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Liverpool Area Guide

Liverpool Image courtesy of Flickr user Friar's Balsam

The third largest city in England, Liverpool is a city of contradictions. A port town that grew to prominence during the Industrial Revolution, it has a reputation for being a rough, working class city, but it has been the home of some of the greatest musicians, athletes and writers the country has ever produced.

Several parts of the city centre are UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their architectural significance. It has buildings that represent the pinnacle of architecture, from Medieval, Tudor and Stuart designs through to Victorian, Art Deco and modern buildings.

These days, Liverpool has exciting music, theatre and club scenes. It also has a thriving business sector, though the biggest industry has moved from shipping to the service industry.

Demographics

Liverpool has a population of about 466,400, rising to around 2 million when the surrounding areas are taken into account.

Just over 42% of the population is younger than 30, which is larger than the national average of 37.4%. Liverpool is quite diverse when it comes to ethnicity: about 90% of the population is white British, 3% are Asian and Asian British, just over 2% is Chinese, 2% is mixed race and just under 2% is black and black British. Liverpool is home to the oldest African and African-Caribbean community in Britain and is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, largely because it was a major port city in the nineteenth century. It has also attracted large numbers of Irish and Welsh immigrants.

Education

In Liverpool and the surrounding suburbs, there are a great many schools rated outstanding by Ofsted. The outstanding primary schools include Holy Cross Catholic Primary School and Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, and the outstanding secondary schools include King David High School and West Derby School. The Liverpool Blue Coat School is arguably the best school in the city, with the 30th best GCSE results in the country.

Liverpool is also home to three universities: the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University.

Transport

Liverpool has the great connections expected of a major city. The M62 runs through the city, connecting it to Hull. The A41 goes to Cheshire and Shropshire, whilst the A562 runs to Warrington.

Local buses run in and around Liverpool and its suburbs. The bus service is managed by Merseytravel, though different companies actually run the buses. The Queen Square Bus Station is the major terminal for routes to the north and west of the city, whilst the Liverpool One Bus Station is the terminal for services to the south and east.

Liverpool is served by two rail networks: Merseyrail and the National Rail connects Liverpool to London, Birmingham, Newcastle and other major destinations. The biggest station in Liverpool is the Lime Street Station. The local network, which consists of the Northern Line, the Wirral Line and the City Line, connect Liverpool with areas including Southport, West Kirby, Wigan and even Manchester. This network is Britain's busiest commuter network outside of London, serving around 100,000 commuters each weekday.

The Port of Liverpool is still active, providing ferry services to Ireland and the Isle of Man. Pier Head also has ferry services taking travellers between Liverpool and both Birkenhead and Seacombe.

The airport, called the Liverpool John Lennon Airport, has direct flights to cities across the UK and Europe, largely through budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet.

Amenities and Shopping

Liverpool has all the amenities and activities expected of a major city, but it stamps those typical activities with its own local sensibilities.

Music

No description of Liverpool's culture and amenities is complete without the music scene there. The Guinness World Records has called the city the World Capital of Pop, as Liverpudlian musicians have produced 56 number one singles - more than any other place in the world. The Beatles are the most legendary band associated with the city, but it is also the home of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Echo and the Bunnymen and practically countless other bands.

Liverpool also has a lot to offer fans of classical music. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the oldest professional symphony orchestra in the country.

The Mathew Street Festival is Europe's largest free music festival, which is held over four days during the summer and hosts a variety of original and tribute acts. Africa Oyé and Brazilica are well-established African and Brazilian music festivals, respectively, and Creamfields is a dance festival held just outside of Liverpool.

Museums and galleries

Outside of London, Liverpool has the most galleries and museums in the UK. The Tate Liverpool has the second largest collection of modern art in Britain, and the Walker Art Gallery has one of the biggest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. The FACT centre has a plethora of interactive exhibitions on film, video and new media, and the National Museums Liverpool is a collection of museums which explore everything from art and science to history and Liverpool's culture. There is even an exhibition space dedicated to the odd things seized by the Border Agency.

Nightlife

Liverpool has a large number of bars, pubs and clubs, largely focussed in certain areas throughout the city. The streets around Concert Square and St Peter's Square has most of the city's biggest and most famous nightclubs. Just a few streets over on Mathew Street are most of Liverpool's legendary music venues.

LGBT culture

Liverpool's Stanley Street Quarter, also known as the Gay Quarter, is the only officially recognised gay district in Britain. As the centre of gay culture and nightlife, it has most of the city's gay bars, and it also hosts the city's gay pride festival, Liverpool Pride.

In an effort to make the city more inviting to the LGBT community, the city council began sponsoring the Liverpool Pride festival in 2010 and officially recognised the Gay Quarter as an official city centre district in 2011. They also introduced hours where the streets in the district are closed to traffic, making the area more pedestrian friendly at night. There are also plans to engage in large-scale redevelopment of the area to make it an even more vibrant area. All this has inspired many other cities and counties, including Brighton and Hove and West Yorkshire, to begin to develop stronger LGBT areas.

Theatres and venues

As might be expected, Liverpool has a large number of music venues. The most famous is probably the Cavern Club, where the Beatles honed their sound. The club was closed down in 1973 to make way for the Merseyrail underground railway, but it was eventually reopened in 1991, quickly regaining its position as one of the most famous venues in the world. The Echo Arena is the largest music venue in Liverpool, and the Philharmonic Hall is the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Many of the city's music venues can be found on Concert Square and Mathew, Hardman and Hope Streets.

Liverpool also has an exciting theatre scene. Theatres include the Empire, the Liverpool Playhouse, Neptune, Unity and Everyman Playhouse. These and other theatres join with the John Moores University drama department and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts to host a large number of theatre festivals. The Liverpool Shakespeare Festival sets the Bard's plays in unusual locations throughout the city, and the Everyword Festival exclusively celebrates new works. Physical Fest celebrates physical theatre, a catch-all term used to describe the kinds of theatre that aren't exactly classic literary theatre or dance.

Sport

Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C. have together made Liverpool the most successful footballing city in England, thanks to the large number of titles they have won collectively.

Boxing is very popular in Liverpool, and it has produced many successful professional boxers, including Paul Smith, David Price and Alan Rudkin. It also produces a large number of amateur boxers, leading it to become the most represented city on the Team GB Olympic boxing team.

The Grand National, the world famous steeple-chase, is held at Aintree Racecourse, just outside the city.

The city's professional basketball team, the Mersey Tigers, plays in the British Basketball League, the UK's top basketball league. Liverpool also has a traditional British baseball (also called Welsh baseball) team, the Liverpool Trojans, which is the oldest baseball club in the UK.

Liverpool is a great place to train future sporting superstars. The Wavertree Sports Park is a sports complex that has trained many of the country's Olympic athletes, as has the City of Liverpool Swimming Club and the Park Road Gymnastics Centre. The Liverpool Tennis Development Programme is one of the largest training centres in the country.

Shopping

Like most cities that attract top-flight footballers, Liverpool has many shopping attractions. Liverpool ONE is a shopping centre in the middle of the city. Its 160 outlets include high street shops and department stores. Metquarter is a more focused shopping centre, housing higher-end beauty and fashion boutiques.

The most exclusive shops can be found at Cavern Walks. There, boutiques like Vivienne Westwood and Cricket attract the wealthiest clientele.

The Pillbox Vintage Fairs are held monthly in various locations throughout the city centre, and there Liverpudlians can nab retro clothing, vintage homewares, classic cakes and more. For great bargains, residents head 30 minutes out the city centre to the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, which has over 100 stores selling their clothes at a significant discount.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.