It has been a Liverpool icon for more than a century. Dominating the skyline through decades of change and witness to both the city’s triumphs and its tragedies.
Now, one of Liverpool’s old favourites has become its newest visitor attraction.
The Royal Liver Building – the one that’s topped by the famous Liver Birds, Bella and Bertie – has just opened as RLB 360 (rlb360.com).
It offers the chance to get under the skin of the building, the tallest in Europe when it opened in 1911, starting in the basement and going right up to the roof.
Along the way there’s the clock room, with three of the massive clock faces visible and the only sound being the metronomic ticking of the workings that have faultlessly kept the time, year in, year out.
But it’s the roof that really takes the breath away – and not just because of the 100-plus steps you still have to take after the lift.
The views down on to the river and into the city are magnificent.
You have a bird’s-eye view of history, not least the offices of the neighbouring White Star Line, in front of which a crowd gathered to hear the tragic news of Titanic’s sinking.
Having had an aerial look at the Mersey, it was just a short walk to catch the ferry across it.
The 50-minute round-trip takes in Seacombe and Woodside on the other bank and it’s brilliant for getting photos of the Liver Building and the other two Graces, the Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings.
Liverpool is a fantastically walkable city and much of what you’ll want to see is within easy striking distance of the river.
Head for the magnificently restored Albert Docks, just minutes away.
Here you’ll find two fabulous, but very different, museums, cheek by jowl.
The Tate has some of the city’s best art, while the neighbouring Maritime Museum tells of its seagoing past. Currently that includes fascinating looks at the slave trade, the Lusitania and the Titanic.
You always want a handy base on a city break, and our hotel couldn’t have been better placed.
The Pullman is super-smart as well as being super-handy.
It’s on the river bank, five minutes’ walk from Albert Docks and right beside the Exhibition Centre and the M&S Bank Arena.
There couldn’t have been a nicer start to the day than pulling back the curtains to take in the riverside panorama.
The food’s pretty special, too, with a reasonably-priced Marco Pierre White restaurant on the elegant and airy ground floor.
Suitably set up for the day by a hearty breakfast, another of the city’s highlights beckoned.
Like the Royal Liver Building, the cathedral is hard to miss. Well, it is the highest in the UK. After two lifts and 108 stairs you find yourself 500 feet above the Mersey, so it’s a great spot for familiarising yourself with the city’s layout and seeing what you want to do next.
In our case, that meant a walk back down to Albert Docks for another must-see museum.
It’s the Beatles Story, which recounts the life and times of Liverpool’s famous musical sons, The Fab Four.
The recreation of the Cavern Club is remarkable, and it really brings home just how small – and apparently sweaty – the venue was where John, Paul, George and Ringo started their musical legacy.
Suitably inspired, we jumped into the car for a look at some of the real-life locations of note.
While there are guided tours, it is really easy to do yourself, with both Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes, Strawberry Field and Penny Lane within minutes of each other.
The city is just about as famous for its football as its music and Liverpool FC helped put it on the European stage once more by winning the Champions League in May.
So Anfield was our final stop.
The excellent stadium tour takes you from the top of the newest stand to the plush dressing rooms where fans can be photographed beside their heroes’ shirts.
Then it’s down the tunnel and out pitch-side to the dugouts where the seats are so plush you wonder if the players would ever want to leave them!
P.S. The Albert Docks is ideal for a drink or a spot or lunch or dinner, with lots of lovely restaurants, cafes and bars. Sitting outside, if it’s nice, is hard to beat.
Pullman Liverpool has rooms from £75 B&B, To book visit pullmanliverpool.com.
All visitor information at visitliverpool.com