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Liverpool city centre is fairly compact, but nevertheless has a number of unique areas that offer something different to visitors. From Europe's oldest Chinatown to a commercial district brimming with mercantile palaces and on to the Georgian Quarter, there's plenty to enjoy.
The city's retail core links its delightful waterfront - the monumental Albert Dock and Pier Head - with the wider city and should satisfy all but the most upmarket of tastes. Much of it has been re-built in recent years to a very high standard, including Liverpool One, and the city centre is clean and well maintained. The city centre spreads out to the Ropewalks area, including Concert Square, renowned for its 24/7 bar and club scene, which then leads on to Chinatown, with the largest monumental Chinese arch outside China.
Up the hill from the arch lies the city's enormous Anglican cathedral - Britain's largest cathedral - around which lies an elegant Georgian neighbourhood which boasts more Georgian buildings than Bath. Its most famous thoroughfare, Hope Street, links the city's two cathedrals and contains some of its best hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars. Try the Belvedere off Falkner Street, the legendary Philharmonic on Hope St, or Ye Cracke on Rice Street where John Lennon used to drink, and you'll see why Scousers love their pubs.
If you're staying in one of the business district hotels - the Radisson Blu or Heywood House, say - then don't ignore this neighbourhood. It contains some quite stunning commercial architecture, from Georgian through every era to the present day. Check out Martin's Bank Building on Water Street and the amazing India Buildings over the road for a sample of what the area has to offer. And if Art Deco is your thing then it's a bit of a play-ground - from the Mersey tunnel entrances to the tunnels offices at George's Dock Gates and more. Castle Street is its main thoroughfare and, via Derby Square, links neatly to Chavasse Park and the huge Liverpool One development.
Ropewalks is the old port neighbourhood and is still in the process of being regenerated. It consists of a number of perpendicular streets along which rope was twisted in the early 18th century. New bars, shops, restaurants, hotels and pubs mark out the neighbourhood as the city's alternative quarter and it generally doesn't disappoint.
Out of town visitors are often surprised at how green and leafy Liverpool's south end is. Parks abound, including the giant Sefton and Calderstone parks, plus its delightful riverside park, Otterspool. Check out a map and you'll see just how many there are. If you go to Sefton Park (in L17) then you can enjoy the bohemian Lark Lane district as well as the park itself. Take the Merseyrail from Central station to St. Michael's station and turn left ouf of the station - it's five minutes to Lark Lane, which runs in to the park itself.
For a complete change of scene the elegant Georgian village of Woolton forms the centrepiece of the upscale neighbourhood of the same name. Paul McCartney first met Lennon at a Quarrymen gig at St Peters church fete in Woolton and the legendary Liverpool FC manager Bob Paisley is buried there. Reynolds Park offers a lovely hideaway just north of the village, whilst Camp Hill to the south offers lovely views across the Mersey to the Welsh hills.
For something completely different take the Merseyrail to Hall Road in Blundellsands and walk down to the beach at the mouth of the River to take in Antony Gormley's incredible statues. More than a hundred sentinels are set in to the beach way out beyond the tide line, offering an eerie spectacle as they're slowly consumed by the in-coming tide. Behind sit the Welsh mountains, with clear sight of Snowdon, Tryfan and the Glydders most days. Giant ships feel close to the shoreline to remind you that Liverpool remains a major port.