News + Insight

A Tour Of Liverpool

16 January 2017

The allure of Liverpool – a city of distinct quarters each with something to offer – is only set to grow. Your tour start here.

The northwestern city of Liverpool is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the UK, located on the Mersey Estuary just 40 miles west of Manchester. Best known, perhaps, as the home of The Beatles, the city was named by Guinness World Records as the World Capital City of Pop.

But Liverpool also has a number of other claims: it was once a major port city and many of the architectural landmarks that convey its rich maritime history are now part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also famously home to two Premier League football clubs, and its Aintree Racecourse hosts England’s premier horse race, the Grand National – watched in over 140 countries by some 600 million people every year.

The city is home to a diverse population – another result of its history as a port city. Many come to Liverpool to study at its three universities: the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University, as well as at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), and the city can count around 66,000 students from over 100 countries.

Averaging less than two and a half hours by train to London (set to reduce to 93 minutes when the High Speed Rail 2 project is delivered in 2033) and with connections across the country by rail, Liverpool also has its own international airport, the Liverpool John Lennon Airport, just 15 minutes from the city centre, and, of course, the Port of Liverpool, one of the largest in the UK. Transport around the city itself is convenient too and each neighbourhood offers its own distinct flavour.

Heritage and history on the Waterfront

Looking out across the Mersey Estuary and out to sea, the Waterfront area of Liverpool, home to Albert Dock and Pier Head, which make up part of part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, is indicative of the city’s former grandeur. Albert Dock is comprised of the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings in the UK, many of which now house cultural institutions such as the acclaimed Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum and the Museum of Liverpool, as well as shops, restaurants, and hotels. Pier Head is dominated by the Three Graces: the Royal Liver Building, the Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building, all designed to put Liverpool’s considerable wealth on show during the late 19th and early 20th century when its port was one of the most important in the world. The latest addition to the Waterfront, the RIBA North Architecture Centre is due to open in 2017, while over GBP6.5 billion of investment is pledged to further rejuvenate the area.Liverpool_9927.jpg

Rocking n’ Rolling down Cavern Quarter

Centred around the famous Mathew Street, which is home to the world-famous Cavern Club and a focal point of The Beatles’ history and the city’s nightlife scene, Cavern Quarter is a destination for music lovers – and many come to pay tribute to The Beatles and other icons of the 1960s rock and roll scene.

Shop until you drop in the Retail District

The heart of Liverpool’s shopping scene, the Retail District is formed of shopping centres, bohemian streets and farmers markets, as well as the GBP1 billion Liverpool ONE development, a large open-air shopping district home to more than 160 famous high street and designer names, independent boutiques, cafes and restaurants, that was completed in 2008 and which spurred a number of other regeneration projects in the city.

St George’s Quarter and the arts

St George’s Quarter also makes up a part of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site and contains within its boundaries one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the world, including buildings such as St George’s Hall, World Museum Liverpool, Central Library, Walker Art Gallery and Lime Street Station. The neighbourhood is also the city’s prime arts and theatre district, home to the Liverpool Playhouse, Royal Court and Empire Theatres.

Bohemian Ropewalks

Named for its history as the centre of rope making during Liverpool’s maritime boom, today Ropewalks’s 19th century warehouse buildings are a centre of art, music and culture. There is good shopping in the form of vintage items and arts and crafts, but most come to Ropewalks for the food, drink and live music venues, particularly those on Bold Street which is also home to cultural institutions such as FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and the Grade I-listed Bluecoat arts centre – which turns 300 in 2017 and is the oldest surviving building in central Liverpool. Chic hotels and sleek apartment buildings have also sprung up in an area that has come to be characterized by a blend of old and new where old historic streets contain renovated warehouses, hip cafes and trendy music venues frequented by Liverpool’s thriving student population.

The creative cutting edge of Baltic Triangle

One of the most exciting and fastest-growing neighbourhoods of Liverpool, Baltic Triangle was once an industrial area of well-worn factories and workshops. Today, creative and digital businesses thrive by day – Liverpool has the second fastest growing digital/creative sector in the UK  and the number of businesses is projected to grow by 119% by 2020. When night time comes, alternative dining and entertainment can be found in some of the city’s most exciting restaurants and arts spaces – and it’s all just a 15-minute walk or a GBP3 taxi from Liverpool ONE.

Change is set for Chinatown


Liverpool’s Chinatown caters to the oldest Chinese community in Europe – the first ship direct from China arrived into Liverpool’s docks in 1834. And there remains a strong Chinese community in the city – in 2015, The University of Liverpool attracted the largest number of Chinese students of any university in the UK and this large and increasing Chinese student population has encouraged the growth of Chinatown. Today the area is set for regeneration to include new shopping complexes and space for over 100 businesses.

Flying high in the Commercial District

The financial heart of Liverpool centres on Old Hall Street where some of the tallest buildings in North West England are found. Large corporations and global banks have a strong presence here and Liverpool has been named the UK’s largest wealth management centre outside London, handling over GBP13 billion in assets and employing 60,000 people.

There’s plenty in the pipeline for Liverpool in the coming years. As Ian Nairn wrote in Britain’s Changing Towns in 1967, “if Liverpool can get into top gear again there is no limit to the city’s potential. The scale and resilience of the buildings and people is amazing – it is a world city, far more so than London and Manchester.” 

That time may well have come.


Roxanne O’Fee Kelly

Roxanne is an Investment Manager specialising in the UK market for IP Global. Since 2014, she has had exposure to the US, European and Asia-Pacific markets and sourced several landmark projects. She has grown the company’s UK portfolio with her investment expertise and analysis of the country’s different regions including London, northern England and Scotland. In 2017 alone, Roxanne sourced investments worth USD100 million and has delivered some of IP Global’s most successful projects, particularly in Manchester.

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