Merseyside (inc. Liverpool)
The metropolitan county of Merseyside came into existence in 1974 as an administrative unit that combines five areas along the River Mersey Estuary, the most famous of which is the City of Liverpool. The county borders Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east and Cheshire to the south.
Despite its modern origins the area has an interesting history, though overshadowed a bit by neighbouring areas. Liverpool, for instance, can trace its origins to 1190 when it was known as 'Liuerpul', which either meant a pool with muddy water or a place where large numbers of eels could be found. Most probably, the true meaning of the word has been lost in history. The town has served as a port for hundreds of years and recently the port area has experienced huge renovation. Liverpool's most famous exports, however, have occurred n the 20th Century, most notably in the fields of music and football; of course one means the Beatles and Liverpool Football Club, as well as its slightly less successful, though with an equally passionate following, Everton Football Club. The city has several UNESCO World Heritage sites of interest and in 2008 it was a European City of Culture.
Further afield in Merseyside (though partly in Cheshire), the Wirral peninsula offers an interesting history. Although possessing an Anglo-Saxon name, its origins are prehistoric and each period has left its mark on the area, from pre-history, to Normans, from Anglo-Saxon times to the Industrial Revolution. A little less exotic is the town of St Helens, which though dating back only to the 16th Century, had an important place in Britain's Industrial Revolution. Today it is a modern town, most famous for it very successful Rugby League team. The small towns of Knowsley and Kirkby date back to Anlgo-Saxon times and although have little history remaining, are further examples of the area's ancient past.
The county of Merseyside offers the visitor both an insight into the development of North West England and a base from which to explore the fascinating history and beautiful countryside of neighbouring areas such as the Lake District to the north.