in2 Travel: Liverpool City Break

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WHETHER it is the simple journey or the falling pound making vacationing abroad increasingly costly, there are a number of great reasons to holiday in Britain this year.

Look around Great Britain and you can find any number of places bursting with history and culture that most other countries could only dream of. Nowhere is this more true than in Liverpool.
The home of the Beatles and a range of other musicians and creative artists, the city has developed a culture (and accent) all of its own.

It was one of these acts, Gerry and the Pacemakers, who memorably sung about taking the ferry ‘cross the Mersey and doing so is definitely a highlight of the trip.

There has been some kind of ferry connecting Liverpool with The Wirral for 800 years, but the multi-coloured River Explorer Cruise service of today is about far more than just practicality for getting to the other side, and includes a detailed commentary on the city which can be listened to on your phone by downloading an app.

The ferry was said to be a favourite of Charles Dickens, who said he liked to ride it “for the air,” and as the boat rocks along the waves on the 50-minute round trip you can see why its everlasting popularity continues to endure.

The River Mersey itself is special to Liverpudlians for so many reasons, most significantly for its historic role as a major trading port – importing wealth and foreign cultures to the city and turning the city into the thriving metropolis it is today.

The fascinating story of the Mersey, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is delved into at both the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Museum of Liverpool. The museums are both based in the buzzing Albert Dock Area, a short riverside walk down from where you pick up the River Explorer Cruise at Pier Head, and are both well worth a visit to understand how the city has evolved into what it is today.

One interesting story detailed at the Merseyside Maritime Museum is the city’s role in the First and Second World Wars, and the local sailors who fought German U-boats.

Liverpool’s role in the Battle of the Atlantic was a vital one, and this is vividly brought to life at Woodside, the second stop on the River Explorer Cruise’s route, where you can see up close the remains of a real-life German U-boat.

The exhibition is included in the River Explorer Cruise ticket, which can also include the hop-on hop-off City Explorer open top bus tour and ticket to the top of Liverpool Cathedral, offering stunning views of the entire city. At just £21 per adult for the days’ worth of activities, the ticket is good value for money, but other deals are available which can incorporate in trips to the Spaceport Star Wars memorabilia exhibition at Seacombe, or ‘The Beatles Story’ – which is the world’s largest permanent exhibition purely devoted to the
‘Fab Four’.

And with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the group’s magnum opus, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, there could be no better time for any Beatles devotee to come to Liverpool.
What’s more, Liverpool has the added benefit of being so easily accessible from Essex and East London.

And in terms of journey, Liverpool is one of the easiest places to get to in the country from Essex and East London thanks to the Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street.

Rather than the hassle of flying or hours of driving, you whisk through stunning English countryside for as little as £16.50 in a mere two hours, with added extras like WiFi and new on-board entertainment service Beam now available to make it one of the most pleasurable journeys within the UK.

Dropping you off at Liverpool Lime Street in the heart of the city, you are then all set to explore this fascinating city for yourself from the moment you step off the train.

FACTBOX
Getting there:
London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street with Virgin Trains https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/
Stay:
Mercure Liverpool Atlantic Tower Hotel http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-A0H9-mercure-liverpool-atlantic-tower-hotel/index.shtml
Getting around:
River Explorer Cruise ticket,includes hop-on hop-off City Explorer open bus tour and ticket to the top of Liverpool Cathedral. £21
For more information: www.merseyferries.co.uk/cruises/river-explorer-cruise/pages/default.aspx
Visit Liverpool: www.visitliverpool.com

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