10 times you do not need to tip on a cruise

10 times you do not need to tip on a cruise

Like it or not, tipping culture is alive and well on cruise ships.

When you book a cruise, you also agree to tip the crew. Most cruise lines add a daily gratuity or service charge to your fare, either prepaid in advance of your sailing or once you are on board. They add auto-gratuities to many onboard purchases. Independently, you’re also expected to tip tour guides, porters and the room service delivery person.

Once you’re in this tipping mindset, you might be tempted to hand out extra cash every time you interact with a crew member. Thankfully, that’s not necessary. Here are 10 times you do not need to tip on your cruise (though you might want to anyway).

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When sailing luxury lines

Luxury cruise lines — such as Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises — include crew gratuities in the cruise fare. You are not expected to tip on these sailings at all.

However, slipping your butler or favorite waiter or bartender some cash is welcomed; good service should be rewarded. You might also want to express your thanks by donating to the crew fund, which provides treats and entertainment options to the hard-working crew.

When you buy an all-inclusive package

Certain upscale lines sell inclusion packages that cover drinks, Wi-Fi and, yes, crew tips. Book one of these packages on lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Windstar Cruises, and you won’t have to pay an automatic gratuity charge. Do not feel that you need to give additional tips to your waiter or room steward.

When imbibing

When you order a drink in a bar, restaurant or lounge on a cruise ship, it’s typical for the cruise line to include a 15% to 20% gratuity on your bill, so that $6 beer may actually cost you $7.20. If you have a drinks package, tips are included.

Additional tipping is not required, even if there’s a blank line for an “additional gratuity” on your check. That said, some cruisers swear they get much better service — as in, your name and drink remembered and maybe even some complimentary tastes — if they slip the bartender 20 bucks or more at the beginning of the cruise.

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It comes down to personal choice. Rewarding your favorite server at the end of the cruise is also a nice thing to do, but not mandatory at all.

Related: Best drinks to order with a beverage package


At the spa and beauty salon

Onboard spas and salons also include a tip of about 18% on top of the cost of your soothing massage or perfect blowout. Again, you’ll find a space on your receipt to add a tip if you want to go beyond that, but it’s not expected.

Many cruisers have added an extra gratuity, not realizing one was already added to the treatment price, and effectively tipped double on an already expensive splurge. Don’t fall into that trap.

At specialty restaurants

Gratuities are typically included in the extra $10 to $100 per person you’ll pay for the steakhouse, sushi bar and other specialty restaurants on board your ship. A tip may be included in the set fee for the restaurant or automatically added at the end of your meal.

You are not expected to add more if tipping is already included. However, if the waiter sneaked you an extra order of escargot or otherwise made the meal a truly memorable experience, you may want to add a few bucks to your bill.

Related: The best meals you can have at sea

When crew members handle special requests

During your cruise, you may have special requests, such as extra towels or pillows. You may need help opening your cabin safe or need someone to fix a wonky shower or toilet. Tips are not expected for these services. Handling these requests is part of the basic duties of the ship’s room stewards (covered by the ship’s auto-gratuity) and maintenance staff.


At the kids club or youth program

Most kids programming is complimentary, and the youth staff does not expect gratuities. If your child falls in love with a particular counselor, it’s OK to slip them a cash bonus at the end of the cruise to say thanks. A heartfelt note and drawing by your child is also a lovely way to express appreciation.

Related: Best cruise lines for families

When you see a show

You are not expected to tip the magician doing sleight of hand, the costumed Disney character posing with your child, the musicians performing on the pool deck or the guy running the trivia contests. The onboard entertainers are paid to make your cruise more enjoyable, and they expect no additional compensation beyond your applause.

One exception is the piano bar player, who may put out a bowl for song requests and tips. (The bigger the tip, the sooner he’ll play your song.)

When you purchase an ice cream or coffee

When you order an ice cream cone or gelato at the ice cream parlor or cappuccino at the coffee shop, you won’t see a tip jar as you would on land. No tipping is required – though you may find an automatic gratuity added to your check, just as in the bars.


When you meet an officer

It is considered an insult to try and tip the captain, officers and ship’s senior team, including the cruise director, hotel director and executive chef. These men and women receive good salaries commensurate with their years of training. Besides, slipping the captain a $20 bill won’t get you to the Bahamas any faster.

Bottom line

Cruise ship crew members work hard at the goal of delivering your dream vacation. They spend months at a time away from their homelands and are often supporting families on the other side of the world. A few bucks might not break your bank but can make a significant difference in their lives.

Even if you dislike tipping culture, always pay the automatically added tips because it makes a difference to the onboard staff. Consider rewarding your favorite crew member or the most helpful staff with a little something extra – but don’t feel that you need to constantly hand out cash to everyone you meet on board.

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This country has been voted the world’s happiest for the sixth year in a row

This country has been voted the world’s happiest for the sixth year in a row

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the sixth year in a row.

The annual World Happiness Report, now in its th year, is produced each spring by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, based on data from the Gallup World Poll.

Locals in more than 150 countries around the world are asked to rank their experiences as residents, while team members behind the study assess each nation’s GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption levels.

Low crime rates, an abundance of natural beauty, an emphasis on community and co-operation, universal health care, and few people living in poverty are all thought to contribute to the Finnish nation’s happiness.

Nordic nations dominated the top spots, with Denmark and Iceland following Finland as second and third happiest countries respectively, while Sweden and Norway scooped the sixth and seventh spots.

Lithuania is the only new country in the top 20, up more than 30 places since 2017.

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, with average life evaluations more than five points lower (on a scale running from 0 to 10) than in the 10 happiest countries.

Commenting on the report, economist and academic Jeffrey D. Sachs said: “The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being.

The happiness movement shows that well-being is not a ‘soft’ and ‘vague’ idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship.

“We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – in our societies.”

Capitalising on their six-year run as the world’s happiest country, tourism officials in Finland recently launched a “happiness masterclass” to help people connect to their “inner Finn”.

Business Finland’s senior director, Heli Jimenez, said that the masterclass aims to help people harness happiness.

“A question we often get is: ‘How are you so happy?’” she says.

“We believe Finnish happiness stems from a close relationship with nature and our down-to-earth lifestyle: it’s not some mystical state, but a skill that can be learned and shared.

“We want to help people find and master that Finnish state of mind. We’ve chosen the best coaches, one of the most breath-taking resorts in Finland, and a time in the early summer amid the beautiful Finnish nature for our masterclass.”

The world’s happiest countries 2023

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Israel
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Switzerland
  9. Luxembourg
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Canada
  14. Ireland
  15. United States
  16. Germany
  17. Belgium
  18. Czech Republic
  19. United Kingdom
  20. Lithuania

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An arty weekend in … Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway

An arty weekend in … Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway

Make the trip for …
This harbour town on the River Dee is known as the artists’ town, thanks to the creative types who lived and worked there from the 1880s – and the artistic community that is still active today. Fiona Lee’s Kirkcudbright Art Tours are a great way to discover the compact town on foot (£12, from April).

She takes visitors to Broughton House & Garden, the Edwardian home and studio of the Glasgow Boy EA Hornel; Kirkcudbright Galleries, with work by the Faed family, Charles Oppenheimer and Samuel Peploe; and the Tolbooth Art Centre, which has an exhibition of Jessie M King’s work. Fiona may also introduce them to some of the contemporary artists who have studios and homes in the town, including printmaker Laura Boswell and landscape artist Richard Brinley.

Now what?

A family looking at artworks in Drumlanrig Castle
Drumlanrig Castle is home to a host of treasures. Photograph: Visit Scotland/Euan Myles

Drumlanrig Castle , AKA the Pink Palace, is well worth the hour’s drive north from Kirkcudbright, not least for its collection of paintings, furniture, silver, tapestries and porcelain. Its masterpiece is Rembrandt’s An Old Woman Reading, which now has pride of place above the fireplace in its own sitting room (£18/£9, opens 8 April).

When to go
More than 100 artists open their doors for the annual Art & Crafts Trail (4-7 August). There are plenty of summer festivities, from a children’s festival to a jazz weekend, culminating in the Kirkcudbright Tattoo and fireworks display (26 August).

Ewan McClure, artist in residence at Broughton House and Gardens
Ewan McClure, artist in residence at Broughton House and Gardens. Photograph: Keith Kirk

Souvenir shopping
There are lots of galleries and gift shops in Kirkcudbright, and bookworms shouldn’t miss Wigtown, 40 minutes away by car. Scotland’s national book town has a dozen independent and secondhand bookshops and hosts an annual book festival (22 September-1 October).

Get outside
The nearby Balcary Bay Hotel is the starting point for a circular walk to Rascarrel, across cliffs, beach, forest and farmland (five miles in total, with two shorter options). Keep an eye out for red squirrels near the start.

Drinks and dinner
The Masonic Arms, which dates back to 1790, stocks no fewer than 260 gins, including Sky Garden gin made by the Dark Art Distillery in Kirkcudbright. The cosy Selkirk Arms – where Robert Burns once stayed – serves local produce such as Kirkcudbright scallops, Galloway venison, vegan haggis and Cream o’ Galloway ice-cream.

Kirkcudbright, with Ross Isle in the background
Kirkcudbright, with Ross Isle in the background. Photograph: Allan Wright/Alamy

The Selkirk is also the pick of places to stay, with 16 rooms (doubles from £99.75). It now has competition from the Garret, which reopened last month after a refurbishment, and has eight Georgian-style rooms (doubles from £120 B&B).

Getting there
The nearest railway stations are at Dumfries, Lockerbie and Carlisle, after which it is useful to hire a car.

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The 8 best destinations to visit in May

The 8 best destinations to visit in May

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

With warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere, many popular destinations come to life in May. Flowers bloom and landscapes are filled with vibrant colors and fresh greenery.

Also, the thinner crowds during the shoulder season provide a hassle-free travel experience, with shorter lines and less traffic. Additionally, many hotels and airlines offer discounted rates during May, allowing travelers to explore destinations that may be out of reach during the high season.

May allows beach enthusiasts to soak up the sun and sand without the intense summer heat. The beaches are also less crowded, making it the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities like swimming, snorkeling and surfing. This month marks celebrations and festivals worldwide, too, such as the Kentucky Derby, so travelers can immerse themselves in new cultures and explore local customs and traditions.

So, where should you travel? Here are the best destinations to visit in May.



Nestled in the heart of the South, Mississippi beckons visitors with its rich history and vibrant cultural offerings. With more than a thousand structures on the National Register of Historic Places, this storied land offers a window into the past.

In May, the air is filled with the melodies of the Mudbug Music Festival, a delightful celebration of all things country that promises an unforgettable experience for all who attend. From mouth-watering crawfish to ice-cold brews, every aspect of this beloved event is designed to tantalize the senses and enchant guests.

The city of Natchez is home to many architectural treasures, from pre-Civil War mansions to the state’s oldest Jewish congregation at Temple B’Nai Israel.

With the birthplace of Elvis Presley just a short drive away, the city of Tupelo offers a unique blend of art, music and history, highlighted by the ever-popular Gumtree Art & Wine Festival. This beloved tradition never fails to captivate.

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Whether you are an avid history buff or simply looking for a charming getaway, Mississippi is worth exploring.

TPG tip: Stay at Hotel Tupelo, the city’s first boutique hotel, which opened in February 2022. Or, for easy access to Natchez, book a stay at TownePlace Suites by Marriott Vidalia Riverfront for $122 or 11,500 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Louisville, Kentucky


May is one of the best times to visit Louisville, as the 149th annual Kentucky Derby falls on May 6. During this year’s Derby Week, Champions Day will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown win. A special state-of-the-art exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum will also mark the celebration.

There are many more reasons Louisville is a great place to visit in May. The weather is usually sunny and warm, making it a perfect time to explore the city’s many outdoor attractions, such as the Louisville Waterfront Park and Cherokee Park. Check out the popular Wild Lights lantern festival at the Louisville Zoo. It’s the region’s largest lantern festival and takes place from Thursday to Sunday through May 21.

May is also a great time to experience the city’s culinary scene, which includes everything from traditional Southern cuisine to innovative farm-to-table restaurants.

Visitors can also tour the city’s bourbon distilleries and sample some of the world’s best whiskeys. Other popular attractions in Louisville include the Muhammad Ali Center, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Frazier History Museum.

TPG tip: In the hip NuLu neighborhood, Hotel Genevieve is set to open May 1 — just in time for the derby. Or, book a stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Louisville Downtown for $157 or 47,000 Hilton Honors points per night.



Love the British royal family? Visit London in May.

The Coronation of His Majesty The King will take place May 6 at Westminster Abbey. This will be the first time in more than a century that a coronation ceremony will be on a weekend. Visitors can witness this historic event and be part of the excitement as the city comes alive with festivities.

May in London also brings a range of cultural events, such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show — one of the world’s most prestigious horticultural shows. Also, some of the city’s popular galleries and museum open late and occasionally feature free evening exhibitions and events are free. The streets are also filled with food festivals, music events and markets that showcase the city’s diverse culture.

London’s parks are in full bloom, and visitors can enjoy a picnic or a walk in the warm weather. From the grandeur of Buckingham Palace to the iconic London Eye, there is something for everyone to enjoy in London in May.

TPG tip: For royal fans looking to experience this historic moment, Rosewood London is the ideal home base. Rates start from $873 or 53,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night.

Related: The complete guide to flying to London on points and miles

Cheyenne, Wyoming


Cheyenne in May is a sure bet for history and train lovers. The city celebrates its unique history as the nation’s railroad capital with Depot Days.

This two-day event occurs in the heart of the historic Cheyenne Depot Museum, the last grand railroad station on the transcontinental route. Visitors can enjoy train displays and train rides, and listen to speakers throughout the museum. One of the main attractions is the Big Boy 4004, the world’s largest steam locomotive, on display at Holiday Park.

During your visit, explore the historic Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, featuring exhibits on western culture and history. The Cowgirls of the West Museum and the Wyoming State Museum are also worth a stop.

TPG tip: Book a stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites Cheyenne Southwest/Downtown Area and enjoy a free breakfast. Rates start from $109 or 22,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Beverly Hills, California


May is an exciting time to visit this iconic California city, especially for arts and culture enthusiasts. The Beverly Hills Art Show will celebrate its 50th anniversary May 20 and 21 and will feature 325 artists displaying their work in various mediums, including painting, sculpture and photography. In addition to art, visitors can enjoy wine and beer gardens, kid-friendly activities, gourmet food trucks and community exhibits — all free.

Modernism Week, a popular event in Palm Springs, is also set to appear in Beverly Hills with “MADE in Beverly Hills.” This will feature private tours of modernist architecture sites across 21 events at venues such as the Beverly Hills Hotel and Greystone Mansion. Visitors can also enjoy new dining options and extensive renovations at top hotels.

Beverly Hills is launching a series of urban walks designed to help visitors explore the city dubbed “Happy Trails.” Get your steps in and soak up the spring sunshine as the maps guide you across trails from “Caviar & Bubbly” to “Red Carpet Ready.”

TPG tip: Consider five-star accommodations like the Beverly Wilshire (for about $925 or 71,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night) and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills (for about $727 or 54,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night).

Phu Quoc, Vietnam


Phu Quoc island sits off the coast of Vietnam, and it’s a water wonderland that boasts famous white sand beaches — earning it the nickname “Pearl Island.”

In May, it’ll be hot on the island, so you’ll no doubt want to cool off in the turquoise ocean. With a vibrant ecosystem of ancient coral reefs teeming with life, Phu Quoc’s warm waters offer abundant snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in local culture with a nighttime adventure in squid fishing using traditional bamboo rods and bait.

For foodies, Phu Quoc is renowned for its fish sauce — a fermented delicacy you can sample at local markets or explore further at a fish sauce factory.

TPG tip: Regent Phu Quoc opened in May 2022 as IHG Hotels & Resorts’ first resort in South East Asia. Under its Regent Hotels & Resorts brand, it’s an all-suites-and-villas oasis. It’s available for around $384 or 50,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.



May is a great time to visit Utah, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. The weather is mild to warm, and the crowds are smaller than in summer. This means it’ll be easier to navigate hikes and reserve campsites at the state’s stunning national parks, such as Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon.

If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, hike the otherworldly slot canyons of Peek-a-boo Canyon or ride ATVs at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park at sunset.

The region’s natural beauty is on full display in May, making it a prime season for anyone seeking epic adventures and unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors.

TPG tip: Hampton Inn Kanab is a great jumping-off point to all your southern Utah adventures. Rates start from $151 or 40,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Related: The 20 national parks every traveler needs to see at least once



Bermuda is an ideal place to visit in May due to the lovely weather. Average temperatures fall in the mid-70s, with lower humidity than in the summer. The island offers numerous outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, snorkeling and exploring hidden natural gems like caves and cliffs.

May also marks the start of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts – a three-week event showcasing local and international artists in dance, music and theater.

The festival is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Bermuda’s vibrant cultural scene and experience the unique mix of African, British and Caribbean influences that make the island’s culture unique.

Additionally, with JetBlue’s new daily service from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Bermuda is more accessible than ever for a quick getaway.

TPG tip: Stay at one of the island’s newest properties, The St. Regis Bermuda Resort, from $685 or 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

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15 Top Pubs in Liverpool: Best Places to Drink and Socialize

15 Top Pubs in Liverpool: Best Places to Drink and Socialize

Liverpool is considered the UK’s capital of culture thanks to its rich history, the important birth of the Beatles, and its two world-famous football clubs. There are lots of things to do in and around the city and enjoying a pint is certainly one of them (speaking from experience!).

Find out about some of the best pubs in Liverpool below:

With so many fun pubs to be found in Liverpool, it’s no surprise that it’s an excellent destination for a night out. From the famous Cavern pub and club where the Beatles started out to trendy tap rooms, rustic inns, and places to watch the footy, there’s something for everyone in this trendy and friendly city.

Whenever I’m in town I always hit up some of the excellent bars and pubs dotted around the city. As someone who appreciates live music, I love that I never have to look far to find some to enjoy whilst sipping on a pint.

In this Liverpool pub guide, I’ll let you in on the best spots around town for real ale, live music, good food, and best atmosphere.

Best Pubs in Liverpool

Quick Look: Best Pubs in Liverpool

After drinking my way around Liverpool on countless occasions over the years, I’ve compiled this list of my favorite pubs in the city based on the atmosphere, quality of the food and drinks, service, location, my personal opinion, and customer reviews (so that it’s not just based solely on my opinion).

1. The Philarmonic: Top Pub in Liverpool Overall

The stylish Philarmonic is one of Liverpool’s most famous pubs not only due to its excellent beers, service, and central location but for its quirky design, including a rather garish gent’s toilets.

Known locally as “the Phil“, the pub dates back to 1900 and is named for its proximity to the concert hall opposite. This is definitely one of the best pubs in Liverpool and I like to pop in for a pint and a bite to eat whenever I’m close by (the grilled sea bass is amazing, and the Sunday roasts are pretty decent too).

A dish with traditional beef roast with gravy

This is a great all-around pub and dining room; perfect for a laid-back lunch or dinner. The Philarmonic also plays a selection of sports throughout the year from the Six Nations rugby to championship football, so if you’re after a sports fix while imbibing, the Phil has you covered.

The pub is located just a short walk from Ropewalks, the Baltic Triangle, and the city center.

The Philarmonic Information

Address: 36 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BX
Phone: +44 (0)151 707 2837
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 11 am-12 am, Fri-Sat, 11 am-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Grilled sea bass, Sunday roast, homemade pies
Average Cost: £3-£6 per pint, £7 per cocktail, £10-£20 per main
Website: www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk

2. BrewDog Liverpool

BrewDog is one of my favorite beers, (their Punk IPA in particular), so hitting the BrewDog taproom in trendy Ropewalks is a must for me whenever I’m in town. With an excellent selection of guest ales and craft beers on tap and pub classics such as burgers, wings, and salads to satisfy any hunger cravings, this is the perfect place for a fun evening with friends.

From Monday to Wednesday between 12 pm and 3 pm they offer two-for-one on their juicy burgers which is a great lunchtime option and an opportunity to save a few quid too. Choose from beef, pork and brie, buffalo chicken, or vegan burgers, and be sure to book online in advance to take advantage of the deal.

BrewDog also serves a fantastic bottomless brunch until 4 pm every Saturday and Sunday which includes unlimited Punk IPA or Prosecco with a brunch meal for just £30 (though I warn you it can be dangerous…).

BrewDog Liverpool Information

Address: Manolis Yard, 8 Colquitt Street, Liverpool, L1 4DE
Phone: +44 (0)151 707 6559
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Thu, 12 pm-12 am, Fri-Sat, 10 am-11 pm, Su
Must-Try Items: Punk IPA, Hazy Jane IPA, burgers
Average Cost: £5-£6 per pint, £8 per cocktail, £12.50-£14.95 per burgers
Website: www.brewdog.com

3. The Cavern Pub

The Cavern Pub is located opposite the famous Cavern Club, (where bands like the Beatles started out), and is one of the best pubs in Liverpool.

It features live music every night, rock memorabilia on the walls, and is the place to come if you want to see some of the best up-and-coming acts in the city before they make it big. The great thing about the Cavern Pub is that it’s free to enter; leaving you more money to spend on drinks!

customers are in line to get orders at the Cavern Club

The atmosphere here is always excellent no matter what day of the week and no trip to Liverpool is complete without stopping by to catch one of the bands performing.

Cavern Pub Information

Address: 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool, L2 6RE
Phone: +44 (0)151 236 4041
Operating Hours: 12 pm-12 am, Mon-Thu, 12 pm-2 am, Fri-Sun
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £8 per cocktail
Website: www.cavernclub.com

4. Peter Kavanagh’s

Named after its somewhat eccentric former owner (he was a painter, inventor, and even a city councilor), Peter Kavanagh’s is one of the most famous pubs in Liverpool thanks to its quirky interior. The inside walls are adorned with interesting trinkets, paintings, and photographs making it one of the more homely and rustic pubs in the city to check out.

There’s live music some nights, a pub quiz, and an excellent selection of ales on tap earning it a place on CAMRAs historic pubs list (CAMRA is the British Campaign for Real Ale). The pub is located in the south of the city a short walk from Ropewalks and Baltic Triangle.

Peter Kavanagh’s Information

Address: 2-6 Egerton Street, Liverpool, L8 7LY
Phone: +44 (0)151 709 3443
Operating Hours: 12 pm-12 am, Sun-Fri, 12 pm-12:30 am, Sat
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £6 per cocktail

5. The Baltic Fleet

This historic Liverpool pub is housed in a gorgeous two-story listed building across the road from the famous Albert Docks (which is one of the best places to stay in Liverpool). It’s a proper traditional pub with a nautical theme and some excellent real ales on tap and a hearty menu.

There’s a log burner inside for cold, winter evenings and a sun terrace overlooking the docks for pleasant summer afternoons. The Baltic Fleet also offers a mean range of gin cocktails that are well worth trying out.

The busy area of the famous Albert Docks in Liverpool

This is one of the most famous Liverpool pubs and is a firm favorite after a walk around the docks.

The Baltic Fleet Information

Address: 33A Wapping, Liverpool, L1 8DQ
Phone: +44 (0)151 709 3116
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11:30 pm, Sun-Thu, 12 pm-12:30 am, Sat-Sun
Must-Try Items: Top Rope Black Order IPA, Live and Let Lime, Lime Lager, Man-Ghoooul Cider
Average Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £8 per cocktail
Website: balticfleet.co.uk

6. The North Western

It would be rude to have a list of the best Liverpool pubs and not include at least one Wetherspoons (‘Spoons as it’s widely known). This chain is famed around the UK for its ultra-cheap drinks, filling pub grub, and no-frills venues. The North Western is located in the city center just by Lime Street Station.

I make sure to visit a Wetherspoons in every new town I head to in the UK as it’s always a safe bet for a hearty meal and a cheap pint, and the North Western doesn’t disappoint in either regard. This is one of the best pubs in Liverpool city center and is perfect for meeting friends before a night on the town.

The average price of a pint here is £1.79 which you won’t find anywhere else, and large meals can be had for under a tenner (£10). If you’re looking to have a good night out without breaking the bank, then be sure to hit up the North Western.

The North Western Information

Address: 7 Lime Street, Liverpool, L1 1RJ
Phone: +44 (0)151 709 6825
Operating Hours: 7 am-12 am, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Punk IPA, all-day breakfast, curry club
Average Cost: £0.99-£4 per pint, £5 per cocktail, £6-£12 per meal
Website: www.jdwetherspoon.com

7. The Egremenot Ferry

If you’re looking for pubs in Liverpool with beer gardens, then jump on the Mersey Ferry across the river to the Egremont Ferry (aka the Ferry) for stunning views across the Mersey Estuary and Liverpool skyline. With a great selection of cask ales, an extensive food menu, and outdoor seating, this is a great place for a pint.

The pub has been serving holidaymakers and locals alike visiting Egremont beach for over 100 years. There’s live music some nights but it’s the outstanding views that keep visitors, myself included, coming back time and again, (and the food is consistently good too).

A classic steak and ale pie

The Ferry is something of a gastropub specializing in home-cooked and locally sourced produce from pub classics to worldwide cuisines and a good selection for vegans and vegetarians.

Think fish and chips, scampi, Thai curries, fajitas, and more. One thing’s for sure, whatever your appetite, there’s something to please your tastebuds here.

The Egremont Ferry Information

Address: 48 Tobin Street, Wallasey, CH44 8DF
Phone: +44 (0)151 637 1674
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Cod and chips, steak and ale pie, Cantonese fillet steak
Average Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £8 per cocktail, £10-£20 per main
Website: theferrypub.co.uk

8. The Shipping Forecast

I used to fall asleep listening to the Shipping Forecast on the BBC World Service and it always brings back comforting memories, so it’s no surprise that a pub of the same name is one of my favorites for a few drinks and a spot of food. This homely pub is located in Ropewalks and is a short walk from all the major sights.

The Shipping Forecast has a great range of beers, wines, and cocktails to suit any occasion and a huge range of food to choose from such as gourmet burgers and pizzas, tapas, grills, sandwiches, paninis, and plenty more. Prices are very reasonable for such a great location and mains range from £8 to £15.

You can hear live music on the weekends and the pub shows the latest games from the Six Nations to the Premiere League and other top sporting events; making it one of the best pubs in Liverpool to watch football in convivial surroundings.

The Shiping Forecast Information

Address: 15 Slater Street, Liverpool, L1 4BW
Phone: +44 (0)151 709 6901
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11:30 pm, Mon-Thu, 12 pm-2:30 am, Fri-Sat, 12 pm-11 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: Gammon steak, katsu chicken stack, American hot pizza
Average Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £7 per cocktail, $8-£15 per main
Website: theshippingforecastliverpool.com

9. The Caledonia

The Caledonia is a real traditional pub at the heart of the local community. The menu is 100% vegan, there’s a library and book exchange in place, and live music every night of the week. This is one of the best pubs in Liverpool if you’re looking to get a flavor for that famous scouse hospitality.

The Cali, as it’s affectionately known, is the place to go for grassroots music from jazz to Latin folk and rock’n’roll to bluegrass and many other unique styles.

a must-try korean bbq

(Vegan) food is served from Thursday to Sunday between 12 pm and 9 pm and it’s one of the best real ale pubs in Liverpool for sure – don’t just take my word for it.

The Caledonia Information

Address: 22 Caledonia Street, Liverpool, L7 7DX
Phone: +44 (0)151 306 2496
Operating Hours: 12 pm-12 am, Sun-Thu, 12 pm-1 am, Fri-Sat
Must-Try Items: Korean bbq, katsu burger, CVK classic
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £7 per cocktail, £9-£13 per main
Website: thecaledonialiverpool.com

10. The Albert

The Albert is located on Lark Lane, one of Liverpool’s boutique streets that’s home to lots of independent shops and eateries. It’s a traditional Victorian pub located inside a gorgeous listed building with a wooden bar and a nice outdoor terrace for summer’s days.

The pub hosts live entertainment nights, music, karaoke, pub quizzes, and more so it’s a great place if you’re looking for some fun entertainment. The Albert has a decent selection of house cocktails and there’s an extensive food menu serving up a selection of pies and pizzas.

The Albert Information

Address: 66-68 Lark Lane, Liverpool, L17 8UU
Phone: +44 (0)151 726 9119
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Sun-Thu, 12 pm-12 am, Fri-Sat
Must-Try Items: American IPA, Gordon’s premium pink, moo and blue pie,
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £10 per cocktail, £10-£12 per main

11. Ye Hole in Ye Wall

Ye Hole in Ye Wall is thought to be the oldest pub in Liverpool and dates back to 1726 when during the height of the city’s time, it served as an important maritime base. It was the last bar in Liverpool that only allowed men to enter up until 1976 when women were finally allowed to enjoy a pint with their menfolk.

The pub is housed in a charming whitewashed building with black beams and is a traditional homely pub with live music on weekends and a great selection of real ales, wines, and cocktails.

baguettes with pepperoni, ham, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber

Be sure to try one of the traditional pies or homemade baguettes which are perfect for lunch.

Ye Hole in Ye Wall Information

Address: 4 Hackins Hey, Liverpool, L2 2AW
Phone: +44 (0)151 227 3809
Operating Hours: 12 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: cask ales, pies, baguettes
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £7 per cocktail, £6 per appetizer

12. The Ship and Mitre

This former coach house was turned into a pub in 1935 and is listed as a CAMRA pub of excellence, so if you’re looking for an authentic public house and top real ales in the heart of Liverpool, this is the place to go. The kitchen is run by the talented One Pan Band who serve up “pub classics with stylish elegance”.

This is the place to come for a proper had-pulled pint the way it should be done. The Ship and Mitre host real ale festivals throughout the year and even started its own Flagship Brewery in 2021, so you know you’ll be getting the real deal. As a lover of real ales, this is one of the top spots in Liverpool for a pint and one I recommend adding to your list of must-visits.

The Ship and Mitre Information

Address: 133 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2JH
Phone: +44 (0)151 236 0859
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Sun-Thu, 11 am-12 pm, Fri-Sat
Must-Try Items: Cask ales, fish and chips, burgers
Average Cost: £3-£5 per pint, £7 per cocktail, £8-£12 per appetizer
Website: theshipandmitre.com

13. The Globe

This charming 19th Century pub is located in the heart of the city and is one of the nicest pubs in Liverpool for a relaxed evening in beautiful surroundings. Inside this cozy pub, you’ll find original wood paneling, stained glass windows, and old newspaper cuttings adorning the walls.

This is a great little pub within walking distance of all the major Liverpool attractions and areas like Ropewalks, Baltic Triangle, and Albert Docks.

Colorful cocktails on the bar table in restaurant.

If you’re looking for a traditional Liverpool boozer, then this is the place to go.

The Globe Information

Address: 17 Cases Street, Liverpool, L1 1HW
Phone: +44 (0)151 707 0067
Operating Hours: 11 am-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 12 pm-10:30 pm, Sun
Must-Try Items: cask ales and cocktails
Average Cost: £3-£4 per pint, £7 per cocktail

14. The Pilgrim

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve ended up in Dublin’s Temple Bar when arriving at the white and green Pilgrim pub on the aptly named Pilgrim Street.

This lovely little pub is popular with students and locals, (so you know the prices will be cheap), and is the perfect place to experience some genuine Liverpudlian hospitality.

The Pilgrim Information

Address: 34 Pilgrim Street, Liverpool, L1 9HB
Phone: +44 (0)151 709 2302
Operating Hours: 1 pm-11 pm, Mon-Sat, 1 pm-10:30 pm, Sun
Average Cost: £3-£4 per pint, £8 per cocktail

15. Peppercat Sports

Sports bars aren’t as much of a thing in the UK as they are in the States but more and more are popping up to cater to an ever-growing market. Peppercat Sports on Bold Street in the city center is one of the best pubs in Liverpool to watch football and other sporting events on the many HD televisions throughout the bar.

This is a great place to come for a bite to eat and a few drinks and always has a lively atmosphere (though even more so on match days).

A huge chicken burger

With a menu of pub classics, light bites, and snacks to keep your belly full while you root for your team (it better be Liverpool), this is an excellent place to come for the latest sports action.

Peppercat Sports Information

Address: 108 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY
Operating Hours: 12 pm-12 am, Mon-Sun
Must-Try Items: Korean hot dog, Peppercats chicken burger, lo pan fries
Average Cost: £4-£6 per pint, £8 per cocktail, £6-£12 per main
Website: peppercatsports.co.uk

Liverpool Pubs: FAQs

Here are answers to popular questions about the best pubs in Liverpool:

What are the best pubs in Liverpool?

The best pubs in Liverpool include the Cavern Pub and Caledonia for music, The Baltic Fleet and Kavanagh’s for rustic charm, and the Philarmonic for location, beers, and service.

Do you tip in Liverpool?

You don’t tip for drinks in Liverpool (or anywhere in the UK for that matter) but a tip of 10-15% for a good meal and service is standard.

What neighborhood has the best pubs in Liverpool?

The city center, Ropewalks, Baltic Triangle, and Albert Dock have some of the best pubs in Liverpool. This is where you can find great venues such as The Albert, BrewDog, The Philarmonic, The Baltic Fleet, and others.

How much is an average pint in Liverpool?

Liverpool is one of the cheapest places in the UK for a beer with an average cost of just £3 per pint. You’ll find the cheapest drinks in the many Wetherspoon pubs in the city (like the North Western) with pints from as little as £0.99.

What is the most famous pub in Liverpool?

The Philarmonic is arguably the most famous pub in Liverpool thanks to its beautiful interior dating back over 100 years.

What is the oldest pub in Liverpool?

The oldest pub in Liverpool is thought to be Ye Hole in Ye Wall which dates back to 1726. It was also the last pub in the city to allow women to enter as late as 1976.

What is the main bar street in Liverpool?

There isn’t a specific bar street in Liverpool as pubs and bars are found on most streets. Ropewalks and the Baltic Triangle are two neighborhoods with lots of great bars.

Final Thoughts

Liverpool is an absolute gem of a place for a night out with so many wonderful pubs across the city. Whether you fancy a taproom experience with craft beers or a homely pub with a roaring fire, lively city center establishments, or live music, you won’t be disappointed with Liverpool’s great selection.

I always look forward to hitting the Liverpool pubs and bars and hope you’ll enjoy these great venues as much as I do. Be sure to pop into the historic Baltic fleet, quirky Kavanagh’s, and The Cavern Pub to really get a feel for this friendly city and drink in the history as well as the ales.

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Passport Office strike: How will five-week walkout affect your travel plans?

Passport Office strike: How will five-week walkout affect your travel plans?

More than one million passport applications could be stuck in a bottleneck when HM Passport Office staff strike for five weeks from the start of April.

In a “significant escalation” of a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union says more than 1,000 members will walk out at all seven offices in England, Wales and Scotland from 3 April to 5 May. Staff at the Passport Office in Belfast may join the strike later.

The union says the walkout will have a “significant impact” on the delivery of passports as the summer approaches.

What will it mean for holidaymakers? These are the key questions and answers.

Was this a surprise?

Not entirely. On Thursday 16 March, there was industrial action at a number of HM Passport Offices, with walk-outs hitting routine work and urgent appointments. The PCS union said production of passports stopped at the Newport office, while interviews for urgent passports were cancelled at Glasgow and Durham.

In pursuit of a better pay deal, the union is seeking to make its civil service strikes as effective and high profile as as possible – and with more people planning to travel abroad than at any time since Covid, holidaymakers are obvious targets.

What effect will the strike have?

Since the surge in passport applications a year ago, which led to some very long delays and people missing holidays, the issuing process has been working quite smoothly.

HM Passport Office still insists travellers allow 10 weeks for passport applications, even if they are straightforward renewals. But according to the National Audit Office, by last autumn the average processing time for passports was 12 days for straightforward applications and 29 days for more complex cases. But demand is steadily rising as the Easter holidays approach, with summer set to be the busiest since 2019.

At peak times – including April – HM Passport Office can receive 250,000 applications per week. During the strike, I calculate that more than one million passport applications are likely. Some of them will be urgent cases, but it may be that the Fast Track option is closed down so available effort can be deployed on processing “normal” applications.

A Home Office spokesperson said:   “We are disappointed with the union’s decision to strike.

“We are working to manage the impact of strike action, whilst ensuring we can continue to deliver vital services to the public, with comprehensive contingency plans in place.

“There are currently no plans to change our guidance which states that it takes up to ten weeks to get a passport.”

What should travellers do?

Panic about the prospect of long waits appears already to have triggered a surge of unnecessary applications and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That also happened after Brexit when the UK Government put out inaccurate information on passport expiry rules for travellers to the European Union.

The actual tests for British passport holders to the EU and wider Schengen area – including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland – are as follows:

  • Passport issued less than 10 years before day of arrival in EU.
  • Passport expiry date at least three months from intended date of departure from EU.

For example, someone planning an Easter holiday in Spain who has a passport issued on 1 May 2013 that expires on 1 February 2024 should have no problem.

For many other countries, including the US and Australia, your passport is valid up to the date of expiry. Some nations, though, require six months’ validity.

But I’ve been told passports expire after 10 years and that everywhere requires six months’ validt?

The unnecessary anxiety that has been created by sources that make nonsense claims about passport validity is alarming. Parts of the travel industry and the media make two false assertions about the validity of British passports.

The first is that the issue date is what counts worldwide, and that passports expire after 10 years. This is nonsense. The date of issue is irrelevant in any context except for adult passports to the EU/Schengen Area – where the rule is that you cannot enter the European Union with a passport that was issued more than 10 years ago.

The second falsehood is that popular destinations such as the US and Australia require six months’ validity on passports.

Searching online for “Foreign Office” and the name of the country you plan to visit will reveal the exact entry rules for your destination.

Last year, with serious delays in passport processing, MPs came to the rescue. Will that happen this time?

No. During the problems a year ago, HM Passport Office operated a “hotline” and had a special desk for MPs’ passport requests for constituents with a pressing need to travel. But the concerns were not related to industrial action, and I do not expect a similar response this time.

If I miss a trip because I can’t get a passport in time, can I claim on travel insurance?

No, you are expected to have all your documents in order. It is possible that some travel companies may be lenient if the passport bottleneck becomes really serious.

What will this for confidence in the travel industry?

After the mass cancellations and airport meltdowns of a year ago, even the threat of a passport strike will undermine confidence in going abroad still further.

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