You can expect a warm Scouse welcome in Liverpool, a multicultural city brimming with culture, fantastic theater and museums, creative street art, inspiring architecture and much more. But when is the best time to visit?
With ever-changing Northern weather, it can be hard to choose. Yet since there’s something going on all year round, even a little rain won’t dampen your enjoyment of a visit to this great town, where iconic structures like the Liver Building and cathedral offer reminders of the seaport city’s past.
Whether you’re into cocktail making or dancing your heart out at the renowned Creamfields Festival, 19th-century sculpture or lively sporting events, here are our recommendations for the best time to visit Liverpool, along with select highlights throughout the year.
Come in peak season (April–August) for festivals, late-night walks and warm weather
Just as the days get longer and the sun shines more often, visitors begin to roll into town, especially with the start of the bank-holiday weekends. Emerging new artists join the lineup out at Sound City, Liverpool’s number-one indie and rock festival. If you’ve a taste for the finer things in life, then the renowned Grand National horse races take place this season, with Ladies Day bringing out the best fashion styles in the city. (Even if you’re not going to the races, it’s fantastic to watch the fabulous women heading there.) With football on everyone’s minds and the sunny weather warming up the town, it’s a favorite time to visit.
Shoulder season (September–November) is perfect for a quieter visit and for enjoying museums and galleries
As the holidays come to an end and the days get cooler, late summer and early autumn are quieter months in the city. This is a beautiful time to take a stroll among the 18th- and 19th-century marble statues in the Walker Art Gallery sculpture hall, or discover the story of an amazing city at the waterfront Museum of Liverpool. Walking along the banks of the Mersey might be more blustery, but the choppy river and moody sky make for stunning photographs.
Visit in the off-peak season (December–March) for cozy coffee shops, boutique exploring, blustery walks and sunsets
As with any Northwestern city, the weather becomes a lot cooler and wetter in the autumn and winter – but don’t let this put you off. The trees shed their leaves, and shorter days mean you can enjoy the sunrise and sunset within the space of a day. It’s quite the romantic time of year for exploring some of the city’s quirkiest, most charming shops – like 69A Intandane, a townhouse filled to the brim with delightful antiques, or vintage clothing boutique Mooshy La La, just off Beatles-famous Penny Lane.
Snowy streetscapes charm in January
Post-Christmas and New Year offers make January an attractive time to visit Liverpool. If you enjoy the colder weather, you’re in luck: Liverpool is charming when it snows. Order a bowl of the chunky, meaty, local Scouse stew (Blind Scouse is the vegetarian version) and relax in the warmth of The Welsford Bistro, located within majestic Liverpool Cathedral.
What’s on: Chinese New Year celebrations at Chinatown (Europe’s first Chinese neighborhood and community developed outside of China in a European country)
February is the month for love – and deals
Valentine’s Day season is a great time to visit Liverpool. The city comes alive with hearts as well as couples’ offers (we love an offer up North!), making it an affordable if busy month of the year. Impress your Valentine with some comedy cabaret at the Supper Club at Blundell Street, or test your skills as a mixologist at a cocktail-making class at Be At One.
What’s on: Valentine’s Day
Revel with the Irish for St Patrick’s Day in March
Take shelter from the spring showers by taking in a show at the Everyman & Playhouse theaters, or soak up some music at the Philharmonic Hall. Then, toast St Patrick with a pint of Guinness at Molly Malones, where you’ll find folk music and plenty of Irish craic, or Pogue Mahone, with its crackling, roaring fire. With almost half of the people in Liverpool having Irish heritage, the city comes alive in green for the Celtic celebrations.
What’s on: St Patrick’s Day, the Marie Curie daffodils at Sefton Park
April is for hunting out music legends
Easter means that Liverpool gets busier, as a fairground usually rolls onto the docks and the kids take school holidays. As the lighter, longer and warmer days set in, this is a great month to seek out public sculptures that salute the city’s many musical legends. Bring a friend to help keep the Beatles’ lonely Eleanor Rigby on Stanley Street company, strike a pose with Billy Fury in Albert Dock or step out with the Beatles “themselves” at Pier Head. Museums and galleries in town offer family-focused events – such as the Museum of Liverpool’s fantastic Little Liverpool program, for kids under six – filling their spaces with young visitors.
What’s on: St George’s Day parade and activities, Sound City festival, the Grand National horse races, Smithdown Festival in Sefton Park
Football and finals fill the month of May
May is the month of bank holidays and football. With people arriving on weekend breaks, the city gets awfully lively at this time of year. Crowds at sports bars spill onto the streets during the Champions League and FA Cup finals. When one of the Liverpool teams makes it to the final, the city explodes with fans’ cheers and raucous chants that echo through the streets.
What’s on: May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Eid al-Fitr, Champions League Final, FA Cup Final
June is the month for live music and festival weekends
June sees the weekends filling up with festivals. From Back to the 90s to soul music, there are shows for all tastes. Drinks in the sunshine are in the cards for this month, with the bars around Concert Square coming alive with music, drinks and laughter.
Follow the rainbow for Pride celebrations in July
During this hectic month, festivals and parties are still in full swing, with children on summer break from school. You’ll find an excellent, cheerful vibe in the air, with holidaymakers and locals making the most of the free museums and events. Pride weekend takes over the city streets and free drawing workshops for budding artists take place at Bluecoat gallery.
August is the month for laid-back days on beaches or in beer gardens
Sunny summer days are a great time to enjoy the city parks, green spaces and beer gardens (Baltic Beer Garden is one of the best) that dot the city. August is a time to be outdoors, so consider taking a trip over the water to the Wirral to visit the beaches. (On the ferry across the Mersey, you can hum along to the Jerry Marsden song of the same name.)
Food, drink and music fill the September days
As the trees turn golden and the kids go back to school, Liverpool quiets down a little. Attention turns to delicious things, including a few wee drams at the city’s annual whisky jamboree.
What’s on: Liverpool Whisky Festival
Golden trees and garden walks beckon in October
With temperatures dropping and the rain rolling in, October is a month for enjoying the great indoors in Liverpool. Yet with the city packed with new student arrivals living it up in the city center, this is an also excellent time to head farther afield and enjoy the changing colors of the trees in St James Mount and Gardens, or jump on the Merseyrail to enjoy the Palm House and a lakeside wander at Sefton Park.
What’s on: Freshers’ Week, Utopia hip-hop festival, Rum & Reggae Festival
Cozy up next to a roaring pub fire in November
November is all about long, cozy evenings in warm and welcoming traditional Liverpool pubs. Settle in at the ornate Crown Hotel, or cute local favorite The Globe, with its memorably sloping floor. November is also Armistice Day, where we remember those fallen in conflict. Each year, a beautiful ceremony takes place by St George’s Hall.
What’s on: Armistice Day remembrances, winter market in Sefton Palm House, Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival, One Big Christmas Street Party
December is for Christmas markets and mulled wine
Christmas is within sight – and Liverpool comes aglow with lights, as the scent of gluhwein and bratwurst sausages wafts around the square in front of St George’s Hall. Outdoor Christamas markets, festive shopping and carol services at the Metropolitan Cathedral make December a magical time to visit.
What’s on: Liverpool Gin Festival, Christmas light switch-on, Christmas markets, carol concerts