Set on England's west coast overlooking the Mersey River and Irish Sea, Liverpool is an old maritime city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its citizens, known as Liverpudlians or "Scousers", have a long-standing reputation for excelling in music, the arts and entertainment – and for having a kooky sense of humour.
The city's most famous attractions includes its football teams Liverpool Football Club (LFC) and Everton, the largest collection of museums and galleries in the UK outside London and a wealth of chart-topping bands including The Beatles.
Liverpool city layout
Liverpool is neatly sectioned into "quarters", extending northeast from the waterfront and docks and out to peripheral Georgian and Victorian residential neighbourhoods.
The city centre is anchored by the main shopping precincts Church Street and Bold Street. Here you'll find both modern builds such as the Liverpool One mall and renovated century-old properties such as those in the bar- and boutique-packed Cavern Quarter.
Salthouse Quay and the Albert Dock lie southwest of the city centre and form the setting for chic bars and restaurants. You'll also find cultural attractions here, such as the modern art centre Tate Liverpool and the The Beatles Story, a monument to the Fab Four.
To the northeast lies Liverpool Cathedral – Britain's largest – and the venue for many cultural, musical and educational events. Its 100-metre tower offers panoramic views of the city.
Liverpool has more parks than Paris. Sefton Park and its glorious glass Victorian Palm House, a greenhouse showcasing plants from around the world, is a huge source of local pride.
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Liverpool is fairly compact, with most hotels located in and around the city centre's main shopping and theatre thoroughfares and the docks. You can walk or catch a bus to most attractions in 15 minutes.
Liverpool's lively, historic docklands area lies 10 minutes' walk southwest of the city centre and includes Salthouse Quay, Albert Dock and Queen's Dock. Here you'll find museums and art galleries such as Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool, music venue Echo Arena and day-into-night restaurants such as Gusto and Blue Bar.
The residential neighbourhood around Liverpool John Lennon Airport places you four minutes' drive from the black-and-white Tudor Speke Hall, a National Trust property. Knowsley – 30 minutes' drive from the centre – is close to Knowsley Safari Park, a zoological park where you can drive through open enclosures with monkeys and rhinos.
If you pick a hotel in Liverpool city centre itself, you'll be a few steps from the Royal Court Youth Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Liverpool Empire Theatres.
The city's restaurant scene offers everything from Ethiopian cuisine to Spanish tapas. A plethora of real ale pubs and gastropubs do a brisk trade in pies, sausages and all manner of spuds (potatoes). The Albert Dock has a strong concentration of upscale eateries such as Gusto, Circo and PanAm.
Along Hope Street, you'll find some of the city's most impressive Georgian houses and lauded restaurants including 60 Hope Street and London Carriage Works. Nearby Pushka on Rodney Street is a local favourite for innovative British cuisine such as gin-cured salmon and slow-roasted belly pork.
Liverpool's hotels are starting to be noted for their in-house eateries and are often great places to try traditional Scouse fare and globally inspired dishes. Blakes at Hard Days Night Hotel and Hotel Indigo's Marco Pierre White rank among the best.
Liverpool is home to Europe's oldest Chinese community and Chinatown, located around Berry Street, is the place for cheap, tasty favourites such as sui mai dumplings and Peking duck.
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Shopping in Liverpool isn't about malls and markets, but rather fashion flagships and small sidestreet nooks packed with art shops, fashion boutiques and record stores.
The open-air Liverpool One complex is home to big national chains, including the only Beauty Bazaar Harvey Nichols in England.
Church Street itself has enough to keep bargain-hunters lingering for hours: the Primark outlet here is one of the largest in the country. Topshop, Marks and Spencer and Forever 21 offer chic, affordable goodies.
Bold Street has a litany of small independent stores ranging from book and record stores to kitschy design boutiques. Utility is a great place for Liverpool-only gifts such as purple wheelie bin desk tidies and superlambananas – shelf-sized replicas of Japanese artist Taro Chiezo's controversial and now iconic sculpture.
Pubs and bars abound, from century-old real ale watering holes to chic, sleek cocktail spots, as do live music hubs and EDM clubs where you can dance until dawn.
Theatres such as the Liverpool Empire, Liverpool Royal Court, and Playhouse and Everyman offer both home-grown and touring national plays and gigs.
The Cavern Quarter has plenty of themed music and cocktail bars – including the world-famous Cavern Club – while Albert Dock is known for its upscale restobars.
The streets radiating off Hardman Street are home to traditional pubs that have become student haunts. Check out Ye Cracke and The Pilgrim. In recent years the formerly industrial Baltic Triangle has emerged as a centre for creative venues, such as the bar, event and festival space Camp and Furnace.
Best Liverpool nightlife spots
Liverpool's wealth of interactive exhibit-heavy museums, parks and entertainment attractions make it a great city for youngsters to explore. Most restaurants are child-friendly and offer kids' menus. Many shops are also family-focused, with play areas and other distractions for children.
The World Museum aims to astound, featuring dinosaur skeletons, Egyptian mummies and exhibits that explore Mayan civilisation. The onsite aquarium and planetarium also host daily events, such as a look at night sky constellations and how our knowledge of life on Earth steers the search for alien life.
Liverpool ONE open-air mall and lifestyle complex incorporates an impressive Lego store, Jungle Rumble and Odeon cinema. Regular outdoors events are also organised in Chavasse Park. During the summer you might find picnic boats – landed boats perfect for a picnic lunch – and swashbuckling "Captain Pool" games and craft activities led by a local theatre group.
The Albert Dock offers plenty to keep young and curious minds amused, including museum exhibits, family-friendly restaurants and the Big Wheel, a ferris wheel with panoramic views of the docks, River Mersey and city.
Child-friendly attractions in Liverpool