A short visit to Southport

After most of December being damp, grey and miserable the day before New Year’s Eve turned out to be fine and sunny with plenty of blue sky and as I’d been unable to take Laura anywhere decent since she came to stay with us we decided to make the most of the nice day and go to Southport. The drive out there was very pleasant and the sun was still shining when we got there, however it wasn’t to last long.
Parking up in the car park just off the main esplanade and overlooking Marine Lake we realised that none of us had any change for the ticket machine so Michael said he would pay by card. Now we had never paid by card before so weren’t familiar with the procedure, however he put his card in the machine and tapped in the amount he wanted to pay but other than the screen saying ‘please remove card’ nothing else happened – no printed ticket, nothing. So he tried it again and got the same result, which then had us thinking that the machine was faulty and it had taken the payment twice without giving us a ticket – and we were even more puzzled when the guy behind us put cash in and it printed him a ticket.
Not knowing whether we had actually paid or not, and not wanting to leave the van if we hadn’t, I rang the number on the side of the machine and after pressing 1 for this and 2 for that etc I spoke to a very helpful guy who said that if the machine hadn’t printed a ticket then we hadn’t paid, and if we paid by card or on the app we wouldn’t get a ticket anyway. He took the details of the van and our payment over the phone and assured us that we had up to four hours in the car park – and after almost half an hour of messing about we were finally sorted.
Leaving Michael and Laura to their own devices I took Sophie and Poppie and went for a walk along the lakeside, though I only managed to take one photo before the sun went in and the sky clouded over big style. Very disappointing but I made the best of it and continued my walk round the lake, through the gardens, down to the beach and back onto the pier, and the sun did come out again briefly a couple of times though the clouds were very grey.
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Marine Lake and Marine Way Bridge
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King’s Gardens
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Street art under a lake bridge
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Colourful walls at the skate park
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A very busy pier
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Although there hadn’t been many people down at the lakeside the pier was very busy, and when I got down to Lord Street it was even more so there – I would never have expected to see so many people on a winter’s day but presumably most of them had been attracted by whatever sales were on in the shops. Across the road from the shops and outside The Atkinson theatre and arts venue was a tall ‘Christmas tree’ type structure with lights which constantly changed colour ; I watched it for a while and took several photos but even though it wasn’t yet 2.30pm the grey sky meant that the light was already fading – time to give up, meet Michael and Laura and find something to eat.
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St. George’s Place gardens
I met Michael and Laura near the beginning of the pier and we went to the nearby Waterfront, a Hungry Horse pub/restaurant, for our meal. By the time we came out of there the daylight had almost disappeared and as there was nowhere else to really go to we returned to the van and drove home. Thinking back it had been a bit of a disappointing day really – this holiday for Laura was the first time she had come over to England and so far she had experienced nothing but damp days and grey skies ; with the morning sunshine and blue sky I’d really wanted to give her a nice day out but the change in the weather put the kibosh on that. Hopefully though, the next time she comes to stay the weather will be much better and I’ll be able to show her how nice Southport can be.

13 thoughts on “A short visit to Southport

  1. I’ve never been to Southport before, but that might change, as I’d really like to see that pier.
    Fingers crossed for better weather when you next visit and if I do go I’ll be sure to take some change for the parking machine. X

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    1. The pier is over three quarters of a mile long (part of it over land) and the second longest in the country – if you don’t want to walk all the way you can hitch a ride on the little yellow land train. I’d recommend going there in summer as all the attractions will be open, there’s a great fairground there too if Lily likes that sort of thing. Have a look at this post from my visit there last July, it may whet your appetite ๐Ÿ™‚

      https://mousehouselife.wordpress.com/2019/09/02/southport-sea-and-red-rum/

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  2. I’ve only visited Southport once, back in 2014, but I was really impressed with it. It’s funny how different some seaside towns can be from each other. I said at the time that it’s somewhere I’d like to explore further as we spent so short a time there after visiting a couple of other places, but we haven’t been back yet. I did a post about it if you want to have a read:- http://jo-throughthekeyhole.blogspot.com/2014/09/southport.html
    I hope the ticket machine didn’t end up charging you more than once. It’s so annoying when you don’t have the right change for parking.

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  3. I’ve just read your post – if you liked Southport on that brief visit then you should go back and explore some more. It’s always been nice but the refurbishment and modernisation of the esplanade and gardens in recent years has really given the place a facelift. Fortunately the ticket machine didn’t charge us more than once, the guy I spoke to on the phone checked and he said no payment had been made and if the machine hadn’t issued a ticket then we hadn’t paid. We must remember to take some change next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Oh, excellent post, thank you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Southport is on my “list” as the next base for the next part of my coastline/campervan thing . . . if ever the weather sorts itself out.

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  5. I watched a programme about us becoming a cashless society, I hope it never happens as I dislike paying by card only machines and always try to have some change in my purse. You can actually pay fifty pence by card for air for the tyres at our local petrol station!
    Hopefully Laura will be keen to return in the summertime and then you’ll have some lovely day trips out. I’m sure she’ll have enjoyed her trip to Southport.

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    1. I agree with you about the cashless society, contrary to what many people ‘assume’ I think it would be a retrograde step rather than the way forward. I presume your petrol station is the local Asda? The air machine at ours used to be 20p cash for two minutes, then they upped it to 50p for six minutes – not too bad as you could do all four tyres for that but then they made it into 50p by card. Seriously?? Needless to say I haven’t used their machine since, and when I did need air in the tyres I went to my mechanic’s place and used his airline for free ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m hoping Laura will come back in much better weather – late spring would be nice – then I can take her to some really nice places.

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