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Birkenhead

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Birkenhead is a town on Merseyside, England, situated on the Wirral peninsula in the historic county boundaries of Cheshire, just across the River Mersey from Liverpool. It is not a tourist destination in its own right but can make for a rewarding afternoon trip from Liverpool, and is well worth a couple of hours of anybody's time. The town grew around the huge Cammell Laird's shipbuilding works, its population peaking in the 1921 census when it was the 20th most populated town in England. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was so impressed by Birkenhead's public municipal park after a visit in 1850, he incorporated many of its features into his work on New York's Central Park.

Get in[edit]

Trains arrive from Liverpool's main stations every few minutes on the subterranean Merseyrail network, taking no more than 5 minutes. There are 5 stations, Hamilton Square being the best for the riverside, square and museum, Conway Park the best for the shopping district and Birkenhead Park the best for the famous park. Birkenhead can also be reached by the Mersey tunnels from Liverpool (toll payable) or the M53 from Chester. Alternatively, the famous Ferry cross the Mersey deposits you in the riverside area of the town.

Get around[edit]

Map of Birkenhead

Frequent and reliable Merseyrail services operate between the town's stations. There is also an extensive bus network. A Saveaway ticket is valid on all public transport in Birkenhead.

See[edit]

  • 1 Tranmere Rovers Football Club (Prenton Park), Prenton Park, Prenton Rd West, Birkenhead, CH42 9PY (about 40 minutes walk from Rock Ferry station). Although this club has always lived in the shadow of Liverpool it has a long tradition and a great family atmosphere - well worth a visit
  • Hamilton Square, a beautiful Georgian Square with gardens in the middle designed by James Gillespie Graham.
  • 2 Birkenhead Park (Visitors Centre), Park Drive, Birkenhead, CH41 4HY (5 minutes walk from Birkenhead Park Station), +44 151 652-5197. designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847. It is generally acknowledged as the first publicly-funded civic park in Britain. American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted incorporated many of the features he observed into his design for New York's Central Park. free. Birkenhead Park on Wikipedia
  • 3 Wirral Transport Museum, 1 Taylor Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 1BG, +44 151 647-2128. free. Wirral Transport Museum on Wikipedia
  • 4 Shore Road Pumping Station, 1 Pacific Rd, CH41 6DN, +44 151 650-1182. Open weekend afternoons, closed weekdays except by appointment and during school holidays when open W-Su afternoons. free. Shore Road Pumping Station on Wikipedia
  • 5 Birkenhead Priory (St Mary's Tower), 4 Priory Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 5JH, +44 151 666-1249. Wed to Sun afternoons. This former monastery dates back to when monks ferried passengers over the River Mersey and is the oldest building in Merseyside. free. Birkenhead Priory on Wikipedia
  • The riverside by the Mersey affords an excellent panorama of Liverpool city centre including all of its iconic buildings. There is also a wealth of interesting industrial buildings in this area, reflecting the town's shipbuilding heritage.
  • Pacific Road Arts Centre, Pacific Road, CH41 1LJ, +44 151 666-0000.
  • Woodside Ferry Terminal (U-Boat Story), Mersey Ferries, Woodside, Birkenhead, CH41 6DU, +44 151 330-1000.
  • 6 The U-Boat Story (Woodside Ferry Terminal and Visitor Centre), Wirral Museum Office, Woodside, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 5JH (1 minute walk from Hamilton Square station), +44 151 330-1000.
  • 7 Bidston Windmill, 2 Vyner Road North, Birkenhead, Prenton, Merseyside, CH43 7PZ. Bidston Windmill on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • 1 Pacific Road Arts Centre, Pacific Road, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 1LJ (1 minute walk from Hamilton Square station).
  • 2 Williamson Art Gallery, Slatey Road, Oxton, Merseyside, CH43 4UE, +44 151 652-4177. free.
  • 3 Vue Cinemas, Conway Park, Europa Boulevard, CH41 4PE (1 minute walk from Conway Park Station).
  • Go swimming at Europa Pools (wave machine, flumes and competition pool), 136 Conway St Birkenhead, (1 minute walk from Conway Park Station) CH41 6RN.

Explore Birkenhead park. The first public park and the inspiration for Central Park, New York. It is larger than most parks and has some beautiful wooded areas and duck ponds. Especially popular in the summer months.

The Ferry cross the Mersey, immortalised in the Gerry and the Pacemakers song, is considered by many to be essential on any trip to Liverpool, and by definition involves a trip to Birkenhead.

Buy[edit]

  • Visit Birkenhead Shopping Precinct. Birkenhead has the usual unexciting array of British high-street chain stores for your everyday requirements. Those seeking specialist shops or anything a cut above the norm should head across the water to Liverpool.
  • Williamson Art Gallery. Near to Birkenhead park on Slatey Road, has some great artwork
  • Birkenhead Central Library. Birkenhead Central Library, which was opened in 1934 by George V was the country's first public library in an unincorporated borough
  • The Pyramids Shopping centre. Shopping centre that has all commodities and has some great deals

Eat[edit]

  • The Brass Balance (JD Wetherspoons), 39-45 Argyle Street, CH41 6AB, +44 151 650-8950.

Drink[edit]

Birkenhead has one must-visit pub for the pub architecture/real ale fan, The Stork Hotel. The Edwardian tiling, mosaic floor and etched windows make for a sumptuous drinking experience. There is always a selection of real ale and cheap hearty food is served at lunchtimes. 200yds from Hamilton Square.

  • 1 Capitol Restaurant, 24 Argyle Street, +44 151 647 9212. Generally considered to be the best Chinese/Canton/Peking restaurant in Merseyside. Award winning dim sum, banquets and specials. Friendly service.
  • The Caernarvon Castle, Bidston Road, Prenton, CH43 2JZ, +44 151 652-2831.
  • The Brass Balance (JD Wetherspoons), 39-45 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6AB, +44 151 650-8950.
  • The Arrowe Park Hotel, Arrowe Park Road, Woodchurch, Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside CH49 5LN, +44 151 677-5031.

Sleep[edit]

  • Yew Tree Hotel (Kellson), 56 Rock Lane West, CH42 4PA, +44 151 645-4112. £49.50.

Go next[edit]

Port Sunlight, William Lever's model village, is a few minutes away and is easily accessed by rail or road. The Wirral Coast has some excellent walking opportunities, including the Wirral Way. The ancient walled city of Chester is 30 minutes away by road or rail.

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