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The Locals List: Museum curator Katherine Lloyd shares her passion for Liverpool

Posted on June 26, 2015 by Laura

The latest in our series in which locals share their insider knowledge of destinations across the UK. In this edition, Katherine Lloyd, curator at National Museums Liverpool, talks to us about her favourite places in and around this most vibrant of City destinations.

Best places to eat and drink

There seems to be a steady stream of new restaurants springing up around Liverpool which is exciting. I usually gravitate towards Bold Street for its large range of independent restaurants and cafes but I have a few firm favourites around the city. The Baltic Bakehouse serves up an amazingly moorish UGC (Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich) - I find myself craving one most weekends! The newly-opened Indonesian street food: Pao is also located in the Baltic triangle, (open Mon-Fri). It’s cheap, fresh and the menu changes daily depending on the local produce they have sourced.

It’s hard to beat a burger at Free State Kitchen off Hope Street and I’m a frequent visitor to the Blackburn Arms on Catharine Street for their Sunday lunch. Their homemade Yorkshire puddings are quite special. 92 degrees on Hardman Street is Liverpool’s first micro roaster-come-coffee shop; the affogato is to die for! Bold Street Coffee has been serving a consistently high standard of coffee for years but if you’re after a more lavish surrounding to sip coffee in, head to the Walker Art Gallery café. If you’re on a budget, order in from Chop Chop on Fenwick Street for authentic and reasonably priced Korean takeaway. I also tend to circulate around my local area a lot; the Georgian quarter of the city. There’s no shortage of restaurants and pubs - The Belvedere, Peter Kavanagh’s and The Grapes to name a few.

Photo: 92 degrees coffee shop. Photo by Mike Snowdon

Favourite shops and markets

Utility is a favourite of mine. There are three stores across the city and I consistently buy all my birthday cards from there. You can usually find something a little different and the same goes for 69A located on Berry Street. For fresh herbs, spices and international flavours head to Mattas on Bold Street or one of the many Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown. Bold Street houses many independent shops including News from Nowhere, Liverpool’s unique and radical community bookshop. The bright lights of Liverpool ONE can cover most of your high street names but at the other end of the spectrum (and the city) is London Road – great for nick nacks, bric a brack and kebabs! Hope Street hosts the Farmers Market every third Sunday of the month and is great for fresh, local, seasonal produce.

Photo: Bold Street, Liverpool. Photo supplied by VisitLiverpool

Arts and music venues

I spend a lot of my time outside of work attending various exhibition openings around the city; from high profile openings at Tate Liverpool, to artist-led galleries such as Cactus and White Wizard. I’m mostly drawn to the cultural and artist-led activity taking place in the city such as The Royal Standard; an artist-led gallery, studios and social workspace. They work with emerging artists and established practitioners to deliver a packed programme of exhibitions and events all year round.

I always look forward to the annual art and design degree shows. It’s a chance to see the city’s upcoming artists and designers. There are several National Museums Liverpool venues across the city that are always on my radar and have put on really important and ground breaking exhibitions over the past few years. The red brick Victoria Gallery & Museum on Aston Street is often overlooked but always offers something a little different, including a fascinating display of false teeth! I’m also a keen visitor to the recently renovated Everyman on Hope Street and the Unity theatre just off Hope Street. Tickets can often be cheaper than a trip to the cinema, especially when purchased on the night of the performance! The Kazimier is a gem; it’s one of Liverpool’s iconic music venues and often combines surreal events alongside live music, performance and club nights.

Photo: The Kazimier. Photo supplied by VisitLiverpool

Event highlights

Liverpool has a constant calendar of events throughout the year to suit everyone’s needs and has hosted many huge public events around the city during the last few years. I enjoy the buzz. The whole city really seems to get involved and there’s always a great sense of pride. There are several festivals that I particularity look forward to from Homotopia - an international LGBT festival that takes place annually in November - to the Brazilian festival. Brazilica brings a wave of vibrant colour and dance to the city (and can be enjoyed from the comfort of my flat) every July, usually on my birthday for an added extra bonus. The Liverpool Biennial hits the city every two years and takes over well-known buildings around the city to host the UK’s largest international contemporary art festival. All of these events seem to get bigger and better each year and bring a steady flow of visitors to the city.

Photo: Liverpool Biennial. Photo supplied by VisitLiverpool

Things to Do

As with most cities, Liverpool can best be appreciated from above and there is no shortage of decent viewing points. St Johns Beacon and the Anglican Cathedral are among the best. Alternatively, you can enjoy spectacular views from the second floor on the Museum of Liverpool, the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral, the roof of Central Library or even from the roof of Tesco’s car park on Hanover Street! Simply wandering the city from the Cathedrals up on Hope Street, through the city centre and towards the waterfront is a pretty authentic experience. You never know what you might stumble across but I’m pretty certain that street performers will feature; Liverpool hosts an eclectic range to say the least. William Brown Street is home to World Museum and the UK’s only free Planetarium! The Titanic hotel on Stanley dock is located in a former rum warehouse. Many original features remain and you can enjoy a drink looking across to the old tobacco warehouse. Time pending, jump on a train and head to Liverpool’s stunning coastline or many parks, Crosby beach and Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ has become quite a landmark.

Photo: The Planetarium at Liverpool's World Museum. Photo supplied by National Museums Liverpool

I would certainly point any visitors to Liverpool towards (but not exclusively) the waterfront and the Pier Head. The whole area has evolved over the last few years and the area has such a strong historic link to the city. There is something there for everyone, from restaurants, bars, art galleries and museums. You can enjoy the Liverpool skyline and appreciate the range of architecture by jumping on a ferry across the River Mersey. You might even end up boarding the newly decorated Peter Blake ‘dazzle’-inspired ferry if you’re lucky!

Photo: Sir Peter Blake, Everybody Razzle Dazzle, 2015. Photo: Mark McNulty. Supplied by Visit Liverpool.

I highly recommend strolling up towards the city’s two Cathedrals located on Hope Street via Bold Street and the Chinese Arch - the largest, multiple-span arch of its kind outside of China! Keep your eyes peeled for the Chinese bakery as well. Sudley House is a beautiful venue nestled away in Mossley Hill and surrounded by peaceful and picturesque gardens, featuring the only surviving Victorian art collection in Britain that is still hanging in it’s original setting. A bit further afield, near the airport is Speke Hall; a fine example of a Tudor manor house.

Hidden gems

Liverpool is a very compact city and is packed full of art, design and has a vibrant music scene. Although very important, Liverpool has so much more to offer than The Beatles, football and bowls of scouse. Keep your eyes peeled for some of Liverpool’s many beautiful listed buildings and colourful variation of architecture. We also house a huge yet ever-growing collection of public sculpture. Venture slightly off the beaten track and you will almost certainly discover some street art.If you find yourself in India buildings or Doctor Duncan’s pub don’t forget to look up at the ceiling. The gardens of the Anglican Cathedral are also a perfect place to drop and escape the city

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Katherine Lloyd is the Assistant Curator at Seized! the UK Border Force national museum at Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Katherine is part of a curatorial team working for National Museums Liverpool, which encompasses eight galleries and museums.

Her role involves looking after objects and developing displays for Seized!, a Museum that reveals the amazing ingenuity of the Border Force in protecting us against some of today’s most organised and dangerous criminals.

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