places without the hassle of getting lost!
If you wish to venture further afield then be sure to pop down to Crosby for the famous Anthony Gormley installation “Another Place”, the Red Squirrels at Formby, or over the Wirral to Perch Rock. Yes, I know they are not strictly in Liverpool but definitely worth a visit. These locations can be accessed by train at one of the local stations. If you’re wanting to visit the locations by public transport be sure to ask for a Saveaway which gives you unlimited off-peak travel on local trains and buses across the whole of Merseyside for just over a fiver. Definitely a bargain.
I hope this gives you an insight into a city that is my favourite place to visit and an alternative to some of the other towns and cities in the UK. Enjoy the visit!
Here is a map of some of the great locations mentioned in the blog, plus a few others. This is constantly updated so be sure to check back.
Here is one of my vlogs where I do some street photography in some of the locations mentioned in this post.