There’s no doubt that Liverpool lights up at Christmas time, with its annual selection of spectacular events, traditional celebrations and treats on offer at its thriving selection of bars, eateries and shops.
If you’re looking for a season to remember in 2016, we’ve scoured the city for its shining stars of all things festive.
Meet Father Christmas
Arguably the most famous spot in the city to meet old Saint Nick, generations of local children have flocked to Lewis’s Christmas Grotto since it was first opened as a ‘Christmas Wonderland’ in 1879.
Regarded as one of the first of its kind anywhere in the world, the operation was moved to the fourth floor of Rapid Hardware in the former George Henry Lee building following the closure of Lewis’ in 2010. In order to recreate an identical feel to the much-loved original, the same display team, joiner, painter and electricians all assisted with the move.
Now into its seventh season, Lewis’s Christmas Grotto is firmly settled into its new home and is ready to welcome children again this year.
When it comes to family fun at Christmas, a trip to see a pantomime at the theatre is an annual tradition for many, and here in Liverpool we’re spoilt for choice (oh yes we are!).
The now legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll panto at The Everyman is back this year with Beauty & the Beast. Well-loved double-act Adam Keast and Francis Tucker are joined by a live band to bring audiences plenty of laughs and a good old knees up.
Written by Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton, this family-friendly show runs from 26 November until 21 January.
The sound of Christmas
There’s nothing quite like a performance of Christmas carols and traditional music to fill you with festive cheer, and the city has plenty of stunning places to sit and listen.
Our pick, for its annual carol services as well as the sheer beauty of the gothic building and its surrounding grounds, is Liverpool Parish Church of Our Lady & St Nicholas – or St Nick’s, appropriately.
Each year, St Nick’s runs carol services and in 2016 they will be regularly taking place until 28 December. This Christmas season, alongside the regular choir, a new community choir will be performing every Wednesday.
Organised by the Liverpool BID Company, the BID community choir aims to bring people together and create a sense of community in Liverpool’s business district.
Anyone for sledging?
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Well if we are lucky enough to get a healthy dusting of snow this festive season then, of course, one of the best things to do is grab your sledge and find a slippery slope to slide down.
Camp Hill in Woolton is one of the finest such spots in the city – wide, shallow and very long; it’s perfect for both children and adults so there can be no excuses for any parents out there! If you haven’t got a sledge then you can always use bin lid or, as some people have done in the past, a rowing boat!
Liverpool is not short of vibrant pubs and bars, but as a destination to warm up a winter’s day with a festive tipple, The Munro is top of our Christmas list.
Each year the Duke Street-based gastropub puts out its seasonal menu of cocktails which are always met with favourable feedback.
With its cosy but classic setting, The Monro offers the perfect location to sit back and slouch in a comfortable chair while you enjoy your favourite Noël knock-back.
An open fire – perhaps to roast chestnuts – with the likes of Jack Daniels nipping at your nose, The Monro is the perfect retreat to get your taste buds racing from merry mixtures.
Truly traditional gift
If you’re searching for a unique and traditional Christmas gift, Liverpool’s Christmas market might just be the perfect place to look.
You’re certain to find something amongst the more than 40 stalls selling food, jewellery, clothes, arts and crafts from across four continents, as well as Christmas confectionery, decorations, hampers, wooden toys, roasted chestnuts and hot mulled wine.
If that’s not enough there’s also a bar and hog roast on site each day until the market says goodbye on 8 January 2017.
Tuck into a festive feast
Well known for serving up hearty roasts to hungry locals on a Sunday afternoon, the Dovedale Towers on Penny Lane has put together a Christmas menu full of indulgent festive specials.
Diners have a number of options including chicken liver parfait for starters and a traditional Lancashire turkey crown with stuffing, dripping potatoes, turkey gravy, pigs in blankets and all the trimmings for mains.
A choice of three deserts includes Christmas pudding, dark chocolate tart and gingerbread cheesecake served with Chantilly cream.