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Sitting where the River Mersey meets the Irish Sea, Liverpool is a city steeped in maritime history, roughly an hour west of Manchester. Though Liverpool has long had a reputation as one of the grittier cities in England, it’s a hotbed of heritage and culture, with more museums, galleries, and listed buildings than any UK city outside London. Famous for its football clubs and being home to The Beatles, the city is an ideal destination for fans of sporting events and music. Ongoing programs for urban regeneration have welcomed a bevy of new places to shop, dine, and explore, transforming Liverpool into one of the more pleasant northern cities to pay a visit.
The Liverpool City Centre boasts a collection of distinct districts, which work together to tell the story of the city’s diverse heritage. From the artsy Ropewalks and vibrant Chinatown to the elegant Georgian and St. George’s quarters, there’s a neighborhood to suit every taste. Luckily, you don’t have to choose just 1, because they’re all within walking distance.
Baltic Triangle — Located on the southwest tip of the City Centre, Baltic Triangle is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Liverpool—a former industrial area that now thrives with digital startups and other creative businesses. Unlike some of the other districts in the city, the Baltic hasn’t yet become polished, maintaining an atmosphere that’s organic, edgy, and raw. Come here to find some of the best brunch spots in the city or late-night parties held in empty warehouses.
Cavern Quarter — The focal point of Liverpool’s music history, the Cavern Quarter centers around Mathew Street and is home to the world-famous Cavern Club, the music Wall of Fame, and statues dedicated to John Lennon and Eleanor Rigby. Across from the club, find the posh Beatles-themed Hard Days Night Hotel.
Central Retail Area — To the south of the Cavern Quarter is the Central Retail Area, housing a range of shopping options from budget-friendly Primark to high-end Ted Baker. Shopaholics won’t want to miss Liverpool ONE, a paradise with more than 160 stores as well as other attractions including a 14-screen cinema and an indoor putting course.
Chinatown — Running along Nelson Street from Great George to Grenville streets, Chinatown is a colorful area bursting with Asian eateries and markets. The first Chinatown to be established in Europe, the district is marked by a 44-foot-tall (13.5-m) ceremonial arch—the largest arch to be found outside mainland China. Visit in February when thousands of revelers descend upon the area to celebrate Chinese New Year with performances, workshops, and mouthwatering food.
Georgian Quarter — To the east of Chinatown and the Baltic Triangle, the Georgian Quarter is an elegant area with grand townhouses, modern bistros, and ornate cathedrals. Along the main thoroughfare of Hope Street, find a range of restaurants, an award-winning theater, and an Art Deco concert hall. The street is punctuated on each end by a breathtaking church—the modern Metropolitan Cathedral to the north and the Gothic-style Liverpool Cathedral to the south.
Ropewalks — Sitting directly north of Chinatown, Ropewalks is the bohemian heart of the city, buzzing with art galleries, record stores, music venues, nightclubs, and independent bookstores. Along with being a great place to find quirky boutiques, the neighborhood is perhaps most famous for its vibrant and eclectic food scene. Wander down Bold and Berry streets for everything from Spanish tapas and classic French to authentic sushi and Indian street food.
St. George’s Quarter — Also known as the Cultural Quarter, St. George’s Quarter is a must-visit for lovers of art and architecture. The neighborhood is home to the World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, and the Central Library, all of which are free to enter. Concerts and events are held at the lavish neoclassical St. George’s Hall, while just down the street are the award-winning Royal Court and Liverpool Playhouse theaters.
Waterfront — Running along the docks from Princes Parade to Mariners Wharf, the Waterfront area is home to many of the city’s most significant landmarks, including the striking Museum of Liverpool and the British Music Experience. Here, at the Albert Dock—a renovated Victorian complex now housing museums, restaurants, and bars—you can visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Tate Liverpool gallery. Of all the neighborhood’s attractions, the most popular is surely The Beatles Story, a museum detailing the Fab Four’s life and times through memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and high-tech displays.
Sefton Park — In the south end of Liverpool is Sefton Park, a lush 235-acre (95-ha) park with lakes, cafes, playgrounds, and a stunning 3-tier tropical greenhouse. Running perpendicular to the west side of the park, Lark Lane is a hidden gem lined with old buildings, vintage boutiques, unique gift shops, and international eateries. The Lane, as it’s known to locals, really comes alive in the evening at its restaurants, bars, and pubs. To the west of Sefton Park is Penny Lane, the street made famous by The Beatles song of the same name. Stroll the street to find pubs, beer gardens, or wine bars, or pop in for a cut at the same barbershop referenced in the song.
Head to the Waterfront for a ride on the Wheel of Liverpool, a 197-foot (60-m) ferris wheel offering panoramic views over the city. In a glass capsule, soar over the streets, gazing out upon spectacular views of the docks, the landmarks, and the historic city of Birkenhead across the river. Operating from the morning until late at night, you can take a ride during the light of day, as the sun is setting over the city, or once Liverpool’s lights begin to twinkle after dark. If you choose, you can take your experience up with a notch in a private capsule complete with chocolate and champagne.
See all of Liverpool’s top landmarks and sights with a combo package that promises a comprehensive experience of the city. Journey through Liverpool at your own pace aboard a double-decker bus that lets you to get off at any of the stops along the way to explore on your own. Step inside to marvel at the high arches and intricate stained glass of the Liverpool Cathedral, and later, catch a ferry ride over River Mersey to the U-Boat Story submarine museum.
For the Beatlemaniacs in the audience, dive into the history of one of the world’s most influential bands with a visit to The Beatles Story. Here, in the interactive museum, you can follow their journey from unknown to superstardom, get close to instruments once owned by the band, and see a rare collection of photos only recently released for exhibition. With a local guide leading the way, you can even walk in the footsteps of the Fab Four on a tour from the Waterfront to the Cavern Club. Trace the tracks of John, Paul, Ringo, and George as you visit the sites where they once performed and snap photos with the statues dedicated to the band.
Aside from The Beatles, Liverpool is most renowned for its world-class sports and there are plenty of ways to sate your inner enthusiastic. Catch a match of one of the city’s 3 historic football clubs, play a round at one of the 12 golf courses in the region, or place your bets at the Aintree Racecourse, home of the famous Grand National steeplechase. For fans of the water, the Liverpool Watersports Centre offers courses in sailing and paddleboarding, as well as kayak and canoe rentals.