Today, somewhat on a whim, we decided to go to Southport. This wasn’t somewhere we ever really went to when I was as a kid and I only really discovered it when I learned to drive. I have spent a bit more time there in recent years, as for a while, I was looking after a work Team based at Southport Football Club.
In case you didn’t know, Southport is about 20 miles or so from Newton-le-Willows here:
So we had a little drive and when we arrived, the first hurdle was where to park. It wasn’t easy. We did a quick Google to see if we could find a multi-storey or even a surface car park in the town centre, but no luck. So in the end, we parked on Ocean Plaza, which is a retail park about 10 minutes walk from Lord Street, which is effectively Southport’s High Street.
So we headed into Southport, past the pier and I am sad to say that it wasn’t too long before I was a bit disappointed. British seaside towns have really suffered over the last 20 years as European Holiday’s have become so cheap, not nearly as many people are staying in the UK. Southport was, I am sure, once a vibrant holiday/day trip destination, but today it was just a bit rough around the edges.
The pier was your typical fair rides, candy floss and ice-creams type deal with mini trains and boat rides. But beyond that, things looked a little… tired. We had a wander up and down Lord Street, which used to be full of “high street” shops of a certain calibre – I definitely remember a trip into the very high brow Laura Ashley some years ago. But today, Lord Street basically went, Coffee Shop, Jewellers, Shoe Shop, Charity Shop, Empty Shop. We ventured off Lord Street too, to find Boots and Primark, but we wandered around feeling a little bit like this wasn’t the Southport we remembered.
We also passed a Bikers meeting point (around 100 motorbikes parked up with riders milling around) as well as some visiting football fans outside pubs. Both these things weren’t necessarily intimidating, but not the friendliest image ever.
But on the plus side, I spotted some Prince’s Trust staff and young people’s photos pinned up on a Community noticeboard and we did have a wander through something called Wayfarers arcade, which M used to visit as a child. He sent a photos of the interior to his mum as a quiz to see if she knew where we were and she replied almost immediately with the right answer! Brilliant.
But overall, even though M and had a good day, it’s was more the company than the destination. I gave Southport 3/10 as place to visit – not sure we will be back. ?