August 22nd, 2013

A Treat for the Traveller in UK Cities

by Don

Years ago, city breaks were something only businessmen did when a regional meeting was organised – and they rarely had time to wander through shopping areas or visit tourist sites.

City Breaks – the new vacation

But all that has now changed and short breaks spent in major cities are increasingly popular with those who have only a few days to spare. They are a wonderful way of having a mini holiday without necessarily travelling too far.

The Edinburgh Festival has had people flocking to the city during July and August for many years now, especially for the world-famous Tattoo at Edinburgh castle.

But what about other major cities in the UK? Many were once simply homes of industry with grimy buildings and turgid canals which have now turned themselves around into beautiful, historic visitor locations. Just look around central London and see how buildings have been cleaned and made more attractive. They now invite passers-by to admire their architecture as they have re-emerged from a couple of hundred years of grime back to their former glory.

Beatle-mania Gives Way to Culture

Another great city break destination is Liverpool. Once famous for the Mersey ferry, the Beatles and the distinctive Merseybeat of the Sixties, it has totally re-invented itself as a modern city with something for everyone. Where once immigrants sailed away to begin new lives in the United States and essential cargo was loaded and unloaded, the Port of Liverpool has become one of the most attractive destinations in the city.

Probably the most famous area of the old docks is the newly invigorated Albert Dock. This served as a base for our Atlantic Fleet during the Second World War and sustained a great deal of bomb damage during the conflict. Today, the Albert Dock is second only to London in visitor numbers and is home to Tate Liverpool, the Beatles Story and the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

World famous sites

The five former warehouses are all Grade l listed buildings and the dock is part of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City. The modernisation has been sympathetic and has breathed new life into buildings once in danger of falling into disrepair.

The distinctive architecture of the Albert Dock lends itself to the modern restaurants and bars which have been encouraged to make their homes here. Originally built to be fireproof and constructed mainly from stone, brick and cast iron this architecture is certainly eye-catching. Huge Doric columns of cast iron run along the quayside supporting overhead buildings which provide shelter and interesting photographic opportunities to those strolling along.

Of course, Liverpool also offers much more including a cosmopolitan shopping experience and plenty of nightlife.

Choosing where to stay in the city opens up a plethora of choices as Liverpool is blessed with hotels to suit all pockets. Trendy, boutique establishments like the Hope Street Hotel are tastefully styled and decorated and offer a luxury and comfort usually only found in the higher class range.

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