A proud, noisy, vibrant place, Liverpool has the striking look of a city that has been through many changes. The people are friendly, the attractions numerous, and the history fascinating. And there’s a river and some kind of a famous band, too. So why should you go to Liverpool?
For the culture
Liverpool famously won European Capital of Culture status in 2008, and its legacy is a lasting pride in cultural adventure and regeneration of every stripe. Theatre is lively, art is etched into the pavements, and there’s even a very moving Tracey Emin in the Anglican cathedral.
For The Beatles
As one hotelier recently said to me, “It’s tempting to go up to the hardcore fans and remind them that The Beatles don’t…you know… really exist anymore". But that would be churlish: even if you have only a passing interest in the Fab Four, you can’t help but notice their hits playing enticingly from many doorways, including that of The Beatles Story.
For the shopping
The Liverpool ONE development has remodelled the streets that linked the old shopping thoroughfares to the waterside. It has big-name shops galore, alongside a cinema and some good restaurants. Of course there have been casualties, but the independent spirit lives on in Bold Street, home of the offbeat retailer.
For the parties
A night out will always be an occasion in Liverpool. Dressing down is not an option, whether it’s a trawl around the bars of Concert Square, a gig at the Arena or paying tribute to club culture at Cream. Don’t forget the Mathew Street Festival: this year’s dates are August 28-29.
For the churches
Linked by Georgian Hope Street, Liverpool’s two cathedrals are truly beautiful places. The Metropolitan cathedral, known with little reverence as “Paddy’s Wigwam", is a 1960s construction beneath which lies the astonishing Lutyens crypt. The Anglican cathedral is toweringly massive, with vast but graceful internal spaces.
For the races
Liverpool is a fevered place during any sporting event, but things reach a new pitch during the Grand National. Hotel rooms sell for silly money and the city fills up fast, but if you’re up for it - the jostling, the drinking, the screechy ladies in silly hats - it’s a party like no other.
For the history
Money from the slave trade made Liverpool what it is. The International Slavery Museum is an acknowledgement of this part of the city’s history, and one of several outstanding - and free - museums in the city and just beyond it.
For the Mersey
Liverpool’s waterfront has an emotional pull for many Scousers, as well as providing a chance to go on the famous ferry. The Albert Dock, Three Graces and Pier Head, as well as the ACC development of arena and convention centre, line the river, and the views are fabulous down here.
For the football
The city’s economy thrives on football business, and when fans both local and international flood the streets in the build-up to a big match, there’s a unique atmosphere. And perhaps the best place to be is at the match, rather than trying to do a bit of sightseeing.
For the future
Change keeps on coming in Liverpool. The £72 million Museum of Liverpool, housed in a spectacular waterfront building, is due to open in the summer. There are also some sexy new hotels being built, and Liverpool’s face will change again.