Liverpool Holiday March 2017
Report by Lesley Struck

26th March, 2017
WSNTA Kennet Trip

When I told my friends that we were going to Liverpool for a holiday they said “What for?” “What’s there?” and “Why?”

We travelled north on a wonderful sunny Sunday. It being the first day of British Summer Time our 08:00am start felt very early indeed. After many pick-ups our party of forty plus Sue Shapland and Steve (our driver) was complete. First stop Gloucester Services (a favourite) for refreshments, comfort and retail therapy. One more stop before arriving for our first visit of the holiday, the National Trust owned Speke Hall. What a gem this turned out to be, a black and white Tudor mansion which has John Lennon Liverpool Airport as its near neighbour. It being Mothering Sunday and a beautiful one at that, the world and his wife seemed to be there enjoying the inside and outside of this magnificent property. Finally we booked into our hotel for the next four nights, Jury's Inn Liverpool which is situated at the Albert Dock. So convenient for everything we needed.

Monday morning we were met by our Blue Badge Guide Claire Rider, who was to be with us the whole day. We started with a walking tour of the Albert dock, the vibrant heart of Liverpool's historic waterfront blending old and new, the country's largest group of Grade I listed buildings. Construction of the Dock began in 1841. Barely 50 years after its completion however its days were numbered, and Albert Dock was finally closed in 1972. Planning for the Dock's regeneration began in 1982, work started in 1983, the first phase opened in 1984. It was finally opened by Prince Charles in 1988. Our tour continued by coach with Claire pointing out all the amazing buildings and filling us in with their history. We lunched at The Everyman Theatre and briefly visited Sudley House, a former merchant's home, now a museum and art gallery. We continued driving past the former homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney noting such places as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. We ended at the remarkable glass palm house in Sefton Park. Another gem. Tea and cake at Alison Appleton's Tea House in Lark Lane and back to our hotel. After saying our goodbyes to Claire we all took a short walk for our Dockland’s Fish and Chip Supper.

Tuesday we had choices. Either The Beatles Experience or the Historic Dock. We chose the latter but I am told by those who chose the Beatles Experience that it was very enjoyable. For our visit to the Historic Dock we were taken by two very informative and amusing guides underground to view the world's first commercial wet dock which has been carefully preserved under Liverpool One, an enormous modern shopping complex. The dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. A short cruise on the Mersey ferry (And yes they did play “Ferry Across the Mersey”) to visit the Woodside Ferry Terminal which now houses the Museum that is the final resting place for U-Boat U534, one of only four surviving. Raised from the seabed in 1993 by a Dutch Salvage Company. My two lasting memories of this being the sheer size of the boat from the outside and the cramped space inside where over fifty sailors lived and worked. Back across the river with free time to visit the numerous attractions that Liverpool has to offer including the Museums of Liverpool and Maritime both of which could easily take a full day to look around.

Wednesday and now for something completely different. Choices again - visit the Cathedral or an escorted tour of the National Trust’s Beatles homes, both or neither. We choose the Beatle's houses. First Mendip, 251 Menlove Avenue where our enthusiastic guide filled us in with the history of John Lennon's childhood living with his Aunty Mime and Uncle George. His meeting with Paul McCartney and George Harrison and the birth of a group called The Quarrymen who were later to become The Beatles. An hour later we travelled to 20 Forthlin Road where Paul McCartney lived for about eight years not leaving until the early 1960s when the Beatles were well on their way to super stardom. The afternoon was free to continue to visit our personal favourites. Our’s included a Superlambanana and a brightly coloured ferry called Dazzle!

Thursday, our last day. We head south for a stop at the World of Wedgewood factory and museum for a tour and lunch. Back to Somerset via Gloucester Services again arriving home early evening. All of my fellow travellers having said “Wow, wish we could of stayed longer! There is so much more to do.” So to all my friends who wondered “Why” this is “Why”. In the words of the song “In my Liverpool Home”:

“ We heard an accent exceedingly rare,

saw a statue exceedingly bare,

went to a cathedral and saw the one to spare,

back in the Forties the world it went mad,

and Hitler he threw at Liverpool all that he had.

When the smoke and the dust had all cleared from the air

'Thank God,' said the old man,' the Pier Head's still there.' ”

WSNTA Kennet Trip