Southport Seaside Stroll
Tel: +44 (0)1704 533333
Southport is often referred to as ‘England’s Classic Resort’, a seaside town of sophisticated charm and character, yet with plenty of activities and events on offer, right throughout the year.
This short walk (2 miles) takes in some of the main landmarks and attractions and starts and finishes at the Tourist Information Centre at the Lord Street/Eastbank Street junction, near the Library and Town Hall.
Crossing the road, we walk northwards on the left side of Lord Street under the ironwork canopies. Our first stop is Wayfarers Arcade, a beautifully restored shopping arcade, full
of specialist shops, cafes and a Grade-II listed building.
Southport was first established as a tourist destination by William Sutton, known locally as ‘the Mad Duke’. He built the first hotel at the south end of Lord Street, known as the ‘Duke’s Folly’ in 1792, but now 216 years later, Southport is full of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Turning left into Nevill Street at Waterstones bookshop, we soon reach the Marine Lake promenade and the entrance to Southport Pier. The second longest pier in Britain, it was first opened in 1860 has now been entirely rebuilt and is 3,650 feet long. The café and ‘penny arcade’ at the end of the pier are well worth the stroll – or take the ultra-modern tram.
Returning to The Promenade, walk down to The Marine Lake in King’s Gardens, with it’s pleasure boats for hire or take a trip on the Southport Belle ‘paddle boat’. Nearby are the Model Village and Railway Gardens, another attraction well worth walking around. Continuing south along The Promenade, turn right into the Esplanade to reach the New Pleasureland entertainment complex, which replaced the old funfair, with it’s landmark wooden rollercoaster. The whole area is about to be redeveloped as a major leisure attraction… So watch this space! Across the road is the Dunes Splash World all-weather water park, with its pools flumes, whirlpools and sports facilities.
Just across the roundabout on the Esplanade, next to the Park and Ride, is the distinctive curved wooden and glass-built Eco-Centre, complete with its own 20 KW wind turbine. The centre informs and educates residents and visitors alike on the sensible policies of sustainability and good environmental management. Adjacent to the centre is the small Queens Jubilee Nature Reserve, which gives a good presentation of the flora and fauna of Sefton’s Natural Coast, which extends southwards all the way to the edge of Liverpool. Returning to the roundabout, turn left to reach Marine Drive, cross the road and walk right towards the pier along of the seawall. If the tide is high you will see lots of wading birds and gulls. Under the pier we then turn right onto Marine Parade, passing the new Ocean Plaza leisure complex to the right, with its sevenscreen cinema, 20-lane ten-pin bowling alley, restaurants and fitness centre.
Opposite the terminus of the Lakeside Miniature Railway, which will take you back to New Pleasureland, we pass the new Ocean Plaza Retail Park and cross the elegant Marine Way Suspension Bridge. Then cross into Nevill Street and turn right into Lord Street again, to reach the Tourist Information Centre and finish our short stroll around Southport.
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