Liverpool is, of course, most famous as the home of a little band called The Beatles. While the city is still pop-music mad, far too few people know what else has been going on in the city since the swinging sixties. A World Heritage listed city, Liverpool has a unique heritage stemming from its industrial background and world-famous cultural exports, including the Liverpool FC and Everton football clubs. Only rivalled by London when it comes to museums and galleries, Liverpool is home to a marvellous collection of contemporary and classic architecture. The city is again gearing up for the another instalment of the Liverpool Biennial – a ten-week long contemporary arts festival attracting some of the world's best contemporary artists.
If any English city can rival the country's capital for tourist attractions, it’s Liverpool. Awarded the title of European Capital of Culture a few years ago, the city is home to a melange of classic attractions. Highlights include Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest of its kind in England and Beatles-related sites including Cavern Quarter and Paul McCartney and John Lennon's childhood homes. More avant-garde attractions include Albert Dock, where you can catch a glimpse of Liverpool's shipping history, and contemporary sites including the Tate Gallery. Football fans can't miss taking a tour of Liverpool FC's ground Anfield, but don't forget cross-town rival Everton, whose stadium Goodison Park is one of the oldest purpose-built grounds in the country.
Liverpool's cultural prowess extends well past music and visual art into the culinary scene too. Hope Street in the Georgian Quarter is where you'll find some of the city's best restaurants, with something to suit every palate and wallet. If you're in the mood for Cains Bitter beer-battered fish and chips, head to 60 Hope Street, or for hearty Merseyside fare check out Everyman Bistro's constantly evolving menu. Though somewhat touristy, it's hard to bypass the view at Panoramic 34. One of the UK's highest restaurants, Panorama’s food standards is just as lofty as its location.
Where to Stay
As Liverpool's popularity as a tourist destination continues to rise, so too does the city's bed count. Liverpool has a range of hotel options to suit all types of breaks. Downtown it's hard to beat the Signature Living Hotel for a unique Liverpool stay, while on a quiet side street you'll find Heywood House Hotel – one of the city's best midrange options. If you can look past the cheesy name, Hard Day's Night Hotel is as fab as the "fab four" it's themed after. Close to the Liverpool's best nightlife, Parr Street Studios is located right in the middle of the lively Ropewalks district.
For many people visiting Liverpool there's only one shopping destination and that is, of course, Liverpool One. Offering a multitude of high-profile stores as well as independent boutiques, cafes and restaurants, Liverpool One makes the perfect destination for those who are looking to make the most of their holiday budget. For something a little more Liverpool-centric, head to Made Here in the Metquarter Mall. While the mall itself might exist in the shadow of the illustrious Liverpool One, Made Here is where you will find an emporium of made-in-Liverpool gifts including art, textiles and other assorted trinkets.
Liverpool Like a Local
While tourists flock to Cavern Quarter – the reconstructed cellar club on Matthew Street where The Beatles played some of their first gigs – the place to uncover Liverpool's next generation of bands is at the Ropewalks district. Here you'll find a collection of dimly-lit pubs and effortlessly cool clubs, amongst them Zanzibar – a venue where the current crop of indie bands cut their teeth. A further selection of up-and-coming bands can be found at indie vinyl stalwarts Hairy Records on Bold Street as well as Probe Records, which recently relocated from its classic Button Street location to The Bluecoat on School Lane.