Southport is a booming seaside town in Merseyside with a population of around 100,000. Frequently referred to as the ‘Paris of the North’ this elegant holiday resort boasts a diverse range of attractions, great shopping, and a good choice of accommodation options.
Many of Southport’s hotels can be found on Lord Street. Accommodation options here include the Vincent, a 4-star boutique hotel, and 3-star properties such as the Scarisbrick and the Britannia Prince of Wales.
Southport also offers a large number of holiday parks, caravan parks, and campsites such as Pontins and the Riverside Touring & Holiday Home Park.
Attractions & Things To Do
Southport offers a great choice of attractions and things to see and do, ranging from tranquil parks and gardens to a thrilling fair.
Southport Pier reopened in 2002 following a multi-million pound restoration programme. Measuring over 3,600 ft the Grade II listed structure is the second longest pier in the UK. Visitors can catch the Pier Tram to the end and enjoy fantastic views of North Wales and the Sefton coastline. The Pier Pavilion here features a café, licensed bar and an exhibition on the history of the pier and Southport.
At the entrance to the pier is Silcock’s fish and chip restaurant, a beautifully maintained Victorian carousel, and Silcock’s Funland, an indoor family entertainment centre.
Statues here pay homage to the pier divers that used to entertain crowds of tourists in late 19th and early 20th centuries. One features Professor Gadsby, the famous one-legged diver.
Splash World at the Dunes Leisure Centre is an indoor water park with flume and river rides, water cannons, and more. More thrills and spills can be found just across the road at New Pleasureland, a free to enter fun fair.
Further along The Promenade is Kings Gardens and Marine Lake, one of the largest man-made leisure lakes in England. Visitors can take a leisurely cruise on the Southport Belle, a Mississippi-style paddle steamer, or enjoy a pint in the Lakeside Inn, the smallest pub in England.
Kings Gardens lie on the eastern side of the lake and are home to a crazy golf course and the Southport Model Railway Village. On the other side is Lakeside Miniature Railway, Princes Park, and a 9-hole pitch and putt golf course.
Ocean Plaza is next to Princes Park and boasts a wide range of attractions including a 7-screen Vue cinema, the Premier Bowl tenpin bowling centre, the DW Sports Fitness Club, and a good selection of restaurants.
The Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is a redevelopment of the Southport Theatre and Floral Hall but still retains the original art deco features. It hosts a wide range of events including music concerts, comedy shows, and pantomimes. It is also home to the 4-star Ramada Plaza hotel.
Southport boasts a number of glorious parks and gardens and is known as the ‘Floral Resort’.
Victoria Park, just south of Marine Lake, boasts a model boat lake, children’s playground, miniature train, tennis courts, and large open spaces suitable for picnics and ball games.
Hesketh Park, on the other side of town, is a Victorian park that has recently undergone a massive restoration programme. Features include a boating lake with ornamental fountain, an observatory, children’s playground, mini golf course, and woodland walks.
Lord Street Gardens on the Southport’s shopping boulevard are a great place to relax while in the town centre. The gardens run the length of the street and feature plenty of seating areas, a bandstand, fountain, and café.
The Botanic Gardens in Churchtown opened in 1874 and is renowned for its beautiful floral displays. Attractions include an aviary, play area, bowling greens, café, and lake.
The town is famous for its golf courses. Royal Birkdale is one of the links courses on the Open Championship rotation. Other courses in the area include Southport & Ainsdale, Formby Hall, and Hillside.
Further information about all these attractions can be obtained from the Southport Tourist Information Centre.
Southport is one of the country’s leading events destinations. A diverse programme brings thousands of visitors to the town and includes the Southport Food and Drink Festival and the Southport International Jazz Festival in May, the Southport Air Show in July, the Southport Flower Show and the Woodvale Rally in August, and the British Musical Fireworks Championships at the end of September.
Shops & Shopping Centres
Southport is perfect for visitors looking for some retail therapy. Tree-lined Lord Street offers a huge range of independent stores plus Debenhams and Broadbents & Boothroyds department stores while Chapel Street offers high street names such as Bhs, HMV, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Primark, River Island, Selfridges, and WH Smith.
Wayfarers Arcade on Lord Street is one of several fabulous covered shopping arcades in Southport. The Grade II listed Victorian arcade features over 30 specialist and shops under a fantastic glass roof. Other shopping centres include Marble Place on Chapel Street, Cambridge Walks, and the Royal Arcade.
Southport Farmers’ Market is held on Chapel Street on the last Thursday of each month.
Visitors travelling from the south should leave the M6 at Junction 26 and take the M58. After 5 miles leave the M58 at Junction 3 and take the A570 to Southport town centre.
From the north exit the M6 at Junction 31 and take the A59/A565 to Southport.
There is a good selection of car parks in Southport town centre. Council-run car parks include those at Splash World/Dunes Leisure Centre, Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, and the Central 12 Shopping Park. Beach and street car parking is also available.
Private car parks include the NCP car park on Tulketh Street.
A full list of council and private car parks, together with details of charges and opening times, is available on the Sefton Council website.
There are 3 airports within easy reach of Southport; Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Blackpool International Airport.
Southport train station enjoys a central location in the town centre (address and postcode: Chapel Street, Southport PR8 1BE).
Northern Rail offers trains from Manchester/Manchester Airport to Southport that call at Wigan and Bolton. Merseyrail offers regular train services from Liverpool to Southport.
For train times to and from Southport, ticket prices, and timetables, go to the National Rail Enquiries website.