The Mersey Estuary: A Travel Guide
Liverpool is famed for its spectacular waterfront and the Mersey Ferry but there is much more to see around the Mersey Estuary. The Mersey Estuary: A Travel Guide describes places to visit and the history and wildlife of the area, including the main tourist attractions and many destinations off the beaten track along its Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire shores.
This page describes the book in more detail and provides links to additional articles and photographs that highlight the maritime history and wildlife of the area.
“Lavishly illustrated, the book paints a picture of Liverpool and the whole of the Mersey Estuary…“
“The result is ‘The Mersey Estuary: A Travel Guide’ with colour illustrations throughout and detailed information every step of the way.”
ESSENTIAL RUNCORN (Curiosity Bookshop)
The book describes places to visit around the estuary from Warrington to Runcorn, Widnes, Liverpool, Wirral and the coast. It also describes the wildlife around the estuary and the history of the Port of Liverpool and ports and docks further upstream.
Destinations include the main tourist attractions such as the Three Graces, Liverpool Cathedral and Royal Albert Dock along with many less well known sights off the beaten track such as lighthouses, nature reserves and medieval buildings. The book includes 15 suggested walks and cycle routes from a couple of hours to a full day out.
Following an introductory chapter, the book describes places to visit and the history and wildlife along the Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire shores, from Warrington, Runcorn, Widnes to New Brighton and Formby Point. Additional chapters then describe the environment, maritime history and wildlife of the estuary. Topics include:
Walk and cycle route descriptions in Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire
Hidden gems such as lighthouses, medieval buildings and outdoor art
Desciptions of nature reserves and country parks around the estuary
Tips on where to see seals, waterbirds and red squirrels
Insights into the history of the Port of Liverpool and the Mersey ferries
Hills and local buildings for a bird’s eye view of the estuary
Development of the Manchester Ship Canal and the Port of Manchester
Background on the geology, environment and wildlife of the estuary
This post describes how I went about researching and writing the guide and some personal highlights.
The Liverpool, Wirral, Cheshire shores
Places featured include:
- Liverpool area – city, waterfront, Formby Point, Crosby Beach, Speke Hall, Hale Head
- Wirral/Outer Estuary – New Brighton, Birkenhead, Port Sunlight, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham
- Upper estuary – Runcorn, Widnes, Warrington
The following gallery shows some sample pages from the book; just click on this link then on individual photographs to see more.
A video about the book
This short video also shows selected images and places to visit from the book:
More places to visit in Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire
To find out more about the Mersey Estuary, you might also be interested in the following blog posts which discuss some local sights and topics under the following headings:
- Places to visit – outdoors art, a bird’s eye view, unexpected sights, England Coast Path
- Maritime history – Port of Liverpool, land reclamation, tidal prediction, other estuary ports, timekeeping for navigation, Boaty McBoatface
- Wildlife and environment – wildlife of the estuary, the Mersey Tidal Bore, Liverpool’s lost rivers, waterbird murmurations
There are also more photographs of places to visit in Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire on my Alamy stock photography webpage.
Places to visit
10 best sights of Liverpool and the Mersey Estuary
I sometimes get asked for suggestions for places to visit around the estuary that are more off the beaten track and give 10 ideas in this blog post. This includes places in Liverpool, Wirral, Runcorn, Widnes and Warrington including some that I found surprising when researching the book.
Outdoors art of the Mersey Estuary
This article describes some of the great outdoors art to appreciate around the estuary, such as the Another Place statues in Crosby, Liverpool’s superlambananas, Future Flower in Widnes, and other examples from around its shores:
Seeing the estuary from on high
One of the best ways to appreciate the scale of an estuary is from on high, and this post describes some viewpoints around the estuary, such as Liverpool Cathedral, Birkenhead Priory and the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes.
There are many unexpected sights to see around the Mersey Estuary such as a castle, a pagoda and a windmill. This post gives some more examples:
The England Coast Path in Merseyside and Cumbria
After years of planning, the England Coast Path is close to completion, which is a fantastic achievement and will include sections through Merseyside and Cumbria.
Development of the Port of Liverpool – Then and Now
Channel 5 recently aired a new documentary about the development of the Port of Liverpool and modern-day operations and this brief review describes some interesting highlights from the programme.
Development of the Port of Liverpool – land reclamation
With the exception of the first dock to be built – the Old Dock – most docks in the Port of Liverpool were built out into the estuary, and this article describes this remarkable feat of land reclamation.
Before computers, the tides were predicted using tidal prediction machines, which were a type of analogue computer. Bidston Observatory on the Wirral was at the forefront of this research and this article describes how these machines worked and an exhibition in Liverpool with a working example.
Other ports around the estuary
Before the development of road and rail transport, the Mersey and Dee estuaries were once busy with ships travelling upstream, such as to Chester, Ellesmere Port and Warrington. This article provides an introduction to the development of these ports and their subsequent decline.
Timekeeping in the days of sail and steam
Before the advent of modern navigation aids, obtaining an accurate time signal for marine chronometers was essential. This article describes some of the techniques that were used in the days of sail and steam, including Liverpool’s One O’clock Gun.
RRS Sir David Attenborough and Boaty McBoatface
The UK’s new polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough recently crossed the Mersey from the Cammell Laird shipyard, where it was built, to visit the Liverpool Cruise Terminal for a few days. This post gives news on recent developments.
Much has been published on the maritime history and wildlife of the Mersey Estuary and the following article suggests some interesting websites and books to explore.
Wildlife and environment
Wildlife of the Mersey Estuary
In recent decades, there have been major improvements to the water quality in the estuary and new nature reserves have been created. This article give a brief introduction to how this came about with links to more information.
The Mersey Tidal Bore
One little known wonder of the Mersey Estuary is its tidal bore, which occurs on the highest tides. This aticle describes how it forms and where it can be seen.
Liverpool’s lost rivers
For a city the size of Liverpool, there are surprisingly few rivers within its boundaries. This article discusses how drainage works have caused most to disappear and some signs that still remain.
During the winter, many thousands of wading birds gather in the Mersey Estuary and along the north Wirral coastline. Sometimes they perform a beautiful aerial dance called a murmuration and this post gives some tips on photographing this natural wonder.
Much has been published on the wildlife and environment of the Mersey Estuary and the article under ‘Maritime History’ referred to above also includes a selection of interesting websites and books on this topic.