Liverpool

Having enjoyed something of a renaissance during its year as European City of Culture, Liverpool has so much to offer. It's easily reached, being only half an hour away by car. (An alternative is to take the famous Mersey ferry from Woodside or Seacombe to Pier Head on the Liverpool shore.)

The old Albert Dock has been completely renovated, and nowadays the warehouses are occupied by art galleries and shops, rather than goods bound for Africa and all points beyond. Liverpool's wealth was in no small part founded on the slave trade, and this is fully documented and explained in the International Slavery Museum at the Albert Dock.

This is just one of eight museums in the National Museums Liverpool group - the others are World Museum Liverpool, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, the National Conservation Centre, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Sudley House and the forthcoming Museum of Liverpool.

The cathedrals are very interesting to compare and contrast - the modernist Catholic cathedral and the imposing Gothic of the Protestant cathedral are cheek-by-jowl, and easily reached on foot from the waterfront.

For those wishing to recall the 'Liverpool Sound', there are many things associated with the Beatles - Beatles shops and a reconstruction of the Cavern Club, among them - but perhaps the most interesting are the boyhood homes of John Lennon and (Sir) Paul McCartney. Now owned by the National Trust, they remind us of the austerity of post-war England, apart from their association with future popstars.