Your print-out-and-keep guide to Liverpool
Why go? Because Merseyside has been transformed for the 2008 celebrations, with a wave of new hotels, shopping centres and arts venues opened and an impressive programme of cultural events under way. Most museums are free, there’s a wealth of World Heritage-listed architecture, the music scene is legendary – and the brazen, bling-loving style of Scousers makes Liverpool a brilliant place to party.
Where to stay? Print (theprinthotel.co.uk), a new design hotel with lots of bare wood and a serene, loft-living vibe. It’s in the heart of the action around Mathew Street, with super-friendly staff, a slick restaurant and Cyan, a members-only club open to hotel residents. Double rooms cost from £150 – but there are only six, so book early. If you can’t get in, try 62 Castle Street (62castlest.com), Hope Street (hopestreethotel.co.uk) or the Racquet Club (racquetclub.org.uk).
Where to shop? Cricket – a Liverpool institution where goodies from designers such as Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin fly off the racks – is part of boutique emporium Cavern Walks (cavern-walks.com), a favourite haunt of WAGs. Met Quarter (metquarter.com) is an airy, top-end shopping centre, while Liverpool One (liverpool-one.com) is a massive, £1 billion city-centre development unfolding this summer. For something unique, Petticoat Lane (100 Bold Street) is an arcade of quirky shops, such as fun lingerie specialist Fanny Fernando’s.
Where to party? Albert Dock – a favourite party zone, with circus-themed Circo (circoliverpool.com) the hot new restaurant. Nearby Pan Am Club (panam-venue.co.uk) is equally buzzing. Book a VIP booth at Newz (18 Water Street, 0151-236 2025) or try Alma de Cuba (alma-de-cuba.com), a 220-year-old Polish church turned restaurant with a DJ on the altar and a crazy petal drop at 11pm. For live bands, head to Korova (korova-liverpool.com), then drink in the ornate Philharmonic Dining Rooms (36 Hope Street, 0151-7072 2837).
Enjoy: Visit liverpool08.com for the many events being staged, including a major Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool (tate.org.uk) and the reopening of the historic Bluecoat arts centre (thebluecoat.org.uk). The Grand National (5 April) is fun, with lots of fancy frocks and hats, while Beatles-lovers shouldn’t miss the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney (nationaltrust.org.uk).