The Wirral is great for a weekend away
Situated between the River Dee and the River Mersey, the Wirral Peninsula offers the perfect weekend getaway.
Boasting a dramatic 25-mile stretch of coastline and beautiful countryside, 1,500 hectares of public open space including 20 woodland sites and four heathland sites, 14 golf courses, a wealth of listed buildings, gourmet restaurants, a circular trail for walkers, and cyclists, and a German U-boat to name just a few attractions, there really is something for everyone.
My trip was made even more enjoyable with a stay at the privately-owned, sophisticated threestar Grove House Hotel in Wallasey, which is described as one of Britain’s best three-star hotels by the AA guide and highly recommended by the Michelin Guide.
After a quick drink in the hotel’s charming bar, it was off to Lawns restaurant at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa.
The restaurant holds three AA rosettes for fine dining and offers a host of international dishes, and an extensive selection of wines from around the world to complement your meal, all enjoyed within a beautifully decorated and magnificent dining area.
In the morning it was time to be part of the original soap opera with a visit to the industrial village of Port Sunlight, which was built in the 1880s by William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Sunlight Soap, for his factory workers.
Set in 130 acres of beautifully kept mature parkland and gardens, two of which are noted as of special historic interest by English Heritage, the village is home to more than 900 Grade II listed buildings, as well as the Port Sunlight museum and the prestigious Lady Lever Gallery, whose collections represent the personal taste of the first Lord Leverhulme taking you on a pre-Raphaelite journey, with a hint of Wedgewood along the way.
The Port Sunlight Museum is well-worth a visit and brings the story of the village to life, which until the 1980s housed employees of Unilever.
It was then on to another Grade II listed building for lunch at Home, which is set directly on the waterfront in the historic Woodside ferry terminal in Birkenhead.
The new cafe provides visitors with refreshments and lunches and we refuelled with a variety of sandwiches and cakes on the balcony overlooking the River Mersey, with views of Liverpool’s famous skyline.
Looking out over the water, it was then time to learn about what lurks beneath, as we discovered an amazing view of life on board U-534, with a guided tour of The UBoat Story.
But part of the story remains a mystery as the German ‘Unterseeboot’ we stood in front of had refused to surrender on May, 5, 1945, and to this day no one knows why.
Children and grown-up children alike can enjoy an interactive display featuring enigma code machines and submarine controls.
Back on land, we took a short trip to the seaside resort of New Brighton, which has been undergoing a £60 million re-development programme.
The Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre, which can also serve as a wedding venue, has been rebuilt at a cost of £11m.
The seafront has also been modernised and now includes an eight-screen cinema, superstore and a host of restaurants and bars.
Our trip was rounded off with a delightful threecourse meal at The Manor in Greasby Village.
The restaurant and function suite is a tastefully converted 17th century listed building, set within a beautifully landscaped courtyard.