Escape to New Brighton

We had some time off and it was a beautiful day so we headed up to the Cheshire Peninsula – more commonly known as The Wirral. The Wirral doesn’t get so much attention as it might, being just across the water from a well-known neighbour. Perhaps surprising as the area has given us OMD, Half Man Half Biscuit, the current James Bond, Hyacinth Bouquet and Tour de France cyclist and Olympian Chris Boardman.

I was watching a Frasier rerun the other day when I noticed Channel 4 using footage of the New Brighton seafront here in it’s ident –

For us landlocked folk in the Creative County (Staffordshire road signs bear this strapline) the Wirral is the nearest section of coast. It’s about 55 miles as the seagull flies and around 80 minutes as the motorway route is indirect. Despite this it’s often overlooked as families with picnic blankets and flasks head for the A55 and the coastal resorts of north Wales. They’re missing out on some interesting tales, as well as saving some petrol.

We sat reading in the dunes. Could’ve been July

We walked miles and miles as Bruce – our Labrador cross – wanted to have a dip and stretch his paws. Then we sat and read in the dunes. You can head east and turn the corner as it were, into the mouth of the Mersey estuary (see below). There’s a wonderful view of the docks and the city skyline, including the cathedrals, Albert Dock, and Everton’s Goodison Park and some team that plays in red. I return to Liverpool and Wirral a lot, having lived and studied here in the 1990s. Heading west you see the sands and the distant Welsh mountains.

Perch Rock lighthouse

The opening to the Mersey has sandbanks and, for such a busy shipping lane, needs careful navigation. At low tide it seems you can almost reach across the waters. Skilled pilots are needed to bring ships into port. I watched a documentary where a pilot explained there was about one metre (three feet!) of water beneath the huge vessel he was steering. There are some wonderful Edwardian houses and a park here, but the dunes were once home to wreckers who prowled the beaches for shipwrecked loot. There’s a famous incident of locals getting so drunk on a shipwrecked cargo of rum that they had to be rescued from the waters by police.

The locals

For more on New Brighton in a previous post –

7 thoughts on “Escape to New Brighton

  1. I only went there once, in the early 1970s when I was working as a sales rep in the area between Liverpool and Blackpool.
    (Not my favourite part of England, it has to be said.)
    It was a classic seaside place then; ice creams, arcades, and Scousers on holiday, day trips, or weekend breaks. Like most Londoners who venture anywhere near Liverpool, I was made to feel about as welcome as a Tom at a wedding! πŸ™‚
    Cheers, Pete.

  2. We spent a few happy days there as it was a favourite for the annual Sunday School seaside trip. No motorways then, of course, so it was also a tour of the lovely countryside via Tarporley, Tarvin, with a toilet stop at (I believe) The Headless Woman pub. Sandy sandwiches on the beach with our backs to the prevailing wind! Such bliss!

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