With easy transportation links to the north and south, Liverpool offers several opportunities for day trips to the seaside, nearby cities, historic towns and hilly hikes. After spending a few days exploring one of England’s most fascinating cities, head out for one of these five incredible day trips.
Visit Southport for a classic day out at the seaside
Travel time: 47 minutes
The rich aromas of vinegar and hot sugar waft through the Southport air, while delighted screams from roller coasters echo out to sea. Situated on England’s western coast, Southport embodies what many consider a classic English seaside experience.
Central to Southport’s coastal experience is the pier – Britain's second longest. It’s stocked with crazy golf, a beautiful old Victorian canopy and shopping arcade, plus vintage arcade machines (sneak a giggle at the “Saucy Slots” – vintage automatic peep shows).
Be sure to check out the British Lawnmower Museum to indulge in the country’s love of a well-maintained garden (trust us, it’s fascinating). Nearby Pleasureland offers traditional funfair activities, such as coasters and thrill rides and games like ring toss and basketball shootouts.
How to get to Southport from Liverpool
Jump on the direct Merseyrail train from Liverpool Central Station to Southport. It takes around 47 minutes, and you get to kick back, relax, and check out the scenery as you travel. It costs about £7.55 ($9.30) for an adult Anytime Return ticket that you can buy at the station or using the Trainline app.
By car it’s approximately an hour to Southport from central Liverpool. The best car park is on the Lower Parade just by the Bliss Hotel as it tends to be quieter than the more centrally located ones. You'll also enjoy a walk by the lake as you head to the main attractions.
Head to Chester to walk your way around Roman history
Travel time: 40 minutes
Centuries of history are intertwined with modern shops and restaurants in Chester. Founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago, it’s one of the oldest walled cities in Britain, and Roman remains, Tudor-style half-timber buildings and Art Deco architecture are all within a short walk of each other.
Chester's food and drink outlets range from independent cafes like Jaunty Goat Coffee to the Michelin-starred hypha. For the perfect stroll, head to the Roman walls, which encircle the city on an easy 2-mile (3.2km) loop. Spend some time peering at Eastgate Clock (pun intended) – this is considered England’s most photographed clock after Big Ben. For a snack, head to Dinky Donuts, a “blink and you’ll miss it” snack shop hidden by the stairs leading up to the city walls beneath the clock... Or grab an ice cream from Snugbury’s on the River to eat along the River Dee.
How to get to Chester from Liverpool
To get to Chester from Liverpool, you can take the direct Merseyrail train from Liverpool Central or Lime Street. It takes about 40 minutes and costs around £8.25 ($10.16) for an Anytime Day Return ticket.
If going by car, it takes around 45 minutes, but you'll need £2 ($2.46) toll money at the ready for a trip through the Mersey Tunnel (payable both ways). You also need to budget some money for parking.
Go to Manchester for art, music and a city with football at its heart
Travel time: 1 hour
Today Manchester is known as much for its art, music and football as it is for its significance in the Industrial Revolution. With the vast array of mostly free museums, you can dive into the history of the people, place and even football without leaving the city center. Time it right and you can do almost everything in a single day.
The city's Northern Quarter is known for its food and drink scene, from the piled-high plates of vegan junk food at V-Rev diner to the rooftop terrace at 20 Stories, and vintage vibes and cocktails at Sammy’s Cocktail Bar.
Shopaholics will find plenty to browse in Manchester’s indy stores. Oklahoma and Manchester Craft and Design Centre offer quirky and artist-made products. Add a nice pop of color or a new curio to your home collection.
The '90s British game show The Crystal Maze lives on at its real-life incarnation in Manchester: teams compete to solve puzzles and overcome physical and mental challenges. Afterward, relive the experience over a drink in the backstreet arcade bar NQ64.
With the right shoes (and an umbrella), walking is a wonderful way to explore Manchester. Invisible Manchester hosts walking tours guided by people affected by homelessness. Alternatively, local guide Hayley Flynn's Skyliner tours provide an equally unique look at the city and its people.
How to get to Manchester from Liverpool
To get to Manchester take the train from Liverpool Lime Street Station direct to Manchester Piccadilly. The price ranges from £8.80 for an advance return ticket to £21.30 for an Anytime Day Return, so it is worth planning for this day out.
The car journey takes around an hour. There is plenty of parking around the city, but it can be expensive.
Visit Port Sunlight for architecture and manufacturing history
Travel time: 18 minutes
In the late 19th century, Victorian entrepreneur Lord Lever needed a spot to house the staff for his soap factory. He purchased a plot of land in Cheshire and established the model village of Port Sunlight (the name comes from their best-selling brand of detergent). Today Port Sunlight is a worthwhile day trip from Liverpool, both a quiet and relaxing village that tells the story of the local industry, while also providing plenty of tea rooms and pubs to while away an afternoon or an evening.
The village showcases an interesting range of architectural styles, many influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement and its focus on local design and materials. The Port Sunlight museum tells of the growth of the soap factory, which became a global leader and remains one of the largest manufacturers today.
How to get to Port Sunlight from Liverpool
To get to Port Sunlight, you can take the Merseyrail trail direct from Liverpool stations. Prices are around £4.35 ($5.36) for an Anytime Day Return ticket for one adult and take 18 minutes on a direct train.
If you're taking the car, it will be approximately 25 minutes. You'll need to take £4 ($4.93) for the toll in the Liverpool Tunnel, £2 ($2.46) each way. There is free parking in Port Sunlight, but it can get busy.
Take in picturesque views at Frodsham and the Cheshire Sandstone Trail
Travel time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Frodsham is a market town dating back to the 13th century. Many of today’s buildings still stand on the original plots that were drawn up in the 13th and 14th centuries. The thatched buildings, small doorways and winding side streets add to the picturesque charm of this Cheshire town.
The characterful old Fisherman’s Cottages perched atop a red sandstone outcrop far above the main road are some of the most intriguing. Fishing was once a vital trade for the town’s economy, and these cottages stood at the water’s edge. As water levels have fallen over the years, the cottages sit far from the rivers.
The town is also the starting point for the Cheshire Sandstone Trail, a 34-mile trail along the Cheshire Way. While it is far too much to do on a day trip, you can make your way up Frodsham Hill to the War Memorial for spectacular views over Cheshire and Liverpool.
End your day trip at one of the town’s many warm and welcoming old pubs such as the Ring O Bells, ideally situated for refreshments on your way up or down Frodsham Hill.
How to get to Frodsham from Liverpool
To get to Frodsham, take the train from Liverpool Lime Street Station to Frodsham. It takes 1 hour 15 minutes and the Off-Peak Day Return ticket costs £8.40 ($10.28).
You can drive from Liverpool to Frodsham, which will take around 50 minutes (or 40 on the toll road). There are many car parks in Frodsham where you pay and display the time you spend there.