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Taking off today, your Airport Staycation Guide


WITH airports an increasingly popular choice for holidays, and with school holidays starting shortly, the clamour for getting away will only increase. So TCW Defending Freedom is today launching an occasional series on some of the UK’s best-kept airports where you can enjoy your well-earned summer break. 

With Covid constraints a thing of the past and the mercury rising, what better way to forget your troubles and enjoy yourself than by checking in at one of the many departure lounges on offer? 

Whatever your taste in vacations, you can be sure of a warm welcome. Be it the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Heathrow or the more tranquil and laid-back surroundings of Bournemouth, there is something for everyone to choose from. Holidays don’t get better than this. Today we turn the spotlight on Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, known as JLA. 

Temperate winds and traditional hospitality await visitors to this popular north-western idyll. As its website proudly boasts, faster, easier, friendlier – a guarantee sure to gladden the heart of any holidaymaker.  

But, like all holidays, the journey really begins with car parking. Here at Liverpool, vacationers have a choice of three magnificent examples to choose from. Long stay or Meet and Greet are optimal for those on a budget, whilst Fast Track should be the choice for those with more financial flexibility – allowing, as it does, a one-minute walk to the terminal. 

The transition from check-in to security, the gateway to safeguarding your all-important family spot on the departures lounge floor, can be made hassle-free by plumping for fast track. Walk up costs a mere £5 per person, whilst pre-booking comes in at an economical £4. 

For families travelling with very young members, JLA offers ‘dedicated baby-changing facilities throughout the airport, with our newest family facilities located on the Upper Retail Level. Breastfeeding is welcomed throughout the terminal, however, if you prefer to feed in private, a dedicated feeding room is available on the Upper Retail Level.’ 

With attention to detail such as this, it really is no surprise that this airport is such a sought-after option year after year. 

Once you have settled down on the floor and arranged your hand luggage around you, it is a good time to explore what the locality can offer. Some might enjoy a walk through the parched savanna of the book shop, whilst others might prefer an excursion to the fabled wetlands of the lavatories.  

Here, the airport offers an unrivalled experience: The new toilet suite is the latest area to be completed and an important part of an improved customer experience being developed by the airport. Costing around £300,000, the new toilets incorporate a fun, fresh and funky design utilising LED lighting, whilst contemporary trough sinks with integrated water, handwash and hand dry facilities, avoid separate wall mounted hand driers that often create water drips. 

More intrepid and physically fit explorers might wish to tackle the challenging terrain of the Departure Gates. Previous travellers recommend that this expedition is best undertaken early morning and that participants arm themselves with plenty of fluids, abundant foodstuffs, stout walking boots and lots of reading material.  

Depending on the time of year, some visitors might be fortunate enough to witness the ‘luggage lava’ flow spilling unchecked from the carousel volcano. This event, described by previous observers as ‘unbelievable’, ‘breathtaking’ and ‘mind-boggling’ is an awesome spectacle that warrants a long and patient wait. 

For tourists who are content with a more ‘do nothing’ approach to holidaymaking, then JLA has much to recommend it. Mobile phones can be charged at one of the Joos Boxes dotted around the building, water fountains are available at a variety of locations and are great value as they are free.  

After a morning spent taking in the vista of other tired sightseers and angry vacationers, you might well have worked up an appetite. At JLA there is something for everyone. From burgers to baguettes, pasties to pastries, the choice is varied and endless. Beverages are equally diverse, and guests can enjoy a craft beer or cappuccino any time, day or night. 

Those wanting to shop for local crafts and souvenirs are well catered for by a large on-site shopping mall and individual boutiques. 

Ideally situated with easy access from both the north and south of the UK, Liverpool Airport has much to recommend it for families, couples and solo travellers wishing to experience a truly unique two-day break or something longer. 

Next week: Biggin Hill, a quintessentially British hideaway. 

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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