New to Merseyside? Read on...
Merseyside comprises of the boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens, and as the name suggests straddles the River Mersey. The county has been the birthplace of many famous names throughout its history, with Liverpool's bustling port at its heart Merseyside was always a cosmopolitan place for both artist and artisan.
From TV legends Cilla Black and Tom Baker, to sporting heroes like Wayne Rooney and Stephen Gerrard, the area has long been a cultural hotbed and no-one typifies this more than its biggest export: The Beatles. To this day a source for much of the area's tourism, The Beatles went from humble beginnings at The Cavern Club to global acclaim in the 60's and many favourite spots for tourists today owe their fame to The Fab Four: the original Cavern was demolished in the 70's but an exact replica was built in 1984 even using some of the bricks from its predecessor and this houses The Beatles museum; Strawberry Fields cemetery also lies within the city.
Historically Merseyside has grown from a rural community to a bustling urban sprawl, and much of this growth is down to the county's docks. The city of Liverpool, Birkenhead and Bootle docks were all massively enriched by the slave-trade in the 18th century and by ship-building until more recent times, as well as being the first step on the road to America in the 19th and early 20th centuries: the ill-fated Titanic was constructed in Liverpool's ship-yards.
With Liverpool's forthcoming Capital of Culture status the area has seen large investment recently, which can only add to its draw for tourists; although a county that can boast the biggest band in history, two of the nation's biggest football clubs, the world's largest Anglican cathedral, Tate Liverpool and Wayne Rooney probably needs little help.
Notable Merseyside Towns
Aintree is world-renowned for it's annual hosting of The Grand National - racing's jewel-in-the-crown event.
Located on the fringes of the Mersey in the Wirral, Bebington is a small once-industrial town which used to serve the nearby docks on the river and became of key importance during the Industrial Revolution.
Situated in the Wirral, facing across the Mersey towards Liverpool, the town of Birkenhead was the site of Britain's first ever publicly-funded parkland project, which went on to influence park construction around the world.
Centred around the civic area of the town, containing the classic Victorian Town Hall and Municipal Baths, and bordered by the Leeds and Liverpool canal (the longest canal in the country), the town of Bootle is part of Liverpool's urban district
Virtually at the very centre of the Wirral, amongst the suburbs of nearby Liverpool, is the town of Brimstage, a small, mostly rural community.
Thought to be the site of the Battle of Brunanburh, a key events in Britain's history the village of Bromborough sits in the Wirral on the south side of the river Mersey.
Crosby is a town situated in the Merseyside borough of Sefton, although it was at one time a borough in it's own right until being merged into Sefton in the 70's.
Perched on the southern bank of the Mersey lies the town of Eastham, bordered by the M53 linking Birkenhead to the Midlands and a stone's throw from Chester.
Situated in the Sefton borough of Merseyside, the town of Formby gets it's name from a derivation from the Norse for "Village of Forni", 'Forni' being a common family name in Scandanavia at that time.
Often grouped as one with the larger neighbouring town of Ashton-in-Makerfield, the small village of Garswood is nonetheless an entity in it's own right which sits just on the edge of Merseyside near to the border with Lancashire.
The commuter town of Greasby has the illustrious honour of being the first settled community in the Merseyside area; in fact, artifacts such as stone tools found near Greasby date local habitation back to around 7000 BC.
Situated in the Merseyside borough of Knowsley north of the city of Liverpool is the town of Halewood. The name derives from the Hale manor which adjoins it, literally "The Wood of Hales", and timber production was key to the town's growth.
Located on the Wirral peninsula as it is, the town of Heswall was, until the creation of Merseyside as a county in the early 70's, in the county of Cheshire.
The seaside town of Hoylake lies west of Liverpool in the Wirral, overlooking where the river Dee meets the sea.
Sandwiched between the M62 and M57 motorways and lying to Liverpool's east is the town of Huyton, a town mainly made up of residential and shopping areas, and boasting it's own Air Force training squadron.
Sitting in the borough of Knowsley on Merseyside, the historic town of Kirkby was originally referred to as Cherchebi in it's formative years around the time of the Norman Conquest.
Dominated by historic Knowsley Hall, the borough of Knowsley is a borough of Merseyside to the east of Liverpool. In fact it is thought to pre-date it's more illustrious neighbour by several centuries, mentioned, as it is, in the Doomsday Book.
Formerly a Viking settlement, Litherland has had a checkered history, but it wasn't until the area was linked by newly constructed canals in the Industrial Revolution that Litherland started to thrive.
The best known borough of Merseyside is undoubtedly Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture in 2008.
The small village of Lydiate lies in the Sefton borough of Merseyside, just north of the town of Maghull to which it is often associated.
Perched on high ground in the borough of Sefton on Merseyside, the town of Maghull is a primarily modern town mostly built in the last century, but this appearance is deceptive as there has been a settlement here since Norman times.
With a name that originates from Anglo-saxon roots, more precisely from Maella, the family who were the first to settle in the area in around the 6th century, Melling is a small town in the Sefton borough of Merseyside.
Almost dwarfed by the enormous sand-dunes at Leasowe, the largest on the Wirral peninsula, the village of Moreton is a tranquil seaside spot popular with pensioners and the retired.
As the name suggests, New Brighton is a seaside town, situated on the Wirral coast of the Mersey. In it's past the town was influenced by the industrial growth of the region with strong ties to the nearby Bootle docks and shipyards.
Built initially by William Lever, known as Lord Leverhulme, as a residential area for employees at the Lever Brothers soap factory, Port Sunlight is a town that was created for a purpose rather than evolving in the more traditional manner
Lying to the north-east of Liverpool in the borough of Knowsley, is the town of Prescot, famous for it's clock-makers in it's industrial heyday during the 17th century, the local clock museum pays testament to this.
A record of the town of Rainford appears in the Doomsday Book of 1086, so the town actually pre-dates it's more illustrious neighbour, Liverpool.
In 1974 the boroughs of Bootle, Crosby and Southport were merged to become the modern borough of Sefton, which comprises Bootle's docks and industry, Crosby's suburbs and the sleepy seaside town of Southport.
The sleepy seaside town of Southport lies in the borough of Sefton near the mouth of the Mersey, and is an affluent and comfortable place to retire to.
Formerly in the county of Lancashire and famed for it's Rugby League club, the town of St Helens now lies within the bounds of Merseyside, and was formed by the merging of a number of smaller towns and named after the local church.
Thornton Hough is a small town in the Merseyside borough of Sefton near to the A565 placed just north of Crosby. The town is dominated by the impressive All Saints Church, a 13th century, Gothic designed chapel with a spire of nearly 120 feet.
Between West Kirby and Heswall, near the dunes of the Wirral's south-west coast lies the small town of Thurstaston, a popular holiday resort looking out over the river Dee towards Lancashire.
Near to the town of Birkenhead on the Wirral is Upton, a small village which forms the junction of roads from the surrounding towns of Moreton, Claughton, Saughall, Greasby and Woodchurch.
Looking out across the mouth of the Mersey is the town of Wallasey, which links to the city of Liverpool via the Kingsway Tunnel.
Since the 12th century, when Birchen Head Benedictine monks founded the very first ferry crossing the Mersey, the Wirral has been of great local importance. Hundreds of years later, Victorian engineers gug under the Mersy and built the world's first railway tunnel under a major river.