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Christmas in Liverpool

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I try my best to find joy in things that others might easily see as a bit miserable. For example, the onset of autumn means the end of summer and the beginning of 6PM sunsets and semi-frequent rain showers -- but it’s my favourite time of year. The idea of ‘new beginnings’ might seem daunting to some, but it is one of the main things in life that spurs me on.

The transformation that Liverpool city centre takes on during Christmastime, however, is something that I look forward to all year, and I’m very sure that I’m not in the minority with that one. The lights that dominate Church Street give the city a wonderful festive glow, and make late-night shopping for presents all the more fun. The trees that appear on both Paradise Street and Church Street -- the first a modern take on the season, the second of a much more standard fare -- are representative of the two faces of Liverpool, with its eye towards the fashionable sitting alongside an appreciation of its rich history. Hope Street Hotel’s famous decorations pop up in reception and around the restaurants, making it beautifully cosy throughout. And my own apartment becomes Santa’s grotto.

But the absolute best addition to the city is the Christmas markets, which are set up on St.George’s Plateau and William Brown Street, the surrounding areas of St. George’s Hall. They look incredibly picturesque in this particularly Victorian-looking area and, more than that, are a huge amount of fun. There is nowhere else where it is completely normal to watch my niece slide down a helter skelter while eating a hotdog and drinking an alcohol-infused hot chocolate. The arrival of the markets is truly the beginning of the festive season for me, as I make arrangements with family and friends to meet up ‘next to the chocolate cottage’ or ‘near the panettone stand’.

What makes it even better is that this year I can get warm again very quickly with the opening of our little sister hotel School Lane Hotel, just a hop skip and a jump away from St. George’s Hall. On the way back I can pop into the shops on Church Street and in Liverpool One to pick up presents (for others and also for me), knowing that I won’t need to carry them very far. School Lane Hotel has actually revolutionised the way that I shop all year round, with the assurance that I drop off bigger items and get back to it, but at Christmas this will most definitely be a lifesaver. When you buy enough of them, panettones can get quite heavy -- and having more than one alcoholic hot chocolate certainly doesn’t help.