A summer afternoon in Southport

On a visit to Southport last October, after not having been there for several years, I was so impressed with the changes that have been made along the promenade and sea front in recent times that I decided I just had to pay another visit sometime this year, preferably during the summer months when the promenade gardens would be full of colour. That opportunity came at the beginning of this month when Michael had a weekend off work and we decided to go for a Sunday afternoon drive with Southport being the chosen destination. Of course the continuing good weather ensured that the world and his wife were also out that day so finding a parking space wasn’t easy, however while we were waiting for someone to come out of a space in the car park overlooking the Marine Lake a young boy came to me and said he and his family were just about to leave if I wanted to go in their nearby space – and he also gave me their car park ticket which had been paid for all day, which was an unexpected but welcome bonus.
Arranging to meet up again at 5pm Michael and I went our separate ways and I wandered along the lake side first. A bright yellow speedboat with half a dozen passengers was roaring up and down that part of the lake, twisting and turning and doing the boat equivalent of a car’s handbrake turns, making the female passengers scream loudly. It looked like good fun so I made a mental note to try that one on a future visit when maybe I wouldn’t have the dogs with me.
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From the lake side I walked up to the promenade gardens but if I was expecting to see flower beds blooming with colour I was destined to be disappointed. The plants seemed to be too spaced out with many of them looking rather withered in the heat, and what would normally have been lush green lawns were just large expanses of yellow dried up grass. Further along I came to an ‘oasis’ of shrubbery surrounded by more dried up grass and with an odd-shaped tree in the centre; a path took me from there to the lower promenade and on past the King’s Community Gardens where several families and groups were sunbathing or having picnics on the grass. Beyond there were a couple of bowling greens, looking suspiciously green where most other places were yellow, and eventually I emerged from the gardens near to the entrance of the Pleasureland amusement park.
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Promenade gardens
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King’s community gardens
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A splash of colour near the bowling green
To say that the amusement park was busy was an understatement, it was heaving, and every single attraction and stall was busy or had a queue. The whole place was very colourful though and I got lots of photos, but just watching the way some of the rides turned people round and upside down convinced me that I’ve always been right in my resolve never to try these things myself.
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A wonky-looking fun house
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No way would I ever go on this thing!
From the amusement park I made my way along the lakeside path to the wide wooden foot bridge which crossed the middle of the lake, then back on the lower promenade I went round to the beginning of the pier. Down below, on a stage outside the Marine Lake Cafe, a group was singing and playing a great mix of 60s and 70s songs and some people were even dancing in whatever space they could find. The music was quite infectious so I stayed to listen for a while before making my way down to Lord Street where many of the shop are.
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Swan pedaloes on Marine Lake
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A very busy cafe area
It was while I was on Lord Street last October that my photo taking was curtailed when I ran out of space on my camera card so this time I made up for it. Having the dogs meant I couldn’t go in any of the shops so keeping an eye on the time I wandered through the gardens on the other side of the road and took shots of anything that looked interesting or nice. After I’d first left the van the sky had clouded over somewhat even though it was still hot, but by the time I was wandering along Lord Street it had cleared up, the sun was out again in full and the blue was back so I got several really nice shots.
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War memorial and monument
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Christ Church, Lord Street
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Council offices and The Atkinson theatre and arts venue
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The bandstand
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Gardens between Lord Street and St. George’s Place
By the time I’d taken the last shot it was getting on for 5pm so I rang Michael to find out where he was – he was close to the pier so I said I would meet him by the carousel near the entrance. We were both ready for something to eat by then but as it was far too hot to leave the dogs back in the van we needed to find somewhere with outside tables – one of the new buildings just across the corner was a casino and part of the ground floor was The Waterfront restaurant with an outside eating area, so as it wasn’t far from the car park we decided to go there. By the time we’d finished our meal it was well after 6pm so not wanting to be too late back we made our way down to the car park, where I took Sophie and Poppie for a very quick, very short walk along the lake side.
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A final view of the lake
With the dogs settled back in the van we set off for home – it was a very pleasant drive back in the early evening sunshine and we arrived home just before 8pm. It had been a lovely afternoon and I’d got some good photos but being ever mindful of the time I hadn’t explored as much as I would have liked, so I think next time I go to Southport it will be a solo trip while Michael is at work!
I’m linking up again with Jo’s Monday WalkΒ where this week she’s been walking round the grounds and gardens of one of my regular yearly haunts, Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire. Time to put the kettle on now and see where the other Monday walkers have been to this week.

17 thoughts on “A summer afternoon in Southport

  1. The lake looks enormous, Eunice! Unbelievable how brown the grass is, though, and I believe it’s Southport Flower festival next month. They’ll be desperate for rain. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It looks a very pleasant spot. Never been so thanks for sharing.

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    1. I don’t know how big the lake is Jo, and annoyingly I can’t seem to find out either, but it’s made up of what were originally two separate lakes which were linked together and is crossed by a footbridge, a road bridge and the pier. At one time Southport had quite an ‘old-fashioned’ air to it but it’s now been well and truly dragged into the 21st century by the promenade refurbishment and construction of new buildings and sea front shopping parks. If you’ve never been it would be worth making a visit sometime πŸ™‚

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        1. You’re welcome Jo πŸ™‚ I keep meaning to go to the flower festival myself but either never remember when it’s on or forget and go somewhere else 😦

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  2. It’s a shame the sun has scorched the grass everywhere. So many people at the cafe at least the hot weather is good for business and the funfair. I wouldn’t be going on those rides these days either. Lovely place for a day out and wander about though.

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    1. The cafe was heaving, it must have taken ages to get served. The group sounded good though so it was worth stopping to listen to them for a while. As for the fairground rides, you wouldn’t get me on them ANY day – I avoid anything that takes me more than three feet in the air and/or spins me round! 😦

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  3. Wow, that grass is scorched! But it does look like a proper bustling resort. I hear there is a great dog friendly cafe in Southport but I have forgotten what its called. Something with a doggy name like Waggy tails , maybe..
    X

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  4. I think you’re thinking of the Wagging Tail Cafe – I only recently heard about it myself after my Southport visit but it gets good reviews so maybe one to try next time. The lawns were certainly scorched, though I think someone must have had a sprinkler on the bowling greens πŸ™‚

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  5. It never occurred to me that Sefton council might be economising on the planting – if they are then presumably they were hoping that once the flowers were in full bloom they would converge together and no-one would notice the big gaps, but the hot dry weather has certainly put paid to that. I’ve seen previous photos of the flower beds in full bloom and they really do look lovely πŸ™‚

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  6. Wonderful photos, Eunice. They’d make great postcards. I didn’t know grass got brown over there. It looks like summer in California. πŸ™‚ The Ferris Wheel is about all I’m game for these days. Well, I might be willing to do something called a mushroom ride, which is simply sitting in a swing suspended in air and going round and round and round. Very tame. I pretend I’m flying.

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    1. The grass is brown because of the unusually long hot summer we’re having. After a long wet winter it finally came nice at the end of April and apart from a couple of isolated brief downpours last week we haven’t had any proper rain since the beginning of May – that’s why the moorland fire I’ve written about took hold and spread so quickly, everything is so dry just now.

      What you call a mushroom ride at the fairground is known as the chair-o-planes over here – I’ve actually been on those more than once in the past and enjoyed it but it’s fairly tame compared to some things so that’s about my limit πŸ™‚

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  7. A lovely tour despite the brown/yellow grass and dried flower beds.
    We are waiting for some good rain as it’s been over a month without heavy rain falls.

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  8. Thanks for visiting my blog, it’s nice to meet you. πŸ™‚ Apart from a couple of brief but heavy downpours last week, which weren’t really enough to do much for the gardens, we’ve had no proper rain since the beginning of May. To be honest I’m happiest when it’s sunny so it could stay like this all year round for me πŸ™‚

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  9. I’m so sorry for the late reply to your comment, I’d completely forgotten all about it 😦 Thanks for the recommendation and link to The Swan, I’ve just had a look at their website and the place looks really nice – reasonable prices too so it looks like a place to try next time I go to Southport πŸ™‚

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