For anyone planning a trip to Britain on vacation this year, the chances are London is top of the list of destinations. And why not? It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, has more attractions and activities on offer than anyone could ever cram into a two-week trip, and is hosting the international extravaganza that is the Olympic Games this summer.
But for something a little different, or somewhere which provides a little bit more bang for the buck, Liverpool is certainly worth consideration. The city is well served by its international airport, while Liverpool hotels are significantly cheaper than those in London, while still maintaining the same levels of choice.
Situated on England’s north-west coast, Liverpool floundered on the contraction of the ship-building industry in the mid-20th century, but has now been revitalised as a thriving cultural hotspot. Such is the transformation it has undergone, Liverpool was named the European City of Culture for 2008. The port around which Liverpool grew may not be the industrial force it once was, but it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the importance it played as a trade centre, and is surrounded by the largest collection of Grade-I listed buildings anywhere in the UK. The city also contains two exquisite cathedrals and the unique St Luke’s Church, which was partly destroyed by the German Luftwaffe in World War II and has been left as a poignant reminder of the Liverpool Blitz of May 1941.
Liverpool is also home to a number of hidden parks and gardens, including Sefton Park, a beautifully-preserved open space of land in the heart of the city. On the park’s outskirts is Lark Lane, a popular local haunt containing flea and farmers’ markets, tattoo parlours, funky bars and good-value restaurants.
Scousers, as the locals are known, have developed a reputation for shopping ’til they drop, such is the high concentration of top stores in the city. While ultra-chic boutiques have filled the city’s bohemian streets and elegant Victorian arcades, the exclusive Metquarter brings together high-street retailers and top designers into one shopper’s paradise. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also the famous Cavern Walks, featuring the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Cricket.
Speaking of the Cavern, it would be remiss to write about Liverpool and not mention the city’s rich musical history. At the heart of Cavern Walks is the Cavern Club, the small music venue where The Beatles made their name. While still a functioning music venue, the place is now something of a shrine to the Fab Four and has become a Mecca for fans of Beatlemania from all over the world. From Gerry and the Pacemakers and Frankie Vaughan, to Echo & the Bunnymen and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Liverpool’s impact on the world music scene is undeniable.
Added to all this, the people of Liverpool are known for being some of the friendliest and funniest you will find anywhere in Britain, making the city a must-see destination for all Anglophiles.