You may be in Liverpool for a day at the races or even to cheer on the Reds, but don’t forget the city’s other much-loved sport – shopping. Liverpool’s city centre is a rich feast for those who love their therapy of the retail kind. Forget trawling around the same old shops you’d find on any old UK high street. Yes, all the major retailers are here, but the city is bursting with independent stores and virtually every scene is covered, from hipster to designer. And rest assured that each item you buy will come with a friendly chat from the person in the queue behind you, totally free of charge.
The largest open air shopping centre in the UK, a trip to Liverpool ONE is a total must. This shopper’s paradise opened in 2008 and turned Liverpool into a major UK retail destination almost overnight.
Make sure you wear comfy shoes – this place is huge. You could easily spend a day here and still not visit every one of its 160 high street and designer stores.
Looking for high fashion style at bargain basement prices? Cheshire Oaks is the place to go. A 30-minute drive from Liverpool in Ellesmere Port, it’s the UK’s largest designer outlet village with 145 shops. Gucci, Burberry, Armani… all the usual suspects are represented here and there are some top name restaurants too, so you can refuel when you’re flagging.
Prefer your shops on the quirky side? Head to bohemian Bold Street, the heart of the city’s alternative scene. An eclectic mix of independent shops and bars, it buzzes with shoppers by day and revellers by night. Frequented by the city’s student population, it’s also popular with hen and stags which adds to the area’s vibrant feel. And if you love a rummage, there’s a raft of vintage stores here, too.
A major port, Liverpool is a melting pot of cultures, making it a real foodie destination. Its full of farmers’ markets and one of the best can be found in the Bohemian area of Lark Lane. Open 9am to 2pm every fourth Saturday of the month, you can buy everything from fish to cakes, safe in the knowledge it’s all produced or sourced from a 30-mile radius. Best to go early as it’s so popular that stocks of artisan produce get low later on.
Hard-core Beatles fan? Head straight to Mathew Street. Not only is it home to the Cavern Club and several pubs frequented by the Fab Four, you’ll also find the Beatles Shop here, stuffed with memorabilia. Nestled beside the normal souvenirs are some genuine collectors’ items, like rare vinyl from the 1970s. And if you have a piece of Beatles history yourself, enthusiastic staff will offer you a free valuation.
While the independent scene is thriving all over Liverpool, one of the best places to go is the Bluecoat – Liverpool’s centre for contemporary arts. The beautiful former school is the oldest building in the city centre and has retail outlets selling handmade fashion, homewares and contemporary craft. It’s also home to the Liverpool music legend that is Probe Records. Once at the centre of the New Wave scene, both Julian Cope and Pete Burns worked 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.