Radio City Tower (also known as St John’s Beacon) is an observation tower the provides panoramic views of Liverpool and the surrounding country with views as far afield as the Lake District and Snowdonia in Wales.
The 138m (452 ft)-high tower was built in 1969 and it is the second-tallest building in Liverpool (the tallest if you count the 10m (32 ft)-high antenna on the roof). The tower was refurbished in 1999 and it is now home to a radio station (using two levels at the top of the structure) as well as an observation deck.
What to see at Radio City Tower (St John’s Beacon)
Although the tower is around the same height as a 40-storey building, the viewing platform is 120m (394 ft) above the ground. This is equivalent to standing on the 38th storey of a high-rise office building.
Because it is not too tall, it is close enough to the ground that you can clearly see the main sights in the city centre. However, it is high enough that you can see well beyond central Liverpool including as far north as Blackpool and the Lake District and south to Cheshire and Snowdonia in Wales.
There is information on the viewing deck that indicates points of interest so you have an idea of what you are looking at.
Despite not really being that high, it is somewhat of a nerve-wracking experience as it is a skinny structure with a massive knob at the top and it can be an unpleasant experience if you’re visiting when there are high winds.
Because there is also a radio station at the top of the tower, you can also see into the studio and watch live radio broadcasts.
Visiting Radio City Tower (St John’s Beacon)
Radio City Tower is located right in the heart of the city centre and it is only a two-minute walk to Liverpool Central station.
The observation deck at St John’s Beacon is open every day but it closes at 5pm so you can’t see the view at night unless you visit during winter when it gets dark much earlier.
It is 558 stairs to the top but the two lifts will whisk you to the observation deck level in just 30 seconds.
The tower is fully wheelchair accessible.
Unlike many other observation towers elsewhere, the tower does not have a bar or cafe. As the tower also has to accommodate a radio station there is simply not enough room for visitor facilities such as a cafe or restaurant. However, there is a vending machine and its location in the centre of Liverpool means that there are plenty of places to eat and drink nearby.
Other things to see nearby include the Bluecoat, the Cavern Club, the Magical Beatles Museum, St George’s Hall, the World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery and the Liverpool Central Library, which are all around a five-minute walk from the tower.
Although you can stay as long as you like, after half an hour or so you have seen pretty much all that you can see.