Come to study in Liverpool

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Liverpool sunset Pic: Vegard Grott

Many thousands of people visit Liverpool year-on-year to discover what it is exactly that makes this 800-year-old hub so special. And what do they find? On arrival, you’ll come across a World Heritage city, a diverse music scene, stacks of architecture, sports of excellence, as well as an intriguing history behind the city’s growth and development. And with a world-famous skyline to top it off – where can you possibly go wrong?

But first, a little history. Established as a major port city with strong maritime links, Liverpool was passing 40% of the world’s trade through its docks by the 19th Century. This increased with the construction of the Albert Dock where precious cargoes from all over the world would land. The Pier Head soon became one of Liverpool’s biggest assets – another “world-famous” branding for the city.

Around the same time, what were to become Liverpool’s key landmarks were being built. Lime Street station, St. George’s Hall and the North Western Railway Hotel sparked the beginning of a Grade I listed building marathon, as Liverpool prides itself on having more listed buildings than anywhere in the UK outside London.

So what are the picks of the city? First let’s briefly turn to some church talk, as Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral is something that will catch even the most hardened atheist’s eye. This building can only be described as humongous. It really must be, as it’s the 5th largest cathedral in the world, and the largest in Britain. Inside and out it is really worth the visit, but a trip to the top is a must.

Anglican Cathedral at sunrise Pic: John Mathews

If you’re into your city panoramas and vertigo isn’t an ailment you can say yes to, get in the lift and take it all in. But if you like your feet firmly on the ground and museums and art get you high, then fill your boots in Liverpool’s Cultural Quarter. A pick ‘n’ mix of free events and exhibitions are open to you at the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, the International Slavery Museum and the Liverpool Maritime Museum. There is also of course, Tate Liverpool.

Liverpool’s recent redevelopment after being European Capital of Culture status in 2008 has given the locals Liverpool One. A shopper’s paradise and too many stores to throw your cash at, Liverpool One has revitalised the city centre.

Tired Church Street is slowly getting a revamp too, and soon, the city should be busting with high street and high end shops for the bargain hunters and big spenders. Let’s not forget Bold Street for your kitsch and quirky gifts, jewellery and furniture, as well as some novel little cafes and restaurants.

What of this famous music scene that everyone keeps talking about? It goes without saying that the Merseybeat and Beatlemania of the 1960s put Liverpool on the musical map, and not much has really changed. Fly posters cover the walls and windows of the city, all promoting the next big musical thing, and there are plenty of venues for it all to happen in such as the O2 Academy, the Cavern, and the Zanzibar. And for the more established acts, there’s the Echo Arena.

Liverpool waterfront Pic: Vegard Grott

Much longed-for by Liverpudlians to end the late-night trips back from Manchester, the Arena has definitely upped the game. Liverpool also plays host to the low-key open mic nights. Favourites include the  Pilgrim on Sunday, which offers a laid-back night of banter, and good and bad music – but that’s entertainment.

The next big past time in Liverpool is of course, football. Whether you’re a Toffee or a Red, Anfield and Goodison Park are possibly the third and fourth churches of Liverpool, enticing a mass of worshippers and followers, and prove a big attraction for tourists from all over.

But what everyone always wants to know about a place is, what’s the nightlife like? Luckily Liverpool can tick this box over and over. Those that like to drink and dance can feel right at home in a plethora of bars, clubs and pubs. All depending on your scene, Liverpool offers northern soul at Heebie Jeebies and La’go’s, indie at Le Bateau, plus rock/metal at the Krazyhouse. Something for everyone? Tick.

There is plenty more left to say about Liverpool, and not nearly enough space to write it in. The fact remains that anyone who comes here, no matter what exotic place they’re from, always say they love it. Shops, cafes clubs, architecture – the Pool of Life is thriving, so what are you waiting for?


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