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Liverpool Sightseeing


The Liverpool Comedy Festival features more than 150 shows in nearly 20 venues across the city with household names like Jerry Sadowitz and Rob Brydon alongside up-and-coming talent for two weeks from 15 September. For more information visit www.liverpoolcomedyfestival.com.

Corinne Bailey Rae, silent discos, DJ sets and an orchestra are among dozens of acts taking part in the free Liverpool International Music Festival based in the glorious surroundings of a Victorian park (July 20-23, Sefton Park, limfestival.com)

The International Mersey River Festival is a free celebration of the city's historic waterfront with tall ships, polo tournaments, jet skiing demonstrations, have-a-go water sports sessions, air displays, music and more (June 24 and 25).

The city's one-day nocturnal arts festival sees street performance, live music, large-scale light projections and more, with over 100 venues including museums, galleries and two cathedrals opening their doors late into the night (LightNight Liverpool, May 19).

Liverpool Food, Drink and Lifestyle Spring Festival takes place amid the splendour of Sefton Park, with zones dedicated to everything from the body and mind to handcrafted potato vodka, street food and creative living (April 15-16, www.liverpoolfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk).

Edward Burne-Jones' monumental watercolour Sponsa de Libano, at over three metres high, is one of the highlights of Victorian Treasures. 60 outstanding works (some rarely seen) by leading 19th-century classical artists are on show until May 7 at the Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/

A Day-Glo Richard Branson, billionaire founder of the first civilian space travel company, soaring rockets, psychedelic colours, a flickering backdrop and ecstatic saxophone combine in KAPUT, artist Benedict Drew's dark and thrilling view of space tourism at the Walker Art Gallery (William Brown Street, until February 26).

Activist and comedian Liz Carr's show Assisted Suicide: The Musical, and Grammy-nominated afro-funk duo, Amadou and Mariam are among acts at DaDaFest International, an annual celebration of deaf and disability arts (November 17-December 3, various venues, dadafest.co.uk).

Key Areas

As exciteable manager Jurgen Klopp excites hopes of another trophy among the worldwide fanbase of five-times European Champions Liverpool FC, their Anfield home offers tours taking in the players' dressing room, pitchside dugout and This Is Anfield sign that chills opponents' hearts (stadiumtours.liverpoolfc.com).

Enjoy some quiet contemplation as you bathe in the light filtered through the world's largest stained glass window at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, or Paddy's Wigwam, as locals prefer, due to its striking, modernist design and Irish Catholic origins (Mount Pleasant L3 5TQ, liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk)

Celebrated sculptor Anthony Gormley's 100 Iron Men, looking out to sea along three kilometres of Crosby beach, are probably best appreciated around high tide. With luck you may also catch one of the dazzling sunsets over Liverpool Bay.

If you're heading for the ferry terminal, go via Castle Street for some fine examples of why Liverpool has the most protected historic buildings in the UK outside of London and refresh at one of the plentiful cafes and restaurants.

Alongside the magnficent neo-classical St George's Hall, St John's Gardens are lovingly maintained, partly by volunteers, and provide a rare tree-filled retreat from the hurly burly of the city centre.

Visits to the Blue Planet Aquarium include a face-to-face with a three-metre sand tiger shark in one of the world's longest underwater tunnels and close encounters with some of the planets deadliest snakes and spiders (30-minutes drive, Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, CH65 9LF, blueplanetaquarium.com)

The Bluecoat contemporary arts centre, housed in the city's centre's oldest building, includes four galleries, a restful garden and regular cultural happenings. November's programme includes a build your own camera workshop, and a monthly space for musicians to improvise together. School Lane, thebluecoat.org.uk.

Day Trips

Whether it's abseiling down Devil's Gorge or just enjoying the beautiful wooded river valley, Loggerheads Country Park provides stress-busting qualities more powerful than Prozac (under an hour's drive, Ruthin Road, Nr Mold, CH7 5LH. Tel. 01352 810614).

You can be in Kendal, home to the famous hikers' mint cake and southern gateway to the Lake District, in a little over an hour and a half. Keep going and be ever more rewarded by the national park's stunning mountains and lakes (www.golakes.co.uk). Photo: Windermere - England's longest lake, courtesy of www.visitcumbria.com.

Get close up to countless varieties of birds, mammals, amphibians and more at Martin Mere wetland centre's family-friendly wildnerness. February includes the deafening spectacle of thousands of birds at feeding time and the annual puddle jumping championship (about 45 minutes' drive, Fish Lane, Burscough, wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/martin-mere/).

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