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.
The DreamWorks Lights Lantern Experience has its first UK showing in stunning St George's Hall, with memorable scenes and over 100 spectacular figures based on three of the film company's biggest box office hits, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. Until 15 January.
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).
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)
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/).
You're flying from
You know when you want to travel