As one of England's greatest cities and one of the country's busiest ports, Liverpool is awash with history, music, sport and wow-that's-beautiful architecture. Best of all, everything is easily accessible using public transport.
If you're staying in the heart of the city, get around under your own steam – Liverpool is endlessly walkable, cyclable and these days e-scooter-able – but for out-of-town sights and some farther-flung day trip destinations, the city's network of cheap, interconnected transport options mean you'll hardly ever need a car.
Here’s how to get around Liverpool without a fuss.
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Walking around Liverpool couldn’t be easier
If you really want to get to know a city, explore it using your own two feet. Liverpool is wonderfully compact and safe to walk around – even at night if you’re sensible.
The waterfront is an especially nice place for a stroll, with the riverside promenade stretching for miles from Pier Head and the Albert Dock down to Aigburth and beyond. In the center, you might encounter a few hills, especially if you’re venturing up Duke Street towards the picture-perfect Georgian Quarter or to the Metropolitan Cathedral atop Mount Pleasant. In general, though, the city is relatively flat and extremely pleasant to stroll around.
Use the train to travel into and around Liverpool
The train is one of the best ways to access Liverpool. It’s well-connected to a number of other major cities, including London, Manchester, and York. What’s more, you’ll usually arrive at the rather grand Liverpool Lime Street – one of the world’s very first railway stations.
Merseyrail (part of the wider Merseytravel) is Liverpool’s major train company and it runs regular services in and around the city. Despite the center’s manageable size, you might still want to hop between its four main stations if you’re on a tight schedule. Lime Street, Central, Moorfields and James Street stations are all conveniently positioned for the main attractions, with the latter just across the road from the British Music Experience and the Museum of Liverpool.
Hoping to explore one of Liverpool’s nearby beaches? The majority of them – including Crosby, Formby and New Brighton – are reachable by train. Services run regularly, too, and tickets are cheap as chips thanks to inexpensive rail passes like the Day Saver Ticket (more on that below).
Go green by taking the bus
Liverpool’s extensive network of bright-green Arriva buses is managed by Merseytravel. More than 30 routes fan out from the city’s two central bus stations: Liverpool ONE and Queen Square. There are maps, bus routes, and a journey planner on the Merseytravel website, with buses heading out as far as Speke (home to the historic Speke Hall) and West Kirby.
Locals tend to use the buses a lot because they go to parts of the city inaccessible by train. Bus travel is one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel around Liverpool and several new, hydrogen-powered buses will be on the roads by the end of 2022.
Bus 500 goes from John Lennon Airport to Liverpool city center
Arriving into the city by air? The 500 double-decker bus (£4.50) goes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to the city every 30 minutes between 4am and midnight.
Take the ferry for the best views of the Liverpool skyline
The River Mersey was once the city’s lifeline and continues to be a major source of attraction to this day. One of the nicest things to do in Liverpool – regardless of whether you want to get across the water – is to take a ferry from Pier Head to Woodside on the Wirral Peninsula.
There are several different ferries that cross the River Mersey, some of which are cheaper than others. The River Explorer Cruise is a popular pick for visitors and features informational commentary about the riverfront and its many famous buildings. Tickets cost £11 for adults and £7 for kids, and the full cruise takes just under an hour.
Want to get across to Woodside for less? The regular commuter ferry is £3.80 for an adult return and takes under 15 minutes.
Top tip: If you’ve got some time to kill before your return trip, check out Woodside Ferry Village. The modern food hall features a range of tempting independent stalls and an outdoor dining terrace with uninterrupted views of Liverpool’s skyline.
Can I get around Liverpool by bike?
Thanks to its vast waterfront promenade and numerous dedicated cycle lanes, Liverpool is an easy city to explore by bike.
Most of the key attractions, including Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Cathedral, and St George's Hall, have secure bike lockups next door or nearby. Cycling is additionally a brilliant way to access southern suburbs like Sefton Park. You can even take bikes on some ferries, giving you a great excuse to explore the Wirral coastline.
CityBike is Liverpool’s most prominent bike hire scheme, with dozens of pick-up stations scattered across the city. There is a blanket fee of just £1 to unlock your chosen bike. Pedal bikes then cost 25p per 15 minutes or £10 a day, while e-bikes are 50p per 15 minutes or £20 a day. You can also get affordable annual memberships for residents and regular visitors, with 50% off deals for students.
Zoom about the city on an e-scooter
As well as hiring a bike, you could try out Liverpool’s e-scooter rental service. Run by Voi, there are more than 400 scooters available to hire for both short and long durations. Download the app to pay and see where the nearest scooter is located.
While they can be a whole lot of fun to ride, just be wary of using e-scooters on big roads or after dark. It’s illegal to scoot on the pavements in Liverpool and you’ll also need to make sure you have at least a UK provisional driving license (or equivalent) before you hire one.
Driving in Liverpool
Driving around the city center is best avoided. That’s partly due to its confusing one-way system, but mostly because of the regular roadworks along The Strand, the main road running adjacent to Liverpool’s Waterfront. It can get busy at any time of day, not just during rush hour (typically early-mid morning and late afternoon).
Top tip: Staying in one of Liverpool’s outer neighborhoods? A car might be handy to have and you’ll likely find accommodation with free off-street or on-street parking.
Getting a taxi in Liverpool is easy
Sometimes a taxi is the most fuss-free way to get around the city, especially if you’re going from one side of Liverpool to the other at night. There is a black cab rank right outside Liverpool Lime Street station (you can also hail black cabs on the street – if their light is on, they're available for hire) or you can ring up a local taxi company such as One Call or ComCab. Uber operates across the city, too.
Trying to get home after a night out? You might have to wait for a taxi if it's a Friday or Saturday. It could be worth pre-booking one if you’re feeling particularly organized.
Accessible transportation in Liverpool
Liverpool has worked hard to make sure it offers accessible travel for all. A good chunk of the Merseytravel bus network can accommodate wheelchair users and the ferries are fully accessible too. Trains are fitted with extra-wide doors and most have dedicated spaces onboard for wheelchairs.
Transport passes in Liverpool
One of the best ways to save money in Liverpool is to choose the right Merseytravel transport pass. They have various affordable options, including the Saveway Pass that gives you unlimited travel by bus, commuter ferry and train for as little as £4.30 a day.
If you’re in the city for longer, weekly Trio Tickets – which can also be used on all three modes of transport – start at £20. There are also Day Saver Tickets exclusively for use on Merseyrail trains. These allow you to make the most of unlimited off-peak travel across the entire network for £5.60 (£2.80 for under 18s).
Note that most travel passes need to be purchased from a train station or bus station with a staffed ticket office. Day Saver Tickets can be bought online or from a ticket machine, while bus tickets can be paid for on board with cash, card or contactless payment.
Why I love walking around Liverpool
Ask a local what the best way to get around Liverpool is and they’ll likely say walking. I couldn’t agree more. The center is particularly geared towards pedestrians and there are heaps of lovely buildings to appreciate, most of which you’d never spot whizzing past in a car or on a bus.
If you can, book yourself onto a Liverpool walking tour. You’ll find options to suit every budget. Head over heels about history? Obsessed with the Beatles? Or maybe the macabre is more your thing? There’s always something to spark your imagination in Liverpool.