Wednesday 7 January

No lie in this morning as we were up bright and early. By 9.15 we’d walked the dog, had breakfast, and were at the station ready to buy our Rail Ranger ticket, to try and make the most of the day. We left Max on the boat to keep guard.

Trains from Ellesmere Port either head to Chester or to Liverpool and we headed towards Liverpool.   We wanted to visit New Brighton. Normally we could have swapped lines at Hamilton Square on the Wirral side of the Mersey, but this station is closed until the end of March for refurbishment so we crossed under the Mersey to James Street Station, swapped lines to the (New) Brighton Line and headed back under the Mersey.

Our ticket allows us to hop on and off the trains whenever we fancy, so our first stop of the day was at Birkenhead Park Station. We headed to the Park via its ‘Grand Entrance’.

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This elaborate park was the first public park in the World when it opened in 1847 (designed by Joseph Paxton of Crystal Palace fame) and it inspired the design for New York’s Central Park.

We strolled around the park, past the lakes, with tame squirrels watching us pass, and we called in at the Visitor Centre for a coffee and a Danish before returning to the station and continuing our journey.

New Brighton on the northern tip of the Wirral Peninsula (and at the mouth of the Mersey) was once a popular holiday destination for the workers of Lancashire & Liverpool.

New Brighton has lost its pier, its tower (that was taller than Blackpool’s) and its ballroom but today it still makes for an enjoyable visit.   We strolled along the prom from ‘Bubbles” around the peninsular past Fort Perch Rock to the Black Pearl from where we could see the Liverpool skyline across the river.

 

Perch Rock Lighthouse

Perch Rock Lighthouse

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The Black Pearl – a community arts project

 

 

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Liverpool Skyline

 

By mid afternoon we were getting foot sore and so we headed back to Ellesmere Port.   We’d climbed back on board and unlocked the doors before Max even stirred – so much for thinking he’d guard the boat for us.

Although the skies had been incredibly grey and moody all day it only started to rain just as we arrived back at the boat – what perfect timing.

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