An afternoon (and an idea) in Southport

Yes, that's a beach in Southport!

Yes, that’s a beach in Southport!

I was tired, achy and broke after Glastonbury, but wanted to spend my last holiday day with The Great Dane. He had meetings in the AM and I had to catch up on my showering, but we drove up to Southport in the afternoon. It’s less than half an hour from my door, but I’m ashamed to say, I had never walked along the pier. Ever. So that was where we started.

The pier itself is the oldest iron pier in the UK, originally opened in 1860, but was awarded grade II listed status in the 1970s. And at a whopping 1,000 metres long, it’s the second longest pier in the UK – beaten only by Southend.

If the walk seems a bit too much, you can take a tram to the end of the pier where you’ll find a coffee shop and ice-cream parlour. The weather was so lovely, we decided to walk, treating ourselves to a Bounty-flavoured ice-cream at the end. Dogs (and their owners) snoozed in the sun, a group of elderly ladies clucked and gossiped along the benches, and toddlers played in the sand below. I don’t know about you, but there is something rejuvenating about having the sun on my face – it must be all that vitamin D!

Southport pier tram

As we headed back, music came drifting towards us. I’m not sure, but it appeared to be some sort of afternoon tea dance at the Marine Lake Café. It was all a bit Hi-Di-Hi for me, but those of a certain age seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We opted instead to head in to King’s Gardens. Now, this is a place I’ve been before, many times in fact. It’s been a while though, and I really loved the transformation that’s taken place there, largely in part to over £5 million in lottery funding. Boy was it well spent. The Venetian bridge that crosses the lake has been beautifully restored; and on the day we visited, couples, families and flocks of geese sailed under their arches. Plus, because the weather has been so kind lately, the gardens themselves were in full bloom. Lawns were manicured and flowers blossomed in a multitude of colours. This is made all the more impressive when you realise most of the upkeep here is done by community projects. Benches and Victorian shelters are dotted throughout the park when you fancy a rest of spot of people-watching. For younger visitors, there’s also a huge fort-like playground.

King’s Gardens is also home to Masters Putting Course. Yup, crazy golf. I couldn’t resist. One of the best things about our days out is that we rarely plan everything (we rarely plan 50% if I’m honest!) but that’s how we sometimes end up having the best adventures. Plus, it was less than £5 for both of us, which really was a steal.

Crazy Golf

The course has 18 holes, complete with windmills and other non-moving obstacles. I’m rubbish, I’ll hold my hand up to that, but The Great Dane kept over-hitting and chasing golf balls in to the grass. It was a silly and enjoyable way to pass the time.

As we walked back to the car, I was thinking about what a fantastic afternoon we had. And better still, had only spent £10 all day. This, my friends, gave me an idea…

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