5 of the best Wirral beaches - and what you can find there
- Credit: Jade Wright
We are spoilt for shoreline around Cheshire, with the coasts of the Wirral (for many still classed as old Cheshire) a day-tripper's drive or train ride away.
This part of the world has what tourists want in buckets (and spades): magnificent scenery history, world-class culture, friendly people and a bustling food and drink scene. And then, of course, there are the beaches.
Whether you’re looking for soft sand and easy access to ice-creams and entertainments, or rocky outcrops and wildlife spotting, there’s a beach for you.
If you’re hoping to catch some of Wirral’s incredible sunsets, the west coast beaches are a real favourite with photographers and visitors.
For a day out or a short break, these beautiful locations are an easy run there and back in a day. Check the tides before you travel – many of these sites are inaccessible at high tide.
West Kirby and Hilbre islands
The beautiful seaside town is set up around its picture-postcard beach, which grows and shrinks considerably with the tides.
It lies between a kilometre of sand dunes and a further two kilometres of vast sand flats which are exposed at low water – it’s the only safe crossing place from which you can walk to Hilbre Island – but be sure to check the tide times before you travel, as the water comes in quickly.
When tides and weather allow, there’s also a lovely walk to Hoylake along the side of Royal Liverpool Golf Club, and if you’re feeling energetic, to Meols and beyond – the path runs as far as New Brighton.
The beach is also next to the popular West Kirby Marine Lake, is one of the best facilities of its kind in the northwest.
Ice cream and coffee shops, public toilets, easy access by train (Merseyrail West Kirby line), lifeguards, watersports, an RNLI station, free parking and pay and display car park. A good range of bars, cafés, sandwich shops and a large supermarket, and the beach has access straight from the pavement.
New Brighton and Wallasey beaches
Wirral’s best traditional bucket and spade beach, this historic coastal town is a great family day out – the powdery sand makes perfect sandcastles.
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Once Britain’s second-biggest seaside resort, with an iconic tower, ballroom and pier, it was the place to see and be seen in the mid-19th century. Even up until the 1970s, it attracted Hollywood film stars to society events and the bustling promenade brought in families from Chester, Liverpool and Wales.
After falling out of favour due to cheap foreign package holidays, it has re-invented itself as a thriving seaside town that retains its traditional touch. It’s a popular destination for families, walkers, cyclists, water sports enthusiasts and those looking for a bit of nostalgia.
Wallasey beach, with views across Liverpool Bay, has a pitch and putt course and is often quieter.
Public toilets, coffee shops and ice cream parlours, lifeguards, an RNLI station, a theatre, restaurants, accommodation, easy access by rail (use New Brighton station on the Merseyrail line) a casino and a cinema, plus activities for children.
There’s also the lighthouse and fort called Fort Perch Rock. Wallasey beach also has parking. Don’t miss the Victoria Quarter near New Brighton train station with a haven of independent businesses, and one of Britain’s most significant street art collections.
Thurstaston and Heswall shore
Part of Wirral Country Park, including Thurstaston Common, the sandy beach hides along the Dee Estuary. There is a visitor centre, and the Wirral Way runs close by, making it a perfect stop-off for those on a longer walk.
Thurstaston Common and the Wirral Country Park overlook the long stretch of shingle coastland and sandy beach. There’s also a designated barbecue area with fabulous views over the estuary and a visitor centre.
Heswall shore hosts up to 8,000 shelducks every autumn, and peregrine falcons, hen harriers and short-eared owls are often seen hunting over the marsh.
There’s a pay and display car park at Wirral Country Park, and a café, ice cream kiosk and public toilets. No lifeguards are on duty.
Hoylake and Red Rocks
This site of special scientific interest lies on the edge of the Dee Estuary, looking out towards Hilbre Island, and just a short walk from West Kirby. It has a range of sand dunes extending to The Royal Liverpool Golf Course.
A protected nature reserve, Red Rocks has more than 50 rare plants, including orchids and birds-foot trefoil. Small brackish pools are home to natterjack toads.
Hoylake beach is a well-known stopping point for migratory birds, with regular visitors including bee-eaters, shrikes and snow buntings. More than 200 species of birds have been recorded.
Previously raked and treated with controversial weedkillers, Hoylake beach is now being left in its more natural state, with vegetation beginning to grow.
Embryo dunes are beginning to form, and in front of them, soft white sand makes it now much easier to walk out to the shore, which at low tide can be almost a mile from the prom. It is well worth the trip though, with spectacular views of Hilbre Islands and the Welsh mountains on the left, and Liverpool’s docks on the right.
On a clear day you can see the Lancashire coast and Blackpool tower.
When the tide is low, several historical shipwrecks are often visible, covered in beautiful barnacles.
There is a small amount of free parking near Red Rocks, and some on the prom at Hoylake beach. Both are easy to reach from Hoylake railway station, which is on the West Kirby line.
There is also a good range of independent shops, bars and restaurants in Hoylake, well worth a stop for lunch. There are public toilets close to Hoylake lifeboat station. No lifeguards are on duty.
Leasowe, Moreton and Meols
The adjacent four-mile-long North Wirral Coastal Park has internationally significant grassland, reedbed and sand dune habitats. It includes the historic Leasowe Lighthouse, the oldest brick-built lighthouse in the country.
Moreton beach and Leasowe bay, hidden sandy gems, popular with locals, are located next to Leasowe Common. The common is perfect for picnics, ball games and kite flying when the tide is in.
Meols beach is sandy, but care should be taken as, like the whole stretch from Red Rocks to New Brighton, there can be pools of quicksand and fast-flowing tides.
Horse riding and sand buggying and winter coatsal birdwatching are popular at Meols, and there are lots of pretty sailing boats which float at high tide.
The beaches are a short walk from Moreton railway station and there is free car parking. Leasowe has toilets and a nearby café. Moreton Beach is manned by lifeguards during the summer months. Meols offers both parking and public toilets.