The Wirral Peninsula (commonly known as Wirral) has been inhabited since at least 7,000 BC, with evidence of prehistoric human life in the area. Since then, Wirral has been settled by the Celts, the Romans, the Britons and the Norse, providing it with its rich and illustrious history. Wirral is famed for its beautiful coastline, lush countryside, and lively towns. Packed with heritage, delicious local food, and friendly people, there is much to explore in Wirral. Here are some of the best things to do in the area.
1. Wirral Peninsula
Wirral is sandwiched between the Rivers Dee and Mersey, making it a peninsula. Wirral also has some of Britain’s best coastal scenery, with a number of walk and cycle trails for adventurous visitors. Explore Wirral’s beautiful countryside by following these trails or find a local walking group to learn about Wirral’s natural history from residents. For outdoors enthusiasts, there is the Wirral Coastal Walk, a group walk spanning 15 miles that will take you through key seaside towns. Exploring Wirral’s coastline and taking in the fantastic vistas across the water is a highlight of any trip to the region.
2. Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory is the oldest standing building in Merseyside, the side of Wirral closest to the River Mersey. Built in 1150, the priory was once home to monks who ran the original Mersey Ferry. Today you can visit the priory and walk amongst centuries of history. There is a museum on-site that examines the history of the priory and its neighbouring Tower of St Mary’s and chapter house. The priory also hosts regular events, including concerts and Viking re-enactments, so be sure to check listings when you drop by.
3. Lady Lever Art Gallery
Lady Lever Art Gallery is housed in a beautiful 1922 building in serene surroundings. It is home to an excellent collection of British art, as well as international art from Ancient Rome, China and Greece. Here you can find work by artists such as Gainsborough, Constable and Frith. On show are paintings, tapestries, furniture, sculpture, and one of the world’s best collections of jasper art. The gallery also features a diverse events programme with temporary exhibitions, performances, talks and more occurring every week. Take a break from all the impressive art with some hot food in the café, and grab a souvenir or an art book from the shop.
For fans of outer space and space travel, Wirral’s Spaceport is the perfect day out. The centre explores the solar system and the science surrounding space through a number of rooms centred around different themes. Each room has its own hands-on activities and there’s even an interactive zone with activities designed to educate visitors about space science in an entertaining way. Finish your trip to the Spaceport with a visit to the planetarium for an immersive learning experience. The Spaceport is a great place for all the family!
5. Fort Perch Rock
Fort Perch Rock was originally built in the 1920s as a defence structure for the Port of Liverpool in Wirral. The fort features distinctive architecture and an interesting history but has not been used defensively since the end of WWII. Today Fort Perch Rock is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike as both a tourist attraction and performance venue. The fort hosts musical and theatrical performances, exhibits, and more. There is even a museum on-site where you can learn more about Wirral’s maritime history and radio communication on the seas.
6. Williamson Art Gallery and Museum
Williamson Art Gallery and Museum was built in 1928 as a home for a vast collection of art and historical items, including work from T.S. Cooper, Wilson Steer and local artists. The gallery is most well-known for its collections of British watercolours and its fantastic array of Della Robbia pottery, unique to the area. The museum explores the maritime history and local heritage of Wirral. There is a café on-site for snacks and tea, and weekly events including art classes, life drawing sessions and temporary exhibitions.
7. Hilbre Island
Hilbre Island is a gorgeous island located next to the River Dee, nestled on the border between England and Wales. The island has been home to people since pre-historic times and historical artefacts including Roman pottery have been found on Hilbre Island in the past. Visitors to the island can access it when the tide is out, to explore the history and beauty of the island. There is a bird observatory located on the island where you can spot local wildlife including oystercatchers, purple sandpipers and terns. Hilbre Island is a peaceful place to spend a sunny day and a great opportunity to get close to Wirral’s wildlife.
8. Wirral Transport Museum
The Wirral Transport Museum is a fascinating insight into transportation history, with a multitude of classic vehicles on show. Here you can find vintage trams, buses, cars, motorbikes and even a fire engine. There are a number of exhibits on local transport as well as a 26-ft long model railway and a reconstructed 1930s garage scene for visitors to enjoy. Take a ride on the Baby Grand Tram, which won Tram of the Year and is the last surviving tram of its kind in the country. The Wirral Transport Museum is an exciting celebration of British transport.
9. Ness Botanic Gardens
The award-winning Ness Botanic Gardens are the perfect oasis in exciting Wirral. Here you can find beautiful flowers, manicured shrubs and trees, all in a site overlooking the Dee Estuary. The gardens have stood here since 1898 and house a stunning 15,000 plants from around the world. Amongst the impressive garden layout, you can find a rock garden and a café serving cakes and meals every day. The Ness Botanic Gardens also host events including outdoor concerts and guided tours where you can learn more about the gorgeous plants on show.
10. Take the Mersey Ferry
The Mersey Ferry is one of Wirral’s most famous landmarks, operating every day to transport visitors across the River Mersey. The ferry has existed since the 12th century, originally set up by monks at the Birkenhead Priory. Ferries have taken a number of forms from rowboats to steam ferries, and remain popular amongst tourists and locals today. Take the historic trip across the River Mersey or join a cruise along the river. Taking the Mersey Ferry is a must when visiting Wirral and the perfect place for beautiful vistas of the surrounding region.
11. Dee Estuary
The Dee Estuary is a large body of water formed by the River Dee flowing into Liverpool Bay. The estuary is popular amongst wildlife and outdoors enthusiasts as it is a popular spot for local waterfowl and offers stunning views out across the water. Here you can spot a variety of birds including gulls, sandpipers and even owls. There are also walking trails allowing visitors to get closer to the wildlife and enjoy being by the water’s edge. The Dee Estuary is a lovely place to spend the day.
12. Brimstage Maize Maze
Brimstage Maize Maze makes an ideal family day out, with lots of activities to interact with. The highlight is the maize maze, a labyrinth formed from tall maize crops including clues and puzzles within to make the adventure even more fun. On-site you can also find zip-lines, a giant sandpit, go karts and an agility trail, so there is plenty to explore and enjoy. The Brimstage Maize Maze is an ideal location for a picnic, or buy some snacks from the café. Be sure to visit Brimstage Hall for a number of independent shops in a historic setting.
Visit picturesque Parkgate in Wirral, a coastal town with beautiful architecture and a sleepy seaside atmosphere. Take a stroll along the Parkgate Parade for gorgeous views out across the water before stopping for the best ice cream in Wirral. Parkgate is home to two famous ice cream shops: Nicholls Famous Ice Cream Shop and The Parkgate Homemade Ice Cream Shop. Each serves up delicious flavours including classic vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, as well as local delicacy Cinder Toffee and British favourite Lemon Drizzle. Parkgate Homemade also makes their ice cream on-site so you can watch your tasty snack being created!
14. Bidston Hill
Bidston Hill is a large park in Wirral, filled with history and beautiful woodland. Open to the public since 1894, Bidston Hill features a number of ancient rock carvings including the ‘Sun Goddess’, believed to date from 1000 AD. Visit Bidston Windmill which has stood since 1791 on a site used for milling for over 500 years. Bidston Observatory is also a must, a beautiful historic building that opened in 1866 and still used today. Bidston Hill is also a great place for nature lovers, with a variety of pretty flowers and eye-catching local butterflies.
15. New Brighton
Wirral’s coastline is some of the best in Britain and New Brighton is one of the region’s best coastal towns. New Brighton overlooks the Irish Sea and the Bay of Liverpool, providing it with unparalleled sea views and gorgeous sunsets. Here you can find the Floral Pavilion Theatre, one of the most popular live events venues in Wirral. There are a number of high street stores and independent shops in the town, and it’s the perfect place to grab some ice cream by the sea! Try one of the many quaint cafes lining the seafront for some delicious local food.
16. Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park is a serene oasis located at the heart of busy Birkenhead in Wirral. The park has stood here since 1847 and is believed to be the first publicly-funded park in the world. The park features a number of original Victorian buildings and designs, with peaceful gardens and lakes abound, making it an ideal location for photography. Find The Boathouse for a gorgeous slice of Victorian architecture or cross the idyllic Swiss Bridge. There is also a café and exhibition gallery in the park, and sports facilities for those who like to stay active.
17. Wirral Country Park
Wirral Country Park is one of the highlights of Wirral’s beautiful landscape. The park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts with plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, hiking and bird-watching. Here you can find local wildlife such as badgers, foxes and owls. There is a bird hide for those who want to count the many types of bird that reside here, as well as a picnic area for a sunny day out. Adventurous visitors will enjoy walking to the 60-ft cliffs overlooking the Dee Estuary for delightful views across the water. Wirral Country Park is a lovely place to get closer to Wirral’s countryside.
18. New Ferry Butterfly Park
The New Ferry Butterfly Park has transformed the land it was originally built on. A purpose-built “urban reserve”, the site was once used for industrial purposes. Today, the park is green, calm and filled with nature. Here you can find gorgeous flowers and plants amongst the 26 species of butterflies that call the park home. The park is a beautiful place to spend a day, highlighting some of Wirral’s diverse wildlife. The park also frequently hosts open-air events and art exhibitions so there is always something exciting to experience here.
19. Claremont Farm
Claremont Farm is one of Wirral’s best known farms, acting as the annual host for the Wirral Farm Feast. The farm is a wonderful day out with a number of activities on offer, including walks and fishing opportunities. Visit Claremont Farm to pick your own fruit and vegetables, guaranteeing the freshest and tastiest produce for your next snack or meal. Go straight to the farm kitchen for home-cooked food with the best local ingredients – or buy some produce from the shop. There is even a cookery school on-site if you need to brush up on your kitchen skills. Claremont Farm is the best example of Wirral’s famed local produce and fresh food.
20. Thor’s Stone
Thor’s Stone can be found on Thurstaston Hill in Wirral, lying amongst 250 acres of striking parkland. The rock here is sandstone and makes an impression amongst the greenery of the park. Thor’s Stone is believed to be a religious location for early Viking settlers and is at the heart of many myths and legends. The rock outcrop was believed to be used in ceremonies worshipping the Norse god Thor. The rock holds an atmosphere of mystery and magic, and is also a popular location for hikers. At Thor’s Stone, you will find mythology and beautiful landscapes – an important piece of Wirral’s heritage.
Birkenhead is one of Wirral’s liveliest and most popular towns. Birkenhead is home to some of the region’s most important and iconic landmarks, including Birkenhead Priory, Birkenhead Park and Williamson Art Gallery. Be sure to drop by Birkenhead Market for a spot of shopping. The market has existed since 1835 and includes 300 stalls. Here you will find the freshest local produce and two of the country’s most acclaimed fishmongers. Spend some time amongst Birkenhead’s gorgeous architecture before stopping into a local pub or bar for a pint from the Peerless Brewing Company – considered the best microbrewery in Wirral.
22. Port Sunlight
For a unique experience, visit Port Sunlight. This model village was created in 1888 for local factory workers. Today, you can explore the village’s beautiful architecture and delightful independent shops. Stop into the museum to learn more about the village’s history and purpose before enjoying a traditional afternoon tea in the museum’s tea room. There are walking tours available to visitors and you can even rent your own cottage in the village for an authentic Wirral experience. Port Sunlight is one-of-a-kind in Wirral and a great way to get to know the region.
23. Leasowe Lighthouse
Leasowe Lighthouse is the oldest brick lighthouse in Britain, built in 1763. The lighthouse reaches 33 metres high, with 130 steps leading up to the lamp at the top. You can explore the lighthouse and enjoy a tea or snack on-site. Learn more about the story of this important part of Wirral’s history in the exhibit before heading to the top of the tower for beautiful views out across the water.
24. Wirral Farm Feast
Wirral is famed for its fresh local food and thriving farms so there is no better place to celebrate Wirral’s foodie heritage than at the Wirral Farm Feast. This two-day festival takes place every year amongst gorgeous countryside at Claremont Farm in Wirral. Every year, hundreds of regional chefs and food producers offer delicious fresh meals, snacks and local beers. There are even farm animals and live music for guests to enjoy, creating a lively and quintessentially British atmosphere for all the family to enjoy.
25. Cheshire Oaks
For shoppers, Cheshire Oaks is one of the premier locations in Wirral. This designer outlet features a number of big-name brands and high street stores, all offering discount prices. Cheshire Oaks is the country’s biggest designer outlet, with a whopping 145 stores to explore. Here you can find Burberry, Levi’s, Diesel, Nike, and many more huge designer brands. There is a food court on-site offering cuisines from around the world, or take your shopping spree into the evening with a trip to the cinema, bowling alley or nightclub. There is something to suit everyone here at Cheshire Oaks.