Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘Southport feels like a resort waiting for something – and preferably not another Poundland’

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Eat this…

Forget the tsunami of fish and chips and head for Southport’s revamped market hall (open Wed-Sun) for all-day street food, drinks and live music. Locals rate the Mexican and Greek street food, plus Cake Corner for waffles and crepes. It’s dog friendly and the function room hosts community events. 

On Lord Street, the Grand captures something of the resort’s art deco heyday and adds a splash of Mersey bling with an all-day dining menu of cocktails, afternoon teas and small plates (three for £15), plus live jazz. There’s a good mix of ages and plans for further expansion.

But don’t do this…

Southport’s Pier may be the oldest iron pier in the country – but it’s currently closed. The cost of repairs to the Grade II-listed wooden structure has soared, with reports that it’s “rotting from within”. Charlie Chaplin once trod the boards here, but the end-of-pier attractions are temporarily shuttered. What’s left outside the barriers is the Pier Restaurant with a less-than-appetising menu of donuts and candy floss, and the Marine Lake Café, where an Elvis soundtrack croons across the lonely tables. Sefton Council hopes to re-open the pier in 2025 but, meanwhile, at least the Hall of Mirrors adjoining Funland is free to visit. 

From a local

Lloyd Houghton is a civil servant and moved back to the Southport area six years ago after working in Manchester. He said: “Southport has needed an injection for some time. It’s still waiting for the post-Covid bounce. Growing up around here, we want it to do well. When new places open, we support them and want them to make a success of it, but we need to see more investment in the town.”

From a tourist

Maxine Sara was visiting Southport from Bolton with her partner and dog. They are regular visitors and were taking a short break. She said: “It’s a good base for dog walks and we can see some new, independent shops coming through, but it’s not changing for the better. We took a taxi back to the hotel from the Wetherspoons last night as, with so many closed-up shops, it felt a bit dark and dingy to walk back.”

Get there

Southport is at the end of the railway line, with Merseyrail connections taking 45 mins from Liverpool Moorfields. From the M6 and M58 by car, follow the A570 towards Southport.

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