Our city guide to Liverpool

Undoubtedly one of England’s most distinct cities, Liverpool is home to a colourful character and a local population (known as Scousers) renowned for their sense of humour and unmistakeable accent (Scouse).

The city’s unique character has developed from a turbulent history; one of the largest ports in industrial England, the city boomed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as a centre for shipbuilding and the trade of cotton and tobacco with Africa and the Americas. The result was a seven mile stretch of docklands along Liverpool’s waterfront on the banks of the famous river Mersey and an influx of immigrants from around the world.

Liverpool played an important role in World War II as a western port for wartime supplies and saw further immigration as a temporary base for over a million US GIs stationed in Britain. Liverpool was one of England’s hardest hit cities during the recession of the 1980s and saw hardship and deprivation but in true Liverpool fashion has bounced back with vigour; in recent decades the city has become one of the country’s most popular visitor destinations and in 2008, Liverpool was awarded the well-deserved accolade of European City of Culture.

Liverpool is home to wealth of historic and cultural landmarks; the Albert Docks waterfront area of the city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to more listed buildings than any other city in Britain outside of London. Rejuvenated from its trading routes, the historic Albert Docks now form an unmissable part of modern Liverpool; the area is home to the Merseyside Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool Life, both of which house fascinating exhibitions detailing the city’s unique history, and the Tate Gallery which is one of only two Tate exhibitions found outside of the English capital. Also not to be missed are the boutique shopping galleries and the historic Liver buildings atop which sit the Liver-birds – symbol of the city.

A short walk away, through the modern and hugely popular Liverpool One commercial centre, you’ll find the heart of Liverpool and the bustle of a vibrant city. The only city in England to boast two cathedrals, you’ll find contrasting styles at the modern Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral and the more traditional features of the Liverpool Cathedral. Further highlights can be found at the World Museum of Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery and the historic St George’s Hall which demonstrates some of Europe’s first neoclassic architecture. Liverpool is a great sporting city, home to Britain’s most famous horse-race, the Grand National at Aintree racecourse, and not one but two top-class soccer clubs at Everton and the world-renowned Liverpool FC. By night the city is alive with a vibrant restaurant and pub scene to be found around the fashionable ropewalks area, Bold Street and Concert Square.

In addition to all of this culture however, Liverpool is possibly best known as the birthplace and home of the world’s most famous pop-band, the Beatles. As you would expect, the city is bustling with heritage sites dedicated to the fab four from the preserved childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney to the inspiration for some of their hits in the form of Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, an unassuming suburban road. Not to be missed is the stunning Beatles Story exhibition located in the Albert Dock and the Cavern Club on Matthew Street famously where the band first performed regularly. Why not take it all in on the retro-psychedelic bus of the Magical Mystery Tour?

An absolute “must” for Beatles fans, Liverpool has so much to offer besides and will be a highlight on any tour of England’s cities.

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