Southport is a seaside town in Merseyside, in the northwest of England facing the cold Irish Sea. Southport is fringed to the north by the Carnage Halls and to the south by the Dunes of Southport.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the area around Southport has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and with the Romans building a road through the area, there have been many Roman artifacts found in this historic coastal town.
During the Middle Ages, Southport was a small fishing village, until 1792, when the construction of a pier and promenade began, transforming Southport into a popular seaside resort.
Today, Southport is a popular tourist destination, with its sandy beaches, promenades and pier, as well as its trademark Victorian architecture and extensive shops. Millions of visitors come to Southport – are you ready to see what the fuss is all about?
Here are the best things to do in Southport, Merseyside
Best Things To Do In Southport, Merseyside
1. Walk Along Southport Pier
If you’re looking for a traditional seaside pier experience, then you’ll love Southport Pier. Stretching almost a kilometre out to sea, it’s the second-longest pier in England and provides stunning views of the coastline and one of the best places to see in Southport for a cracking sunset!
It’s also a great place to take a leisurely stroll, fish from the pier or enjoy some traditional fish and chips. Or if you don’t fancy walking the kilometre to the end, you can always hop on the miniature train that chugs visitors all the way to the end, where they can grab a cup of tea at the pier pavilion.
Don’t fancy walking along it at all? Just stop off at the Silcocks Funland at the pier entrance and play around in the amusements or take a ride on the ‘Golden Gallopers’ carousel.
2. Enjoy Southport Beach
Southport is home to several beaches that are perfect for a day of relaxation, but Southport Beach is the beating heart of town.
The beach stretches for over three miles and is lined with promenades, cafes, and restaurants. You’ll be able to go for a swim, sunbathe on the beach, try a spot of fishing, and even dabble in some watersports like windsurfing.
The beach is just outright a great place to relax and take in the stunning views of the Merseyside coastline. On a sunny day, the beach is packed with people of all ages enjoying the excellent facilities and the beautiful surroundings.
Make sure you add it to your travel itinerary if you’re looking for the best things to do in Southport outdoors on a sunny day.
3. Visit Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Reserve
Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Reserve is a nature reserve located right in Southport. The reserve covers an area of rare dunes, beaches, sand hills woodlands.
It is home to a variety of plants and animals, including sand lizards, natterjack toads and rare birds such as the nightjar. The reserve is also a haven for butterflies, with over 50 species recorded.
In summer, the dunes are alive with the sound of crickets and the air is filled with the scent of wild herbs.
The reserve is open all year round and is a great place to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. Don’t forget to stop off at the Ainsdale Discovery Centre before leaving though!
4. Visit The Atkinson
The Atkinson in Southport is a venue that offers a little something for everyone. Situated in the heart of the town, the Atkinson is a stones throw away from the Southport Pier and Promenade.
It comprises of three main auditoriums which host a variety of events and performances throughout the year, as well as a museum, art gallery, gift shop and tearoom.
The large main auditorium is home to regular orchestral concerts, theatre productions, dance recitals and more, whilst the atmospheric acoustic of the smaller Lantern Theatre lends itself perfectly to intimate gigs and stand-up comedy.
The museum houses an impressive collection of Roman artefacts which were discovered during excavations in the town centre, as well as various displays on the local history and heritage of Southport.
The art gallery hosts regular exhibitions from both up-and-coming and established artists, whilst the tearoom is the perfect place to relax and refuel after exploring all that the venue has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural day out or a night of entertainment, the Atkinson in Southport has something for everyone. For tickets and bookings, you can visit their official website.
5. Visit Lord Street
This one-mile-long, canopied Victorian shopping boulevard has a very continental feel and is wonderful to experience any time of the year. It’s not lacking in anything street-wise… you’ll find shops, monuments, gardens, and an interesting mix of architecture.
Lord Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in Southport, and even if you don’t want to go shopping, it’s still a great place to take a leisurely stroll or do a bit of window shopping.
The street also frequently hosts events such as art festivals and farmer’s markets, so whether you are looking for a unique gift or simply want to get out and stretch your legs around town, Lord Street is a great place to visit during your trip to Southport.
6. Play Golf at Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Established in 1894, Royal Birkdale is one of the oldest golf clubs in England. Set on the beautiful coast of Southport, the club has hosted many prestigious tournaments over the years, including the Ryder Cup, the British Open, and the Amateur Championship.
Royal Birkdale is widely considered to be one of the finest links courses in the world, with its exquisitely manicured greens and fairways and its beautiful seaside setting being a major draw for golfers from all over the globe.
In addition to its world-class golfing facilities, Royal Birkdale also offers a clubhouse with stunning views of the ocean, a pro shop, and a bar and restaurant.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time player, Royal Birkdale is sure to provide an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Why not check out my other UK City Guides in the North of England…
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7. Visit the Botanic Gardens
The Southport Botanical Gardens are a beautiful oasis just outside the centre of the city and are home to over 5,000 different plant species.
There’s a crazy golf course next to the park and a fernery, while only small, that is a magical place to pop in and see if your little ones can spot any fairies.
Make sure you check out the glasshouse, hot houses and bird aviary during your walk around, all followed up with an ice cream from the cafe to finish off the afternoon.
Bring a picnic with you and you could easily pass the whole day relaxing in these beautiful gardens with the kids and family.
Entrance to the gardens is free, and the upkeep of the grounds are all taken care of by local volunteers.
9. Pass A Day Around (Or On) Marine Lake
Southport Marine Lake is a man-made body of water that stretches for just over one mile. It was created in 1887, along with the stunning Kings gardens. For 135 years, people have enjoyed countless activities around and on the lake.
Today, you can take a thrilling jet boat ride full of twists and turns around the lake, or go for a more relaxed pedalboat cruise and take in all the local sights and scenery.
If you’re not on the water, you can relax around it and take all of the old-fashioned vibes such as the lamps and bridges.
It’s a lovely lake to walk around whatever the season, with some beautiful flower displays in summer, and plenty of wildlife around you to enjoy. For one of the best things to do in Southport with the family and kids, make sure you get Marine lake added to your travel itinerary
10. Enjoy an afternoon at Splash World Waterpark (To Be Reopened In 2022)
Splash World Waterpark is located on Marine Drive and features slides, flumes, pools, and other attractions for all ages.
The waterpark is currently undergoing refurbishments and Sefton Council are super excited about its relaunch of a completely new, all-year-round indoor waterpark.
Expect all of the usuals, from a lazy river, 2 thrilling flume rides, a rapid river, a toddler zone and much more.
There is also a poolside diner and sun terrace where those that don’t fancy getting wet can enjoy refreshments with views of the coast.
11. Visit The Miniature Model Railway Village
Head down to the southern tip of Marine Lake and you will find the Model Railway Village – an awe-inspiring, miniature replica of a village that runs on actual miniature working trains.
The whole scene is set at about 1:18 scale and takes up almost half a hectare, and you can watch the train go all around this miniature village, around the buildings and over bridges.
The village is designed to be relaxing, calming and tranquil, and even has mini people see up across the whole working village
Sit back and relax n a bench or on the fields that these mini trains run through, and watch this replica village go about its day-to-day life whilst you relax with yours!
12. Thrillseekers Head To Southport Pleasureland
Southport’s Pleasureland is a seaside amusement park with a wide range of attractions for all ages. The park first opened in 1896, and since then it has undergone several renovations and expansions.
Today, the park covers over 18 acres and features more than 100 rides, including two adrenaline-packed roller coasters, go-karts, a funhouse and trampolines.
In addition to the rides, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to food, drinks and arcades.
Pleasureland is open from late March to early November and only opens on weekends outside of the school holidays. Entry is free, but if you want an all-day pass on the rides, that will cost you £21 for the full day.
13. Walk Down Rotten Row
Contrary to its name, Rotten Row is actually one of the most visually appealing streets across Southport, and you’ll want to head a little further south of downtown, close to the shore, to find it.
This historic street was originally built in the 18th century as a promenade for the wealthy residents of the town, and today, Rotten Row is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike thanks to vibrant flowers and herbaceous borders on every pathway, everywhere you look.
Rotten Row consists of six unique sections, each with its own vibe. To experience the area’s vibrant flora, visit during summertime when the flowers are at their prettiest.
14. Visit The British Lawnmower Museum
Definitely not a museum that you’ll find in many towns and cities around the globe, the British Lawnmower Museum in Southport is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of these now-essential garden tools.
The museum showcases a wide range of lawnmowers, with over 300 machines on display, from early hand-powered models to the latest robotic machines.
Here you will learn about the people who have made lawnmowers an indispensable part of British culture, including J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan.
In addition to its impressive collection of lawnmowers, you’ll also find a café and gift shop within the museum, so whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply looking for unique things to do in Southport, the British Lawnmower Museum is sure to delight.
15. Relax In Hesketh Park
Hesketh Park is a beautiful spot located on the north side of Southport just over the street from the golf course. The park is home to impressive gardens, water features, and various walking paths.
You will find five different, separate gardens inside the park – the clock garden, American garden, specimen garden, mixed flower garden and herbaceous walk.
Take a casual stroll through the park or bring a picnic and enjoy the whole afternoon here surrounded by the lush greenery, flowers and the sweet sound of birds – the perfect romantic thing to do i Southport for couples.
Things To Do In Southport, Merseyside
- Southport Pier
- Southport Beach
- Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Reserve
- The Atkinson
- Lord Street
- Royal Birkdale Golf Club
- Southport Botanical Gardens
- Marine Lake
- Splash World Waterpark
- Model Railway Village
- Southport Pleaseureland
- Rotten Row
- The British Lawnmower Museum
- Hesketh Park
What is Southport in the UK famous for?
Southport is known for its Victorian architecture, expansive beachfront, and being a popular tourist destination in the UK. It is also known for its annual flower show and being home to the British Lawnmower Museum – a one-of-its-kind that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in the world!
Is Southport worth visiting?
Many people visit Southport for its beautiful beachfront, historic streets, and variety of things to do – from amusement parks to unique museums. Whether or not it’s worth visiting is subjective, but for those looking for a charming seaside town with plenty of things to see and do, Southport may be worth considering as a destination.
Is Southport classed as Liverpool?
No, Southport is its own separate town located about 25 miles northwest of Liverpool. However, the two towns are often grouped together as they both fall under the larger Merseyside region.
What are the best things to do in Southport when it’s raining?
When the weather isn’t cooperating, there are still plenty of things to do in Southport. The British Lawnmower Museum and Atkinson Art Gallery & Library make for interesting indoor options, while a shopping trip down Lord Street or visiting one of the town’s many historic buildings can also be enjoyable rain or shine. You might want to give the beach a miss though!