Liverpool City Guide: the biggest, best, Beatles-est events
For fans of live music, sports, and theatre and comedy, Liverpool has it all.
The port city, located on the west coast of Northern England, is best known as the birthplace of the Beatles — though these days it has plenty of the country’s biggest and best events, eight days a week.
With a metropolitan population of 2.24 million people known as Liverpudlians, or colloquially as ‘Scousers’ (named for the scouse stew historically eaten in the region), Liverpool boasts two Premier League football clubs as well as major festivals, venues and hosts touring theatre shows. So excited that you can’t let it be? That’s okay — we’d rather help you be there!
Keep reading for our handy events guide, with the top tickets to the biggest events in Liverpool.
What’s happening in Liverpool in 2019
- Sports: Netball World Cup, Grand National, Liverpool International Horse Show
- Concerts: Bon Jovi, P!NK, Little Mix
- Festivals: Feis Festival Liverpool, Fusion Festival, Creamfields — see top UK festivals
- Theatre and Comedy: Jack Whitehall, Strictly Come Dancing - The Professionals 2019, Tim Minchin
Things to know about Liverpool
Liverpool has historically been recognised as a major trading port, known for its shipbuilding docks and manufacturing industry throughout the 1800s and the first half of 1900s. The city became a major transport hub during the British Empire, both to move slaves and subsequently welcome immigrants from Ireland, Africa and the West Indies. This rich cultural diversity continues to benefit Liverpool today.
As manufacturing went into decline in the 1960s, the city became the centre of a rising youth culture including a thriving poetry scene and the Merseybeat genre of pop music, named for the Mersey River that runs through Liverpool. This reached peak volume in the 1960s with the global success of local band The Beatles. Through the 1970s and 1980s, while Liverpool’s economy sank and unemployment rose, Liverpool FC was a source of positivity by becoming the most successful club in the country.
Going into the 21st Century, the city has reinvented itself as a sports and cultural hub; it was named a European Capital of Culture in 2008 and a UNESCO City of Music in 2015. It is now the UK’s fifth most-visited metropolis, with 839,000 foreign tourists in 2017 attracted by its rich industrial and musical history as well as a thriving local events scene.
Liverpool's largest annual events
- International Beatleweek
- Pride in Liverpool
- Liverpool International Horse Show
- Grand National (horse race)
- Creamfields Festival
- River Festival Liverpool
- Liverpool Food and Drink Festival
- Liverpool Sound City Festival
- Africa Oyé Festival
- Mathew Street Festival
- Brazilica Festival
Sports in Liverpool
Liverpool is home to two of the most celebrated Premier League football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC, and is the most successful city in England in terms of wins. Between the two teams, they have scored 27 English First Division titles, 12 FA Cup titles, 10 League Cup titles, 5 European Cup titles, 1 European Cup Winners' Cup title, 3 UEFA Cup titles and 24 FA Charity Shields.
Anfield Stadium is home to Liverpool FC whilst Everton’s ground is Goodison Park; the two stadiums are about 0.6 miles apart and matches between them are known as the Merseyside Derby. Both are located adjacent to the Anfield neighbourhood where there are plenty of local pubs and chippies to grab a quick bite before a match. Beyond football, Scousers also love their boxing, golf and horse racing.
Boxing is a huge hit in Liverpool, with around 22 amateur clubs in the city that have trained legendary fighters like Tony Bellew, John Conteh, Shea Neary, Wally Thom, Andy Holligan, Alan Rudkin, Paul Hodkinson, Ernie Roderick and David Price. If being by the ring is your thing, you can usually catch a match at Liverpool Arena and Liverpool Olympia.
Scousers also proudly boast one of the UK’s leading golf courses, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, which has hosted the British Open 12 times as well as the Amateur Championship, Ladies’ British Amateur Championship, Women’s British Open, Curtis Cup and the upcoming 2019 Walker Cup. The Aintree Racecourse also holds one of the most famous events in horse racing, the Grand National.
Music and festivals in Liverpool
Liverpool was recognised by the Guinness World Records as the World Capital City of Pop Music, with musicians from the city having produced 56 number-one singles — more than anywhere else. Global megastars play in the city’s Liverpool Arena whilst on tour alongside a thriving local live performance scene.
The music of the Beatles during the 1960s’ Merseybeat era put Liverpool on the world’s music map and led to the British Invasion. Other Scousers who made it big during the era include Billy J Kramer, Cilla Black and The Searchers. Beatles’ fans can visit local landmarks from their favourite songs and the band’s history including Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and the Cavern Club, and should be there for the International Beatleweek festival.
Since the days of Beat Music, times and tunes have changed. Today, Liverpool is a diverse, distinctive selection of the UK best music festivals including Creamfields, Liverpool Sound City, Brazilian bash Brazilica and Africa Oyé, which is the largest celebration of live African music in the country.
Liverpool’s live music scene is largely centred around the Ropewalks neighbourhood, a bohemian, bustling quarter packed with shopping, restaurants, arts, culture and venues. Want to be there? Among the Ropewalk’s best live-music venues are East Village Arts Club, the Kazimier and Sound Food and Drink.
Theatre and comedy shows in Liverpool
While Liverpool is best known for its music and sports offerings, fans of the performing arts will not be disappointed either. The city hosts an annual Liverpool Shakespeare Festival and is packed with a variety of theatres that stage touring shows and local productions. Amongst them are the Liverpool Empire Theatre, which is the largest two-tier auditorium in the UK and is purported to be haunted by two ghosts.
Among the other leading performing arts venues in Liverpool are the Empire, Everyman, Liverpool Playhouse, Neptune, Royal Court and Unity theatres. Major productions that will be touring through the city in 2019 include Wannabe — The Spice Girls Show, Kinky Boots, Girl on the Train, Les Miserables, Madagascar, Sweeney Todd, Annie, Romeo and Juliet, War Horse, Yellow Brick Road and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.