A glorious maritime history, a legendary music scene and world-class football are perhaps the things most commonly associated with the Northwest city of Liverpool. From humble beginnings, Liverpool grew to become the third largest city in England, and is now a vibrant and modern destination whose proud citizens are welcoming and friendly.
During the eighteenth century, Liverpool became one of the most important ports in Britain, and was the stop in Europe for the popular rhythm and blues music, brought over by American GIs during the Second World War. This developed into rock and roll and then into the Mersey Beat, pioneered by a certain fab four.
Since then, Liverpool has held a special place in the history of British pop culture, and is a popular pilgrimage site for fans of the band. Whether touching down at Liverpool John Lennon Airport or indulging in some retail therapy at the Cavern Walks Shopping Centre, there's no escaping the Beatles while in Liverpool, and their heritage can still be witnessed in the city's lively arts and music scene.
Liverpool also became a European city of culture in 2008, and boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, known as Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City. Running north to south along the Mersey, Liverpool has an attractive waterfront, and an urban redevelopment programme is contributing to an already impressive skyline.
Things to do in Liverpool
• Albert Dock Part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, Albert Dock is Liverpool's biggest tourist attraction. Built in the 1840s, nearly 40,000 square foot of water is encircled by cast-iron columns and large warehouses, now converted into a fine array of museums, shops, restaurants and the studios of Granada TV.
• The Beatles Story A must for fans, The Beatles Story takes you chronologically through the history of the fab four, from the first meeting of John and Paul to the break up of the band and beyond. Highlights include John Lennon's famous white piano and a 3D trip through some of their most famous songs. Combination tickets also buy you a seat on the Magical Mystery Tour, which takes you to all the city's Beatle-related landmarks, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.
• Anfield Road and Goodison Park Liverpool is home to two premiership football clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC. Located just a few minutes apart, the reds and the blues are fierce rivals and each has their fair share of die-hard fans. Tours are available at both grounds, and Anfield Road has a small museum dedicated to the most successful club in British history.
- • Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Both of Liverpool's cathedrals boast are striking both inside and out, but as the largest cathedral in Britain, the neogothic Anglican Cathedral is particularly so. The central bell is the third largest in the world, and there are impressive views over the city from the 101 metre tower.
• Liverpool Museums A city with a history as colourful as Liverpool merits a diverse range of museums. The World Museum is perhaps the city's main museum, with exhibitions on science, history and culture covering everything from dinosaurs to space rockets. Other important museums in Liverpool include:
Walker Art Gallerywww.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Museum of Liverpool Life
Tate Gallery Liverpool
National Conservation Centre
International Slavery Museum
Treat yourself to a spot of luxury at Liverpool Bed and Breakfast Roscoe House , a gorgeous boutique B&B set in the city's elegant Georgian quarter, which was once home to writer William Roscoe. The 15 beautifully appointed en-suite guest rooms are furnished with a mix of modern and period pieces, while the cosy king-size beds are dressed in soft Egyptian cotton. All rooms feature satellite TV and free WiFi, and the stylish suites boast private dining rooms and fully equipped kitchens.Book Liverpool B&B Roscoe House
Getting Around Liverpool
Liverpool has its own international airport just outside the city centre, named in 2002 in honour of native John Lennon. The main railway station is Lime St. Station, and there are good local and national connections by train and bus. You can also catch ferries to Belfast, Dublin or Douglas on the Isle of Man from Liverpool or neighbouring Birkenhead. The city itself is quite compact and can easily be explored on foot.
- • Port Sunlight Located just southwest of Liverpool on the Wirral Peninsula, Port Sunlight was built in the late 19th century to house the workers of the Lever Brothers soap factory. Charmingly picturesque, the village has its own school, pub, church and heritage centre, and is also home to the wonderful Lady Lever Art Gallery. Speke Hall Six miles south of Liverpool lies Speke Hall, a beautiful Tudor manor house surrounded by fragrant gardens and woodland. A National Trust property, the house was built over 400 years ago and offered sanctuary to Catholic priests in the 16th century, who were forbidden from conducting masses.
- • Manchester With the beats of 'Madchester' still ringing in our ears, Manchester rivals Liverpool as the music capital of Britain. The fascinating museums, world-class dining and excellent shopping are popular with visitors and locals alike, and then of course there's the city's most famous export, Manchester United Football Club, who make their home at Old Trafford.
- • Blackpool The home of the good, old-fashioned seaside holiday, there's something for everyone in Blackpool. From the bright lights of the famous illuminations to the dizzying highs and lows of the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool attracts over 10 million visitors every year.
- • The Peak District National Park Slightly further away but still less than 2 hours from Liverpool, the Peak District National Park is a beautiful region of picturesque villages, atmospheric limestone caves, historic sites and elegant stately homes. In the middle of one of England's most densely populated areas, the park is a surprising haven of peace and solitude.
For travel information about the rest of Britain, go to VisitBritain.com.
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By Eleanor Brown