Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of 498,042 in 2019, it is the 10th largest English district by population and its metropolitan area is the fifth largest in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2.24 million.
In 2019, Liverpool was the fifth most visited UK city. It is noted for its culture, architecture, and transport links. The city is closely associated with the arts, especially music; the popularity of the Beatles, widely regarded as the most influential band of all time, led to it becoming a tourist destination. Liverpool has continued to be the home of numerous notable musicians and record labels – musicians from the city have released 56 No. 1 hit singles. More than any other city in the world.
Several areas of Liverpool city centre carried World Heritage Site status from 2004 until 2021; the city’s vast collection of parks and open spaces has been described as the “most important in the country” by England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Its status as a port city historically attracted a diverse population from a wide range of cultures, primarily Ireland, Norway, and Wales. It is also home to the oldest black community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
King John’s letters patent of 1207 announced the foundation of the borough of Liverpool. By the middle of the 16th century, the population was still around 500. The original street plan of Liverpool is said to have been designed by King John near the same time it was granted a royal charter, making it a borough. The original seven streets were laid out in an H shape: Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street).
Liverpool is served by two separate rail networks. The local rail network is managed and run by Merseyrail and provides links throughout Merseyside and beyond, while the national network, which is managed by Network Rail, provides Liverpool with connections to major towns and cities across England. The city’s primary main line station is Lime Street station, which is the terminus for several lines into the city, with numerous destinations including London (in 2 hours 8 minutes with Pendolino trains), Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Manchester, Preston, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield, Nottingham and Norwich. In the south of the city, Liverpool South Parkway provides a connection to the city’s airport.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which is located in the south of the city, provides Liverpool with direct air connections across the United Kingdom and Europe. In 2008, the airport handled over 5.3 million passengers and today offers services to sixty-eight destinations, including Berlin, Rome, Milan, Paris, Barcelona and Zürich. The airport is primarily served by low-cost airlines, notably Ryanair and Easyjet, although it does provide additional charter services in the summer.
As with other large cities, Liverpool is an important cultural centre within the United Kingdom, incorporating music, performing arts, museums and art galleries, literature and nightlife amongst others. In 2008, the cultural heritage of the city was celebrated with the city holding the title of European Capital of Culture, during which time a wide range of cultural celebrations took place in the city, including Go Superlambananas! and La Princesse. Liverpool has also held Europe’s largest music and poetry event, the Welsh national Eisteddfod, three times, despite being in England, in 1884, 1900, and 1929.
Liverpool is one of the most successful footballing cities in England, and is home to two top flight Premier League teams. Everton F.C. was founded in 1878 and play at Goodison Park and Liverpool F.C. were founded in 1892 and play at Anfield. Between them, the clubs have won 28 English First Division titles, 12 FA Cup titles, 10 League Cup titles, 6 European Cup titles, 1 FIFA Club World Cup title, 1 European Cup Winners’ Cup title, 3 UEFA Cup titles, and 24 FA Charity Shields.
Aintree is home to the world’s most famous steeple-chase, the John Smith’s Grand National which takes place annually in early April. The race meeting attracts horse owners/ jockeys from around the world to compete in the demanding 4-mile (6.5-kilometre) and 30-fence course. There have been many memorable moments of the Grand National, for instance, the 100/1 outsider Foinavon in 1967, the dominant Red Rum and Ginger McCain of the 1970s and Mon Mome (100/1) who won the 2009 meeting. In 2010, the National became the first horse race to be televised in high-definition in the UK.
Natives of Liverpool (and some longtime residents from elsewhere) are formally referred to as “Liverpudlians” but are usually called “Scousers” in reference to scouse – a local stew made popular by sailors in the city. “Scouse” is also the most common name for the Liverpool accent and dialect.
The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007 and was named the 2008 European Capital of Culture, which it shared with the Norwegian city of Stavanger. Its selection as a European Capital of Culture has been credited with kickstarting its economic renaissance.