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Ferry across the Mersey
Mersey Ferry Cruises (Liverpool)
Member Name: micksheff
Mersey Ferry Cruises (Liverpool)
Date: 06/06/10, updated on 24/06/10 (450 review reads)
Advantages: A must see attraction in Liverpool
Disadvantages: Woodside is a bit tun down
There are three different ferries that operate the route all of which are owned by the Merseytravel Company. Originally these vessels were called Woodchurch, Overchurch and Mountwood but following extensive renovations they were all renamed and are now known as the Royal Iris of the Mersey, Royal Daffodil and the Snowdrop. We went out and came back on the Royal Daffodil so I only had the chance to see one of the ferries but I think they are all similar in size.
The ferries depart from the Pier Head in Liverpool but there are two different destinations that they call at on the other side. One stop is at Woodside whilst the other one is at Seacombe. Upon arriving the first problem that we had was trying to work out where to purchase tickets from. There was a ferry in, which looked like it was about to leave and keen to catch it we scurried off in its direction only to be turned away from the kiosk because we didn't have a ticket. Tickets are purchased from a building about 100 metres further along the pier, which doubles up as a visitor centre/information centre. We dashed over there and found quite a queue which meant we missed the ferry that was in and since they only depart every hour we had quite a long wait for the next one.
We purchased a River Explorer Ticket for £6.50 each. This gives you the freedom to get off at Woodside and back on to Seacombe or vice versa but because it was now getting late in the afternoon we didn't have a lot of time. We caught the 3pm ferry and got off at Seacombe for an hour then jumped back on to Woodside for another hour and then came back on the last ferry at 6.30pm. In hindsight this was a mistake as there is very little to see and do at Seacombe and we would have been better going straight to Woodside and spending more time there, where there seemed to be a lot more happening.
I enjoyed the journey across the water and we sat on the upper deck despite it being quite windy. The ferry crossing takes about 30 minutes but this includes a detour up and the river where a recorded voiceover pointed out the various landmarks and told us a bit about the history of the ferries. The ferry had a large bar and toilets but we didn't make use of either.
The terminal at Seacombe is very modern and includes a large café and even a children's play area. Once outside however I thought it looked very rundown (apologies to any local folk that might be reading) and it seems that the only attraction is the Spaceport centre, which is conveniently attached to the ferry terminal. Had the ferry not departed I would have jumped straight back on but since it was gone we were stuck here for an hour so we walked into the town. There really is nothing to see of interest at all at Seacombe. Except perhaps for the Town Hall building and the Guinea Gap Baths Leisure Centre but on the way back we did discover that there was a footpath that ran all along the seafront and this was much more picturesque with views across the Mersey towards Liverpool. Back at the ferry terminal in plenty of time we had an extortionately expensive cup of tea (about £3 something if I recall!) and then we were back on the ferry and off to Woodside.
The Woodside terminal looks very similar to the one at Seacombe, again it is very modern and has a café. Outside the general feel of the place had a nice buzz about it and instantly I wished that we had given Seacombe a miss . Attached to the ferry terminal there is another attraction called the U-Boat Story. I think the admission price to enter this was similar to the Spaceport Centre at Seacombe (about £10) but combination ferry tickets can be purchased that include admission to either one or both of these attractions, which works out a better deal. We walked into town and the many of the old buildings impressed me but sadly we didn't have time to venture far so I didn't feel like we did the place justice.
Back on the ferry the return journey was very similar to the one coming over although this time it did a detour down river in the opposite direction. There was the same voice over telling us about the history of the ferries but then a variation to this commentary followed pointing out some of the different landmarks that we could see.
We arrived back at Pier Head in Liverpool at about 7pm and had both enjoyed the experience so I'd definitely recommend a ferry across the Mersey to others.
Further information including ticket prices and timetables are able on the website.
Summary: A historic way of crossing the Mersey
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