Ask most people if they’ve visited the North West and they’ll tell you they’ve been to the Lake District or Blackpool. Whilst both locations are special in their own right, I can’t help thinking visitors are missing out because there’s so much more to our neck of the woods.
For us, North West England is home, it’s our playground and of course, we’re biased. Also, in an unofficial type of way, I like to think of myself as a bit of an ambassador for the North West.
So, when Preston based Mobility Smart asked me to put together a quick guide to wheelchair friendly days out on the North West coast I jumped at the chance.
If you’ve haven’t ventured this far North or West for that matter, what are you waiting for?
I hope you find this quick guide useful…. please let me know in the comments.
A Quick Guide to Wheelchair Friendly Days Out on the North West Coast
The Wirral peninsula boasts some of the most diverse coastlines. Having walked all of the Wirral Coastal Path and Wirral Way (not with a wheelchair), I’m in an ideal position to vouch for its beauty, tranquility and unrivalled charm.
Starting in the south along the Dee Estuary, a visit to Burton Mere Wetlands is a must. The RSPB property has accessible parking, visitor centre and paths.
Moving further along the coast and slightly inland are the impressive Ness Botanic Gardens. The gardens offer concessionary rates to disabled visitors, have accessible routes through the gardens and wheelchairs for hire. Take a look at the Ness Botanic Gardens accessibility statement.
For me, the next stop has got to be the village of Parkgate. A small village with a big heart, Parkgate is popular with visitors simply because of its quaintness. I love to walk alongside the silted estuary and then catch my breath with a truly scrumptious ice cream from the world famous Nicholls Ice Cream Parlour.
As we continue our journey around the peninsula, and especially if you’re fond of a picnic, why not spend the day at Wirral Country Park at Thurstaston.
And finally, for a day at the beach, you should consider a visit to West Kirby. There is a wheelchair friendly promenade and if you’re able a sandy beach to while away the hours.
For the more adventurous and mobile, you can walk out to Hilbre Island, but be warned the tide comes in quick and I like many have been caught out and stranded until the next low tide. On reflection, do not try that in a wheelchair 🙂
Being born and bred in Liverpool, New Brighton was not only a regular day out, dare I say it, like going abroad!!!
Seriously, a trip on the Mersey Ferry and a stroll along the River Mersey was an absolute treat, it was then and it is today.
New Brighton sits on the mouth of Liverpool Bay and has undergone a major facelift. Today, as well as a wheelchair walk on the prom, New Brighton has plenty of eateries, bars, a funfair, arcades and even its own castle at Fort Perch Rock.
In my Liverpool home, I mean cmon, Liverpool is the centre of the universe and whatever your thing, Liverpool has it in abundance.
Liverpool, in all honesty, is a destination on its own, a day simply won’t be enough and that’s why we have a special section on the blog “In Our Backyard”.
Needless to say, we have a thriving town centre with every conceivable style of shop, restaurant, bar and entertainment venue. Liverpool One is a must if you’ve got cash to spend or love window shopping.
We pay homage to our four favourite sons in The Cavern Club and The Beatles Story. Celebrate our football dominance with two cathedrals at Anfield and Goodison. Practice our faith in two further cathedrals in the Liverpool Cathedral and Christ the King.
And we recognise our history and culture with a smorgasbord of museums and galleries.
If you’ve got any energy left after a day in the metropolis, head north out of Liverpool and spend the day at Crosby Beach.
My stomping ground, this beautiful section of coastline is home to geologically important sand dunes, Anthony Gormley’s Iron Men and the Crosby Adventure Centre. If nothing else, take a bracing wheelchair walk on the Sefton Coastal Path and blow the cobwebs off.
Somewhat forgotten as a wheelchair friendly destination, Southport is like a walk back in time.
There aren’t many towns in the UK that have maintained their Victorian charm but Southport is one of them.
Take a bimble along Lord Street with its timeless shops and Victorian arcades, chill in one of the many cafes or tea rooms and no visit to Southport would be complete without indulging yourself in seaside fish and chips.
If you have young ones, head for the beach, entertain them in the adventure playground or if you’re feeling energetic, take a walk along Southport Pier for stunning views of the coastline and across the Irish Sea.
Okay, I’ll admit it, Lytham is my secret pleasure because when I need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city its Lytham I head for.
I’m still not sure if it’s Lytham or Lytham St Anne’s but whatever it’s called, I love this little section of the Fylde coast.
With one main shopping street, relaxed atmosphere, a windmill and a lovely walk on the promenade, Lytham is well worth dropping into on your way to its busier neighbour Blackpool.
What can you say about Blackpool that hasn’t already been said?
Yes, I love to see the lights in the winter months, yes I love a walk on the seafront and yes I have been known to take afternoon tea in the ballroom and brave a trip to the top of the tower.
But, generally, Blackpool is simply too busy for me when I’m pushing Bridget’s wheelchair, so I avoid it during the peak season. Personally, as mentioned, I prefer Lytham or the next stop on the coast Cleveleys.
Despite my own reservations, Blackpool is the entertainment capital of the north. As seaside towns go, Blackpool does it bigger, better and with so much razzamatazz you just have to visit at least once.
Every time I write about Blackpool it seems like I’m being unfair. Therefore, I’m going to make a concerted effort this year to visit and see if it can change my tone – watch this space!
Morecambe, another forgotten seaside town on the North West coast. If you read this post Top 5 Reasons to Visit Morecambe you’ll know I’m a big fan.
Bridget and I reluctantly visited Morecambe, when I say reluctantly, I mean we didn’t hold out much hope because for one reason or another it just didn’t get the recognition it deserves.
Thankfully, we were surprised, in fact, we were impressed and had one of the best wheelchair walks ever. I can absolutely recommend a walk around Morecambe Bay and on the stone jetty.
We are long overdue a return visit so look out for us bimbling around Morecambe soon 🙂
Honestly, I love the Lake District but not in a wheelchair – there, I said it.
The Lake District is unquestionably the jewel in the crown, but not in a wheelchair. If you do visit (in my opinion) you need a car to go from place to place. I’m not the best person to promote the Lake District, not in a wheelchair anyway.
Both of these intrepid wheelchair users can give you more details of using a chair in the Lake District.
Wow, in true fashion, my quick guide turned into a long blog post, I’m glad you reached the end.
Can I say a big thank you to *Mobility Smart for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to talk about my beloved North West coast!
If you love the North West like I do then don’t forget to leave a comment and share this post.
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* Mobility Smart is an online retailer stocking a wide range of mobility aids and health and wellness products, many of which could make life easier for wheelchair users.