Touring Guide for a Merseyside Meander Cycle Ride [Liverpool to Port Sunlight] with Information on Pubs and Local History with Photographs.

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Merseyside Meander Cycle Ride

This cycle ride is for those who wish to venture beyond Liverpool's city centre to explore some of the history and landscape of the suburbs along with some towns a little further out. If you intend to remain in the city centre a tour is best enjoyed on foot as there are so many interesting buildings, museums, shops and pubs located in close proximity. It is easy to move around Liverpool's suburbs on bus and the Merseyrail Underground but a good exploratory trip would still involve several days of timetable scheduling - hence we recommend the bicycle. You can cover so much ground in a day on two wheels. We took our own bikes but it is possible to to hire a bicycle very cheaply through Liverpool City Bike.

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The ride starts outside Lime Street Station - glance to the left for one of Liverpool's pub treasures. You could nip upstairs for a quickie before your journey. The upper dining rooms of the Crown Hotel provide a great view across to St. George's Hall and the cultural centre of William Brown Street. Although, a pub has stood on the site of the Crown Hotel since the mid-19th century, the building is of a later date. The pub was acquired by Peter Walker and Son Ltd. in 1905. The building is adorned with the lavish livery of the Warrington and Liverpool brewery. The entrance to the former buffet is a highlight of the ground floor frontage. The interior has much art nouveau character though, of course, many features have been lost. The plaster ceiling is rather splendid and the staircase is topped by a glass panelled cupola. During the Victorian period, the Crown Hotel was once operated by William Clarkson of the Midland Hotel and must have been the first port-of-call for many a visitor arriving at Lime Street Station. The eye-catching building retains similar magnetism today.

St.George's Hall and Lime Street Station from the Crown Hotel in Liverpool

The Garmin route follows Lime Street along past St. George's Hall but you can opt to ride along the cobbles in front of the building rather than the main road. Be aware of pedestrians should you choose this option. St. George's Hall is an extraordinary building but one that is best visited on a walking tour of the city. The magnificent Concert Room, described as "perhaps the most beautiful interior of the early Victorian period," was the work of Charles Robert Cockerell and opened in 1856. What you can appreciate on a bicycle is the evocative cenotaph where a panel in relief shows marching soldiers who, collectively, symbolise the ordered masses of ordinary men marching to Flanders. The relief facing the railway station shows contemporary people mourning the loss of loved ones. Unveiled in 1930, the Liverpool cenotaph is regarded as one of the country's most remarkable war memorials.

If you haven't ridden on the cobbles yet you will hit them as you turn into William Brown Street to access St. John's Gardens. Beware - there was glass on the paving slabs when we visited so take care as you ride around the park. This area has a fascinating history. Until the early-mid 18th century the park was part of an area of heathland with a windmill situated at the top of the slope. As Liverpool grew the land was developed and the site was occupied by the city's first General Infirmary by 1749. There was an additional Seaman's Hospital within four years. This was followed by a dispensary and lunatic asylum. The locale was however not exclusively curative for there was also some industry in the form of lime kilns, pottery works and a rope manufactory. The upper part of the slope was later used as the town's cemetery for which a church was erected in 1784. The limitation of the site was manifest when the cemetery was declared full within 70 years. The church of St. John the Baptist remained for another 54 years before it was demolished. In the early Edwardian period it was decided to landscape the grounds around St. George's Hall with the cemetery being replaced by formal gardens. The bodies were removed for burial in other parts of the city and the gardens opened in 1904. Seven memorial statues stand within the gardens and you can wheel around to view some of the significant Victorian figures of Liverpool. The monuments are all noted for their fine sculpture and were created by renowned artists of the period.

Leigh Bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal [2016]

From St. John's Gardens, the ride passes through the streets around Moorfields Station. These are lined with important buildings but, once again, are best appreciated on foot. You will simply have to glance around as you ride - of course, you can stop and do as you like but bear in mind that there is a long way to go and you have to ride to some sort of schedule. It is already a jam-packed day on a bicycle. The route leaves the city centre via the busy Vauxhall Road, though there is a cycle lane here so it is reasonably safe. Essentially, this is a quick route to access the canal network so, cycling along Burlington Street, Eldonian Way and Steinberg Court, you arrive at the start of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

It is only a very short distance before the route meanders around and across the locks of the Stanley Dock Branch. This is a fascinating part of the canal network and is often busy with boats going up or down the lock flight. Look down towards Stanley Dock for a view of the enormous tobacco warehouse, thought to be the largest brick building in the world. Together with the restored bascule bridge, this part of Liverpool is a most absorbing area to explore on different trip around the docklands.

Continuing north along the main canal you soon arrive at Leigh Bridge, a crossing carrying Athol Street over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The bridge is made up of an iron segmental arch between rusticated stone abutments with a decorative balustrade featuring a plaque showing the construction date [1861] and other detail. Just beyond [as seen in the photograph above] is the bridge carrying Boundary Street over the canal. This stone and cast iron bridge also dates from 1861 but was a wider replacement for an older canal crossing. The bridge's name once marked Liverpool's city limit but this has since been extended further north.

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View and Download Map

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The route map covers the entire day's cycle ride, along with the journey beneath the River Mersey on Liverpool's underground. You can take your bike free-of-charge on these trains and there are lifts at either end at Lime Street and Hamilton Square. If you are staying in Liverpool you may only want to ride the first section. However, we were heading off to Cheshire on the following day so opted to stay at a Travelodge close to Port Sunlight. The Garmin was a bit tetch on the cycle paths and riding through the parks so you do have to be careful if you are relying on digital guidance. A good map of Liverpool may prove useful.

Route Profile

Route Profile

The route profile for this day of cycling shows that there is hardly any climbing. The vast majority of the route is pan flat. The blue section indicates the underground journey between Liverpool Lime Street and Hamilton Square in Birkenhead.

Recommended Guide

Everton Park and the Mersey Cycle Route Map

You may have downloaded my Garmin file for this route but there are plenty of alternative routes provided via Travelwise Merseyside. Click on the image above to download the Everton Park route or have a look at the other routes on offer.

Have Your Say

If you would like to share any further information on this route - perhaps you drank in different pubs? Or maybe you spotted something I missed en-route? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or route guidance for others. Simply send a message and I'll post it here.

Choose Your Bike

Touring Bikes at Cradley Heath Railway Station

In addition to smooth tarmac, this route follows a number of canal paths, former railway lines and a few cobbled streets. Consequently, we opted to ride bikes with wide puncture-protected tyres. I rode with disc brakes but this is not really necessary. This cycle ride formed part of a journey back to the Black Country so we also rode with pannier racks and luggage. However, there are no hills to worry about!

Alternatively, try the Liverpool City Bike scheme which offers cheap cycle hire for getting around the city.

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Clothing and Equipment

It can often be windy along the docks and north to Crosby so a light windproof jacket is handy to fold up and stick in one of your rear pockets or bung in your saddle bag. The wind can sometimes add to the sun so look after your skin and apply plenty of sun cream. Spare inner tubes are a must for the canal paths and railway lines so make sure you have the tools you need for an emergency repair. If you are riding alone you may find yourself isolated on the cycle paths so take your mobile phone for security reasons.

Cycling Tip

On this route you will be sharing paths with walkers so please give way to pedestrians wherever possible. Use your bell to warn walkers of your approach from the rear.

More Images from This Route

Memorial to the King's Liverpool Regiment in St. John's Gardens [2016]

At the top end of St. John's Gardens, close to St. George's Hall, stands the monument commemorating the service of the King's Regiment in the South African War. Featuring the figure of Britannia, Soldiers and a Drummer Boy beating the "Call to Arms," the monument was the work of the Welsh sculptor Sir William Goscombe John and unveiled in 1905.

Liverpool Cenotaph at St.George's Hall in Lime Street

Designed by the architect Lionel Bailey Budden, an Old Crosbeian, with bronze sculptures by Herbert Tyson Smith at the foundry of the Morris-Singer Company, the evocative cenotaph at Liverpool was unveiled at 11am on 11th November 1930 by the 17th Earl of Derby.

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Some Inn Signs on this Route

Inn Sign of the Crown Hotel at Liverpool [2013]

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Daniel Defoe

"Liverpoole is one of the wonders of Britain ... In a word, there is no town in England, London excepted, that can equal [it] for the fineness of the streets, and the beauty of the buildings."
Daniel Defoe

Historical Views

St. John's Gardens and Entrance to Mersey Tunnel in Liverpool

Dale Street in Liverpool [c.1949]

Seaforth Sands Marconi Wireless Station [c.1903]

South Road at Waterloo [c.1907]

Blundellsands and Crosby Railway Station

Merchant Taylor's School at Crosby in Liverpool [c.1910]

Sailors' Orphanage at Newsham Park in Liverpool [1905]

Newspaper Articles

"Lancaster Cyclist"
Lancashire Evening Post : April 10th 1936 Page 9.

For Illustration Purposes Only : This Image is NOT related to any of the newspaper articles featured on his page.

"Accident to Lancaster Cyclist"
Lancashire Evening Post : March 26th 1920 P.7.

"Collided With Tree"
Lancashire Evening Post : January 2nd 1937 Page 7.

"£400 for Lancaster Girl Cyclist"
Lancashire Evening Post : July 23rd 1934 Page 4.

For Illustration Purposes Only : This Image is NOT related to any of the newspaper articles featured on his page.

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