It’s difficult to mention Liverpool without conjuring up images of yellow submarines and strawberry fields. In short: the Beatles. Any overview that is serious about Liverpool can hardly let it be. So, yes, if you have the slightest interest in Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, Liverpool is inescapable. That being said, Liverpool is so much more than the city where the iconic rock group emerged.
Since long a main port of call for both passenger- and freight ships, Liverpool has been – and continues to be – a melting pot of influences from all over the world. It is no coincidence that the city is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
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Liverpool’s rich heritage was one of the reasons behind the appointment as “European Capital of Culture” in 2008. The city has been revitalised in recent years, with the refurbished waterfront being a good example of Liverpool’s transformation over the last 30 years or so. In the early 1980s, the unemployment rate in Liverpool was among the highest in the UK.
The picture is different now: the city seems to have regained the confidence that it once had, when it was a centre of world commerce. Nowadays, guests from all over the world travel to Liverpool in order to experience the different sides of this fascinating city: from the six areas of central Liverpool that have been granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, to football (soccer) – and, of course, music.
Founded as a borough in 1207, Liverpool is the fourth largest city in the U.K. Some 470,000 “Liverpudlians” or “Scousers” call Liverpool home.
A new cruise berth was inaugurated in 2007 at Liverpool’s well-known Pier Head – part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and situated a stone’s throw from the city centre.
- The Beatles Story. This Beatles-themed museum provides a plunge into the world of one of the world’s most well-known rock groups of all times: from the early days to the breakup of the band. Street address: Britannia Vaults, Albert Dock
- The Beatles Story is situated in The Albert Dock, which offers a variety of events, attractions and eateries. A part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Albert Dock is where you will also find the art museum Tate Liverpool, the Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum and BugWorld Experience. A new feature is the 197 feet/60 metre high Echo Wheel. The Albert Dock was revolutionary when built in 1846: it was the world’s first enclosed, non-combustible dock warehouse system. Street address: The Colonades, Albert Dock
- Liverpool’s World Heritage Site, which stretches along the waterfront from Albert Dock, through The Pier Head and up to Stanley Dock. Further, up through the historic commercial districts and the RopeWalks area to the cultural quarter. This is where you will also find the well-known St. George’s Hall. Built in neoclassical style, the impressive St. George’s Hall is partly included in the Liverpool World Heritage Site. It contains concert halls and law courts. Street address (St. George’s Hall): St George’s Place
- For a view of Liverpool from above, you might want to consider visiting Liverpool Cathedral. This Anglican cathedral is one of two cathedrals in Liverpool (the other one is Roman Catholic). The views of the city from the top of the 331 feet/100.8 meters high tower are magnificent. The church is the largest cathedral in the U.K., and the fifth largest in the world. Not only does it feature the largest pipe organ in the U.K. – the bells are the highest and heaviest (31 tons) ringing peal in the world. Street address: St James’ Mount
- The Walker Art Gallery, opened in 1877, has a fine collection of art on display, ranging from paintings to sculptures from the 14th century to the present day. Street address: William Brown Street
- The Cavern markets itself as “The most famous club in the world”, and that might just be the case. This is where the Beatles did their first gig ever. Beatles tribute nights are on the schedule. Street address: 10 Mathew Street
- If shopping is your thing, Liverpool offers choice and variety. Most shops are located near the main streets in Williamson Square, but there are other good shops as well.
- Coach tours of Liverpool’s city centre and the surrounding areas will show you the must-sees of the destination.
- Other tours focus more on the Beatles, taking in a number of landmarks relevant to the emergence of the Fab Four.
- Private tours of Liverpool by car or minivan can also be on offer.
- In addition to highlighting the beauty of the Welsh countryside, tours to north Wales can take in sights such as Conwy Castle (built in 1283), Chirck Castle (built in 1295) and the city of Chester, founded by the Romans as a castrum, or fort, in the year 79.
London, the capital of the U.K. lies 213 miles/343 kilometers southeast of Liverpool. After half the distance, or 99.7 miles/160 kilometers, you will pass the second-largest city in the U.K.: Birmingham (population: 1,020,000). Manchester, another large city (population: 430,000), is closer: 35.7 miles/57.4 kilometers.
Contributed by Andreas Lundgren
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