Liverpool’s exact date of birth can be found in King John’s letters of 1207 which announced its inception. However, the town remained very small – 500 people at most – until the 17th century. The city was made a parish by the Act of Parliament the very same year it saw its first slave ship in 1699. A good omen for the city to build upon, it began to grow rapidly during the Slave Trade and soon built the first commercial wet dock in 1715.
By the 19th century nearly 40% of goods worldwide were passing through Liverpool and the city saw great wealth. The city spent much of the money on its people and provided them with the first intercity rail link, allowed waves of Irish immigrants in during the Great Famine, and developed the Housing Act 1919 that provided thousands of poor families with higher standards of living in the 1920s and 1930s.
During the next few decades Liverpool declined. The population was nearly cut in half and the 80 World War II air raids did massive damage to the metro. Afterwards, the city picked itself off and dusted off, planning on rebuilding on massive terms. Around this period, Liverpool’s renewal opened doors to a youth culture known as the Merseybeat. Rock bands like the Beatles came out of Liverpool at this time.
Again Liverpool saw a decline in its docks and manufacturing during the 70s and 80s and experienced some of the lowest employment levels in the UK. Always fighting the good fight Liverpool’s economy soon recovered and by the 90s, it caught onto the Beatles devotion and pumped money into its tourism sector.
Today Liverpool still has a strong focus on rebuilding. It celebrated its 800th birthday in 2007 and was named a European Capital of Culture for 2008. It is also capitalizing on Beatlemania and has plans to continually develop into an even better cultural area including the recent inception of Liverpool One, a £920 million development on Paradise Street.
If shopping is your forte, Liverpool has got it all. The city centre’s High Street has some of the biggest designer names in the world. Matthew Street is home to the Cavern Walks complex which includes many brand names as well as the From Me to You official Beatles merchandise store. The Met Quarter also features many top brands and designers in an arty setting. Liverpool Church Street, Bold Street and the St. John’s Shopping Centre have hundreds of shops between them ranging from eclectic to high end with everything from home goods to computer parts. This is also where many local designers have boutiques. Clayton Square hosts family friend shopping like the Disney and Virgin stores. The Farmer’s Market is the best place to pick up fresh food, baked goods, and brews.
All in one opportunities abound at Liverpool ONE. The area has many new stores, cafes, restaurants, two hotels, a cinema, and hundreds of apartments, all overlooking Chavasse Park.
There is family fun all over Liverpool’s city center, along the beach, and near the Liverpool Catherdral and St. John’s Beacon.
Nightlife, particularly the music scene, is good in Liverpool – real good. Concert Square is at the center of it all and a hotel here is recommended for those who want to be in the buzz. The Film, Art, and Creative Technology center (FACT) also has many state of the theatres, cinemas, and studios to accommodate an ever growing performance scene. The Albert Dock Complex is also a popular spot along the waterfront and a favorite of many celebrities and sports stars.
Nearby is the traditional seaside town of Southport, which is known for its family atmosphere, wonderful shopping, and of course, wonderful beaches. It is just over the river and is perfect to get a taste of both sides.
Culture abounds along the Albert Dock all the way up to Stanley Dock, all of which is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are hundreds of cultural things to see and do here along the water.
Liverpool experiences a typical UK climate with a lot of sunny summer days countered by cold, wet, windy winter ones. July sees temperatures of about 20°C (68°F) while January is approximately 4°C (39°F). Seeing Liverpool when the days are lovely and warm from about May through September is the best way to go.
By Air: John Lennon Airport is only 8 miles from the city center and provides constant flights from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Madrid, and more. Merseytravel also operates a low cost bus service from the airport to the city center.
Manchster Airport is about 1 ½ hours from Liverpool but provides international access to all major airports around the world. From here there are also shuttle flights to Gatwick and Heathrow.
By Train: The Intercity service at Liverpool Lime Street Station has regular trips to other parts of Merseyside and London in less than 2 hours. The West Coast Main Line also links through 39 stations in England, Wales, and Scotland.
By Coach: There are coach services nearly every half hour or hour from major cities like Manchester, York, London, and Birmingham to the National Express coach station on Norton Street.
By Car: Liverpool can easily be reached by way of the M6 which is just off of M58, M56, and M62.
By Sea: There are regular ferries between Liverpool, Belfast, and Dublin via Norfolk Line and Liverpool and Douglas via the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Tour: There are many certified tour guides around Liverpool, particularly those suited to taking tourists round the Beatle sites as well as others like a heritage tour, murder mystery tour and ale trail.
Rent: There are many 24 hour car and limousine services available in Liverpool, most of which also have tour guides available as drivers.
Float: Mersey Ferries is a great way to get around the River Mersey via a 50 minute tour. Norfolkline and Isle of Man Steam Packet also have local stops along the River Mersey in Liverpool.
Bike: There are bicycles for rent at the Liverpool Bicycle Co-operative Limited. This is a recommended way to get around because travelers can get to sites quickly and avoid road traffic.
Board: The Merseyrail and Virgin Trains operate at the Lime Street Station and cross areas around Liverpool and Merseyside.