Liverpool is easily one of the best UK cities to visit on a budget. Thanks to cheap public transport, bargain accommodations and wallet-friendly food options, this city has all your basic travel needs down. 

Fill your itinerary with free museums, unticketed attractions and lots of top-notch parks, and you're bound to have a memorable, yet satisfyingly money-saving, adventure in Liverpool.

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Dine out at Liverpool’s wonderfully affordable indie restaurants 

Liverpool has one of the best independent food scenes in northern England (and arguably the entire UK). Its history as an important trading port is infused into its culinary offering, with pretty much every kind of gastronomy on the table.

Eating at a local restaurant can be a great way to save money and treat your tastebuds. Bustling Bold Street’s Bakchich has long been touted as one of the city’s best-value restaurants, with its tasty Lebanese mezze dishes starting at just £4. You’ll also find some excellent Chinese restaurants with brilliant buffet deals, plus numerous cafes where you can get a big breakfast for under £10.

Want to sample the local cuisine? Scouse stew is Liverpool’s unofficial dish, and it's hearty, filling and usually very cheap. Several places serve up the delicacy, including Maggie May’s (the old-school cafe on Bold Street) and The Welsford Bistro at Liverpool Cathedral (they even have a vegan version for £6.95).

People sitting in the grass in Chavasse Park in Liverpool, England, on a sunny day
Stroll around Liverpool's parks and compact city center © Kevin Britland / Alamy

Walk around the city as much as possible 

One of the best ways to keep your budget low in Liverpool is to walk everywhere. Thankfully, Liverpool's compact city center means getting around Liverpool on foot is easily doable.

Certain areas – such as the picturesque Georgian Quarter and the lively Cavern Quarter – are best appreciated at a more leisurely pace. The Liverpool ONE shopping area and the historic attraction-packed Liverpool Waterfront are largely pedestrianized.

Prefer to cycle? Liverpool has a great bicycle rental program run by City Bike, with prices as low as 25p for 15 minutes. 

Buy a travel pass instead of paying for individual tickets

Want to explore the wider city region or head north to the beaches along the Sefton Coast? Public transport is not expensive in Liverpool. Merseytravel, the city’s main transport company, offers some great tickets and passes that can make using the buses, trains and ferries as cheap as £4.30 per day or £20 for a week. 

Take a free or self-guided walking tour

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is on a walking tour. Liverpool has several options, with New Europe offering donation-based tours. Otherwise, set out on your own DIY tour, whether that’s around the history-steeped docks or a Beatles-themed walk that takes you all across the city.

People walking into the Tate Liverpool art gallery in England
It's free to visit Tate Liverpool's impressive collection of art © Quynh Anh Nguyen / Getty Images

Make the most of Liverpool's free museums and art galleries

Almost all of the museums in Liverpool are free, and there couldn’t be more variety. Those fascinated with the past can uncover more about the city’s history as a major trading port at the Mersey Maritime Museum or the poignant International Slavery Museum

The World Museum is stuffed with fascinating global artifacts from centuries gone by. Prefer art? Liverpool is blessed with several outstanding galleries, including the Tate Liverpool and the kid-friendly Walker Art Gallery

Most of Liverpool's museums and galleries are focused either around the Royal Albert Dock or the Knowledge Quarter (the area around Lime Street train station), both of which are easy to access on foot. 

Liverpool has plenty of cheap and quirky things to do

Learning something new in a world-class museum isn’t the only thing that comes for free in Liverpool. This friendly city is inundated with all kinds of unusual attractions, from mysterious underground tunnels to gorgeous Grade II-listed public libraries, which can be enjoyed without having to open your wallet. 

Shop around for your accommodations

While some hotels can be expensive in Liverpool, it’s still possible to find a suitable place to stay on a stricter budget. Staying right in the heart of the city or close to the waterfront puts you close to the action, but you'll find the cheapest Liverpool hotels sit on the edge of the city center and in the farther-flung suburbs.

Self-catering accommodations are another great way to save money. Many hosts will often give you a discount if you’re staying off-season or for longer than a week. Liverpool also has a handful of hostels, including a YHA at Albert Dock and the stylish Selina in the Baltic Triangle. Thanks to the city’s numerous budget hotel options though, hostel prices aren’t always that much cheaper. 

The Palm House in Sefton Park, Liverpool, on a sunny day
Laze away an afternoon soaking up the sun in Liverpool's lovely parks © Circle Creative Studio / Getty Images

Spend an afternoon outdoors

Sunny days call for an afternoon spent in one of Liverpool's many fantastic parks. Strolling around a leafy park is easily one of the best free things to do in Liverpool, and many are scattered around the city center. 

If Liverpool Cathedral is on your agenda, don’t skip wandering around the surrounding St James Mount and Gardens. The former cemetery is a peaceful spot for a picnic and even boasts a sculpture by renowned artist Tracy Emin (there’s one inside the cathedral, too). 

Falkner Street Gardens in the heart of the Georgian Quarter offers the perfect position for admiring the neighborhood’s elegant architecture. Sprawling Sefton Park, with its pretty Victorian Palm House and ornamental lake, is further away, but it's a wonderful place to while away an afternoon.

Avoid visiting in the summer months if you can

June, July and August tend to be the most popular months to visit Liverpool thanks to the city’s program of summer festivals. These events can push up the prices of accommodations and seriously narrow your choices. Soccer games might also affect the availability of accommodations, plus they make the city feel busier in general.

Planning a trip to Liverpool in summer because you’ve bagged tickets for a music gig or football game? Book your hotel or self-catering apartment well in advance or consider staying a little farther afield. You’re more likely to get free parking if you stay beyond the city center too.

Daily costs in Liverpool

  • Hostel dorm room: £30–50
  • Basic hotel room for two: £45–75
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): from £40
  • Public transport pass: £4.20 Day Saver Train ticket, £5.60 all areas Saveway transport pass
  • Pint of beer: £3–4 
  • Cup of coffee: £2.50–3.50
  • Bowl of Scouse stew: from £6.95

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