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Oh Hey! I'm Alice, I'm 22 and I'm from Belfast. Welcome to my corner of the internet!

22 Aug 2020

Staycation in Port Sunlight

I'm a traveller by nature. I've been travelling to other countries ever since I was a baby and exploring new places has always just been a part of my summer for as long as I can remember (Check out my travel diaries from 1998-2009 and 2010-2020 here). So with COVID derailing any dreams of travelling abroad this summer, we decided to stay a little closer to home.

How we got there

I'm from Northern Ireland so while heading to England technically isn't leaving the country we had to get on a ferry so it made it feel all the more exotic. We got a ferry from Dublin in Ireland to Holyhead in Wales, we could have gone Belfast to Liverpool but the crossing is about twice as long so we made the drive to Dublin the night before and stayed the night there. I've also just finished season three of Alta Mar (or High Seas) so I'm very much into ships at the minute which really made me much more excited to be on a boat that I should have been (seriously if you haven't watched High Seas yet on Netflix GET ON IT). I'd say that mid pandemic ferry travel was actually far more enjoyable than regular ferry travel as there were much fewer people on board which meant we had no issue with finding a seat and the decks were practically empty! Social distancing measures were put in place and we wore masks when inside.



Where We Stayed

We stayed in an Airbnb in Port Sunlight which is a little town on the Wirral just outside Liverpool. It is a model village which was created by the Lever brothers of Unilever fame to house their workers and is full of really pretty old listed buildings (one of which we stayed in). It really is a fairytale town and it's such a fun and magical place to wander around and made a great base for our week. There we loads of different places to explore and on Sunday we attended a cute little antique fair which just so happened to be held in the same venue that Ringo Starr made his first appearance with The Beatles!


Where We Explored

Obviously, there's not an awful lot to do in Port Sunlight itself so we took some excursions to visit some different towns and cities nearby that we obviously wouldn't normally get to visit. Here are some of my favourites!

Liverpool

The fact that I'm 22 years old, have lived in the UK all my life and had never been to Liverpool before is pretty shocking really! Our house was right by the train station in Port Sunlight so we were able to hop on a train to Liverpool very easily (masks were worn and it was honestly fairly enjoyable). I've been on my fair share of trains as I got one to and from uni every week for three years and I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of Merseyrail as I'd heard absolute horror stories about English rail travel. Liverpool is actually very similar to Belfast as a city it's just on a larger scale.

The first thing we did in Liverpool that we did was to visit the Tate Liverpool gallery. This wasn't even something we were intending on doing but as we were exploring the Albert Dock we stumbled across it and I love exploring an art gallery so I was very excited. We booked the tickets online about half an hour before we went in which gave us time to grab a coffee and do a bit more exploring. The Tate was so fun to look around, I loved the permanent constellation collection because they had a great collection of pieces from some artists I'd not heard of to pieces by LS Lowry, Damien Hirst and even Pablo Picasso! I also bought myself this cute mug and a pair of Frida Kahlo socks.


The rest of the day we just had a wander around Liverpool, we attempted to visit the cathedrals but both were closed by the time we got to them (oops)! We paid a quick visit to the Cavern Club to see some 'The Beatles' things, but as none of us are huge fans this was enough! We also obviously had to stop off at the Cilla statue.


Chester

We'd actually visited Chester before a long time ago but I have a friend who lives there so I took a trip to spend some time with her in the morning before I rejoined my family in the afternoon. Chester is famous for its lanes which are streets of double-storey shops in beautiful Georgian buildings which is so unique and pretty to walk around! We actually got to visit a cathedral in Chester which was nice and Chester cathedral is beautiful.


We explored down by the river and rode around on a miniature train which was definitely designed for children but was way more fun than it sounds.


And also took a trip to a few different coffee shops. Jaunty Goat was a personal fave but special shout out to Pret because we don't have them in Northern Ireland I always feel an urge to go every time I see one when I'm over on the mainland no matter how unexciting that may be!


Conwy

Conwy was such a pretty little town by the sea. It's chock full of independent gift shops, boutiques and cafes. I even paid a visit to a local bookstore to pick up a book because I love to support local bookstores!


My favourite part though was definitely the tiny house which is supposedly the smallest house in the whole of the UK! We didn't actually end up going inside though as the queue was too long and we're impatient!


Bangor

We actually stopped by Bangor on our way from the boat mainly because there is also a Bangor in Northern Ireland so we wanted to compare but it was a lovely sunny day so we just took a little walk along the pier and dropped for some lunch at one of the kiosks which was delightful!


Crosby

We only took a little trip here to go to the beach to see Anthony Gormley's Another Place sculptures. There are 100 cast iron sculptures of men situated all along the beach and it truly is fascinating to see so if you're around that are definitely pop down to see them.


We were also met with lots of jellyfish and there was also some deep mud at places so be wary of that because we had to do a big shoe wash when we got back to the Airbnb!


So that's a brief overview of what we got up to during our UK staycation. Where is your favourite place to explore in the UK because I feel like there's a lot of it that I haven't seen yet even though it's so close to me!

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