Knowing we’d miss out on our new little family tradition of visiting Germany to explore the Christmas markets hit me hard this year. There’s nothing better than just being in a city and focusing on the sheer joy of the season rather than pounding pedestrianised shopping streets as you plod from store to store, weighed down with all your purchases.
So when we were invited to check out all that Liverpool has to offer this Christmas, I jumped at the chance. Perfect timing! I was looking for festive fun with a proper family focus and this would give me the chance to enjoy just that. We moved back to Liverpool around this time last year, but with settling in and setting up home in our new house, much of the run up to Christmas passed me by. Not this year!
Last weekend, we headed into town without any plans for shopping, and every intention of soaking up the season. There’s a ton of stuff going on this year as Liverpool brands itself #OneMagicalCity and first stop for us was the DreamWorks Lights exhibition that’s set up home in the wonderful St George’s Hall.
I was certainly impressed with the craft work that had gone into creating the lanterns; they were fabulous. But our little guy being the crazy two year old that he is, unfortunately wasn’t up to speed with who all the characters were. That said, there was enough shouting of, “green man!” – I think it’s fair to say he took a shine to Shrek!
It was a shame that our visit didn’t last more than just over half an hour, as I did find myself questioning the value for money at £10 per adult and £8 for children, but all the kids there were clearly loving the photo opportunities with their cartoon heroes from Kung-Fu Panda, Madagascar, and of course, Shrek. It’s worth a visit as long as you know that your kids could end up whizzing you through much more quickly than you anticipate.
We decided to move onward spotting a couple of snowflakes on the Snowflake trail (the sculptures are all around the city centre, featuring designs by local artists), before landing at Liverpool ONE. I loved that the Bavarian village and fun fair up at Chavasse Park were by no means crowded, despite the fact that it was now Saturday afternoon, and we had a lovely time watching the rides and sipping mulled wine.
From a personal point of view, I think we’ll get more out of it next year, as the rides are only really suitable for over 3’s. But Holiday Baby didn’t mind, he was more than happy to shout, point and watch, and there was plenty of space to let him roam for a bit – toddling about is his favourite thing! As is Christmas music, apparently. Last Christmas by Wham went down particularly well – he did a serious amount of head bobbing!
We moved from Liverpool ONE to the Albert Dock which is one of my favourite parts of Liverpool. We stopped for a late lunch of hearty Italian fayre at Gusto, where the service could not have been better. It’s rare to feel so relaxed dining out with a little one, but we really did chill out and our waiter was so attentive and keen to befriend our wee man. We had a great time, and the food went down a treat.
Following our leisurely (yes, leisurely. With a two year old!) lunch, we headed to the Ice Festival which is just a short hop away from the dock at the Pier Head – the atmosphere was great and we made a beeline for the ice slide as I knew we could ride with our son – he’s too young for the ice rink.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Queues were over an hour long and I knew that the wee man was on the verge of signing off for a long overdue nap. We admitted defeat and seconds later he conked out. It was time to leave!
We wandered back to Lime Street station slowly so we could savour the display of lights and the huge Christmas tree in full glory now that darkness had fallen, and our Holiday Baby never woke again until we set foot inside our own front door. Being tired is always the sign of a good day, and we were all wiped! Liverpool definitely is #OneMacigalCity this December, and I’m hoping we’ll still have time to see more of what’s on offer before the season comes to an end.
I received complimentary tickets for attractions in Liverpool, but opinions are my own and are in no way linked to mulled wine consumption.