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.
There are regular trains to Southport, home to the UK's biggest independent flower show. With over 50,000 visitors, and featuring stunning show gardens, celebrity guests plus a packed programme of entertainment, it's a lovely place to be. 18-21 August, Victoria Park, Southport, southportflowershow.co.uk.
Two of Britain's most celebrated artists are at the heart of a free exhibition at the Tate Liverpool this month. Work from both 19th century painter and poet William Blake and Tracey Emin, whose unflinching and controversial My Bed will be a major draw, will be on show. Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, from 16 September.
An antidote to the high street giants, Bold Street is a lovely place to visit. A profusion of proudly independent shops trade in everything from arts and crafts to exotic herbs and spices, classic vintage clothing and specialist books.
Martin Mere wetland centre's family-friendly wilderness is home to thousands of species of birds, mammals, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mini-beasts. Begin May with the annual plastic duck race and end the month watching the real things hatch out during Downy Duckling Week (www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/martin-mere/).
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