353km (219 miles) NW of London; 166km (103 miles) NW of Birmingham; 56km (35 miles) W of Manchester
Liverpool, with its famous waterfront on the River Mersey, is a great shipping port and industrial center and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's even been called "the next Barcelona." But forget about those palm trees, and carry an umbrella. King John launched Liverpool on its road to glory when he granted it a charter in 1207. Before that, it had been a tiny 12th-century fishing village, but it quickly became a port for shipping men and materials to Ireland. In the 18th century, it grew to prominence because of the sugar, spice, and tobacco trade with the Americans. By the time Victoria came to the throne, Liverpool had become Britain's biggest commercial seaport.
Recent refurbishing of the Albert Dock, the establishment of a maritime museum, and the conversion of warehouses into little stores similar to those in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square have made this an up-and-coming area once again, with many attractions for visitors. Liverpudlians are proud of their city, with its new hotels, two cathedrals, shopping and entertainment complexes, and parks. And, of course, whether they're fans of the Fab Four or not, most visitors to Liverpool want to see where Beatlemania began.