This is your Christmas in Liverpool

Liverpool has come to the end of a landmark ‘giant’ year after celebrating ten years since it was crowned the European Capital of Culture and is now set to come alive this festive season making it the ideal fun family break. 

From unique art installations that will light up the city centre to an ice festival that takes over the picturesque waterfront, turning it into the ultimate winter wonderland; there’s plenty to do for everyone. Traditional Christmas markets will offer the perfect opportunity to find a special gift for a loved one whilst an array of pantomimes will leave you shouting, “he’s behind you!” long after you’ve returned home. This Christmas, it has to be Liverpool. 

As the festive build up begins, Church Street’s Christmas tree will be put in place on the 15th November, acting as the perfect backdrop for Christmas shoppers. The tree will be welcomed by the Lord Mayor. Christmas will arrive in Liverpool the next day with the opening of the Liverpool Christmas Market on St George’s Plateau and the city will officially light up on Friday 16th December with a ONE BIG Christmas Street Party taking over Liverpool ONE. 

The event will run from 4pm-8pm and will feature a 250-person choir, piano playing Santa’s, and pop-up pantomime previews. The party will not only mark the official start of Christmas but also the unveiling of a brand new light installation on Chavasse Park that is set to join the much loved 30 metre love heart tree. Polaris; Dare to Dream is inspired by the brightest star in the constellation and will feature 96 colour changing cubes, representing the famous pillars of Liverpool’s culture; the people, art, music, sport, trade and education.

Continuing the theme of light-up installations and adding to the impressive collection of public art on display will be the introduction of the Star Globe; an impressive 5-metre high 3D bauble that’s set to bring Williamson Square to life and will no doubt be one of the most Instagrammed locations in the city.  Christmas 2018 will also see the return of the ‘Follow the Star’ light installations on two of Liverpool’s most popular streets; Bold street and Castle Street, as well as brand new constellation trees which will be set up throughout the city. 

Visitors can also take part in the ultimate Instagram trail; a series of special ‘Insta moments’ across the city centre including Instagram walls, where they will be encouraged to mark the occasion by sharing their picture perfect selfies using #myliverpoolchristmas. 

Thrill seekers are covered with the return of Liverpool Christmas Ice Festival at the Pier Head. Running from 10th November until 6th January the enchanting spectacle features the iconic ice rink, the UK’s largest ice slide and the only Ice Jet ride in the UK along with food and drink stalls, fairground rides and an Apres Lodge. Visitors can book their tickets for the ice rink and ice slide at www.icefestivalliverpool.co.uk 

Returning to St. George’s Plateau in front of the magnificent St George’s Hall, Liverpool Christmas market will once again offer over 40 traditional stalls. Visitors will have the chance to pick up unique gifts and tuck into food from around the world as well as enjoy a mulled wine at the Windmill bar.  The market will run from 16th November until 23rd December. 

Meanwhile inside St George’s Hall visitors will find the Luna Winter Cinema from 19th-23rd December. All the festive favourites will be shown from Home Alone to Love Actually and what better place to settle down to a movie than in the breath-taking great hall?! Tickets can be booked at thelunacinema.com/st-georges-hall-liverpool 

Another of the city’s most picturesque locations, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, will host Christmas-themed Makers Markets on the 9th and 16th December featuring some of the finest local food, drink, art and craft from some of Liverpool’s best artisans and North West businesses. The picturesque waterfront will also host a Christmas Extravaganza on 22nd November from 4-9pm. Complete with an ice sculpture trail, a pop-up Christmas tree shop and the Salvation Army choir along with special offerings from the various outlets; this event will be the perfect taster of what to expect at Christmas at the Dock. 

Visitors to the Dock over Christmas will also have the opportunity to take in the Liverpool Mountain, a gravity-defying sculpture by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone- his first public artwork in the UK located right on the UNESCO World Heritage waterfront. Continuing the art theme, Tate Liverpool’s new exhibition Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures is the first major UK exhibition in 30 years of the renowned French artist and will open on 23rd November. Christmas lights will twinkle around the quaysides of the iconic Grade II Listed Dock, making it a magical place to visit this Christmas.

Once the festive season arrives, Liverpool is the perfect place to box off your Christmas shopping with Liverpool ONE housing high-street favourites along with stores such as COS, Arket and Michael Kors. Bold Street meanwhile is the perfect place to find a unique gift in one of its many independent stores and Royal Albert Dock Liverpool is now home to various retailers including Lost Soles and Nest. 

If all the shopping has worn you out then pay a visit to Bar Hütte, located beneath the Christmas tree in Liverpool ONE. The ski-chalet Hüttes feature Karaoke machines making them the perfect place to cosy up with a festive drink. Shoppers can also be kept entertained in St Johns Shopping Centre with the Elfie Selfie Station; the perfect place to get a festive family photo and a series of seasonal workshops will be running in the Metquarter for the duration of the festive period. Two of Liverpool’s most iconic streets, Bold Street and Castle Street are the perfect place to grab a bite to eat once you’ve worked up an appetite with local favourites including Mowgli, Salt House Bacaro and Love Thy Neighbour. 

Liverpool is the perfect place to bring the whole family this Christmas with plenty going on to keep kids and big kids alike entertained. The pantomime is a tradition that can be enjoyed by all generations and this year Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas will star as Mother Nature in Jack and the Beanstalk at Liverpool Empire meanwhile The Snow Queen will be given a musical twist as it’s transformed for the Rock ‘n’ Roll panto at the Everyman Theatre. For those looking for a ‘scouser’ Christmas then The Scouse Cinderella is a local take on the classic tale at the Royal Court.

Echo Arena Liverpool has got the whole family’s entertainment needs covered. With pantomime heroes and musical stars, Peter Pan, André Rieu and Liverpool legend Sir Paul McCartney just some of the fantastic acts to take to the stage. The fabulous family entertainment continues when the spectacular Liverpool International Horse Show returns to see in the New Year.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without paying a visit to the main man himself and this year Father Christmas will set up base in one of Liverpool’s greatest buildings. The stunning surroundings of Liverpool Town Hall will play host to Father Christmas and his friend Buddy the Elf as they share magical stories and songs during Storytime With Santa that will run every Saturday in December. 

The Town Hall isn’t the only place that will play host to Santa Claus this year. Blackler’s department store was once a Liverpool institution and its annual Christmas display a festive tradition for many families. This year, the giant Father Christmas that delighted locals for many years will be on display at Museum of Liverpool after being lovingly restored and recreated by museum curators.

The iconic St Luke’s Church, affectionately known as the Bombed Out Church, is set to be transformed into a Winter Wonderland where attendees to the event will get the chance to undertake various festive activities including enrolling at ‘Elf School’ and a silent disco with dancing elves. The Winter Wonderland will run from 1st December until 23rd December and tickets are available to pre-book via TicketQuarter.

There’s a packed schedule across all seven of the National Museums Liverpool venues; Museum of Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, World Museum, International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House.

Visitors will have the chance to take part in Christmas craft activities such as making Christmas crockery, wrapping paper and New Year badges as well as various educational activities. 

Visitors to the city are encouraged to make use of the cities excellent rail links. Merseyrail trains run services every 15 minutes to the city centre from over 68 stations across Merseyside and this Christmas are offering a family ticket for up to 5 for just £11, a return ticket from just £2.05 or make as many journeys as you like throughout the day with a Day Saver for just £5.20 (excluding peak hours Mon-Fri). 

Meanwhile those coming from further afield can make use of Virgin Trains who are offering various seasonal deals, details of which can be found at www.virgintrains.co.uk/christmasinliverpool

Christmas in Liverpool 2018 is set to delight locals and visitors alike, for a full programme of festive activities and more information visit www.visitliverpool.com

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