25 Mar, 12:27
Following on from last week's launch of the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain, Brendan Gallagher spoke to Race Director Mick Bennett to find out more about this September's route.
Steeped in history with a rich cultural heritage, Liverpool is thriving, stylish, cosmopolitan and vibrant. A rich history, passion for music, the arts, culture and sport make Liverpool a complete city destination.
Liverpool was awarded the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2004, acknowledging its world-class heritage and cultural relevance.
Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other UK City Region outside of London, attracting leading international exhibitions and record visitor numbers.
National Museums Liverpool (NML) operates eight museums and galleries across the City Region - Museum of Liverpool, World Museum Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Sudley House and Border Agency National Museum - all of which are open seven days a week with free admission.
Liverpool Biennial, the UK's contemporary art festival takes place across the city in public spaces and galleries such as the Bluecoat, The Old Blind School (where the group exhibition is), FACT and Tate Liverpool. Partner exhibitions include Bloomberg New Contemporaries, the John Moores Painting Prize, Open Eye Gallery and the Exhibition Research Centre, while newly commissioned artworks interact with the urban landscape. It runs until 26th October 2014.
Architecture is a huge attraction for people visiting the city too. Liverpool is extremely proud of its two magnificent cathedrals, Anglican and Metropolitan, located at opposite ends of Hope Street, recently voted the best street in the UK. Gothic in design, Liverpool Cathedral is the largest Anglican cathedral in Britain and the fifth largest in the world. Another must-see for architecture fans is the St. George's Quarter of the city, home to stunning buildings such as Walker Art Gallery, Central Library and of course St. George's Hall - considered by many experts to be one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in Europe.
Music fans across the world know Liverpool as the home of The Beatles, and Liverpool proudly remembers its most famous sons with a range of museums, attractions and tours dedicated to the Fab Four. Visit the award-winning Beatles Story in the Albert Dock for a unique interactive tour through the lives and times of John, Paul, George and Ringo - from the early days to their solo careers. Many visitors to Liverpool take a couple of hours to go on the Magical Mystery Tour, a circuit of the city which takes in, amongst others, John and Paul's childhood homes, Strawberry Field and Penny Lane, immortalised in song. To see where the band made its name, visit The Cavern Club on Mathew Street, home to regular live music as well as numerous photo opportunities.
And if you're looking for a good time to visit again, the calendar does not stop after the Friends Life Tour of Britain. After Sefton Park has recovered from welcoming thousands of cyclists for The Tour, it is home to a celebration of the finest food in the region at the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival (19th - 21st September). In November, Andy Warhol follows Mondrian, Magritte and Picasso as the latest blockbuster name to have an exhibition at Tate Liverpool, with Jackson Pollock lined up for summer 2015. While if you have enjoyed seeing the iconic waterfront in full swing, keep an eye out for the Cunard Line's 175th anniversary celebrations in May 2015, when Cunard's three queens - Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth - will meet on the Mersey in a spectacular one-off event.
Since the modern Tour of Britain was relaunched in 2004 the race has visited Liverpool on three occasions, with stage finishes in 2006 (pictured above) and 2008 (pictured below), and a stage start from Sefton Park in 2007.