With the fourth highest Chinese population in the UK (approximately 8,000) and being home to Europe’s oldest Chinese community, Liverpool is often an overlooked city in the north of England and overshadowed by Manchester, particularly when it comes to the presence of Chinese people but also as a world class city in general.
But we at Nee Hao believe Liverpool is certainly worth seeing, so if you’re ever looking for a new English city to go to or you’re around the northwest area, here is our guide as to why you should pay a little visit to Liverpool.
In 2011, the Liverpool consensus estimated there were just under 8,000 people of Chinese origin living in the city, which translates to 1.7 per cent of the total population and makes them the second biggest ethnic minority after Black Africans. Liverpool is also historically known as having the oldest Chinese community in Europe when the first wave of Chinese people came to the city in the early 19th Century when it was known as an important international port.
Since then the Chinese population has increased and in the mid 20th Century has been quite stable despite many moving away to other cities. Liverpool’s Chinatown is one of the UK’s biggest and oldest, Its distinctive arch at the gateway, built in 2000, is the world’s largest, multiple-span arch outside of China, standing at 13.5m (44ft). The arch is decorated with 200 dragons, including 12 “pregnant” dragons, which according to the official website is meant to symbolise the good fortune between Liverpool and its twin city since 1999, Shanghai. Today, about a dozen streets near Liverpool Cathedral are part of Chinatown.
There are several organisations based in Chinatown such as the Pagoda Arts Centre, Liverpool Chinese Youth Orchestra and the Liverpool Cantonese Opera Society, all of which have regular meetings and host shows and concerts throughout the year.
Liverpool has a very rich and diverse culture – which was noted when it held the 2008 title of the “European Capital of Culture” – and is especially known for its musical and sporting history. Birthplace to The Beatles, Billy J Kramer, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Cilla Black, The Zutons and Atomic Kitten among other artists, Liverpool is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “World Capital City of Pop”.
The Liverpool International Music Festival (formerly the Matthew Street Music Festival), Africa Oyé and Brazilica are three music festivals that are well known in the city and across the UK, the latter two being the UK’s largest free African and Brazilian music festivals.
Sports are undeniably big in Liverpool. It is the most successful footballing city in England and is home to both Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs and their stadiums – Anfield and Goodison Park – are very popular tourist attractions. Boxing is also very popular and Liverpool is the most represented city in Great Britain’s boxing team, particularly at the Olympics. Aintree Racecourse, located just outside Liverpool, is home to the world’s most famous and also most controversial steeplechase, John Smith’s Grand National.
Liverpool also has the most national museums and galleries outside of London, with some of them including the World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool War Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool.
Other notable points of interest in Liverpool include the city’s waterfront, which is home to several docks and cruise terminals; the numerous places of worship such as churches and cathedrals, Hindu temples, mosques and synagogues; and its many public sculptures and listed buildings (more than 2,500 in total), several of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In 2011 a poll on TripAdvisor listed Liverpool as having the best nightlife of any UK city, beating out London, Manchester and Leeds and it’s true that the city’s thriving nightlife should not be underestimated. With a vast number of clubs, bars, pubs, live music venues and comedy clubs dotted around the city centre, Liverpool has something and somewhere for everyone.
Some of Liverpool’s most famous watering holes include The Blue Angel (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan all once played here in the 60s), Korova, Nation (home to the world renowned club night, “Cream”, and Medication, the UK’s largest and longest running student club night), The Cavern Club (also a favourite place that The Beatles played gigs at), Alma de Cuba (originally a Catholic church) and The Magnet.
Throughout history Liverpool has been praised by many notable people, including architectural critic Ian Nairn, Carl Jung, John Wesley, Daniel Defoe and even Prince Albert, who in a speech in 1846 said: “I have heard of the greatness of Liverpool but the reality far surpasses my expectation.” So now we’ve told all about Liverpool, why not check it out for yourself?