Half Term Adventures Exploring Liverpool
Having visited London a few times previously we wanted to explore a different city for some half term adventures and settled on Liverpool. I had visited during my Uni days but didn’t really remember much about the City and certainly wasn’t looking at it from a family friendly perspective at that point.
Travelling by Train
Before our trip we decided to invest in a Friends and Family Railcard, this cost us £30 for a year. Every time it is used, you then save a third off adult fare and 60% off child fares when travelling together. This definitely made our trip cheaper than driving and parking the car.
I love travelling by train together and it always feels as though the adventure starts when you board. Our train journey was 1hour 40mins so we took plenty of snacks with us and some books and games to keepMini entertained on the way.
We also found that everywhere we went within Liverpool was easily walkable and didn’t feel the need to use any taxis to get around.
Travelodge, Liverpool Central
We got a great deal on our hotel, which only cost us £27 for a family room. The hotel was a short walk away from the train station and we were able to store our bags there before and after check in. Our room was in traditional Travelodge style and was perfectly suitable for our stay. There weren’t any on site facilities for food, however for breakfast we ate at The Delkery, which was a few minutes walk away and offered delicious, healthy options for breakfast to set us up for our day of exploring.
Mattel Play! Liverpool
On our first day after dropping the bags at the hotel, we headed to Mattel Play, Liverpool, which is situated in Albert Docks, around a 15-20 min walk from our hotel. We were able to see lots of sites on the way including the famous Liver birds and the statue of The Beatles.
Matt Play is a great place for little ones to play and have fun with Thomas the Tank, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder in three interactive play zones. You can read our full review of Mattel Play here
After our visit to Mattel Play, we decided to see what else we could find to explore whilst at Albert Docks and came across Tate, Liverpool. The Art Gallery is free to visit although there were some additional exhibitions that were chargeable.
In the foyer there were space rocket back packs that children could borrow for the duration of their visit. Inside there were items to help them explore and understand the gallery, such as a magnifying glass and queue cards asking questions about the art. Mini was very excited to put on her backpack and explore.
There is a small section of the gallery aimed at families where there are books and beanbags and a collection of tactile materials to use and explore, along with cameras that you could use to project objects onto the wall.
We explored the rest of the gallery however, there wasn’t really much that interested Mini, which is a shame. I felt that it had gotten off to such a great start with the backpack idea but the family friendly theme didn’t really follow through. The curators around the gallery didn’t appear to be interested in talking to her and I felt that some of the art was inappropriate for young children to see.
After the Tate we headed off to find Bella Italia for some dinner. We’ve eaten at Bella Italia a few times before and have always found them great for little ones, who doesn’t love pasta, pizza and a trip to the ice cream cart?
The World Museum
After a hearty breakfast at The Delkery (definitely worth a visit) we headed to The World Museum, which was only a few minutes away from our hotel. The museum is free to enter, although at the time of our trip they had an exhibition of the Terracotta Army which you could pay extra to do.
When you stepped in the entrance hall you are greeted by a dinosaur skeleton suspended from the ceiling, this definitely got Mini excited about what we may discover at the museum. As it was half term the museum was a little busy but not too crowded at all. Visitors can explore different themed exhibitions across different levels, including an aquarium, dinosaurs, ancient Egyptians, a world of bugs and space exploration.
The museum was well laid out and there was lots to see, the exhibitions were attractive and informative and there were interactive opportunities for children to get involved with. Mini enjoyed learning about how the ancient Egyptians made mummies and learning about what it feels like to be an Astronaut in space.
Our visit took around 2.5 hours in total, there is also a planetarium show for a small fee which we would have been interested in doing however the next show was a few hours away as we hadn’t booked when we arrived. We all really enjoyed our visit and would highly recommend it as a family friendly place to explore and learn.
The Museum of Liverpool
After some lunch at Wagamama, another firm Mackcracken family favourite place to eat, we headed back towards the dock area to visit The Museum of Liverpool, another free museum. As we arrived we were asked if we wanted a timed ticket to the little Liverpool area, this is an interactive play area for children. It’s free to enter but there are a limited number of tickets for each session, where little ones can explore water play or explore the interactive alphabet around the room.
After the 25 minute session had ended we set off to explore the rest of the museum, we started at the top floor and worked our way down. The museum exhibits the history and making of Liverpool through the ages. Mini enjoyed sitting in the real tram and also going inside the set of the Victorian style houses, along with outdoor toilet and sound effects.
Again we were really impressed with the museum, we spent about 2 hours there including our time at Little Liverpool however, didn’t get to do all of the floors before it was time to head home.
We made our way back to the hotel to collect our bags and had time to grab a quick coffee and babychino before the train arrived. It was lovely to sit down on the train, as we realised that we had clocked up walking 26,000 steps over the two days, no wonder Mini slept well that night.
As a family we enjoyed exploring Liverpool and were very impressed with the range of family friendly things to do, especially the two free museums. It has definitely given us confidence to explore new cities as a family together and are already planning where we can go next time…
Other places to consider
I asked some of my blogger friends to share their tips for family fun in Liverpool.
Nicola at Mummy to Dex recommends a meal at Wahaca, she said there is “a great kids menu, friendly waiting staff, high chairs and amazing, delicious, good value food.
Charlotte at Cups of Charlotte also gave another recommendation for Mattel Play.
Sinead at www.sineadlatham.com also enjoyed a visit to Tate, Liverpool. She said there were “beautiful views and it was away from the main hustle and bustle of the city but just a 10 minute walk from the city centre.
Sarah at Toby Goes Bananas also recommended a trip to The World Museum.
Laura at Toby Goes Bananas recommended a boat trip across the Mersey. We did want to do this but sadly ran out of time, it will definitely be on our list if we return again.