Liverpool is a vibrant, modern cosmopolitan city on the banks of the River Mersey, famous for its restored waterfront, modern musical roots and rich culture.

The Liver Building

The Royal Liver Building © TAB

Liverpool is the fourth largest city in the United Kingdom and with 7 miles of docks, it is the second largest port after London. The city originates from a small 1st century fishing settlement on the north bank of the Mersey. In 1207 King John granted "Livpul" a charter to help promote the development its natural port. Its modern expansion began in the late 17th and 18th centuries, with the West Indies sugar trade and the lucrative Caribbean slave trade.

The historic Albert Dock, built in 1846 to service sailing ships, was abandoned when larger deep water docks were built further down river. The docks have been extensively restored in recent years and are now home to a variety of fascinating attractions, including The Beatles Story, HM Customs & Excise Museum, Tate Liverpool and the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Plus a range of specialist shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.

Three landmarks dominate Liverpool's Pier Head (now a World Heritage site), next to Albert Dock: the Cunard Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Royal Liver Building. On each of the Royal Liver Building's twin towers perches a legendary Liver-bird, looking out over the city it symbolises. A stone memorial located on the end of Pier Head commemorates the engine-room staff of the Titanic, and other brave engineers lost at sea since it sank in 1912.

During the early 60s a popular night club in Liverpool was the Cavern, where four local lads introduced a new beat, which was to have one of the greatest influences on modern music. A reconstruction of the original Cavern Club now stands on Mathew Street. Today, over 40 years after the group split-up they have become a bigger attraction than ever - testified by the popularity of The Beatles Story attraction in Albert Dock. Paul McCartney's 1950s family home (20 Forthlin Road) were the Beatles met and wrote many of their early songs, has been restored by the National Trust, and is also open to the public.

The city is not just known for Beatles mania and 60s pop music but is also home to the acclaimed Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also renowned for its sporting prowess. The Grand National is still held at Aintree Racecourse, which is home to a world class Equestrian Centre. Liverpool's famous football club, Anfield, not only provides a venue for soccer fixtures but has an excellent visitors centre and museum.

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Cathedral of Christ the King © TAB

Liverpool has two impressive cathedrals; the traditional Anglican Cathedral of St James and the metropolitan Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King. The RC cathedral is cylindrical in shape, with a conical roof topped by a tapering, coloured glass tower. Just north of the cathedral in Rodney Street can be found one of the finest groups of Georgian houses in Britain - where ex Prime Minister William Gladstone was born, at number 62.

Other buildings of architectural merit include: Liverpool Town Hall, completed in 1754 by John Wood (also contemporary architect for the city of Bath). St George's Hall, designed by Lonsdale Elmes, and one of the finest examples of Greco-Roman style. Speke Hall, a striking black-and-white half-timbering Elizabethan building dating from 1490. Derby Square, the site of the 1230s Liverpool Castle, now marked by the domed Queen Victoria Monument.

Things to do in Liverpool

Some of best areas for shopping in Liverpool are the Cavern Walks on Mathew Street, Clayton Square Shopping Centre (L1 1QR) and the nearby St John's centre.

Liverpool has a wide range of cinemas and a lively theatre culture, such as, the Unity Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Everyman and Playhouse Theatre (Britain's oldest working repertory theatre) and the Liverpool Empire - built in the 1920s as a variety theatre, one of England's largest provincial theatres seating 2340. For classical music buffs, there is also the Philharmonic Hall, the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

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A riverside walk offers sights of the Mersey ferries, shipyard cranes at Birkenhead and one of the finest urban views in Britain. For a more relaxed view of the riverside, take a trip on one of the Famous Mersey Ferries. Beautifully restored boats from Europe's oldest ferry service provide the best view of the city's 7 miles of waterfront. Cruises depart hourly.

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Tourist Information Centre:

08 Place, 36-38 Whitechapel, Liverpool. L1 6DZ - Tel: 0151 2332008

Albert Dock Visitor Centre:

Anchor Courtyard, Albert Dock, Liverpool. L3 4BS - Tel: 0151 2332008

Places of interest to visit in Liverpool

The Beatles Story

Beatles StoryA modern exhibition totally dedicated to the remarkable tale of the four famous Liverpudlians who took the world by storm changing the face of popular music for ever. Exhibits include George Harrison's first guitar and reconstructions of The Cavern Club, Abbey Road recording studios and the Yellow Submarine. Walk-through sight and sound experience with audio tour guide narrated by John Lennon's sister, Julia.

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Opening times: all year 10am - 6pm (Closed Xmas). Admission Charge
Location: Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AD - Tel: 0151 709 1963 - Website

Central Library

Located in the Picton, Hornby and Brown buildings, the library is one of the country's largest and most significant County Record offices. Permanent exhibitions include rare books and works of art, as well as documents autographed by such notables as Elizabeth I, Nelson and Napoleon.

Opening times: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 10-4 & Sun 12-4. Closed BHs. Free Entry
Location: William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EW - Tel: 0151 2335858 - Website

Conservation Centre

Provides an interesting insight into the world of museum and gallery conservation.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5. Closed 23-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Free Entry
Location: White Chapel, Liverpool, L1 6HZ - Tel: 0151 4784999 - Website

The Grand National Experience

Explores the origins or England's most famous horse race. Visitors can inspect the dressing rooms and try the weighing-in chair. The tour includes audio-visual presentations, and a gallery of paintings and photography tracing the history of the Grand National.

Opening times: phone for details. Admission Charge
Location: Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Rd, Liverpool, L9 5AS - Tel: 0151 5222921 - Website

HM Customs & Excise National Museum

A fascinating insight into the history of the work of HM Customs and Excise officials. An exciting world of smuggling and secret compartments, where everyday items reveal their hidden secrets. See if you can spot a fake, search for hidden goods or spot a suspicious traveller.

Opening times: daily 10-5. Closed 23-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Free Entry
Location: Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AO - Tel: 0151 4784499

Liverpool Cathedral

Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built in Gothic style from red sandstone. The foundation stone was laid in 1904 by King Edward VII and construction was completed in 1978. The nave measures 671ft in length with a 330ft tower, making this the largest cathedral in Britain. It also contains the world's largest church pipe organ.

Opening times: daily 8-6, 25 Dec 8-3. Admission charge for tower
Location: St James' Mount, Liverpool, L1 7AZ - Tel: 0151 7096271 - Website

Liverpool Football Club Visitors Centre

Information panels and audio-visual displays tell the fascinating story of the one of England's most successful football clubs.

Opening times: Museum open daily 10-5. Tours subject to demand. Admission Charge
Location: Anfield Rd, Liverpool, L4 0TH - Tel: 0151 2606677 - Website

Liverpool Museum

Wide variety of exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to space exploration. Other exhibits include military and transport galleries, planetarium, aquarium and natural history room.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun noon-5. Closed 23-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Free Entry
Location: William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EN - Tel: 0151 4784393 - Website

Merseyside Maritime Museum

Located on Liverpool's magnificent waterfront containing floating exhibits, working displays and craft demonstrations focusing on Liverpool's history of emigration and shipbuilding.

Opening times: daily 10-5. Closed 23-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Free Entry
Location: Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4AO - Tel: 0151 4784499

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

A modern and distinctive Roman Catholic cathedral topped with a spiked lantern tower containing 25,000 pieces of stained glass, designed by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens and completed in the 1960s. The interior contains a white marble altar, which stands in centre of large circular nave from which thirteen chapels radiate.

Opening times: Open daily 8-6 (Sun 5 in winter). Free Entry - donations accepted
Location: Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5TO - Tel :0151 7099222 - Website

National Wildflower Centre

The extensive grounds at Court Hey Park, located on the outskirts of the city, are home to this society, which promotes the creation of wildflower habitats around the country. The centre provides wildflower seeds, educational materials and interactive learning facilities via its many demonstration areas. A comprehensive programme of events is provided throughout the summer.

Opening times: Mar-Aug, daily 10-5 Admission Charge/
Location: Court Hey Park, Roby Rd, Liverpool, L16 3NA - Tel :0151 7381913 - Website

Sudley House

Located in the Liverpool suburb of Mossley Hill, Sudley House is the former ancestral home of the rich merchant George Holt. Many of the buildings original Victorian features still remain, including stained glass, tiles and ceramics. Displays Holt's private collection of British paintings including Gainsborough, Landseer, Turner, Reynolds and Romney as well as major pre-Raphaelite painters.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun noon-5. Closed 23-26 Dec & I Jan. Free Entry
Location: Mossley Hill Rd, Liverpool, L18 8BX - Tel: 0151 7243245 www.sudleyhouse.org.uk

Tate Liverpool

Housed in a converted Grade 1 listed warehouse, in the historic Albert Dock. Spread over 4 floors, the gallery is of the largest galleries of modern and contemporary art outside London. The gallery displays work selected from the Tate Collection, as well as special exhibitions that bring together artwork loaned from around the world.

Opening times: Tue-Sun, BH Man & all Mons in Jun-Aug, 10-5.50. Free Entry
Location: Albert Dock, Liverpool, L3 4BB - Tel: 0151 702 7400 & 7402 - Website

Walker Art Gallery

Contains the largest collection of paintings in the UK, outside London. Among the famous works on display are:

  • And when did you last see your father! by W. F. Yeames
  • Virgin and child with St Elizabeth and the child Baptist by Rubens
  • Christ discovered in the Temple by Martini
  • A portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein

Other paintings include works by Turner, Hogarth, Reynolds and George Srubbs, who was born in Liverpool. Also on view are sculptures by Le Hongre, Rodin, Renoir and Epsrein.

Opening times: Mon-Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 12 - 5pm. Free Entry
Location: William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EL - Tel: 0151 4784199


Map of Liverpool

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Towns and Villages in Merseyside

St Helens, Liverpool, Warrington

Attractions in Merseyside

Atkinson Art Gallery | The British Lawnmower Museum | Knowsley Safari Park | Lady Lever Art Gallery | Pleasureland | Prescot Museum | Speke Hall | World of Glass

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