World Facts Index > United Kingdom > Liverpool

Liverpool is a compelling and fascinating city; a compact central area provides good transport links to the rest of the region. If you are fanatical about sport or fancy a sporting chance at the races, if you want some culture or prefer to go clubbing, explore some heritage sites or experience some musical delights, this is the place to be! A visually spectacular city, it guarantees visitors a warm and friendly welcome.

Aigburth: The arty student quarter otherwise known as Lark Lane is a very trendy and bohemian area with fabulous bars and restaurants. Enjoy a slap up Sunday breakfast at Keith's Wine bar, and walk it off in nearby Sefton Park. Alternatively head in the opposite direction to Otterspool Promenade, where you can watch the world and the ships sail by. Popular with families and lonesome kite fliers.

Aintree: Famous for top quality horse racing and of course the Grand National. A new attraction at Aintree is the Grand National Experience - an interactive all year round display, historical tour and simulator ride. Aintree offers a motor racing circuit, archery, clay pigeon shooting, quad biking and golf. Shopaholics do not despair, there is a huge retail site a short distance from the racecourse.

Allerton: A pleasant leafy suburb, mainly a residential area, which in recent years has become a very popular eating quarter. The main stretch of Allerton Road has the big high street names and is a good alternative to shopping in the city centre. Entertainment is plentiful, a cinema, lively bars and excellent restaurants are all situated in the area. The district attracts tourists who come to visit the infamous Penny Lane and 20 Forthlin Road, the former home of Paul McCartney, which is now open for guided tours. If landscaped spaces are more appealing, visit Calderstones Park, a beautifully maintained expanse of green fields, exotic greenhouses, Chinese gardens and huge play area.

Anfield: Strictly one for Liverpool Football supporters; apart from the stadium and Stanley Park there is not much else to see. Nevertheless, football supporters will be in their element with the museum and tour centre that's available. Sit in the home dressing room, walk through the tunnel and feel the thrill of the Kop; the museum is open daily.

Childwall: A quiet neighbourhood, well worth a visit due to the friendly pubs, and exceptional food that can be found in Owens restaurant. The area has two beauty spots, Black Woods and Childwall Woods, perfect for taking the children on a nature trail. The Church of all Saints in the conservation area is Liverpool's only remaining medieval church.

Chinatown: On the outskirts of the city centre sits a spectacular gateway to Europe's oldest Chinatown. The magnificent 44ft high arch - the largest in Europe - was erected by a team of Shanghai workers to mark the Chinese New Year celebrations in February 2000; the staggering cost of £220,000 gives you some idea how magnificent it looks. The area has a mass of good restaurants and supermarkets.

City Centre: Great for a shopping expedition, lots of variety but compact enough to see what's on offer in one day. The main pedestrian area and two indoor shopping centres, Cavern Walks and Clayton Square have a wide range of stores and specialised designer outlets. Nightlife in the city centre is buzzing, and the choice of venues can be overwhelming. The Cavern Quarter around Mathew Street has some great pubs and excellent restaurants. If you want to eat out the only problem is what to choose: Russian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Portuguese or Japanese, there is something to suit every palate.

An abundance of fine architecture and culture are visible throughout the city centre. The grandeur of St Georges Hall, two Cathedrals, the Museum and the Bluecoat Centre, are just a few examples. Theatres, music venues and comedy clubs are all within walking distance. Albert Dock, a major attraction on the waterfront, can be found on the outskirts of the central shopping area, along with the Mersey Ferries and the tunnels.

Edge Hill: Not much to see on the surface, but underneath lies a totally different story. Around 1820 Joseph Williamson - the mole of Edge Hill - built a kingdom of underground tunnels and caverns. The tunnels are believed to include complete houses and an 80ft long banqueting suite. Robert Stephenson, the great railway engineer came across the incredible sight, while extending Lime Street station. By Christmas 2000, it is hoped that the first two tunnels will be accessible to the public, fully furnished with shop, bar and guided tours.

Speke: A busy commercial area of the city and home to Liverpool Airport; just seven miles from the city centre, this is the UK's fastest growing regional airport and offers excellent facilities. Not far away is a series of industrial and retail parks that contain a wide range of DIY superstores. One of England's great historic houses, Speke Hall (1490), is set in its own glorious grounds, this popular attraction offers an insight into several eras and the added bonus of lovely woodland walks.

Toxteth: Once habited by wealthy shipping merchants, it lapsed into a rather run down neighbourhood in later years. Today, regeneration projects are making vast improvements to this multi-cultural district and the true magnificence of the buildings is visible once again. Europe's best example of Moorish Revival architecture can be seen at the Princes Road Synagogue.

Walton: Home to Everton Football Club, Goodison Park. Sign up for a stadium tour or just enjoy the game. If you are feeling brave enough, wander down to County road after the match and savour a pint in one of the many pubs heaving with the football masses. The Riverside Diving Centre is located here.

West Derby: Predominately a residential area, which is set around the historic Croxteth Hall, it boasts beautiful grounds, a Victorian home farm and walled kitchen gardens. A further attraction opening soon is the Casbah Coffee Club; experience the unique atmosphere of Liverpool's first beat club, the birthplace of the Beatles.

Woolton: A quaint village that has retained its original style and is awash with listed buildings. It houses a small but busy shopping area and has a good selection of pubs and restaurants; the fabulous Woolton Redbourne Hotel is situated on the outskirts of the village. A popular attraction for children is Clarke's Gardens a quiet park, with horses, goats, rabbits and geese.

History of Liverpool

Originally thought to have been an unnamed barley farm, it was first referred to in historical documents as "Liuerpul". The pool was a mile long tidal inlet that flowed in a curve where the Mersey tunnels now begin.

In 1207 King John, who had given the land away 15 years earlier, reclaimed the small coastal area and established it a Royal borough. People from all over the country were invited to accept plots of land; a community of around 150 families eventually settled and made a living from fishing and agriculture. By 1235 the Church of St Nicholas and the Liverpool Castle were built, surrounded by seven small streets. These medieval streets have survived to the present day and can be found around the Town Hall in the city centre. During the next five centuries the borough remained a backwater with very little commercial progress.

During the Civil War (1642-48), royalist soldiers besieged the town and the castle was burnt to the ground. However, it was not all doom and gloom, as the Black Plague swept through London, merchant families fled to the small town bringing skills and capital. An industry based on coal, salt and glass grew rapidly and in 1715 the first dock was built marking the beginning of the modern ports. The Town Hall (1749) and Bluecoat Chambers (1717) are two examples of the fine architecture built in this era, both are still in permanent use today.

Overseas markets were established and the city was renowned for its spice, sugar and tobacco trade; unfortunately the city was also notorious for dominating the slave trade until it was abolished in 1807. Today, the story of this legacy can be found in the Transatlantic Slavery Exhibition at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Between 1841-1848 the entire Albert Dock complex was built at a cost of £514,575. Opened as a fully working dock by Prince Albert in July 1846, it has since been beautifully restored as a major commercial site and tourist attraction, and continues to provide the city with prosperity.

From 1837 affluent types flocked to attend the annual Grand National, the world's most famous steeplechase at Aintree. Many of the international set including Royalty and presidents would have stayed at the luxurious Britannia Adelphi Hotel, still as popular today. By the end of the 19th century Liverpool had achieved city status, and was the second greatest port in the British Empire. In recognition of this accolade, building commenced on the magnificent Anglican Cathedral in 1904.

The early years of the 20th Century were not so kind, the opening of the Manchester ship canal caused trade to suffer, and the First World War had severe effects upon the city. The Second World War blitz was even more dramatic; in May 1941 eight nights of bombing left 4,000 dead, 4,000 injured and 10,000 homes reduced to rubble. Post war years left the city defiant, but trade and industry were in decline.

The swinging sixties brought a happier outlook to the city, new docks were opened and of course the Beatles phenomenon was born. Four local boys joined a group in 1957 and they went on to perform as the Silver Beatles in Hamburg. On their return to the hometown in 1960, they were signed up to play on a regular basis in The Cavern, a basement club in the city. Their first single Love me do was recorded in September 1962 and Beatlemania began to rock the music world.

The 60s also saw the completion of the Metropolitan Cathedral, affectionately known amongst locals as "Paddy's Wigwam" due to the unusual design of the building. The next two decades proved difficult, unemployment was rife and the economy was bleak. However, a mass programme of regeneration schemes in the 90s changed the fortunes of the city; at last the tide began to turn and the city began to flourish.

In contrast to the Victorian slums, which testified to the appalling conditions and struggles suffered by the working classes, the stunning architecture around the city reflects the city's history of vast economic growth, wealth and power. The 21st Century marks a new chapter in the history of Liverpool, which has seen technology, commerce and tourism, escalate in recent years. Whether you are a resident or visitor, you can't help but notice the upsurge in spirit and vitality of a city confidently looking towards the future.


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