Liverpool or Manchester? The Great Debate: is Liverpool Better than Manchester?
Liverpool or Manchester? The Great Debate: is Liverpool Better than Manchester?6th September 2021
The long-standing rivalry between Manchester and Liverpool is often attributed to the enmity between the cities’ respective football teams, but many speculate that the discord began much earlier than that. Whether it was the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894, or the industrial era fallout between Mancunian industrialists and Liverpudlian merchants that started the feud, one thing is certain – the competition between Liverpool and Manchester lives on. But which city is truly superior, Liverpool or Manchester? Join us as we strive to determine the answer, once and for all.
Much of what defines a city is its geographical location, and Liverpool is a perfect example. Residing on the banks of the River Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, Liverpool owes its economic prowess and international prominence to its maritime status. Today, Liverpool lives on as a key trade port, as well as a major ferry terminal destination. As its economy has diversified, however, Liverpool’s location has become especially appealing to tourists. Its iconic waterfront skyline, tunnel connections with the Wirral, and airport make Liverpool an attractive proposition for holiday-goers and business travellers alike.
Manchester, meanwhile, is land locked and covers a significantly larger area than its Liverpudlian counterpart. Although less than 40 miles inland from Liverpool, Manchester very much has its own distinct culture, style and appeal. Once a textile powerhouse, fuelled by the impressive ship canal and quays, Manchester is home to many 18th century warehouses and stately buildings bedecked in impressive architecture. Boasting the United Kingdom’s fifth largest population, Manchester’s sprawl gives it a more cosmopolitan feel, while the surrounding areas of natural beauty – the Cheshire Plain and the Pennines – mean escaping the city is never a tall order.
Conclusion: Both cities have much to offer in terms of their location, but Liverpool’s unbeatable iconic skyline and riverfront views, coupled with the myriad of transport links to surrounding areas, make it the clear winner in this category.
When it comes to deciding which city has the best culture – Liverpool or Manchester – the competition is fierce. Any fervent Mancunian will assert that Manchester’s music scene is superior. With a rich history of musical prodigies emerging from the city, it’s a fair claim to make! The Smiths, Oasis, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Elbow and even The Bee Gees have musical routes in the city, making Manchester a city defined by its sound. The city is also home to an array of internationally-renowned music venues, including the Manchester Arena, the Manchester Apollo, Victoria Warehouse and Band on the Wall.
Liverpool’s musical heritage is equally impressive. With its roster of musicians having produced more number one singles than any other city in the world, Liverpool is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the World Capital City of Pop. Bands such as Echo & the Bunnymen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Gerry and the Pacemakers, alongside artists such as Billy Fury and Cilla Black, have helped broaden the city’s musical landscape, which is of course dominated by The Beatles. Liverpool also hosts Europe’s largest free music event every August – the Matthew Street Festival – which continues the city’s musical legacy.
With centuries of history around virtually every street corner, Liverpool’s cultural scene extends far beyond its musical notoriety. Museums such as the Merseyside Maritime Museum and International Slavery Museum at the Royal Albert Dock shine a light on the city’s complicated seafaring past, whereas the beautiful Walker Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool display some of the world’s finest art pieces. The city is also home to many major architectural attractions, including the towering Anglican Cathedral, historic Town Hall and iconic Royal Liver Building.
Manchester, meanwhile, boasts an extensive array of museums all its own. Covering a broad spectrum of topics, from the city’s industrial past and its ties with football, to the city’s Jewish history; Manchester has no shortage of educational attractions. Larger institutions, such as the incredible Imperial War Museum North and the interactive Science and Industry Museum, draw visitors from across the world eager to view their unique exhibits.
Conclusion: It’s certainly a close call, especially as Liverpool famously won the Capital of Culture accolade in 2008, but for the breadth of cultural activities to observe and enjoy, Manchester takes the prize.
Business travellers will often find themselves visiting Liverpool or Manchester throughout the course of their corporate year, as each city boasts an impressive business economy. With a much larger population than its rival, Manchester also has a larger economy per se, but Liverpool has a trick hidden up its sleeve.
One of the fastest growing cities in the UK, Liverpool has become a hub of investment opportunities in recent years. Liverpool doubled its economy between 1998 and 2016, whereas Manchester’s annual average growth rate of just 3% makes it one of the slowest expanding city economies.
Liverpool has also been ranked in the top four hotspots for economic growth potential – coming behind Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge but beating cities like London and, of course, Manchester. The pandemic of 2020 has of course interrupted these statistics of growth somewhat, but it’s safe to say Liverpool is a viable and attractive area for business investment, with its economic incentives continuing to pull start-ups to the region.
Conclusion: Despite having the economic backing and infrastructure of one of the UK’s largest cities, Manchester loses out to Liverpool with its promising and attractive economic landscape which is set to flourish in coming years.
When it comes to whether Liverpool or Manchester is the better city, our conclusions indicate that Liverpool narrowly pips Manchester to the post – but what do you think? Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree.
Do you have a trip to one of these Northern Powerhouses coming up? View our selection of Manchester and Liverpool serviced apartments, or discover the best beer gardens in Manchester for your corporate stay.