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      06.08.2001 04:29
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      Depending on who you talk to and where you are on the Wirral Peninsula dictates if you're in Cheshire or Merseyside! Originally all the peninsula was in the County of Cheshire however the borders have been 'moved' over the years and it is now tied in with Merseyside. Wirral is 22 miles long and 7 miles wide. Situated between the rivers Mersey and Dee, the Irish sea to the North,and with the city of Liverpool a 20 minute ferry boat ride to the East, the rolling hills and coastline of North Wales Westward it really couldn't be better positioned to take advantage of the North west of England and its numerous attractions. The M53 motorway runs the length of the peninsula and connects to the M56, (M6)and A55. But before you think its just a convenient location to stay whilst travelling elsewhere let me tell you about some of the attractions on the Wirral itself. I guess one of the most popular visitor sites would be Port Sunlight village. The area is a 19th century garden village which was built by William Lever in 1888 who founded the Lever soap factory, he constructed the village for his workers (what a kind bloke)! The village is named after his famous brand soap 'Sunlight'. All the cottages still retain the style of days gone by as strict planning codes are enforced in order to maintain the beauty of the area. The gardens are immaculate. Within the village there is a heritage centre which explores the history of the area and also a stunning art gallery called the Lady Lever which holds collections of furniture, paintings from the 18th century and pre-raphaelite and sculptures. Port Sunlight is located off junction 5 off the M53 via A41 If you think you might like Sunlight then you may also be interested in Ness gardens. The gardens are stunning whatever time of year you visit and boast extensive collections of plants and trees. Its a great place to spend a day jus
      t ambling around, take advantage of the tearooms and gift shop and if the kids get a little 'bored' there is a play area near the picnic site. M53 junction 4 follow signs. But what if that's not really your scene.. well how about a tour of a genuine war ship and submarine? Situated on the docks at corn warehouse quay in Birkenhead are HMS Plymouth and HMS Onyx, this being the only non-nuclear sub to be at the Falklands war, for even older craft a second world war German sub U534 is on display, this relic is the only German sub to be raised from the sea-bed after being sunk by the allies! If you fancy playing at naval duties have a look at the website www.warships.freeserve.co.uk for more info. Along the 3 coastlines the scenic area starts from Seacombe on the Eastern side were a promenade walk runs Northward past Vale Park with its bandstand, to New Brighton, a bustling seaside resort in Victorian times. The town has sadly lost its Victorian facade along with its pier. however there is a historic fort built to keep out Napoleon! New Brighton has a sandy beach which has been given a flag although the waters are quite tidal so caution is advised if you venture in, as many do as it is a popular area for boating, jetbiking and just watching the ships sail up the Mersey (if you are lucky you may spot a luxury liner including in the recent past the QE2)! The most prominent feature is the large 'green' (copper) dome of ST. peter & Pauls church, this is on the highest point in the Wirral. A large indoor fair, karting centre, bowling alley, pitch and put , golf course (Harrison Drive end), outdoor tennis, bowling green, huge grassed areas which host the annual Wirral show in July, and several eating places make the area popular with day trippers. Theatre for shows and pantomime. Regular firework displays from the lighthouse/fort area. Car rallies/races held on the prom sever
      al times a year. A thriving nightlife centres around clubs on the promenade. Plans are in the pipeline to expand amenities on the seafront. New Brighton was once home to the largest outdoor pool in Europe..until the gales destroyed it in 1990. Stunning sunsets over the Irish sea. Carry on the walk, or cycle, or drive the rest of the way and you reach Hoylake on the seaside with a huge beach and home to the Royal Liverpool golf club which will play host to the British Open in 2006. Round the 'corner' West Kirby on the river Dee. Here you will find views over to Wales and if the tide is out you can walk over to Hilbre Island and see the birds and seals that live there (a guide is necessary due to tidal patterns). conservation area. West Kirby as with New Brighton offers sailing and wind surfing on a man made lake. Other areas to visit would be the Wirral Country Park a beautiful conservation area over looking the Dee estuary. Parkgate a historic picturesque 'seaside' town. (no beach). Pleasant country drives inland round Heswall, Willaston and Brimstage. If photography is your interest the Max Spielmann photo centre invites you to tour the facility and see exactly how film is turned into prints! factory shop selling a wide range of accessories etc. Shopping? well the main town of Birkenhead has a large variety of stores including the chains. The shops are located in one area with a modern mall and out door pedestrian only area. A permanent market has an abundance of small merchandisers. many characters behind the counters! A large outlet village is located at Ellesmere port, at the start of the M53, this area gives huge savings on designer fashions etc. The Blue planet aquarium is a fabulous and substantial building right next to the outlet village, it houses exhibits of marine life and has a 'glass tunnel' to walk through which is surrounded by... l
      ive sharks! Restaurant (yes they serve fish... but not the exhibits)!! Shop on site. Tranmere Rovers FC is near Birkenhead centre, the Europa pool and Warner Village cinema complex are in the town centre. Ferry across the Mersey? take one from Seacombe (small aquarium at terminal), or from Woodside in Birkenhead (old fashioned tram rides here too). Well there is still a lot to say but not a lot of room to type it! if you are interested why not give the tourist office a call 0151 647 6780 for info on many other attractions and accommodation.


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