Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Back to my Liverpool trip last month... So many outings, I'm finding it hard to fit all the photos in!
Whilst in Liverpool, I took the train a few miles up the coast to Southport. As with most of our northern coastal towns, the resort's heyday was in late Victorian and Edwardian times, when those with money came to stay in elegant hotels, believing sea-bathing to be a cure for many ills, and the working class had day-trips to the seaside. The legacy of those times is found in Southport's extensive Marine Gardens, recently restored by the town council in a £5.5 million project.
The huge lake, with its elegant bridges, was at one time the scene of elaborate, masked Venetian galas and firework displays. (One of the stone, arched bridges is in the background of my photo below. The tall suspension tower belongs to a newer road bridge behind the gardens.) Things are rather more sedate these days but it's very pleasant to stroll around. There are children's playgrounds, bowling greens and a miniature railway that has run through the gardens since 1911.
Southport is nowhere near as run down as many of our seaside towns. It is close to several prestigious championship golf courses, strung out along the sandy coast, including Royal Birkdale which sometimes hosts the Open Championship. The town also holds several major shows each year, like the Southport Flower Show, the UK's largest independent flower show, and it is a conference venue.
One of its 'jewels' is Lord Street, a long and wide boulevard with gardens in the middle. It holds many of the town's public buildings and many shops and cafés, under elegant glass arcades. There's also a market and a pedestrianised shopping area, so the town is a magnet for those who love shopping. I enjoyed my day there very much! (Treated myself to lunch in the Westminster Tearooms too: smoked salmon sandwiches, tea in a silver teapot, fine bone china teacup - wonderful!)