Southport, 20 miles north of Liverpool describes itself as ‘England’s Classic Resort’, a traditional resort with twenty miles of coastline, and Britain’s largest stretch of undeveloped sand dunes. It boasts England’s second longest pier, gardens, and the Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Annual events include a large flower show, an air show, and firework championships. At Formby, much of the shoreline is owned by the National Trust due to its attractive rural coastal scenery and wildlife, including red squirrels, natterjack toads and asparagus. Crosby, a little closer to Liverpool, is an affluent suburb, and has become renowned for ’Another Place’, Anthony Gormley’s modern sculpture of 100 cast iron figures placed on the beach, revealed and covered at each tide.
The great seaport of Liverpool sits at the mouth of the River Mersey, its two cathedrals and the Liver Building being among many iconic landmarks. Established for 800 years, this port city remains a major international shipping centre, and is the fourth largest city in the country. The emergence of the Beatles from The Cavern Club, and the sixties Mersey Sound put Liverpool on the map of a new generation, and has generated millions of visitors to its new cultural tradition. The city boasts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Walker Art Gallery, and numerous other museums and galleries, as well as its football teams.
Across the Mersey is the Wirral peninsula whose principal towns are Birkenhead and Wallasey. Much of the north side of the Wirral has attracted industry, including car manufacturing at Halewood and Ellesmere Port, detergents at Port Sunlight, and petro-chemicals. But the western end of the Wirral is an aspirational residential area, and its coastline is one of dunes and sandy beaches. To the south the River Dee separates England from Wales.
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