A guide to living in Liverpool
Football analogies are often used in this part of the country to explain why certain things happen. And what Liverpool FC achieved in the 2005 Champions League final beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the people the city they love so much.
Like their Newcastle brethren, Liverpudlians have an eternal, stubborn optimism that refuses to go down even in the face of overwhelming odds, complemented by an acerbic wit that binds the people together. And as a city, Liverpool is a rich, diverse, energetic and exciting place to live and work, thanks to the visionary redevelopment programmes initiated in the 1990s.
Getting around Liverpool
Regardless of whether you are coming to city centre from the north, east or south (or west, if you happen to be commuting from the Wirral on the Mersey Ferry), you won't have much use of a car. The morning rush-hour can be frustrating at best. And once you get there you have to fight to find a parking space. Granted, there are a number of car parks and meters throughout the city centre but, they are not cheap.
For a stress-free commute it really is advisable to use public transport – its quicker, cheaper and probably stop a lot closer to your office than your car does.
Liverpool has four main train stops that serve the four key areas of the city centre, Lime Street , James Street , Liverpool Central and Moorfields. Operated by Merseyrail, each of these stations links the city centre with all other areas in the Merseyside area, with services running every 15 minutes from all regional stations into the city.
Alternatively, all local bus routes arrive at and depart from Queen Square and Paradise Street with Mersey Travel running a late night bus service every Friday and Saturday night.
Eating, drinking and shopping in Liverpool
Liverpool 's passion for pubs is on a par with its passion for football. A recent survey places Liverpool at the top of the All-England drinking league and after a walking around the city centre, it soon becomes obvious why; no, I don't mean that drunken Liverpudlians lie slumped across the doorway of every pub in town. What I mean is that there is a huge selection of pubs, bars and clubs throughout the city to appeal to every taste imaginable for a hard day's night .
Much of Liverpool 's nightlife drinking culture is based around the Ropewalks area, Wood Street , Bold Street and Fleet Street, with the action focused on Concert Square . There are also a number of chic designer bars at the Albert Dock including Baby Cream, an offshoot of the legendary nightclub, and the PanAm. And Victoria Street , in the business district, is another fast-developing area for bars and nightlife.
And Liverpool 's dining out offering continues to get better and better. Again the Ropeworks has a good choice, along with Hardman Street and Hope Street – the latter being the choice for sophisticated diners thanks to two of the finest restaurants in Liverpool that come together, 60 Hope Street and the London Carriage Works.
Elsewhere, many of the city's bars also do food, the PanAm at Albert Dock being a prime example. And as the home of the UK 's oldest Chinese community, Chinese restaurants are found in abundance.
Or if none of these tempt you, then grab a cab and take the short trip a little further out of the city centre and head to Lark Lane in Aigburth, with a number of restaurants and bars crammed into one street.
And when pay day comes along, Liverpool 's shops will be more than willing to relieve you of your hard earned cash. After years of neglect and eventual decay, Liverpool's city centre has been brought back to life with a little help from our friends in the council planning department and it is now ranked as the fifth best shopping city in the UK .
Bold Street, Clayton Square and St John's Shopping Centre are all within a stones throw from one another and house all the usual high street retailers. However, the completion of Liverpool One has arguably transformed the city's shopping experience.
As one of Europe 's largest retail developments, it is be home to more than 150 stores, including the biggest John Lewis department store in North West England and the city's first Debenhams.
Elsewhere, the Cavern Walks shopping complex, situated on the famous Mathew Street, is the place where your money won't stretch quite as far, being home to a number of designer outlets including Vivienne Westwood, Drome and Cricket. Whereas the Albert Dock has a number of shops primarily aimed at the tourist looking for some Liverpool nostalgia and souvenirs.
Liverpool is a passionate city and this passion is manifested in its music, sport, culture, nightlife and heritage. All of which make for a modern vibrant city that makes the most of its past as much as it boasts about what it has to offer today. And if you find yourself at a loose end with time to kill, the city centre and Dock are the perfect tonic.
Liverpool can lay claim to having the largest number of museums and art galleries in the UK after London . The Albert Dock is Liverpool's biggest attraction and home to the Merseyside Maritime Museum , Tate Liverpool and the Beatles Story. Just north of this is Pier Head, an area dominated by a trio of Edwardian buildings known as the Three Graces.
But without question, the Walker Art Gallery silences any criticism or doubt over Liverpool 's status as European Capital of Culture. Frequently referred to as the ‘National Gallery of the North', over 800 years of art are represented here, from pre-Raphaelite art to contemporary British art and sculpture. Also here is FACT, an innovative media centre.
And can you believe we got this far without mentioning a certain four-piece skiffle band? Love ‘em of loathe ‘em, these four lads from the Allerton area of the city did pretty well for themselves, although the barber shop on Penny Lane – after whom the song was named after – has a lot to answer for. Liverpool makes the most of The Beatles and Matthew Street , home of the Cavern Club, is almost entirely dedicated to the Fab Four with numerous shops selling the band's memorabilia.
After drinking, Liverpool 's most popular recreational activity, without exception, is football. The city is home to two Premiership football teams, Liverpool and Everton, who ply their trade within ½ mile of one another. Liverpool is the most successful football club in English history, whereas Everton…And not forgetting the Grand National that is held every year in nearby Aintree.
From a city with such a sporting pedigree, it comes as read that there are a number of leisure clubs and facilities, health and fitness centres, sporting societies, outdoor pursuit's centres and sports grounds in and around the city.
Key residential areas
With a population of 436,100, Liverpool is the sixth largest city in the United Kingdom. Average income in 2006, was £26,800.
Within the centre of Liverpool , waterfront properties are particularly sought-after. These can be very stylish and offer an appealing city centre lifestyle. Many properties offer good views over the river and are in easy access to the cultural and recreational amenities of the city. Indeed, most of the maritime warehouses and dockland buildings have been converted into extremely impressive, modern and fashionable apartments and penthouses with an equally fancy price tag.
The immediate surrounding boroughs of the city are largely what you would expect from a large conurbation, predominantly blue collar areas made up of terraced houses and flats. However, some of the more desirable districts are in the east of the city centre, such as the suburbs of West Derby , Childwall and Knotty Ash. These offer attractive housing and have good local schools and amenities. A range of terraced, semi-detached and detached houses are seen here.
The small, exclusive development at nearby Croxteth Country Park is particularly popular, and includes some more expensive housing. Woolton is another established, sought-after residential area and neighbouring Allerton (of Penny Lane fame) have a number of attractive properties for sale and rent at a price to suit most professional budgets.
Take a closer look
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can see some images from in and around Liverpool below.