Liverpool has been named in the top three UK city break destinations for the second successive year, according to Conde Nast Traveller Magazine.
The city has found itself ranked behind only London and Edinburgh in the list of favourite UK cities, which is a huge leap from its seventh ranking in 2007 by the same magazine and considerably higher than Manchester's sixth position.
The announcement was made on Wednesday 2 September at the Conde Nast Traveller 11th Annual Readers' Travel Awards, held at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London.
Readers of the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine were asked to vote on architecture, cleanliness, culture, environmental friendliness, restaurants, entertainment, people, hospitality, range of accommodation, safety and value for money.
Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of The Mersey Partnership, said: "This is fantastic news, Conde Nast Traveller readers are among the most discerning travellers in the world and this makes the accolade even more special.
"To have moved from seventh position in 2007 to third in 2008, in the space of just one year, was a great achievement – but to have retained third place is outstanding. This makes Liverpool the favourite destination excluding capital cities London and Edinburgh."
Liverpool's third position for 2009 places the city ahead of other popular destinations including Bath (4th), Oxford (5th), and York (7th).
Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at the North West Development Agency, said: "Liverpool's visitor economy has fought against the current economic climate with continued investment, refreshing its offer and encouraging people to visit again and again."
Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Warren Bradley, stressed the importance of finishing in a higher position. He added: "I want Liverpool to be number one. We have the facilities, the cultural offer and we give visitors a fantastic welcome – but there's always room for improvement and the City Council with its partners is totally committed to achieving that goal."