Thinking of going to Liverpool to attend an event? It’s no wonder. The city has a year-round calendar full to bursting with big sporting occasions, music festivals and shows. There’s always something going on, and it’s a great way to delve into local culture, too. And while you may need to buy tickets months in advance for events like the Grand National, some (like the Liverpool International Music festival) are free– great if you happen to be in town on a city break.
The Grand National is the UK’s most iconic horse race, watched by an estimated 600 million people worldwide. But the steeplechase is only a small part of the three-day racing festival at Aintree. There’s Grand Opening Day and Ladies’ Day too, each with its own flavour. Whichever day you choose to attend, the basics are the same. You’ll be able to cheer on the horses, have a flutter and indulge in the splendid hospitality the racecourse is famous for.
This two-day event held over the beach at nearby Southport is a fantastic place to bring the whole family. Just 20 miles from Liverpool, watch the Red Arrows perform their displays, marvel at the skills of the stunt pilots and watch light aircraft land on the shore. When you’re tired of craning your necks, there’s plenty to keep you entertained on land, too. Air Show Village has rides for the kids, aircraft simulators and a fireworks display to round the event off.
Get knee-deep in flora and fauna at the UK’s largest independent flower show. Held in Southport’s Victoria Park in late August, there’s plenty on offer to keep everyone entertained, whether you’re a keen gardener or you struggle to keep a houseplant alive. With show gardens, flower sculptures and amateur growers showing off their oversized vegetables, the four-day show attracts 80,000 visitors each year – and a fair amount of celebrity guests, too.
Standing for Liverpool International Music Festival, LIMF is held in Sefton Park in the summer. It replaced the city’s annual Mathew Street festival and has grown to become Europe’s biggest free music event. Featuring some top international artists alongside up-and-coming homegrown talent, there are food stalls and bars aplenty, or you can just take a picnic if you prefer. But don’t forget the kids because there’s a dedicated family zone, too.
One of the UK’s largest independent music festivals, Sound City is held in Bramley Moore Dock in the heart of the Waterfront area. Hundreds of bands perform here over the course of the two-day festival, but it’s not all about the music – there’s also arts, culture and entertainment, too. The venue is two miles from the city centre but there are shuttle buses if you don’t fancy the walk. It’s good to arrive hungry though, as top restaurants have food stalls here.
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.