Only a 30 minute drive away from our home in North Wales is West Kirby beach. Located on the north-west corner of the Wirral Peninsula, it has drawn us there for mini adventure days out quite a few times despite the fact that we are spoiled here in North Wales with our own choice of seaside destinations.
Talacre, for instance, is a lovely stretch of sand with the added benefit of having a very photogenic lighthouse to explore. However, it is often blighted by high winds which whip up the tiny grains of sand and make life, particularly for the kids, a bit difficult. West Kirby is calmer by far, tranquil in comparison. It is also usually remarkably quiet. On our last couple of visits (as the photos show) it seemed almost deserted, meaning the critters can run free (well at least the eldest can) hunting out crabs and stranded seaweed. It is dog friendly but kept wonderfully clean by both responsible owners and the local team of wardens.
When the tide is out the expanse of sand is vast and you can walk out to Hillbre Island which takes approximately 20 minutes. Just be sure to check the tide times before you set off so you don’t end up paddling back! When the tide is in the 300m stretch of beach is lapped by generally very gentle, shallow waters making them ideal for welly-wearing critters to splash about and explore the sea with relative ease and confidence. However, there is a dedicated lifeguard station located on the beach which is operational during peak times so you can splash around with the added security of their knowledge and experience. It obviously tends to get much busier in the summer but we prefer visiting out of season as it often feels like we have the place to ourselves to do as we please. Our own blank canvas of sand to write our names, chase each other silly and search out the biggest of puddles or rock pools.
Adjacent to the beach is West Kirby marina, which is reputed to be one of the best facilities of its type in the North West. It has a path all of the way around it (don’t underestimate this – it’s longer than it first appears to be, particularly when you’ve hastily agreed to let the boy clamber onto your shoulders!) and kids can often be spotted on it with nets and buckets full of small crabs that they have have managed to lure from the rocks that protect the path and marina from high tides. The marina is also well used as a sailing school and Jesse, for one, was delighted to see all of these small vessels in operation under the control of a group of young, aspiring sailors (some with lesser degrees of success).
Out and about in West Kirby there are a few notable child friendly options for eating and drinking. Our favourite is the Lattetude Cafe, located very close to the entrance of the beach and marina, it’s a great little rest and refreshment stop. They have a good variety of food and drink options, the staff are always really friendly and they have that all important 5* rating for food hygiene. Furthermore, located at the back of the cafe is a small family and children’s area with colourful settee and armchairs, a few cuddly toys, a tabletop game and a good little selection of children’s reading books, all of which are great at occupying little minds while you recuperate from your beach exertions with a well-earned hot mocha and piece of cake.
So many people consider beaches to be great options only during sunny periods. So here in the UK that would limit us to approximately three visits per year. Even during grey sky visits, where we were wrapped up winter jackets and modelling wellies, they can be great little daytime escapes and mini adventures and it certainly won’t be long before we return again.
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