Though the UK city of Liverpool is known the world over for its musical heritage, in the past it’s been often overlooked by travellers. But more and more visitors now flock to this city and guess what? They tend to like what they find.
When a beautiful old church becomes Alma de Cuba, a luxe bar and restaurant, without losing any of its historical significance, you know you’re in a city that understands how to celebrate culture. Although Liverpool has never lost any of its old port city character, recent years have seen a resurgence few from outside could have anticipated.
But us Liverpudlians always thought a revival was possible. We knew our day would come again. And so did Harvey Nicks, who opened their Beauty Bazaar in the shopping mecca of Liverpool One. The store, dedicated to all things beauty, is a world’s first for the luxury brand and should give you a feel for just how seriously glamorous this city can be.
Outside of the shopping opportunities, which stretch from big High Street names to vintage boutiques, there’s a wave of trendy nightspots and eateries like those found in the ultra-cool Parr Street area, as well as classic old pubs, like the Philharmonic Dining Rooms (a Grade II listed building). Then there are the museums and galleries you’ll find all over the city. There’s the Neo-Classical Walker Art Gallery, which has become one of my favourite weekend afternoon haunts, and modern exhibition spaces like you’ll find in FACT.
Europe’s 2008 Capital of Culture certainly oozes history and architectural beauty, but despite boasting two stunning cathedrals, a UNESCO World Heritage waterfront and more Georgian buildings than the city of Bath, Liverpool’s style is far from exclusive to its bricks and mortar. It’s actually a way of life. Just look at the girls sipping their cocktails on a Saturday night.
If a glass of fizz in the afternoon is more your thing, get in on one of the city’s best kept secrets – the Maritime Dining Rooms above the Liverpool Maritime Museum. With views of the historic Albert Dock and a menu full of locally sourced produce, you can sample a platter celebrating British seafood, or feast on an afternoon tea inspired by the great ocean liners of the past. First class service comes as standard whatever you order, and this is one place I’ll certainly be returning to. Definitely the way to do lunch!
I no longer live in Liverpool myself, but I love to appreciate the city these days through the eyes of a visitor. On my most recent trip, I stayed in the super central Z Hotels, who have ventured to Liverpool with their first hotel opening outside of London. And next on my hit list? Dinner and drinks at Panoramic 34 – one of the UK’s highest restaurants and a place I can’t wait to try.
The truth is I’ll never get bored of going back to Liverpool. It changes along with the tides of its famous river; there’s always something new to discover. So fellow city lovers take note – the journey here is just over two hours by train from London Euston, which means there’s every reason to head north and have a look at Liverpool yourself.
Clare Farrell is a part-time traveller with a penchant for European city breaks. When she’s not working full-time as an engineer, Clare loves visiting new places and seeing the familiar through new eyes.
Wherever she goes, Clare hunts for five star luxury and tries her best to get as close to it as possible with a three star price tag. Read more about Clare’s travels on her blog at www.needanotherholiday.com follow her on twitter @holildayaddict23 and find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/NeedAnotherHoliday
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