Growing up in Yorkshire I had only ever visited the west coast of England once as a child. That is until I decided to go to university thirty minutes outside of Liverpool and suddenly a whole new area was opened up to me. There are so many places to visit on this side of the country – Blackpool, Southport, Lytham and not to mention easy access to Wales. Of course on top of all these is 2008’s capital of Culture and somewhere very dear to my heart, Liverpool.
Known for its two football rival teams Liverpool and Everton, The Beatles and Aintree Racecourse and of course home to its beloved Scouser’s, Liverpool is a city that will always leave an imprint on your heart. I spent three happy years visiting the city most weekends and yet since then have rarely visited. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day there with a friend and our girls and it surprised me how much the city centre has developed since my days, thirteen years ago.
One of the main changes has to be the huge outdoor shopping centre, Liverpool One. Prior to this the main shops were on Lord street, which runs from Liverpool Central train station right down to the waterfront and was full of the typical high street stores – Topshop, River Island, Zara etc. Now all these have been moved into the 42 acres of previously underdeveloped land in the city centre, which is home to not only over 160 stores but also a cinema and mini golf as well as many restaurants in Liverpool One. It has completely revitalised the area and also changed the layout of the city centre, as the main thoroughfare has now moved to where the shopping centre is.
Of course there’s so much more to Liverpool than just shopping. One of the places I always loved to have a wander around was the Matthew Street area which includes the world famous Cavern Club, the birthplace of the Beatles, the quirky designer shops in the Cavern Walk and tributes to various artists from John Lennon to Cilla Black. There is an amazing vibe in this area of life and music it is definitely worth visiting.
Another area I also love to visit is the Albert Docks. There was a huge overhaul here back when I lived near the area and it now hosts 4 million visitors a year. Not only are there attractions such as The Beatles Museum and Tate Liverpool, there are shops and cafes for you to browse during the day and a whole host of bars and restaurants there where you can enjoy your evening in the city by the waterside.
For things to try a bit further outside the city you can visit Knowsley Safari Park which is home to 750 animals and is the longest animal safari park in the UK. In the warmer seasons you can visit Formby and Crosby beach and enjoy a family day together or near Ormskirk there is Martin Mere Nature Reserve where visitors have the chance to get close to around 100 species of water-birds as they swim, feed and wander in wetlands designed to mimic their natural homes.
It’s safe to say there is so much to in this one amazing city that if you are planning a trip to the North West it’s definitely a place to put on your to-do list. I loved my recent visit back and will definitely be returning soon with the children to enjoy more of its family friendly activities.
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