It’s been a decade since Liverpool was named European Culture capital in 2008 and as fans of the city, we’re not letting this anniversary go by unnoticed. And neither is Liverpool who is marking this milestone with an ambitious list of over 40 events and festivals in and around the city.
In ten years a lot has changed, but the cultural scene is more thriving than ever. With a creative energy and youthful, anything goes spirit, Liverpool is becoming a mecca for young go-getters with big ideas and the balls to break away from the capital’s overbearing grip.
Whether you’re a regular looking for a few new hidden treasures, or you’re a first timer looking to experience the very essence and energy of the famous city, you’re bound to find something that piques your interest. So with that in mind, here are 8 reasons Liverpool is the IDEAL place for a city break
THE FLOURISHING FOODIE SCENE
Here at IDEAL we love our grub, and as such a city’s foodie scene is first thing we look up if we’re visiting. On this count, Liverpool doesn’t disappoint. Once considered pale in comparison to some of their imperious Northern neighbours, the restaurant scene here gets more exciting – and more recognition – every time we visit. With an influx of independent restaurants and pop up eateries, the latter of which (according to the chair of Liverpool Restaurant Association) is proof of the city’s “interesting, vibrant and innovative” food and drink scene, there’s something for all tastes here. We love Wreckfish on Slater Street, which is one of the most successfully crowdfunded restaurants ever. It’s open all day, with simple yet refined classics cooked consistently and confidently every single time.
THE AMAZING ARCHITECTURE
Liverpool is one of the best places in the world for architecture. It’s a city that straddles the old and new with a thriving cultural vibe playing out against the backdrop of old industrial and historic buildings. From its world famous docks to civic monuments, some of the structures in the city date as far back as 1500. There are 2,500 listed buildings and 27 of these are Grade I. For serious architect aficionados, The Royal Institute of British Architects offers a 2 hour walk, led by an expert, giving an insightful look into Liverpool’s past, present and future buildings, and spaces that make the city so unique.
For culture vultures looking for their fix, Liverpool is the ideal destination. Art wise, there’s a mix of traditional art galleries like The Walker, which houses one of the largest art collections in the UK outside London, to spaces showcasing new talent and pieces on the edgier end of the spectrum, like The Fact, Open Eye and Bluecoat.
Many of the city’s best museums and galleries are located in and around Albert Dock, the heart of Liverpool’s historic waterfront. Here you’ll find The Tate, The International Slavery Museum, The Planetarium and the Maritime Museum.
Liverpool’s cultural scene is ever changing and constantly evolving, and one place showcasing this is The Invisible Wind Factory. Set in a former factory on the docklands, it’s the place for immersive, high concept theatrical productions and live music. It’s definitely worth checking out what’s on here before your trip.
As if you didn’t know that Liverpool was the birthplace of four musicians with sweeping mop hair who got more than a little bit famous during the Swinging Sixties. If you’re a fan (and if you’re not, well….) go to The Cavern Club – the Beatles played here nearly 300 times, helping it become one of the most famous live music venue in the world.
ALL THE FESTIVALS & EVENTS
There seems to be a new festival popping up nearly every month in Liverpool, and we’re certainly not complaining. From the renowned Liverpool International Music Festival to Liverpool’s Food and Drink Festival, and the city’s Vegan festival, highlighting the joys of a plant based diet, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals and events.
To mark the ten years since Liverpool won Capital of Culture year, more than 40 events and festivals will take place in and across the city region this year. We can’t wait to raise a glass to Liverpool at Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta & The Bordeaux Wine Festival (25-28th May).
Located right by the iconic waterfront, Liverpool ONE is arguably the best place to shop in the city for major brand names. It’s a contemporary open-air shopping complex which is home to more than 170 famous high street stores, fashion brands, cool independent boutiques, cafés and restaurants.
Away from the waterfront you’ll find Lark Lane, which has an electic mix of art galleries, vintage boutiques and antique shops. It’s the cool, bohemian part of town with loads of cute restaurants and bars, so if hipster is your thing, hop on over here.
If you still have any money left in your bank account, then head over to Cavern Walks, a boutique shopping centre in the heat of Liverpool where you’ll find all the high end designer names like Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney. You can file for bankruptcy at a later date.
Liverpudlians are proud of their city’s nightlife, both for the quality and variety. From the infamously boozy Baltic Triangle to it’s burgeoning speak easy vibe, whatever kind of night you’re after there really is something for every taste.
For inventive cocktails, according to those in the know, the best late night bar around is Motel. For gin lovers, you’re spoilt for choice as Liverpool has its very own gin made from the finest ingredients found in the quayside. Drink it at The Botanical Garden in the Baltic Triangle for chilled out vibes and a dance. Or if you’re really serious about juniper juice, you could book yourself on a gin tour with The Gin Journey. Just make sure you book yourself a taxi for afters.
For tequila lovers, hidden under the streets of Liverpool city centre you’ll find El Banito, an underground tequila bar which boasts one of the largest tequila collections in the UK. Oh, and for the aforementioned speakeasy vibe, go to 81 LTD.
Self proclaimed cultural hangout Camp and Furnace is the ideal place for music fans while Heebie Jeebies is a boozy late night bar and courtyard with live bands. For those lovers of beer made craftily, there’s Dead Crafty, with 20 rotating taps and over 100 bottles. We also love The Everyman Bistro, underneath the Everyman Theatre, which launched the careers of many a famous face including Bill Nighy and Julie Walters.
THE BEACH IS SO NEAR
If you’ve overindulged the night before, nothing clears your head quite like the fresh sea air. Since Liverpool is a port city, it’s not far from the beach. Head to New Brighton beach, relax for the day, eat some fish and chips and watch the sunset over the Liverpool skyline, as a great way to bring the sun down on your trip to this wonderful, welcoming and wild city.