Nine gorgeous places to visit in and around Merseyside this bank holiday weekend

Liverpool is packed with things to see and do, but you may want to travel a little further for a day out this bank holiday weekend.

Many will want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to somewhere more quiet to unwind with friends and family. The ECHO has put together a list of places you can visit in, around and a little further out from Merseyside.

If you're looking to visit the coastline, to stretch your legs on a walk or get a bite to eat, there is something for everyone. These beauty spots and villages are worth seeking out and spending some time in.

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Whether these places are on your doorstep or require a bit of travel, they're definitely worth taking a wander down to see them for yourself. The list below is not extensive, but are some places the ECHO has recently visited. Please share your own favourites in the comments.

Village with secret waterfall, Netflix cave and tiny hidden house

Cumbria's Rydal Hall hides a hidden gem, tucked away down a gravel path after winding your way through the quiet garden and ancient stone tunnel to a wooden hut that houses an amazing view of a nearby Rydal Falls.
Cumbria's Rydal Hall hides a hidden gem, tucked away down a gravel path after winding your way through the quiet garden and ancient stone tunnel to a wooden hut that houses an amazing view of a nearby Rydal Falls. -Credit:James Maloney/Lancs Live

Rydal is a small village in Cumbria in the Lake District, located between Ambleside and Grasmere. The village boasts beautiful views, a secret waterfall and a hidden house, which can all be reached in a two-hour drive from Liverpool.

Things to see include Rydal Cave, which was was recently rated as one of the best places to visit in the UK by Time Out, Rydal Hall with a secret waterfall and Ambleside where you can get something to eat at a traditional pub.

You can read more about it here.

Secluded village with beautiful beach that's 'unlike anywhere else'

Driving down a rural country lane into Thurstaston, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were on holiday. Just 30 minutes away from Liverpool, the village is home to farms, a caravan park, cosy cafes and beautiful walks.

Thurstaston Beach is small in size but it wouldn't look out of place on the Cornish coastline. Wooden steps lead down from Wirral Country Park to the beach on the sandy banks of the Dee Estuary. It sits at the bottom of clay cliffs and on a clear day offers beautiful views across to Wales.

There is also the Wirral Way - a walk on the path on the track of an old railway that goes from West Kirby to Hooton in mid-Wirral offering superb views over the Dee Estuary to Wales. Originally the railway formed a circuit of Wirral and this is the missing link.

There are also plenty of cafes to visit where you can grab a coffee and cake. You can read more about it here.

Seaside village 'with no sea' used to be gateway to another country

Joe Lyon from Parkgate Home-Made Ice-Cream. (Pic Andrew Teebay).
Thurstaston Beach, Wirral. Photo by Colin Lane

Just 30 minutes away from Liverpool is Cheshire's only coastal resort that's like "being at the seaside without the sea".

The picturesque village of Parkgate on the Wirral peninsula is known for its award-winning ice cream, fish and chips and stunning views across the Dee Estuary to the Welsh hills. But 300 years ago it was home to one of Britain's busiest ports, described as Cheshire's gateway to Ireland.

The port was not only used to trade goods from England to Dublin, but also played an important role in Irish migration. As the River Dee went through the natural process of silting in the 1800s, the receding waters gave way to a beach resort where people would go sea bathing.

Today the water has retreated from Parkgate all together and it is now cut off from the River Dee and the Irish Sea. What was once a beach has been replaced by a saltmarsh and RSPB nature reserve, with a variety of wildlife attracting bird watchers and walkers from across the North West.

You can read more about it here.

'Lovely' village with scenic walks, beer gardens and family chippy 30 minutes from Liverpool

From left, Emyr Barton, Operations Manager, and Erin Doran, from the Dandelion Tavern, Cronton
Joe Lyon from Parkgate Home-Made Ice-Cream. (Pic Andrew Teebay). -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

A "lovely" village with beer gardens, scenic walks and a family chippy is continuing to grow.

Coming off the M62, it would be easy to drive into and through Cronton and not stop off - but no matter if it's a hot summer day or time to wrap up, it is definitely a destination worth seeking out. Around half an hour away from Liverpool city centre, the village is home to a nature reserve, a beautiful tavern, historic pub, popular chippy, scenic walks and much more.

Popular with families, dog walkers and cyclists, Pex Hill boasts breathtaking views, with visitors being able to see the mountains of North Wales and the Mersey Estuary in clear weather. The nature reserve, owned by United Utilities, is known for its astronomical observatory and a disused quarry.

There also places to visit for something to eat and drink, including the The Dandelion Tavern, The Unicorn Inn and Cronton Fish Bar. You can read more about it here.

Seaside town that's 'like being in the Mediterranean' when the sun's out

Historically part of Cheshire, Hoylake is nestled on the Wirral peninsula between West Kirkby and Meols. Around 250,000 tourists from all over the world descended on the seaside town last summer for The Open at The Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

There are plenty of places to visit while at the seaside town. People can enjoy a walk along the promenade on a sunny day, visit Market Street where there are plenty of places to have something to eat and drink - or paint some pottery - or take your dog for a run on the beach.

Hoylake is not short of walks with incredible views. It is the home to Red Rocks Marsh - a coastal reserve covering 10 acres of sand dunes, reedbeds and marsh. Red Rocks beach can be accessed from Stanley Road in Hoylake and offers breathtaking views over the Dee Estuary to Wales on a clear day.

Over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the nature reserve, which is also home to 50 species of flowering plant. The reedbed is also home to the only breeding colony of natterjack toads in Wirral.

You can read more about it here.

Stunning Harry Potter location you can visit for free two hours from Liverpool

ECHO reporter Jess Molyneux previously visited Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss in Yorkshire
Emyr Barton(Operations Manager)left,and Erin Doran,from the Dandelion Tavern,Cronton.(Pic Andrew Teebay). -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

As many will know, Yorkshire is not too far away and has plenty of scenic walks to boast. Malham Cove is a popular route covers the stunning landscape of Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss waterfall and Malham Tarn, which is Britain’s highest lake.

Last year, it also featured of ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks, presented by Julia Bradbury. The site - around a two-hour drive from Liverpool - is steeped in history, looks out over the Village of Malham and has attracted visitors for centuries. But in more recent years, it's seen Harry Potter fans arrive in their masses.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part one, scenes were filmed all around the area, including the cove and Malham Tarn. Fans will notice the natural limestone formation is the location where Harry and Hermione apparate to after an argument with Ron Weasley.

There are also lovely pubs to stop off in in the nearby Malham Village. You van read more about it here.

Gorgeous village with 'biggest beer garden' and 'scenic walks' that's only 20 minutes from Liverpool

The Farmers Arms,Frankby.(Pic Andrew Teebay).
Market Street, Hoylake, Wirral. Photo by Colin Lane

Frankby is steeped in history and known for its historic buildings, scenic walks, popular country pub and incredible five-star hotel.

The Farmers Arms, is a popular pub raved about by residents from all across Wirral. A standout landmark on the quiet road, it boasts stunning views, a huge beer garden and everything you want from a traditional, country pub.

Last year, The Farmers Arms was one of four Merseyside pubs shortlisted for Great British Pub Awards.. A destination in its own right, the pub has been at the heart of the community for well over a century.

Nearby is Royden Park, which boasts woodlands, meadows, fishing mere and wetland mere, as well as a walled garden, miniature railway and more. On Sundays, you can see the steam powered passenger locomotive loved by kids.

Royden Park also regularly holds craft fairs. But in the grounds you can also find a large Mock Tudor house known as HillBark, which was re-erected between 1929 and 1931.

You can read more about it here.

'Hidden gem' village with Michelin Guide restaurant and award winning cheese shop

Mark Moss (left), and John Clarke from Birkdale Cheese Co,Most Influential Cheese Retailer of 2024.(Pic Andrew Teebay).
ECHO reporter Jess Molyneux previously visited Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss in Yorkshire -Credit:Jess Molyneux

Located just to the south of Southport, Birkdale is a typical Victorian village that's managed to retain many traditional businesses - from a fishmonger to a greengrocer, a butchers and a cheese shop. Sitting among these businesses is an array of independent bars and restaurants that attract both locals and visitors from further afield at the weekend.

Birkdale Village is just a short walk away from Southport beach, which attracts visitors on their way back from a coastal walk. When it comes to places to eat and drink, the village is spoilt for choice.

It also includes an award-winning cheese shop - Birkdale Cheese Co - which sells a selection of classic cheese flavours, from the Birkdale blue and Birkdale mature cheddar, to more exotic cheeses like the 8 Blumen - a swiss cheese wrapped in eight different varieties of wildflower. Customers can sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese or charcuterie board.

The shop was recently named as one of the UK's most influential cheese retailers of 2024. It has now teamed up with the nearby Majestic Wines to offer cheese and wine nights.

You can read more about it here.

Four star Michelin village where people 'immediately made to feel at home'

Moor Hall Restaurant, Aughton. (Pic Andrew Teebay).
The Farmers Arms,Frankby.(Pic Andrew Teebay). -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

Nestled within green pastures and rolling fields of farmland, Aughton is home to just over 8,000 people. The village stands between Maghull and Ormskirk, on the border of Merseyside and West Lancashire, and is just a 25-minute train journey from Liverpool Central.

Arriving in Aughton visitors will find a residential area, where tree-lined roads are found in all parts of the parish. They will also find four Michelin stars.

Michelin hands out the prestigious accolade to establishments in its annual guide based on food quality, cooking techniques, value and consistency. In the 2023 edition, So-Lo in Aughton was handed a star for the first time, while the nearby Moor Hall retained its two stars. The Barn at Moor Hall also held on to its one star.

Just up the road from Town Green train station is a row of establishments making their own mark, these include a butchers, a coffee shop and bar. The area is perfect for a walk and special bite to eat.

You can read more about it here.

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