After discovering the delights of Scotland in the first part of the Ultimate UK Break, find out about the next chapter of Louise’s adventure where she visits Dublin, Liverpool & Chester…
Day 3, 4 & 5: Dublin
Date: Tues 24 Jul 13 – Thurs 26th July 13
Surprisingly fresh after a 5am start, we arrived in Dublin 20 minutes early courtesy of Ryanair’s speedy flights ready to start our Irish adventure! We jumped on the Airlink bus, which stopped at Smithfield just minutes from the Generator Hostel. This funky hostel is ideal for anyone backpacking or conscious of budget & I’d definitely stay again. There’s lockers for €3.80 a day, which fit 3 backpacks, a bar area with pool tables and late night snacks are available.
We spent 3 full days in Dublin and I could spend hours reciting everything we did, however with so much to see and history to uncover, you really have to venture out and discover your own Dublin!
My highlights & top tips:
1. Invest in a Dublin Pass and make sure you plan your itinerary and the best route to get around the night before! That way, you can visit the likes of the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, the Zoo, Kilmainham Gaol, Castle, Dublina and Trinity College in one go! Use the free Dublin Pass booklet to check the times of the tours and closing times! The pass also offers discounts on restaurants – my favourites: the Boxtyhouse in Temple Bar and an evening of food, folklore and legends at the Brazen Head.
2. Buy a city sightseeing bus pass to help you get your bearings. It costs €18 but the tickets are valid for two full days so you really get your money’s worth, whether it’s taking in the sights or using it to simply get around.
3. Arrive early at the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin, and enquire which room the live band is playing. Pick out a good seat next to the band and I guarantee you’ll have a great night drinking the famous stout and listening to the fiddles and Irish songs of old long into the evening.
4. No visit to Dublin would be complete without taking in the atmosphere of Temple Bar, but make sure you venture away from here and discover the pubs and eateries further afield as you’ll often find deals on food and cheaper drinks
5. Make sure you have your camera at the ready! You can take a lot of pictures on the city sightseeing tour bus but you have to be quick!
6. Sample the famous Irish Beef Stew at the O’Sheas Merchant Temple Bar
Day 6: Liverpool & Chester
Thus-Fri, 25-26 Jul 13
After arriving just before midnight on the 25th, we luckily caught the last shuttle bus from Liverpool John Lennon Airport through to Liverpool city centre. The Hatters Hostel Liverpool was ideal to rest our heads for one night, but it wouldn’t have suited us for more than a night, as it’s quite popular with stag groups particularly leading on weekends.
We took a stroll down to the Albert Docks and visited the Maritime Museum to learn more about Liverpool’s local history and discovered the quirky independent shops before enjoying an afternoon meal and wine on Revolution’s alfresco dining area overlooking the Albert Docks. The Revolution Mezze was a welcoming surprise after a mix up with the food!
After taking in the atmosphere, we set out on the tourist trail to the doorsteps of the Beatles Story. Here, you can walk through the history of one of the iconic British bands with an audio guide included in the entrance fee. The museum has even re-created the Cavern Club, where the band started out. After 4 attempts at dressing up as the Beatles at the end of the tour and getting a picture taken, we gave it up as a bad job! The pictures aren’t too pricy but you ideally need just two people in the photos!
If you have time make sure you head out to the real Cavern Club which pays homage to the band. Whilst there are live performances (mainly from tribute acts) throughout the day, this club feels like a living day museum and gives you a great feel of what it must have been like back when the Beatles performed their first gig in February 1961. The walls of the tunnels are also covered with pictures of a host of celebrities that have performed, including the Kinks and the Who.
After overdosing on Beatle mania, we ventured back to the train station and headed for Chester, our final stop for the evening.
Top Tip: the Hatters Hostel offers discounted tickets for Liverpool City Sightseeing Bus Tour.
The Bunkroom in Chester was just minutes from the train station on Brook Street (no need for a taxi) and is opposite a great little pub, the Kash Taprooms, with a large outdoor seating area – perfect for us as we caught the best of the unusual British sunny weather! The Bunkroom also offers comfortable beds, free Wi-Fi and a laundry area. Whilst it’s about a 10 minute walk from the centre, it does mean you get to venture a little further out and discover some great pubs, shops and eateries along the way, particularly the Oddfellows Arms down by the Canal side.
Stay tuned for the third and final part of Louise’s Ultimate UK Break coming soon…