A city break to Liverpool doesn’t have to be all about the urban hustle and bustle. The city’s covered with green spaces, so you don’t have to travel too far to get out in the fresh air. In fact, it has more Grade I and II listed parks than anywhere in the UK, bar London. The weather needn’t be picnic perfect, either. You can warm up in the tropical Palm House in Sefton Park, puddle-jump around the fishing lake at Stanley Park or kick through the leaves in Croxteth Country Park.
At 235 acres, this is Liverpool’s biggest park by far – and it’s a real beauty. Grade I listed, it’s full of Victorian charm, from the steamy, wrought-iron Palm House to the beautiful bandstand; there’s even a Victorian grotto called Old Nick’s Caves.
If that’s not enough to keep the kids amused, there’s a boating lake, two play areas and plenty of lush grass to run around on. And it’s only a stone’s throw from boho Lark Lane, too, with its mix of independent shops, bars and cafes.
It may be most famous for dividing Liverpool and Everton football grounds, but this Green Heritage Award-winning park is a lot more than just a match-day thoroughfare. Besides the well-kept lawns, play-park and fishing lake, there’s the Isla Gladstone Conservatory. This Grade II- listed building has been lovingly refurbished and is now a very popular wedding venue. If you can tear yourself away from doing a bit of bride-spotting, the park also has some of the best-kept flower beds in Liverpool – a great back-drop for photos.
Croxteth Country Park
Croxteth Country Park may only be a 30-minute bus ride from the city centre, but it feels a world away. The wooden adventure play area, jungle park and miniature railway make it a huge hit with the kids, but there’s also a working Victorian farm, orienteering trails to test your navigational skills and a walled garden (open between April and October). If the weather turns nasty, you can always head into Croxteth Hall itself and find out how the Earls of Sefton and their servants lived in Edwardian times.
Known as Caldies to the locals, this 94-acre family park in leafy South Liverpool has beautiful Japanese and old English gardens, a café housed in a mansion and is home to a 1,000-year-old tree known as the Allerton Oak. But if that’s not enough to get you oohing and ahhing, wait until you see the ancient megaliths the park is named after. These six Neolithic sandstone boulders are said to be older than Stonehenge. If the kids are less than impressed, there’s a lovely play park, too.
Liverpool is one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities and was the 2008 European capital of culture. Whether you’re passing through, looking for heritage, pop culture and entertainment, checking out the universities, or planning a weekend break, there are plenty of reasons to book a hotel room in Liverpool. And with quaint fishing villages and market towns on its doorstep, there's so much to see and do in the surrounding area of Merseyside.