Short Break - Liverpool

Albert Dock, Liverpool

Albert Dock, Liverpool - Credit: Archant

Our writer is impressed by so many new things in the Fab Four’s home city

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill - Credit: Archant

The 1980s were traumatic times for the great port city whose fantastic architectural heritage, the legacy of its maritime history and immense civic pride contrasted starkly with all too evident commercial decline. Yet in the last decade, Liverpool has enjoyed a transformation. There’s a new self-confidence and a revitalised mood which, coupled with the unique heritage, makes Liverpool a must-visit destination.

Emerge from Lime Street station and the grandeur of the city strikes you: the magnificent St George’s Hall and the colonnaded Walker complex, not for nothing promoted as ‘the National Galley of the North’. From there it’s only a short hop to the Hotel Indigo, our multi-coloured hotel in Chapel Street, taking its inspiration from the city’s cotton heritage. Splashes of colour, cotton and threads can be seen woven into comfortable bedrooms, the lobby and even the corridors.

Indigo’s Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill was our destination for lunch, an attractive bustling restaurant, not least because on the day the man himself was paying a visit. Marco said: ‘I’ve had a long love affair with Liverpool and its wonderful people ever since hearing stories from my father Frank, who worked as a chef in a city centre hotel long before I was born. It is always a joy to come back.

‘It is certainly up there with London as Britain’s best-looking city in my opinion.’

Indigo is just a stroll from the waterfront’s Pier Head with its iconic ‘Three Graces’...but first the shopping paradise of Liverpool One awaited - a place that’s boosted the local economy as well as lifted Liverpool into the UK’s top five most popular retail destinations.

The Albert Dock is now claimed to be the most visited multi-use attraction in the UK outside London with more than four million visitors a year.

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Among the must-see attractions are the Tate Liverpool, the foremost gallery of modern art in the north of England, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, whose collections reflect the importance of Liverpool as a gateway to the world. The darker side of the port’s history is not neglected, with Liverpool’s role in the transatlantic slave trade laid bare.

The stone and brick warehouses, with their cast iron colonnades that almost enclose the dock house a brace of hotels and variety of restaurants - we shared pizza and salad at Gusto. But for me and most of the 300,000 visitors a year for whom a certain foursome provided the backing tracks to our formative years, the Beatles Story is unmissable. The exhibits include precious memorabilia, a 3D journey into the Beatles’ music, a replica of the Cavern Club and a fab gallery of previously unseen photographs.

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Hotel Indigo

10 Chapel Street, Liverpool L3 9AG

Tel: 0151 5590111; www.hotelindigo.com/liverpool

Double rooms from £89 per night. Special packages available.