I’ve long stopped being amazed by the number of Liverpool people who don’t go to the Wirral Peninsula. A good number of my fellow citizens are reasonably intrigued by the Friday Walks I go on every week. But when they find that many of them take place ‘on the Wirral’ it immediately prompts questions like ‘How do you know where to walk?’ and ‘Is it good over there?’ Many a Liverpool person has a better working knowledge of Barcelona or Ibiza than of the treasures so close to home on the opposite bank of the Mersey.
And that’s just not right. So here’s a quick guide to some of what you might be missing.
Beginning with how to get there. Now obviously you could get on a ferry or a train. But recognising that you might be a bit nervous if it’s your first time ‘over there’ and want to feel like you could make a quick getaway, I’ll show you how to get there in a car. These pictures are from Friday last week when, for the first time in ages, Sarah was able to come with me on a Friday Walk, and so take the pictures while I drove.
First you’ll need to find a tunnel. There is one close to the middle of town, but we mostly use the ‘new’ tunnel on Scotland Road.
It says ‘Walsy Tunnel’ – this stands for ‘Wallasey.’ It’s a place on the Wirral.
You’ll drive round in a descending circle until eventually you’ll reach the tunnel itself.
You will now drive under the river for a couple of miles.
Next comes a bit of a shock I’d better warn you about.
Now, when I was a little boy, and we’d be paying to go through the ‘old’ tunnel, my Dad promised me this wouldn’t be happening much longer as we’d nearly paid for it. Well, something must have gone badly wrong because you still have to pay in both of them.
But here we are. In only seven photographs we’ve managed to get from Liverpool to the Wirral. Well done us!
Now, using this tunnel, as long as you keep towards the right once you come through the pay barrier, you go straight on to a motorway, the M53. This goes right along the middle of the Wirral Peninsula and, here’s the big secret to ‘finding your way on the Wirral,’ every turn off leads to interesting places and possible walks.
Many of our favourite walks take place on the far side of the Wirral, so, turning right when we come off the motorway.
To arrive at the various bits of the coast you’ll be able to find when you get your map (don’t worry, I’ll be showing you a picture of a map in a bit).
And here’s that map I promised you.
Once you’ve got this you’ll be able to find all these places and many more.
Or, out in the mouth of the Dee?
As the name suggests, this gets cut off from land every time the tide comes in (twice a day, who knew). So you’ll need to consult something called a Tide Table, at this link, before you go, and follow these instructions from the Friends of Hilbre to keep you safe.
And you’ll find it easy to take photographs on the Wirral that make it look like one of the most beautiful places on earth. Because it is.
And one side of it faces Liverpool!
And the Wirral’s not just for summertime, it’s beautiful all the time.
But whenever you go, as your day out nears its end, you’ll probably want chips, ice-cream or both.
Fab chippy just along the road too.
And after you’ve coped with the outrage of having to pay to get back through the tunnel, yes, pay to get into Liverpool, you’ll be glad you’ve finally discovered the Wirral. Your life will be better, your sense of ‘home’ will be bigger. Welcome home.
Liverpool + Wirral = Heaven on Earth. You know that’s true.
And for more, much more, on what you might have been missing, we wrote down every one of our Friday Walks for a year in 2012, and roughly two thirds of them were on the Wirral.