Merseyside

A metropolitan county centred on both banks of the Mersey Estuary, Merseyside takes its name from the river flowing through it. With Lancashire to the northeast, Greater Manchester to the east, Cheshire to the south and the Irish Sea to the west, the area is mostly urbanised, though there are a few more rural areas such as Whiston and parts of the Wirral. Access to North Wales is across the Dee Estuary. Liverpool City Centre and Birkenhead Urban Area are the hubs of business and industry.

Let’s start with one of the most well known cities in this area, Liverpool. Liverpool’s a place rife with celebrity history and there are several landmarks that hold significance for the likes of The Beatles and the city’s ever-changing football team. The Cavern Club in the city centre is the venue of the first ever Beatles live performance (see if you can still hear the ringing of A Hard Day’s Night from the walls!) and of course, The Beatles Story Museum will take you through the fab four’s career from start to finish.

Sports fans should certainly take a look around Anfield, where the Premier League team play their home games. A seating capacity of 45,000, which is often filled on match days, provides an excellent atmosphere. Scousers are notoriously proud of their football team and if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, there’s no choice but to join in the fun.

Also make sure to check out Liverpool Cathedral, a Church of England building on St James’ Mount. It’s the fifth largest cathedral in the world with an area of 9,687.4 square metres and a 331ft tower. Open to the public all year round, it’s an amazing piece of architecture and is certainly a must see.

The Albert Dock is considered to be the most visited attraction in the city, which isn’t surprising considering how many events and attractions are located there. Art buffs will be pleased to see Tate Gallery Liverpool, which, like its London counterpart, showcases some of the world’s best contemporary art. The Beatles Museum is also on the dock, as are tours through the city, many events throughout the year and a vast array of eateries.

So, what about the outer areas of Merseyside? Well, Sefton is a region full of seaside fun, including the ever-popular Crosby beach and Southport Pier. On a hot summers’ day, you can pack up the family and have a great day on the three miles of sand and enjoy a splash in the Irish Sea, (if you’re brave enough to stand the cold!) Southport Pier is the second longest in the UK and features a selection of retro gaming arcades and cafés. Due to its length of a mile, there is a tram which traverses the entire length of the pier, so everyone can enjoy its full length. Of course, while you’re in Southport, something that mustn’t be missed is New Pleasureland, a sister attraction to Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach. Exhilarating rides including the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, Devistator (yikes!) and Speed Buzz, as well as plenty of whole family fun, is available at this small theme park.

More family fun can be found at Knowsley Safari Park, where you can drive through and see the lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras and many other African wonders. There is even the option of the Sunset Safari, where you can watch what the animals get up to after the sun goes down. It’s truly a must for all animal lovers and everyone is guaranteed to have a great day out, learning and observing a bit of Africa. If you’re unlucky enough to be plagued by rain, young kids can still have fun in indoor play areas such as Fun Time in Knowsley or the Mini Monsters Playhouse in the Wirral. It will give tired parents a break and cheer unhappy kids up, when it’s not so nice outside.

There are a few rural areas in the county and the Wirral is one of them. Birkenhead Park and Wirral Country Park are green areas offering a relaxing alternative to the hustle and bustle of the town. Get some much needed rest by wandering through the still silence of these secluded areas and perhaps even doze off for a little while. If you’d rather relax by doing a bit of shopping, then the Marble Place Shopping Centre in Southport has a variety of high street names for you to stock up on all your essentials or maybe you could enjoy a little splurge at Cavern Walks Shopping Centre in Liverpool, where designer stores such as Vivienne Westwood and Cricket are located.

After a day of running around or relaxing, you might want to let your hair down and Liverpool is a great place to have a few drinks and a dance. The famous club Cream, which has been part of the city centre since 1992, still holds club nights at the Nation nightclub in the city. They are also the founders of the festival Creamfields, which specialises in dance and house music. The Blue Angel club in Liverpool is a former haunt of the Beatles and it’s now very popular with students who love to dance the night away to cheesy pop. Heebie Jeebies is a club in the city, which plays the latest indie tracks across three floors and even out on the courtyard during hot summer nights.

Merseyside has plenty to offer those who want a good time, day and night. Whether you want to have a beach day out, scare yourself silly at theme parks, meet some majestic animals or just have a day sightseeing, you can do it all. Give it a visit, it’s a little bit of the north that you’ll keep coming back to.

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