Liverpool 2016 What do Sunlight Soap, U Boats, Spaceport, ferries and football have in common? The answer is Liverpool. Angela Youngman guides group visitors through an incredible choice of activities that cover a wide range of interests suitable for a 2016 itinerary

Maritime Albert Dock on Liverpool waterfront with the Three Graces historic buildings. The Liverpool world heritage site. Port of Liverpool building, the Cunard Building and the Liver building. A historic ship moored. Mist rising from the water.

Maritime Albert Dock on Liverpool waterfront with the Three Graces historic buildings. The Liverpool world heritage site. Port of Liverpool building, the Cunard Building and the Liver building. A historic ship moored. Mist rising from the water.

Liverpool has an extensive dockland area, which has become a major tourist attraction housing museums such as the International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool – all within walking distance of each other. These museums tell the story of Liverpool’s growth as a tourist destination and its involvement on a more international scale. From this port, many of the Slavers boats set sail, in addition to being a venue for Atlantic convoys during World War Two. Until December 2016, the Merseyside Maritime Museum has a special exhibition dealing with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. Other displays include a look at the world of customs and excise and Liverpool’s role in the American Civil War. The Albert Dock is also home to a historic Liverpool pilot cutter, which can be toured alongside the historic Pier Master’s House. Built in the 19th century, this is the only example of dockside residences from the period that survived the Blitz of 1941. Carefully restored, Pier Master’s House provides visitors with a look into the life and times of the people who used to live and work here. World-class art can be found at the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Gallery and Tate Liverpool. Examples from all major painting styles can be found in Liverpool, including Picasso and Andy Warhol. The Walker Art Gallery houses a treasure trove of paintings, sculpture and decorative art dating from medieval times to the present day. Liverpool City Walks offer a guided tour of the Albert Dock and Pier Head, which includes exclusive access to the interiors of three iconic waterfront buildings. Often known as the ‘3 Graces,’ these buildings are the symbol of Liverpool – the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard Building and the Royal Liver Building with its stunning Liver birds perched on the towers.

View across the Mersey towards the Liverpool with the Mersey Ferry in the foreground

View across the Mersey towards Liverpool

Take a trip on the ferry across the Mersey to visit some unusual attractions on the Wirral. Study the stars and discover the mysteries of space at Spaceport, where there are numerous interactive exhibits, or stroll around the historic Port Sunlight Village. This was a model village set up by William Hesketh Lever to serve the needs of the factory workers at his Sunlight Soap factory. The pretty houses and landscaped gardens found throughout the village invite a very pleasant walk, stopping off at the Lady Lever Art Gallery to view paintings by Turner and other well known artists. The Port Sunlight Museum tells the story of the village and its inhabitants over the past hundred years. At the U Boat Museum situated close to the ferry terminal, visitors can discover what life was like on a U boat, see into the cross sectioned original submarine and find out about the mystery of U-534. Entry to the museum can be combined with a cruise aboard Mersey Ferries to discover Liverpool’s famous waterfront. For a longer six-hour trip, explore the magic of the 35-mile Manchester Ship Canal through locks and bridges that have remained unchanged since their construction over 100 years ago. For a very different view, it is possible to take a tour of the Mersey Tunnel. This offers the opportunity to travel behind the scenes, learn about the construction, see the control room and walk under the road surface. Informative guides also explain why the tunnels have featured in various Hollywood movies.

Strawberry Fields, which inspired the song by The Beatles, in a suburb of Liverpool called Woolton.

Strawberry Fields, which inspired the song by The Beatles, in a suburb of Liverpool called Woolton.

For superb aerial views across the city, take a trip on the Liverpool Wheel on Keel Wharf, before visiting the Beatles Story nearby to discover the heritage of the iconic 1960’s band, which have had an enduring impact on the world of popular music. The Magical Mystery Tour bus provides guided tours around the city passing The Beatles’ childhood homes, schools and the places that inspired some of their most popular songs, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Moving away from the docks into the centre of Liverpool, the 452 feet high Radio City Tower Viewing Gallery offers panoramic views over Liverpool and across into Snowdonia, and even into the Lake District on a clear day. As an added bonus, visitors get to see inside Radio City Studios. Liverpool wouldn’t be Liverpool without its iconic football teams. Football fans can enjoy guided tours of both Liverpool Football Club and Everton Stadium. Among the tours available at Liverpool Football Club are stadium tours, a look at the legends of football, match day tours as well as a mini tour designed for younger visitors. These tours can be combined with a visit to the Liverpool FC Museum containing all five European trophies, details of football stars past and present, as well as numerous interactive exhibits. An adjacent area houses The Steven Gerrard Collection, which celebrates his career at the Liverpool FC Museum by offering a glimpse of never before seen memorabilia from his own private collection. At Everton, tours operate most days but not on match days. The Goodison Park Stadium offers an opportunity to go behind the scenes, see the changing rooms and boardroom, travel through the players tunnel and find out how a football stadium operates. All the tours are led by former players, who tell stories, provide local colour and explain what happens in each area. Located just outside Liverpool is the 500-acre Knowsley Safari Park housing over 700 animals from baboons to camels, lions and wildebeest. There is an extensive drive through area allowing visitors to see lions, tigers and other animals roaming free. Afterwards visitors can explore the Bat Forest, Giraffe Tower and Elephant Platform on foot, see Bird of Prey flying displays, watch the sea lions performing within their enclosure and venture into the Bug House. British wildlife including waterfowl, stoats and squirrels can be seen within the woodland while children can enjoy the play areas.