Want to do something a little different while you’re staying in Liverpool? Look no further. We tried out an alternative walking tour with Seecret Tours Liverpool, a local company who specialise in taking the more curious visitor on a journey through the lesser known spaces of the city. This is the tour for you if you are an alternative traveller, one who likes to get ‘under the skin’ of a place and truly appreciate the local culture.
Our guide Nico was a master storyteller and brims with local knowledge. Nico will even teach you some Scouse lingo, so you can confidently order a ‘bevvie’ post-tour. As an added bonus, he’ll send you a Seecret city guide which features places to eat and drink carefully selected by him. Now that’s what we’d call ‘boss!’
Most of the tour itinerary is kept secret (the clue is in the name!) so that visitors can be delighted by the unexpected gems they find. We’ve had permission to tell you about a few of the highlights, so here’s a flavour of what you can expect:
The Sailor's Gate
We met at the ‘Sailors gate’ in Liverpool One, which has been beautifully restored and can be found next to John Lewis on Paradise Street. The gate is steeped in history as it’s the route through which the sailors passed to enter the city. They would pay two shillings to enter and gain access to the bars and ‘late night establishments’ after a long period at sea. It now stands as a glorious reminder of Liverpool’s rich docking past.
We walked into the ‘Ropewalks’ area next. Nico shared many stories with us about how the Ropewalks was given its name and the characters who founded the area. We won’t ruin the surprise, but it makes for a great story!
This area is jam packed with street art these days, which is an aspect that Nico is passionate about sharing. Liverpool is now third in the UK for its street art offer, after London and Bristol. Anyone who doubts the artistic credentials of street art should take a stroll around this area, which bursts with colour and creativity. The highlight for us was seeing the Cranio piece by Wolstenholme Square (pictured). Can you see anything out of place with this piece?
Each and every piece tells its own story, open to interpretation by the viewer. Nico shared some great insights into the backgrounds of the individual painters and even encouraged us to grab some paint from Zap Graffiti Arts and paint on one of the legally designated walls (but only if we felt we could do better than the previous artist in line with ‘street’ rules!)
We walked over to Bold Street, which is just on the edge of the Ropewalks area and is known locally as the ‘independent mecca.’ This is definitely a great place to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping, just like a local would. Just off Bold Street on Wood Street you can also find FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), which is currently exhibiting part of the Liverpool Biennial 2016, so well worth further exploration to wander round the gallery or take in a film.
We ended on Renshaw Street where you’ll find some of the most eclectic retailers including 69A; an antiques and curios shop which could rival any collection of Liverpool’s history anywhere on earth. It’s an Aladdin’s cave, owned by Nico’s mate Trevor and presided over by Murdoch (his ginger cat!)
Book yourself an alternative tour
There’s so much to explore in Liverpool off the beaten track. This tour took us around 2 hours to complete on foot, with lots of rest breaks. You can either take a walk around the Ropewalks, Baltic Triangle or Georgian Quarter yourself, or book in with one of these alternative tour providers:
Seecret Tours, the subject of this blog, focuses on the alternative sights of the Ropewalks and Bold Street areas of the city centre. Tours run Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and last for around 2 hours.
Try Shiverpool historic ghost walks for a walking tour with a difference, if you’d like to experience the local ghost stories! These tours happen after-dark on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and blend folklore, history, theatre and fact.
Theatre on foot: Actor led walking tours offer interactive and immersive tours taking you through 800 years of history. A unique 80 minute experience with great reviews! Extra tours run throughout summer and bank holidays, check the website for details.
If cycling is your thing, try Liverpool cycle tours limited. The fee includes hire of a bicycle and safety gear and will take in some of the sights you can’t see from a taxi, bus or car. Most of the tours take up to 3 hours but they go at a leisurely pace! They offer tours most days, dependent on demand.
For a larger selection of tours, visit our sightseeing and tours page.
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