The Wirral is such an interesting place, bursting with history and lots of stories to tell. The peninsula is famous for so many things, ranging from rich history to interesting facts and that’s even besides its Scouse accent with its own pockets of variations. So What is The Wirral Famous For?
Wirral has a rich history dating back to the Neolithic period- the later part of the Stone Age. There are several ancient hill forts on the peninsula, including Bebington Hill, which dates back to around 2000 BC. The Romans also had a presence in Wirral, and there are several Roman remains, including a fort at Meols. During the Middle Ages, Wirral was a key centre for shipbuilding and trade, and with several ports and market towns, Wirral became a popular destination for wealthy Liverpool merchants who built grand houses and villas along the coast in the 19th century.
Historians have classified the Wirral as the ‘Birthplace of England’, after the bloody Battle of Brunanburh (present-day Bromborough) in the year 937, which brought together the might of England’s combined armed forces for the very first time to fight against the fearsome armies of Norway and Scotland.
How Big is The Wirral?
The Wirral is a weirdly shaped rectangular peninsula that is about 15 miles (24 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide and is bounded by the Dee Estuary to the west, The Mersey Estuary to the east, and Liverpool Bay to the north.
The Wirral has a population of 323,266 as of 2019, compared to Liverpool’s 496,784. In the year between mid-2020 and mid-2021, the population of Wirral fell by an estimated 3,736 people, and ten years prior to mid-2021, the population grew by 211.
Its major settlements include Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bebington, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby. Rural areas include Central South Wirral covering Two Mills, Burton, Puddington, Shotwick, Dunkirk, Capenhurst and Ledsham and Central Wirral, covering Barnston, Brimstage, Thornton Hough, Raby and Willaston.
Amazing Facts about The Wirral
- Did you know that despite its small size, the Wirral has no less than 1,900 listed buildings, 215 churches, 50 towns and villages, 25 conservation areas, 10 lighthouses, 5 nature reserves, 2 watermills, one castle and one fort? Yep, take all that in because there's even more!
- Remember the hit series Friends that made Central Park popular? Well, the well-known Central Park in New York was based on the design of Birkenhead Park, which was opened in 1847. Apparently, Birkenhead Park was visited by Fredrick Law Olmstead in 1850, a famous landscape architect, who took his inspiration back to the US.
- Wirral has the longest promenade in Britain. New Brighton with its breathtaking views of the Liverpool skyline, comes in first place for the longest promenade in Britain at just over two miles long.
- It has the oldest surviving lighthouse in the country, which was built in 1763. Yep, Leasowe Lighthouse has the oldest brick-built lighthouse in the UK.
- Can you believe the first shot of World War I was fired from Wirral? It was shot from the guns on Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton just 30 minutes after war had been declared. Yikes!
- The Wirral has the highest amount of Grade II listed buildings outside of London. The Bromborough ward wins this one with 224 Grade II listed buildings.
- As mentioned above and despite being just 60 square miles in size, Wirral is home to five nature reserves. We know we are spoilt with beautiful scenery with five nature reserves at our disposal, filled with birds and other wildlife.
- The peninsula is home to the first set of all female sextuplets to survive. The Waltons from Wallasey were Britain’s first all-female sextuplets to survive. They were born at Liverpool Maternity Hospital on November 18 1983.
Landmarks & Attractions
- Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm: An incredible place to visit with the kids on a sunny day.
- Nanny Sharon’s Alpaca Farm: An oasis of calm and rehabilitation in the middle of the peninsula.
- Brimstage Maze: This is so much more than just a maze! It’s a fabulous summer attraction with an ice-cream parlour, play barn, kitchen and so much more.
- Church Farm: A farm park with family events, school visits and farm parties. Oh, there are amazing views over the River Dee.
- Port Sunlight Museum: Packed with tales of nostalgia and charming architectural buildings.
Historic Religious Sites
- Birkenhead Priory: A unique family outing to experience the history, wonder and beauty of this 870-year-old site situated on the banks of the Mersey.
- Christ Church United Reformed Church: An active reformed United Reformed Church, recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II.
- Marine Point: Ideally located next to New Brighton and Promenade in the Wirral. From restaurants, cafes, shopping, cinema, theatre and the beach, Marine Point has it all.
Points of Interest
- Caldy Hills: A very rewarding woodland walk through silver birch, oak, bracken and much more.
- The New Brighton Beach Promenade: A beautiful stretch of golden sand which lines the Irish Sea and mouth of the Mersey. It’s the UK’s longest promenade.
- Leasowe Lighthouse: The oldest surviving lighthouse in the country, which was built in 1763. It’s open for guided tours.
- New Brighton Mermaid Trail: An exciting tourist trail! Follow the trail of the Black Rock Mermaid who was reported to have appeared to a local sailor.
- Thursaston Hill: A large sandstone outcrop with fantastic views across North Wales and Liverpool.