Liverpool has so many things to do that many students don’t make the time to check out other places in the suburbs. Promoted as the leisure Peninsula by the local tourist board due to its popularity for outdoor activities and green spaces, The Wirral Peninsula (on the other side of the River Mersey) is easy to get to by both train and bus, and has some great places to visit, especially during summer time. Being a Wirralian myself, I always like to sing its praises, so here are my top five things to do on Wirral to inspire you. All these suggestions would make a great day out at the weekend, however, with the longer nights during summertime you could probably do most of them late afternoon/early evening too.
1 – GO SEAL-SPOTTING ON HILBRE ISLAND
Hilbre Island and it’s two smaller sisters, Middle Eye and Little Eye, are just off the coast of West Kirby in the Dee Estuary. At low tide, you can walk out to the islands from West Kirby (about a fifty minute walk each way). The islands are one of the truly wild places in the region, and while they can be popular with day-trippers during summer, it can feel a world away from the noise and busyness of the city. There are thousands of sea birds and also a colony of Atlantic grey seals, which you can see swimming in the waters off the island.
If you want to plan a trip check the tide times first here https://www.tidetimes.org.uk/hilbre-island-tide-times as it is too dangerous to walk within three hours either side of high tide. Also, check the weather forecast. The walk is very exposed so if any rain is forecast then it’s a good idea to plan for another day. Finally, take appropriate footwear as you will be waking through plenty of shallow pools and some of the rocks on the island can be very slippery, so take care! To get to the start of the walk, take the train to West Kirby from Liverpool Central, Lime Street, Moorfields or James Street. It is a five-minute walk to the beach from the station. There is a supermarket (Morrison’s) if you need to buy food and drinks to take (remember to bring all rubbish back with you!) and a few ice cream shops for when you finish the walk.
2 – WALK TO NEW BRIGHTON FROM SEACOMBE FERRY.
It goes without saying that you can’t leave Liverpool before taking a trip on the world-famous Mersey Ferries. But why not make a day of it? You can get off at Seacombe and walk along the front to New Brighton (about 2.5 miles/4 kilometres). There is a great beach along the way if you want to stop for an ice cream, or a lovely pub called the Magazine Hotel to stop for a drink. It’s also one of the best places from which to get photos of Liverpool city skyline. New Brighton has lots of cafes and restaurants, as well as a cinema and ten pin bowling alley, and there is another great beach next to Fort Perch Rock.
You can check the ferry timetable here https://www.merseyferries.co.uk/cruises/river-explorer-cruise/Pages/Complete-Timetable.aspx Trains run from New Brighton back to Liverpool every fifteen minutes (every 30 minutes after 7pm), or if you are feeling up to it you can walk back to the ferry terminal!.
3 – HIRE A BICYCLE AT WEST KIRBY TRAIN STATION AND CYCLE DOWN THE WIRRAL WAY.
The Wirral Way is a traffic-free path that runs along an old railway line. It runs from West Kirby all the way down to Hooton (a total distance of 13 miles), and is open to both walkers and cyclists. It passes through and close by to some beautiful countryside and historical villages (Thurstaston, Parkgate, Willaston), where you can also stop for food and drink. At Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston there is a visitors centre with lots of information about the area, and you can also take a path down to the beach.
See above for information on getting to West Kirby. At West Kirby train station are bicyclers available to rent, you can register online here https://www.bikeandgo.co.uk/locations/north-west-and-merseyside/west-kirby/ There is a train station at Hooton where you can get back to Liverpool from, or if you still have the energy you can get off in Birkenhead and pick up the coastal path by Seacombe to cycle back to West Kirby (doing a whole loop of the Wirral!).
4 – EASTHAM FERRY COUNTRY PARK
This park is located next to the River Mersey, and has superb views across the river back to Liverpool. In the park you can find forest, including a 500 year-old Oak Tree, a café, and a great pub nearby called the Tap (check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBIhTxjSBQw). There are also the remains of an old Zoo to explore, complete with a bear pit!
The nearest train station is Bromborough, about one mile away. Take the Chester or Ellesmere Port train from Liverpool Central, Lime Street, Moorfields or James Street.
5 – TAKE IN THE VIEWS OF WALES FROM THURSTASTON HILL AND EXPLORE ROYDEN PARK
Royden Park and Thurstaston Common cover a large area and include forest, heath and the famous Thor’s Rock. (You know Uluru in Australia? It’s like a small version of that!). It’s a great place to get away from it all, with lots of walking paths and a couple of cafes. At the weekends you’ll see a lot of local families and dog walkers, and if you visit on a Sunday then you can always have a ride on the miniature railway.
The easiest way to get there is to take the number 437 bus from Liverpool City Centre to Frankby village, and then walk to the park from there (about fifteen minutes). Another option is to take the 471 to Irby. Both buses leave from Sir Thomas Street. See timetables here https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/north-west/timetables/ Benty Farm Tea Rooms is a great place to stop for a drink and cake. http://www.bentyfarmtearooms.co.uk/
The Wirral Tourist Board provides a useful online map with attractions marked here https://www.visitwirral.com/information/map-widget#mappos=53,3334,-3,0610,11
If you decide to take a trip over to the Wirral, we’d love to see your photos and to hear about what you did!
Written By Director of Studies