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.
If you're in town and into the Beatles, the Magical Mystery tour (a non-stop nostalgia-fest) is unlikely to disappoint. Stops along the way include the place where Lennon first met McCartney. £16.95 per ticket, tours daily at 11.30am and 2pm. For more information visit cavernclub.org.
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
Check out An Imagined Museum, with major artworks by Marcel Duchamp, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol and others on show until 14 February. If you've missed it, don't worry - see all 60 artworks disappear amid multi-art form live performances on 20 and 21 February. The Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, tate.org.uk.
A once in a lifetime opportunity to see an iconic work by a giant of modern art. Matisse's The Snail is at Tate Liverpool with works spanning 50 years (Matisse in Focus, until 2 May 2016, Albert Dock).
The Weeping Window, a moving artwork created for World War I commemorations last year, is being displayed outside the magnificent St George's Hall. Each ceramic poppy represents a life lost in battle. See it at St George's Place, from 1 November.
With over 40 hits, Let it Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles', lets the songs tell the story of the greatest band ever. After Broadway and the West End, this live show comes to the city that spawned them from 8 October at the Royal Court Theatre, Roe Street, tel. 0151 709 4321.
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).
If you can't find a bargain in the January sales at Liverpool One's 160-plus high street fashion stores, you're not trying. Take a break at over 30 cafes and restaurants in one of Europe's biggest purpose-built shopping developments.
The Bluecoat contemporary arts centre, housed in the city's centre's oldest building, includes four galleries, a restful garden and regular cultural happenings. The November programme includes a build your own camera workshop, and The Gathering, a monthly space for musicians to meet. For more information visit thebluecoat.org.uk.
Award winning rapper Example is among clients of Cutthroatpete's Barber Store, run by a barber called Pete who's becoming a celebrity in his own right. Cool sounds and iced drinks in a stripped back interior accompany a 50 minute shave that's more an event than a trim. For appointments visit www.cutthroatpete.com, 14 Gradwell Street, Liverpool.
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).
Attractions at Blue Planet Aquarium include a 70-metre underwater moving walkway allowing close encounters with Europe's biggest shark collection. If that's not thrilling enough, take a scuba dive right in among them (Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port).
Get in the festive spirit with a glass of mulled wine and a wander through the Manchester Christmas Markets, a truly international event with a Mancunian flavour. For more information visit manchester.gov.uk/info/500241/christmas_markets.
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