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LIVERPOOL – MERSEY RIVER FESTIVAL 2014

June 18, 2014

When we first chose Liverpool for our next city break we were unaware the dates we chose were the Mersey River Festival. How lucky for us that it was!

From the moment we left the car park and walked out into the sunshine to find our Jury’s Inn Hotel was in the ideal location for the waterfront – and all the dock area – to the moment we walked back to our car we were impressed with what the area has to offer.

Jury's Inn Liverpool

Jury’s Inn Liverpool

Over the course of the event there were Tall Ships, Dutch Barges, Customs Cutters, rafts, canoes and much more on the water. Street theatre, marching bands, model boats, cadets displays part of the attractions on the land. Then two stage areas that came alive with a host of free open-air performances over the weekend. (I mustn’t forget to mention the excellent air display team Yakovlevs who had the crowd gasping at their acrobatics during their four performances).

We had arrived early on Saturday to make the most of our two days but were able to leave our luggage with the reception staff at our hotel and enjoy a Costa coffee at the bar before we set out to explore.

Just a short walk past the big wheel and over a waterway where canoe basketball was taking place led us to Albert Dock and past the display of Dutch barges where we were also surprised to see a futuristic water sport – fly boarding. The instructor was able to hover 30 feet above the water and perform tricks – whilst also chatting to the crowd as he moved around the docks!

Flyboarding!

Flyboarding!

We knew that Russell Watson was performing from one of the Tall Ships and as we were about to enter the Maritime Museum we were told he would be on “Mercedes” – just outside at 2pm. There is a lot of history in this museum so we focused on just two areas – The Slavery Museum and the Titanic Exhibition – both fascinating and that took us to 1pm when I had booked us Afternoon Tea (for lunch!) in the Maritime Dining Room.

The Dining Room is on the top floor and I’m not sure everyone knows it is there as later we saw the downstairs cafe queuing while there was plenty of room upstairs. I had asked for a window table if possible, which they’d kindly given us but we realised it was on the opposite side to the “Mercedes” and Russell! So when we saw someone leaving they were more than happy for us to move over to the most fantastic view…

Russell Watson performing on board "Mercedes"

Russell Watson performing on board “Mercedes”

After a lovely lunch and singing along with “Land of Hope and Glory” we joined the crowds and explored right along the waterfront to the final visitor “HMS Dauntless”. We returned to the Pier Head Stage to watch The Christians – who sang to a packed audience and were very pleased to be staying so close that we could view more boats as we strolled back to get ready for dinner.

The view from our room shows how handy the hotel is with the Albert Dock in the forefront and the Three Graces in the distance.

Our view

Our view

We enjoyed our meal and headed to our room for Mr W to watch the first England World Cup match!

Panna Cotta Cheesecake - yum!

Panna Cotta Cheesecake – yum!

I’m not sure if all Jury’s Inn hotels offer late weekend breakfasts but Liverpool do until 11.30. Although we wouldn’t have eaten that late – there was still a lot to see – it was nice to get up late and have a leisurely breakfast (we chose the freshly cooked omelettes) before we set off to the Museum of Liverpool.

We could definitely return to both museums and didn’t get to the Tate Gallery as there is a lot to see but with the sun shining again outside we were drawn back to the Pier Head stage where we sat all afternoon watching the Royal Marine Band of Scotland and the Rat Pack Show which was the finale of our weekend before returning to collect our luggage (and the discount ticket for our car park!) and heading back home.

I can only skim the surface of what we saw – and we never left the waterfront – so will definitely be returning to explore more of Liverpool from this very handy base.

Disclaimer: We were offered our stay with Jury’s Inn as a prize from a City Break writing competition with Jury’s Inn. These opinions are my own.

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