Thriving, vibrant, stylish... Liverpool City Region
Tuesday 9, November 2010
Steeped in history with a rich cultural heritage, Liverpool City Region is a thriving, stylish, cosmopolitan and vibrant city. Renowned for its strong maritime history, and passion for music, the arts, culture and sport. Liverpool really is making its mark as an exciting city break destination.
Liverpool was awarded the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2004, and just four years later enjoyed one of the most successful ever European Capital of Culture years when it held the status in 2008.
The city revelled in its celebratory status in 2008 with 15 million people descending on the city to attend a cultural attraction or event – generating a staggering £800million for the local economy. Liverpool City Region continues to build on this success with new attractions, hotels and headline events.
Liverpool City Region has an unbeatable variety of world class museums, galleries and theatres, as well as stunning architecture and a spectacular waterfront – all of which should be experienced first hand.
Over the past 10 years, £5billion of investment have transformed the City Region for both tourism and business visitors, yet it firmly retains the character and charm for which it is internationally famous.
For two consecutive years, discerning readers of Condé Nast Traveller have voted Liverpool as their third favourite city destination in the UK (2008 and 2009), behind only the capital cities London and Edinburgh – a huge accolade for the city to retain its ranking.
Liverpool City Region is easily accessible whether you’re travelling by plane, rail or road. And once you’ve arrived, excellent transport links make it very easy and economical to make your way round the city centre and visit the other areas of the City Region – the districts of Southport, Wirral, St.Helens. Knowsley and Halton.
Many of the region’s transport hubs are animated by a wide and diverse public art programme, designed to bring life and soul to the millions of journeys on the network every year.
Air routes into Liverpool John Lennon Airport were expanded in March 2009 with a direct link to KLM’s main international hub in Schiphol, Amsterdam, making it easier than ever before to travel to Liverpool City Region. The service connects Liverpool to more than 100 destinations on KLM’s own intercontinental network and over 650 worldwide destinations across KLM’s Skyteam partner networks. In May 2010, daily flights between Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Schiphol Airport were increased to four flights. This service really is opening up Liverpool City Region to a whole new audience of travellers thanks to this increased global connectivity.
In recent years Liverpool John Lennon Airport has been one of Europe’s fastest growing regional airports, and airport statistics show that JLA is now one of the UK’s Top 10 busiest airports. In 2009, Liverpool JLA handled 5 million passengers and has direct scheduled services operating from over 70 UK and European destinations. The airport is undertaking a £12.4million investment in new and expanded terminal facilities for passengers, due for completion by the end of 2010.
UK regional airline, Eastern Airways, introduced its first scheduled flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Aberdeen and Southampton in July 2009. The independent carrier operates three flights each weekday, making travelling to Liverpool City Region from both ends of the country easy and convenient for both business and leisure travellers. Ryanair, Easyjet and WizzAir also operate into Liverpool JLA.
Virgin Trains now offers the fastest ever service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street – in a little over two hours. Almost 780,000 people arrived in Liverpool during 2009 using the Virgin Trains service.
Whether visitors are travelling alone, as a couple, family or group, they can look forward to an excellent choice of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from cosy guest houses and big-name brands, to stylish boutique hotels and stunning country houses.
The City Region’s hotel sector already includes key international brands including Hilton, Malmaison, Radisson Blu, Novotel, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Hampton by Hilton, Jurys Inn and Ramada Plaza. This year, the sector has seen the opening of independent hotels Heywood House and base2stay, and in 2011 choice will grow further with Days Inn and Hotel Indigo, which will also feature a restaurant by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.
As well being extremely easy to navigate, Liverpool City Region has plenty for visitors to experience and enjoy – with a large number of events and attractions being FREE!
Impressively, Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other UK City Region outside of London, and during 2008 its celebratory year as European Capital of Culture, they enjoyed record visitor numbers.
National Museums Liverpool operate seven venues across the City Region – World Museum Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, National Conservation Centre, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House – all of which are open seven days a week with FREE admission.
A major addition to the city’s cultural offer is the £72million Museum of Liverpool, the largest newly-built national museum in Britain for over a century and the world’s first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city. Opening in 2011, the attraction occupies an enviable waterfront location, which is part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Museum of Liverpool will feature the four main themes of Port City, Creative City, People’s City and Global City will give National Museums Liverpool its eighth venue and the opportunity to showcase more than 6,000 objects, many of which have never been displayed before. The new venue is already being estimated to attract more than 750,000 visitors per year. Just a stone’s throw away, the magic of the Mersey Tunnels is captured in a series of unique underground tours.
These excellent venues are complemented further by Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Empire Theatre, Royal Court Liverpool, Everyman Theatre, Open Eye Gallery, Playhouse Theatre, Unity Theatre and The Bluecoat – all have their own distinctive character and atmosphere.
The city is home to two cathedrals, Anglican and Metropolitan, linked by the appropriately named Hope Street, and Liverpool holds the Guinness Book of Records as Capital of Pop – more Liverpool artistes have had a Number One hit than artistes from any other town or city in the world. Hope Street is also home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko in the stunning surroundings of the Art Deco-styled Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Architecture is a huge attraction for people visiting the city too. Stunning St George’s Hall, located in Cultural Quarter of the city, is thought by many to be the finest example of neo-classical architecture in Europe, if not the world.
With all this already in place, it’s no wonder that the city embraced its status as European Capital of Culture which resulted in increased visitor figures – great news for the Liverpool City Region as the visitor economy is one of the biggest employers, it generates £1.3billion a year and supports 23,000 jobs.
Whatever you’re looking for – from museums or music to food and fashion – you’ll find it all in Liverpool City Region. The biggest regeneration project the city has ever seen is the £1billion Liverpool ONE retail and leisure complex. Spanning 42 acres, it features over 160 shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, two hotels Hilton and Novotel, 600 apartments at One Park West, 14-screen Odeon Cinema and new car parks.
Liverpool ONE also features the five-acre Chavasse Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city which has re-established the link between the new city centre and the historic Grade I Listed buildings at Albert Dock. Since opening in May 2008, Liverpool ONE has scooped 48 awards and attracted 40 million shoppers and diners – and continues to attract over two million visitors a month.
Chavasse Park is now also home to the John Lennon Peace & Harmony Monument. The sculpture was officially unveiled by Lennon’s first wife Cynthia Lennon and son Julian at a special event on October 9, 2010, which would have been John’s 70th birthday. The monument launch was part of the two-month John Lennon Tribute Season to celebrate the music, life and peace campaigning of the former Beatle.
The development features flagship stores for John Lewis and Debenhams, as well as the largest Topshop outside of London encompassing Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge. Other stores include club stores for both of the city’s Premier League teams Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club.
With a growing leisure offer, Liverpool ONE appeals to visitors from day through to night. The Leisure Terrace also features an extensive range of bars and restaurants, with dishes from around the world.
In November 2009, Hilton and Novotel both opened hotels within Liverpool ONE – and trading in the city for the very first time. Hilton Liverpool features 215 bedrooms, including a Presidential Suite, eight meetings rooms, board room, ballroom, and views towards the Liverpool waterfront. Novotel Liverpool Centre is a 4-star New Generation Novotel with a contemporary feel, offering 209 bedrooms, leisure facilities and nine meetings rooms.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver opened his first North West ‘Jamies Italian’ restaurant at Liverpool ONE in June 2010, offering high quality authentic Italian food. Jamie’s venture will be followed by another well-known chef – Marco Pierre White will open a restaurant as part of the new boutique Hotel Indigo development in the business district in Spring 2011.
Hit the heights in fine dining at Panoramic, the UK’s highest restaurant. Situated on the 34th floor of Liverpool’s tallest tower, West Tower, enjoy breathtaking views across the city and beyond. The exclusive bar and restaurant stands 300ft above sea level.
A vital part of Liverpool’s maritime history can be found under Liverpool ONE. The Old Dock is the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock. The historic attraction has been carefully excavated and preserved, and was unveiled to the public in May 2010. The bed of the Pool – the creek that gave Liverpool its name – is now visible for the first time in centuries.
Liverpool ONE’s extensive retail offer complements the already well-established diverse shopping choice at Cavern Walks, Metquarter and Bold Street, which feature independent brands, High Street brands and designer names. This huge choice has resulted in Liverpool jumping from 17th place to 5th place in the UK retail listings from Experian.
But there’s a lot more to Liverpool City Region than shopping...! A packed events calendar continues to help the city strive to become the capital of FREE culture. High-profile annual events include the John Smith’s Grand National, Mathew Street Festival and Creamfields.
TOUCHED is the 6th Liverpool Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art (18 September to 28 November). Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s largest and most exciting contemporary visual arts festival, and with 975,000 visits in 2008, is one of the best attended in the world. The artworks are presented free to the public across both gallery and non-gallery sites including Tate Liverpool, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and The Bluecoat.
The highly anticipated John Lennon Tribute Season takes place between 9 October and 9 December, and will attract Beatles fans and visitors from across the world to mark two important anniversaries. The special season marks what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday and also remembers 30 years since his untimely death.
The tribute season will bring together organisations in Liverpool to celebrate the life of one of the world’s most influential and legendary musicians and one of the Liverpool’s most famous sons. A two-month programme of events include a photography exhibition by Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr, Bed-In at The Bluecoat and the unveiling of the 18ft John Lennon Peace Monument, as well as various concerts and events taking place across the city.
As a legacy from 2008, Liverpool continues to welcome permanent new attractions to complement the City Region’s already very strong tourism and leisure offer.
The £22million Liverpool Canal Link opened in March 2009, and sees narrowboats pass across the Pier Head for the first time in over 100 years. As they travel along the canal and arrive in the city, boaters are mesmerised by the stunning Three Graces – Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings – three of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings. The new one-and-a-half-mile canal link is expected to generate 200,000 extra visitors annually to the city’s dock system with an additional tourism spend of £1.9million per year, and will give passengers a whole new perspective of the city.
The £19million City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal began operating in 2007 and is capable of handling the world’s largest liners. In 2011, a total of 16 vessels will visit the city. Cunard’s newest liner, the Queen Elizabeth, will make its maiden call to the city on September 8 where the shipping line was first established 170 years ago. This will be followed a week later by Cunard’s flagship liner the Queen Mary 2, which attracted thousands of spectators when it visited in 2010.
Located opposite the Three Graces at the Pier Head and adjacent to the new Museum of Liverpool is Merseytravel’s £10.5million Mersey Ferries Terminal, which opened in May 2009, and where visitors embark on the world-famous ‘Ferry ’Cross The Mersey’. The building is also the second site of the award-winning Beatles Story attraction, featuring the exciting and interactive Fab4D Experience. The striking venue also features a ground-floor cafe, as well as a restaurant with roof-top terrace which has unrivalled views of the famous waterfront and landmark buildings.
The White Feather Exhibition at The Beatles Story Pier Head was launched in June 2009 and gives a touching and personal insight into the lives of Julian and Cynthia Lennon and their time with John Lennon. Due to popular demand, it has been extended for the second time and now runs to 31 December, 2010.
Take the Mersey Ferry from Pier Head to Seacombe Ferry Terminal where you’ll find Spaceport, the UK’s leading space-themed visitor attraction. Spaceport is also home to the new exhibition, Wallace & Gromit In Space, which runs until April 2011.
A short ferry trip from Seacombe takes visitors to Woodside Ferry Terminal for the U-boat Story, a £5million attraction telling the story of World War II German submarine U-534. The U-boat, one of only four remaining in the world, was rescued from an uncertain future by Merseytravel, which owns and operates the ferries. Launched in February 2009, the U-boat is now the centrepiece of a stunning exhibition. It has been cross-sectioned so visitors can discover its amazing story through a series of exciting interactive activities.
The St.Helens landscape has changed with the launch of the award-winning Dream, a 20-metre sculpture by internationally renowned artist Jaume Plensa, which is situated on the site of the former Sutton Manor Colliery and cost £1.8million.
Dream was commissioned by local ex-miners and St.Helens Council as part of Channel 4’s Big Art Project, an ambitious public art commissioning initiative supported by Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, and The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity. Weighing more than 370 tonnes, and individually fabricated in 90 unique panels of pre-cast concrete, Dream takes the form of a young girl’s head with her eyes closed.
The Echo Wheel of Liverpool was launched in February 2010 and follows on from the huge success of the Big Wheel at Liverpool ONE, which was in place for six weeks over the 2009 festive period. The 42-pod wheel stands 60 metres high and is located between the Echo Arena and Albert Dock on the city’s world-famous waterfront. See the sights from a whole new perspective – a unique and exciting way to see this rejuvenated city.
The BugWorld Experience is a new visitor attraction at Albert Dock, which opened in July 2009. Themed areas from around the world gives visitors an unforgettable experience – to see what the world really looks like through the eyes of bugs, and is thought to be the only attraction of its kind in the UK.
No mention of Liverpool would be complete without The Beatles. Hard Days Night is the world’s first Beatles-influenced hotel, and each of the 110 bedrooms features a specially produced piece of Beatles artwork. The hotel is in a prime location too, appropriately just minutes from Mathew Street and the world-famous Cavern Club.
As well as The Beatles Story and Cavern Club, music fans can enjoy a real Fab Four experience with attractions including Magical Mystery Tour and Mendips and Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Sports fans will be in their element as the wider Liverpool City Region boasts excellent sporting events and attractions. Watch a football match or take a stadium tour at one of the city’s two Premier League clubs, Liverpool and Everton. Or if rugby is more your sport, there’s Super League action at St.Helens.
St.Helens Rugby League Club ended their 2010 Super League season at Knowsley Road, bringing to an 120 years of Saints action. Work is due to start on a new purpose-built 18,000-seater stadium nearby. The new stadium will be a welcome addition to the town of St.Helens. As well as being the new home of Saints, the ground will include meeting rooms and conference space for up to 1,600 delegates and will create 1,400 jobs.
Horse racing fans will thoroughly enjoy Aintree Racecourse and Haydock Park. The highlight of the racing calendar has to be the John Smith’s Grand National, which attracts race-goers from across the globe to witness the world’s greatest steeplechase. Both courses host regular race meetings throughout the year, as well as race nights with live music.
England’s Golf Coast is the finest stretch of championship golf in the world. The region is home to 19 challenging and picturesque courses, including three Royal links courses – Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham & St Annes – which have hosted the Open Championship an impressive 30 times since 1897. Royal Liverpool at Hoylake hosted The Open in 2006 and it was played at Royal Birkdale in 2008, as part of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations.
The Open will return to England’s Golf Coast in 2012 to Lytham & St Annes, followed by a return to Royal Liverpool in 2014. The Ricoh Women’s British Open was played at Royal Birkdale this year and heads to Royal Liverpool in 2012. England’s Golf Coast is home to three of the Top 20 and seven of the Top 36 courses in UK and Ireland – and three of the links courses are among the world’s Top 75!
As well as a thriving tourism industry, Liverpool City Region is also fast becoming known as the ‘Capital of Conferencing’, thanks to a number of new world-class venues for events and conferences.
Among the showpiece developments is the new £164million award-winning Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool (ACC Liverpool), situated on the city’s World Heritage Waterfront, adjacent to Albert Dock. ACC Liverpool was launched in 2008 and during an exceptional first year, hosted many high-profile events, concerts and conferences, including the prestigious MTV Europe Music Awards and the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Awards. To date, ACC Liverpool has generated an economic contribution of £400million. Since opening in January 2008, the Echo Arena has hosted more than 200 events – and in October 2009, it welcomed its millionth visitor. The BT Convention Centre opened in Spring 2008, and has held over 350 conferences and welcomed over 160,000 delegates.
Southport is reinventing itself as a ‘Classic Conference Resort’ following a £40million investment programme to create Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which also features restaurants, bars, a casino and 133-bedroom four-star Ramada Plaza Hotel.
The £11million Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre in New Brighton has become Wirral Peninsula’s largest and most flexible multi-purpose venue with 800-seat theatre, large conference centre, and panoramic views across the famous River Mersey. The new state-of-the-art venue is playing a major part in the ‘Brand New Brighton’ redevelopment of the town.
Ideally situated between Southport and Liverpool on England’s Golf Coast, Formby Hall Golf Resort and Spa invites delegates to enjoy a round of golf or a spot of pampering between meetings. Following an extensive £10million development, the club can accommodate up to 280 people seated theatre-style and features a 62-bedroom hotel, two golf courses (18-hole championship course and new 9-hole par 3 course), driving range, and spa and leisure club. It is also the UK’s only PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) residential golf academy.
Southport – England’s Classic Resort. This may be a Victorian coastal town, but it also has a contemporary twist and is bursting with hidden gems. With exciting attractions, beautiful surroundings and an excellent choice of places to dine, it makes this family resort a great place to visit while experiencing North West region. One of the most unique attractions is the impressive Southport Pier, the second longest in Britain, which boasts fantastic views along the North West coast.
During 2008, Southport welcomed its very first boutique hotel. The Vincent is situated on the town’s mile-long tree-lined Lord Street shopping boulevard, and features a sushi bar, members’ bar, and penthouse complete with roof-top hot-tub – the ultimate in luxury.
Situated between Liverpool and Southport is Crosby. ‘Another Place’ is the large-scale public artwork by internationally acclaimed artist Antony Gormley. Another Place consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of Crosby Beach, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea. Each figure weighs 650 kilos and is made from casts of the artist’s own body and are shown at different stages of rising out of the sand, all of them looking out to sea, staring at the horizon in silent expectation.
Key Events Winter 2010/2011
18 Sept–28 Nov: 6th Liverpool Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art
8 Oct–13 Nov: Liverpool-born Kim Cattrall stars in Antony And Cleopatra, Liverpool Playhouse Theatre
9 Oct–9 Dec: John Lennon Tribute Season, Liverpool City Centre
8–20 November: Spice Girl Melanie C in Blood Brothers, Liverpool Empire Theatre
20–21 November: North West Racing Masters, Haydock Park/Aintree Racecourse
10 Dec–2 Jan: Hollywood’s Pamela Anderson in Aladdin, Liverpool Empire Theatre
29 April-8 May: Liverpool Boat Show
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