Cheap flights to Liverpool
Impressing people with its stunning and imposing architecture, urban regeneration and lively bars and clubs, Liverpool is once again showing why it is one of England’s most visited cities. The home of The Beatles has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance of late. Liverpool, was not only European Capital of Culture in 2008, but was also awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO four years earlier. The result is an old city that impresses visitors with its grand imposing architecture, fantastic museums and a new modern buzz and pride in its appearance.
This was the second city of the British Empire after all, and walking around Liverpool you get a sense of its historic importance. Built in the 17th and 18th centuries around a harbour that imported cotton and sugar. Liverpool also has the largest museum collection in the UK after London, which includes its own Tate Modern and the World Museum. The city centre is one bustling with trendy bars, designer and boutique stores, cinemas, state of the art offices, and stunning, modern apartment blocks.
Bring your own (low-backed) chairs as historic Liverpool square Exchange Flags hosts this month's open-air theatre productions of classic stories including Jane Eyre and The Jungle Book. chapterhouse.org
On a pilgrimage to five-times European champions Liverpool FC, you meet club legends, see behind the scenes and get to touch the famous "This Is Anfield" sign that sends jitters through the greatest of players. liverpoolfc.com/history/tour-and-museum/home
Climb the tower of Liverpool Cathedral, the world's fifth largest, via two lifts and 108 steep (be warned) stairs for spectacular views as the sun goes down and the lights go on (St James Mount, L1 7AZ, liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/about/the-tower.aspx).
More the romance than the reality, the Liverpool Pirate Festival is a spectacular, two-day feast of sword-fighting, musketry, cannon fire, sea shanties and storytelling, with youngsters invited to dress appropriately for a pirate parade (September 12-13, free entry).
The World Museum offers the only chance in the UK to catch a breathtaking exhibition exploring the warriors, human sacrifice, advanced knowledge and artistry of the ancient Mayan civilisation. Stunning objects from Mexico include funerary masks and jade treasures (from 19 June, William Brown Street, L3 8EN, liverpoolmuseums.org.uk).
The Cunard shipping line's three queens meet to mark the company's birth here 175 years ago. The magnificent Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will perform water ballet as part of the city's River Festival (24-26 May). visitliverpool.com
Humorous and melancholic images of the English at leisure in the late 1960s make up Only in England, an exhibition of influential photographer Tony Ray-Jones's work at the Walker Art Gallery until 7 June. This was the man who lived by the golden rule "never take a boring photograph" (William Brown Street, L3 8EL, liverpoolmuseums.org.uk).
End the month on a high note as acclaimed conductor Carl Davis and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra present Gershwin's masterpiece Rhapsody in Blue at the orchestra's grand, recently-refurbished home (28 February, Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, L1 9BP, liverpoolphil.com).
Pop artist Andy Warhol's pictures of actress Marilyn Monroe are among the most enduring images of the 1960s and are included in a major exhibition of one of the most important and influential post-war artists (7 November 2014 - 8 February 2015, Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, L3 4BB, tate.org.uk).
For a picnic or catnap, the green lung of the city centre can't be beaten. For more than 100 years, St John's Gardens has provided a tranquil escape from the commotion of the metropolis. liverpool.gov.uk
Traders are so proud of Bold Street's diverse and largely independent status they even hold their own annual festival. Latest incomers to the bustling thoroughfare include a purveyor of traditional English battered fish and chips and a family-run Caribbean restaurant. visitliverpool.com
Whatever your stomach's desire, there's a good chance that Bold Street will provide. Recent years have seen it gain a reputation for its array of small, characterful restaurants serving quality cuisine, from Indian to Italian, fish to falafel (city centre).
Focal point for the city's famous skyline, the Pier Head is home to the Museum of Liverpool with its futuristic facade and the starting point for a ferry 'cross the Mersey, as immortalised in the 60s hit song. liverpoolwaterfront.org
Love ultra-hip fashion brands but hate the prices? The January sales may be just the time to browse the 160 high-street names represented at Liverpool One, one of Europe's biggest shopping developments (5 Wall Street, L1 8JQ, liverpool-one.com).
Wine by Brad and Angelina and limited-edition whisky are among the unusual and excellent bottles, each bearing an individual handwritten label, in Whisky Business, a high-quality independent spirit, beer and wine shop (The Old Ropery, Fenwick Street, L2 7NT).
You can't predict the weather in the Lake District, but September is often kind to walkers experiencing the breathtaking beauty of England's biggest national park, home to its highest mountain. The southern fells are reached in a little over 90 minutes (www.golakes.co.uk).
The vast, beautiful Forest of Bowland is home to rare birds and historic hamlets. Officially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the cooking there is pretty outstanding, too: try the Inn at Whitewell (innatwhitewell.com) or the Parker's Arms (parkersarms.co.uk).
From treetop adventure for toddlers to the twisting, spinning, cork-screwing 80kph adrenaline rush of Nemesis, regarded as one of the world's best roller coasters, there's something for all sizes and constitutions at Alton Towers theme park. altontowers.com
Year-round attractions at Martin Mere Wetland Centre include a beaver lodge, pond-dipping zone, eco-garden and close encounters with 100 species of the world's water birds as they swim, feed and wander the wetlands (Fish Lane, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L40 0TA, wwt.org.uk).
Go for a roam in the Roman city of Chester, where you can see the biggest stone-built Roman amphitheatre in Britain, browse the unique medieval two-tiered shopping galleries, and follow a promenade trail along the picturesque River Dee (under 45 minutes by car).