One of the best ways to appreciate the scale of an estuary is from on high, and around the Mersey Estuary there are several places to get a bird’s eye view. The changing weather and tides add to the spectacle, with no two visits giving the same experience.
In Liverpool, the highest building is West Tower which includes office accommodation and luxury apartments, Near the top, the superb Panoramic 34 restaurant is one of the highest restaurants in the UK. On a clear day the views extend across Liverpool and the Wirral and even to north Wales. Along with fine dining and cocktails, afternoon teas are on offer; booking ahead is essential.
Further south, the tower at Liverpool Cathedral is another magnificent viewpoint. Reached by two lifts and 108 stairs, visitors can enjoy spectacular views from the courtyard area at the top. Tickets include entry to a short film showing the history of the cathedral, and in the summer twilight tours are another attraction. The interior of the cathedral is one of the finest in Europe.
At the waterfront, the Royal Liver Building and the Wheel of Liverpool provide close-up views of the docks and along the estuary both inland and towards the coast. The Liver Building tours include an audio visual display in the chamber where the clock mechanisms are kept, and then continue up to a platform just below one of the Liver Birds for amazing views of the city.
Over the water, at Birkenhead Priory, St Mary’s Tower provides fine views across to Liverpool waterfront; if you visit you’ll also want to look around the medieval buildings and museum.
Further upstream, the viewing gallery at the top of the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre on Widnes waterfront gives another perspective of the estuary, this time of its upper reaches; the museum here is dedicated to the history of chemistry and chemical engineering.
Other good viewpoints in the area include the hills above Frodsham, Halton Castle, Runcorn Hill Park and Bidston Hill, near New Brighton. Of course, for a real view from on high, some scheduled flights south from Manchester and Glasgow route past the estuary, although it takes good luck with the weather and choice of seat to be sure of a view.
The Mersey Estuary: A Travel Guide describes places to visit around the estuary, walks and cycle routes, and its history, environment and wildlife and is available from most bookstores. See www.troubador.co.uk for more information including media news (see ‘Author News’), book reviews and a short video about the book.