- Cityscape Revitalised Victoriana
- City life Mersey beat
This stately old lady on the banks of the Mersey may have celebrated her 800th birthday, but she’s enjoying an invigorating shake-up these days…
A flattering spotlight now shines on her Victorian splendours and spruced-up docksides, beckoning visitors to 'come together, right now'. Liverpool not only lays claim to Europe’s oldest Chinatown and the UK’s largest cathedral, but also the title ‘European Capital of Culture 2008’ – the city's irrepressible cheeriness is being combined with a renaissance in art and culture not seen since the Fab Four took an unsuspecting world by storm back in the Sixties. The city once famous for its maritime prowess and musical clout has reclaimed its wharves and warehouses, transforming them into enticing café and museum districts, and fresh blood pulses through Liverpool’s grand Imperial arteries and neoclassical structures, where buzzing restaurants, boutiques and nightlife now hold sway.
Do go/Don’t go
The city is a year-round destination but the weather is best between April and September. Certain events, like the Grand National and the Mathew Street Festival draw large numbers of people to the city. If Liverpool Football Club wins the European Championship again any time soon you can expect another huge street party.
- Planes Liverpool John Lennon Airport (0870 750 8484; www.liverpooljohnlennonairport.co.uk) is about 12km south of the city centre and offers regular services to London and Europe. An express bus operates to Liverpool city centre and the Lime Street railway station.
- Boats Gerry and the Pacemakers have a lot to answer for; you can see the city from the ferry across the Mersey, or cruise the Manchester Ship Canal with Mersey Ferries (www.merseyferries.co.uk).
- Trains Intercity services run from major towns and cities into Lime Street station; contact National Rail Enquiries (0845 748 4950; www.nationalrail.co.uk) for details of services to Liverpool.
- Automobiles By motorway | you’ll approach Liverpool on the M62 | M53 or M58; the journey from London via the M6 takes between four and five hours. A car is unnecessary unless you plan to venture beyond the city itself. Liverpool is well connected by bus; the main stations are at Paradise Street and Queen Square.
- Taxis There are plenty of black cabs in Liverpool, especially in the city centre; just hail one in the street. Alternatively, try Mersey Cabs (+44 (0)151 733 3393), or get your hotel to recommend a minicab company for you.