EDINBURGH and York are among my favourites when it comes to festive getaways and Christmas shopping.

But sometimes it is good to be reminded of what is on your doorstep at this busy but special time of year.

It was with that in mind that we were invited to spend a weekend in Liverpool in the full atmosphere of the city centre's many yuletide attractions.

We kicked off the day at the Ice Festival at Pier Head which features the UK's largest ice slide.

This gave us the perfect excuse to act like big kids as we took on the high-speed 30m ice run which is set in three lanes so you can race each other on inflatable rings.

The Ice Festival is also home to an ice rink which brought back memories from 20 years ago when I used to be a teenaged regular at the Altrincham rink.

It was with a grin and a slippy start that we stepped out onto the ice but it soon came back to me and while I'd never say I'm a natural I managed to stay upright throughout the 45-minute session.

Brightly lit with music in the background and overlooking fairground rides and Christmas huts selling bratwurst and mulled wine, there was a nice family feel at the rink.

Youngsters can also take to the ice thanks to penguin aids while parents can push along very young children on a 'banana'.

Christmas shopping was next on the agenda so we headed to Liverpool One which features more than 170 high street stores, bars and restaurants and attractions.

Liverpool One's Christmas tree is great as a landmark for getting around and adds a sparkle to the shopping centre at night as its lights shine in a variety of different colours and patterns.

We were hugely impressed with both the range of stores to suit all tastes but also the layout and style of the centre which is partly set over two levels and has other areas that look like a street scene.

But before hitting the shops we went to Bar Hütte for some Christmassy refreshments directly under the Christmas tree.

The lively circular bar is surrounded by a row of little chalets where we enjoyed the likes of hot gin with gingerbread and even drank limoncello shots from a ski.

Chalets have to be booked but have a window that looks out onto the shoppers so it is great for a bit of people watching and the space also doubles as a karaoke booth which grows more popular as day becomes night.

We then topped up our festive feel good factor by visiting the Christmas market which features more than 40 cabins and outdoor German-style bars serving beer, muled wine and other treats.

The market serves everything from halloumi fries and chilli jam to handmade scarves and gloves and there was even a trader who specialised in artificial snow.

It was a bustling atmosphere that was very pleasant to stroll through and after shopping we took it all in by sitting on the steps of St George's Hall with a mulled wine.

After that we freshened up at Pullman hotel which is conveniently located at Kings Dock on Liverpool's iconic waterfront near all the culture and activities at Albert Dock.

It is also right next to Liverpool Arena and Exhibition Centre which is perfect if you time your trip with a show.

We were lucky enough to be on the eighth floor which had a fantastic view of the nearby ferris wheel and Liverpool's skyline by night.

The room itself was stylish and comfortable with a huge bed, large flatscreen TV and a delightful walk in shower.

Ready for the evening ahead, we dined at the Gino D'Acampo restaurant in Castle Street.

This trendy upmarket nightspot has a large bar in the centre of the room where you can hang out while you wait for your table.

Be sure to try the cocktails because the vanilla-espresso martini and breakfast in Sicily – made with pink grapefruit gin, Aperol and marmalade – were gorgeous and you get the added bonus of watching them being made before your eyes.

The same philosophy carries through in the restaurant where a busy team of chefs in plain view seemingly never stop.

The food lived up to the hype and Gino's celebrity status with the crisp arancine – deep-fried rice balls with roasted tomato and pepper sauce – and four seasons pizza – with one of the best crusts I have ever tasted – among the highlights.

As a vibrant city that really embraces the festivities with all ages in mind, Liverpool is a cracker.

David Morgan was a guest of Marketing Liverpool. To plan a trip go to visitliverpool.com