As I explained here, we are not a family for beach holidays. We now live by the sea and have a fabulous beach here but when we go away, be it in this country or abroad, we do more of the cultural thing. I should point out that where live in Wales has numerous cultural and historic adventures to be had. These are the adventures we had on a long weekend away over the Golden Jubilee Bank Holiday in 2012.
I don’t think there are many people who think of music and Liverpool and don’t immediately think The Beatles. Believe it or not The Beatles were on the National Curriculum for Primary School Children and The Boy was completing a term long project about them. The Boy loved learning about the Beatles and was coming home with facts on a daily basis. He was so excited when his Grandad told him he had seen them play live in 1963. This enthusiasm was the reason why I choose Liverpool.
Straight from school on the Friday we hopped on a train and went to Liverpool. We arrived at our hotel around 6.30 and dropped the cases before going off to explore in the absolute brilliant sunshine. We were staying at the Albert Dock and this is the view from our hotel room:
Sadly the windows were dirty but in real life the view was much better as unfortunately this photo makes the state of the window look much worse. Although the windows were not prestine the room itself was lovely. The warehouse buildings around the dock have been converted in to shops, restuarants and the hotel we were staying in. The hotel was lovely and they have tried to keep alot of the original features like exposed brick, roof supports and the old iron doors in the corridors.
Right by our hotel was the wheel.
After much please please please I reluctantly gave in and on we went. The views over the city were amazing.
During the 1980’s Albert Dock was considered an eye sore as it was so run down and one option was demolition. However, instead of being demolished it was converted into shops, restaurants, a hotel and at the time also housed a TV studio from where This Morning was broadcast from. after a few years, This Morning moved to London and the old studio was turned into a couple of restaurants. Today Albert Dock is a lively tourist place and the majority of our stay revolved around the Dock.
The view from our room was overlooking the Dock and all its hustle and bustle. The old buildings gave a lovely backdrop to some photos of The Boy and Girl.
Nestled in the old This Morning Studios is a lovely little diner/restaurant that serves the most amazing milkshakes. We can a fully recommend the toffee flavour.
Ferry across the Mersery is what we heard playing over the tannoy when we arrived at the ferry terminal! I don’t think you can visit Liverpool and not take a trip on the ferry which is what we did Saturday afternoon. When I booked our trip on Thursday morning the weather forecast was dry and temperatures of around 18. One thing the forecast didn’t say was high winds which made it feel very cold. Windy was an understatement!
After a few photos outside we quickly came in for a warm.
As it was half term the ferry company were offering a 2 for 1 deal on the 2 attractions by the other 2 ferry terminals; Spaceport and a German U Boat. The 50 minute ferry journey cost £17 and an extra £8 got us in to the 2 attractions. The first port of call was Spaceport at Seacombe, an interactive museum all about space travel and the solar system. To be honest the kids were not that interested in the space exhibition, however, when we went to the upper floor things were a little different:
There were lots of interactive things to do and the things they loved the most was the sound booth where you speak in to a microphone and your voice was changed to be aliens calling Earth. They also loved making an alien from Plasticine.
We got back on the ferry for the 10 minute sail to Birkenhead.
By the ferry terminal was a German U Boat from WWII. To be honest we were a little disappointed with this and I was glad that it had been a 2 for 1 entrance fee. If Submarines are your thing this would possible be worth a visit.
The ferry only runs every hour and as the attraction only took 15 minutes before the kids were asking to go I thought we would walk up in to the square in Birkenhead. When we came out of the terminal there was a tram sat there. The Boy wanted to go for a ride on it and for £2.40 we all took a 8 minute ride on the tram to the transport museum.
Still with some time to spare we popped in a local cafe and had a hot chocolate to warm us up. At the ferry terminal there was an old red telephone box. Both of them had never seen one of these and we just had to pose for photos:
We then got back on the ferry to Pier Head terminal. Sadly it was still grey and very windy.
We started out Beatles experience with visiting The Beatles Story which was next to our hotel. It was reasonably priced and gave us entry to 2 exhibitions for the day plus the following day.
The second part of The Beatles story was based 5 minutes away by the Mersey Ferry Terminal. This included an exhibition of photographs and also a 4D film.
The kids loved the interactive film which we had to see twice. The first time we were on the front row and The Girl could see the screen perfectly fine as there was nobody in front. However, she was too short and missed out on the interactive parts of the film. The second time we went we sat her on a booster seat and this time the sprays of water got her in the face instead of going over her head like they did the first time. If The Boy and I were getting wet it was only fair she did!
Monday saw the next part of our Beatles adventure when we went on the magical mystery tour.
After visiting Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, George’s and Paul’s Home we drove in to Liverpool City Centre to go to the Cavern Club. The tour also drives past John & Ringo’s childhood homes, their managers house and old school but you do not get off the coach at this places.
Around Albert Dock there are a number of Museums. These include Tate Liverpool, Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool. During our visit we paid a visit to all 3 of them. I did not think the kids would like the Tate too much and after half an hour they were asking to go. I personally would have liked to spend a little more time there but to be honest I think they are a little too young to appreciate what the gallery had to offer.The common thread to The Boy’s remarks were ‘how is xxx art?’ whilst looking at for example some blocks of wood placed on the floor. On a couple of occasions I struggled to answer this question myself. Some of the modern art to me really isn’t art and I just don’t get it. I’m quite sure a lot of people would look at my scrapbooks and say the same. Art really is a personal things and what one person likes another will feel different about.
On Sunday afternoon we went to the Maritime Museum. They were holding a series of events during half term and we spent nearly 4 hours there. As 2012 was 100 years since the Titanic disaster there was a large Titanic exhibition at the museum due to the Boats links with Liverpool.
Considering we had paid to visit the two ferry attractions and spent less than an hour in total, the maritime museum was fantastic with free entry. Both had tons of questions for the staff and were genuinely interested in everything they saw.
Tuesday morning we visited the Museum of Liverpool a new attraction that only opened the year before. The museum was very interaction and there are video shows on The Beatles and Liverpool and Everton football clubs. There was also a great karaoke booth which they loved which is something I can’t say my ears enjoyed.
The kids loved the Solider display and had fun trying on various military helmets.
Apart from UK modern history and culture what did we learn? Many adventures can be had for free, it just takes a little planning to find these activities.
This post is an entry for Britmums Visit Wales #Wales4Kids Family Holiday Challenge.
Wales is the perfect place for a fun filled family break.
Living in Wales, we can vouch for this and if you want to learn more about this fabulous part of the UK go and explore the Visit Wales website or @VisitWales on Twitter.