Liverpool won the European Capital of Culture back in 2008, and when we grab a coffee with local Amy Heritage, we find out why the city hasn’t lost its cultural spark...
So, you’ve brought me to your local favourite cafe - tell me about it.
It’s called Leaf, and it’s near the top of Bold Street. I love the high ceilings, battered old chesterfields, and miss-matched furniture – it’s got a quirky atmosphere, which suits the students that hang out here. As a venue, it’s pretty versatile – in the day it serves good food, drinks and cakes but in the evenings and on weekends it turns into a bar - hosting live music, vintage markets and club nights.
Mmm... this is good, what are we drinking?
It’s a Flowering Jasmine Arch. At the moment it looks like a green lump in a clear glass full of water, but in a few minutes it will grow and flower right before our eyes – turning into an arch of colour. I like the spectacle.
What are your favourite local dishes?
I guess ‘scouse’, which is basically a meat stew, would be Liverpool’s most iconic traditional dish. But really, everything in Liverpool today is modern and global – cuisine in the city covers everything from vegan food to Spanish tapas.
And where would you suggest I go to find these?
For vegan food, go to The Egg – which is a tiny little cafe, hidden in an attic just off Bold street. They do an amazing Tandori Mushroom dish and the building’s wooden beams, which are painted purple, always make an impression on people.
For Spanish Tapas, Lyuna is an incredibly authentic Spanish deli, which serves tapas and wine in a converted 18th century Warehouse. It’s also a great place to stock up on Manchego and Chorizo when you’re running low!
The sky is blue and the sun is shining, what’s the best thing to do on a day like today?
Take a stroll down by the docks – which are really beautiful in good weather. Pack a picnic from Lyuna and eat in the sunshine. Then, head out of the city centre and spend the afternoon in Sefton Park – a 235 acre Grade II historic park.
And if it rains?
Culture at the Walker Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool,shopping at Raiders vintage and Oxfam Books (prices are much cheaper than in London!), and film at the FACT picturehouse – they show a good mix of art house and Hollywood blockbuster, and you can take wine from the in-house bar into the screening with you.
If there’s one thing I should do while I’m here, what is it?
Probably a visit to the Playhouse, it’s my favourite thing to do when I go home. It’s a very iconic part of the city - and has been a home to the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Julie Walters. Recently, Kim Cattrall played Cleopatra in a performance there.
Give me a local tip that other tourists wouldn’t usually know...
The Utility Design gift boutique is a great place to stop for a souvenir that you’re actually likely to keep hold of when you get home. It's my favourite shop, and it's totally unique to Liverpool.