Swish and stylish, the Echo Arena hosts some of the world’s most glittering stars. Although smaller and more intimate than other UK arenas, its events calendar reads like a who’s who of the entertainment industry. Giants of the music world, international sports stars and comedy icons all flock to perform here. But the best thing? Its location. The Echo Arena is situated on Liverpool’s Waterfront with its lively bars and restaurants, meaning you’ll be spoilt for choice for places to go before your show.
The eagerly-anticipated Echo Arena opened in spectacular style on King’s Dock in January 2008. Built to help the city celebrate its European Capital of Culture status, its ability to put on huge events has helped forge Liverpool’s reputation as a major player in the entertainment world. From Kylie and Elton John to comedy heavyweights like John Bishop and Russell Howard, if they’re A-list and appearing in Liverpool, chances are they’ll be appearing here.
The Echo Arena actually forms half of the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC Liverpool), sharing the space with the BT Convention Centre next door. And while the ACC cost £164 million to build, its economic benefits have far outweighed its initial cost, generating over £1 billion for the local economy. Its 11,000 seating capacity make it relatively small in arena terms – it’s the eleventh largest in the UK - but many feel that this only adds to the experience, helping the audience get up-close and personal to their favourite stars.
With a seating capacity of 11,000, Echo Arena has a flexible layout which allows it to accommodate all types of events, from awards shows to ice skating spectaculars. As each event is set out slightly differently, you’ll need to look at the individual plan of your event, provided when booking tickets.
At the Echo Arena, the layout fits the event, not the other way round. Chances are the space will look totally different whether you’re watching a boxing match or pop concert. Luckily, you’ll be able to find out the exact layout for your event when you’re buying your ticket – you’ll get to pick your seat from an interactive map online.
There’s a cash machine in the concourse area that doesn’t charge for withdrawals, but you can always pay by card at the Echo Arena’s Mersey Eats and Mersey Drinks stands. The food and drink stands are located both at floor level and along the concourse so you’ll never be far from any much-needed refreshment.
The Echo Arena is actually fairly small in stadium terms. Unless your ticket states you’ll have a restricted view, there really isn’t a bad view in the house – no looking at a tiny dot on stage through binoculars here. But if you really want to push the boat out, go for a VIP box with balcony seating and a pre-show meal.
Designated drop-off areas, wide corridors and accessible seating with some of the best views in the house, the Echo Arena aims to be inclusive to all. There’s even a Personal Assistance scheme which can be pre-booked at no extra cost, for those who couldn’t attend without the active support of another person.
Before you arrive, check your ticket to see if you’re sitting Cityside, Riverside or Floor, as it'll tell you which entrance you need to head for, saving you lots of time walking around. Don’t be disheartened if there’s a long queue to get in to the arena as they move pretty quickly, but there can be a long wait to get out of the car park once the show’s over. If you have a choice of where to park when you arrive, go for the lowest tier you can and you’ll get out much more quickly.
There’s no shortage of places to satisfy your pre or post-show rumbling tummy, both inside the Echo Arena and out.
There are eight Mersey Eats and Mersey Drinks concession stalls inside the stadiums, offering something beyond the standard arena fayre of chips and burgers. All food is locally sourced and has a twist of north west flavour, like the Scouse Dog - a hot dog topped with a ladle of traditional Scouse meat stew and red cabbage.
Situated right on Liverpool’s Waterfront area, you can take your pick from the city’s finest bars and restaurants. Stroll along the riverside, marvelling at the beautiful buildings while you take your pick of whatever restaurant you fancy. They’re all here, from kid-friendly family favourites to romantic bistros.
A short stroll from the city centre, getting to the Echo Arena couldn’t be easier. But if even that sounds like too much legwork, there’s a Premier Inn hotel right around the corner at Albert Dock, a mere two-minute walk away.
Driving to the Echo Arena is easy, wherever you’re coming from. Just follow the tourist signs for the Waterfront which can be seen on all major routes to the city. Following your sat nav? Punch in postcode L3 4BX.
Loads of local and long-distance buses go to the Liverpool ONE shopping centre, and that’s just five minutes’ walk from the Echo Arena. Or come by coach and get dropped off right at the door in the dedicated coach parking area.
Arriving at Liverpool Lime Street rail station? The Echo Arena is a short bus or taxi ride away. If you do decide to hop in a cab, Lime Street has two taxi ranks at each end and there’s a drop-off area right outside the venue.
The venue is easily reached on foot from the city centre. It takes about 20 minutes to amble from Liverpool Lime Street, and there are even pedestrianised areas from Liverpool ONE to the Waterfront area.
Liverpool is one of England’s most cosmopolitan cities; it was even the 2008 European capital of culture. Whether you’re passing through, looking for heritage, culture and live 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 really so much to see and do in the surrounding area of Merseyside.
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