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GO Museums in Liverpool

Museums in Liverpool From warships and smugglers to the Beatles and Brookside, Liverpool’s rich history is exposed inside the walls of the many museums dotted around the city.

So if you’ve got a few hours to spare why not head to the museums and history centres to discover how Liverpool became one of Britain’s leading cities.

The city’s most famous exports are undoubtedly four lads named John, Ringo, George and Paul, so where better to start your tour of Liverpool than at the Beatles Story Experience [map]. Situated at the impressive Albert Dock, this museum offers a wonderful insight into the lives of the world famous Fab Four. As well as seeing John’s lenses and George’s first guitar, you can also hear the fans scream, walk down Abbey Road, relive the Mersey Beat, see Liverpool in the 60s and go aboard the Yellow Submarine.

Apart from the Beatles, Liverpool is also famous for its docklands, where around nine million emigrants began their journey to a new life in America, Canada or Australia in the 19th century. To discover what life for them was really like aboard the ships and to uncover the truth about the city’s slavery trade, then get along to the Merseyside Maritime Museum [map] at Albert Dock.

As well as the museum, which has wonderful models of the Titanic and Lusitania, visitors can also enjoy a two-hour trail around the most historically important sites of the slave trade. The tour covers places such as the Roscoe Memorial Gardens, and the renowned Rodney Street and Exchange Flags with their imposing statues and architecture.

For more of Liverpool’s maritime activities why not pay a visit to the Historic Warships museum [map] in Birkenhead, which has Britain's finest collection of fighting ships. Among the many ships on show are the HMS Plymouth and submarine HMS Onyx, which were both involved in the Falklands War. The exhibition also includes the mysterious U534, the only German submarine to be raised from the seabed after being sunk by the Allies in 1945.

When it comes to the World War II, Liverpool not only suffered in the Blitz, it also played a vital part in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Concealed under the city streets, the Western Approaches Command Centre is a former top-secret nerve centre dating from the 1940s, which has reconstructions of the Admiral’s office and Anderson Shelter. There is also a mocked-up schoolroom where you can try on a gas mask and sound the sirens.

Another place well worth a visit if you want to learn more about the wayward travellers and smugglers caught at Liverpool Docks is the HM Customs and Excise National Museum [map]. Based within the Maritime Museum, it tells the story of smugglers and duty men from the 1700s to the present day, and includes interactive exhibits where you can try and spot a suspect traveller.

If you’re more interested in learning about Liverpool’s social history then the Museum of Liverpool Life [map] is well worth a visit. The museum delves into everything from political activity to religious faiths, and the production of Ford cars to the soldiers who served in the Kings Regiment. It also celebrates aspects of popular culture, including Liverpool’s famous soap opera, Brookside.

Liverpool Museum [map], which is currently having a £35 million extension built, has one of the biggest collections in Britain, with 10,000 historical exhibits from all over the world including ancient Egyptian artefacts and Roman relics. Located on the top floor of the museum is the Planetarium, which gives visitors the chance to blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time to learn about the universe and astronomy.

To discover how experts preserve and restore everything from fine art and sculpture, to space suits and ancient archaeological treasures, visit the Conservation Centre [map]. Located in Victorian railway depot in the Whitechapel area of Liverpool, the centre has exhibits ranging from two Beatles gold discs to a mummified Egyptian crocodile.

For all you budding scientists out there, the Catalyst Museum in nearby Widnes focuses on the world of chemistry and has many hands on exhibitions for you to enjoy.

Other museums also worth checking out are the Prescott Clock Museum, where you can see the intricate watch making process, the Birkenhead Tramways Museum, where you can view historic vehicles, and the Norton Priory Museum and Gardens, which depicts life at the grand house 800 years ago.

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