If you’re looking for a laid-back, relaxing day in Southport with your little ones, I’ve put together a quick list of Lily’s favourite things to do when we pop over on the train.
(1) Dance with them at the café under the bridge on the promenade where the ‘music man’ plays songs and sings.
The first time we took Lily to Southport she dropped her beloved Patch (a soft toy doggie) over the railings of the bridge into the town. We looked down to see where he’d landed to see the ‘music man’ very kindly picking him up and bringing him up the stairs back up to Lily whilst still singing to his audience at the café below. We were so grateful and Lily was smitten so we went down to listen to the rest of his set whilst we had some drinks and she danced around in front of the bandstand.
Every time we go back, we make sure to stop and enjoy some of the songs and it’s also a lovely little place to sit outside with a cider (and use the loos!)
(2) Let them fleece you in the amusements. The main arcade is Silcock’s Funland just before you get to the pier but there’s also a few more dotted down the road that connects the town to the beachy area.
Silcock’s Funland has got a ride-on track which most little’uns seem to love (not mine though!) together with the usual amusements, claw games and two-pence machines. It also has toilets at the back of the building (handy to know right? They’re 20p though I think) and a fairly cheap and cheerful café if you’re just looking for a quick snack.
(3) Show them the old-fashioned penny arcade machines at the end of the pier. It’s a lovely walk along the pier and when you reach the end, you’ll find yourself at a café with a collection of penny arcade games inside. You can swap your usual coins for old pennies using the machine provided and they’ve got old-fashioned games such as fortune tellers, peep shows, one-arm-bandits and other treasures. It’s something really different and a nice little treat when you reach the end of the pier (which is quite long when you’re 3 years old and only have little legs!)
(4) Walk along the beach and collect shells.
If you’ve been to Southport before then you’ll know that the sea just doesn’t come in. Even by walking to the end of the pier you’re likely to look over the edge and see a blanket of yellow sand instead of the choppy waves you might expect to find. Don’t worry though, the sand is full of shells and perfect for grabbing a bucket and seeing what beauties you can pick up. It’s usually quite damp too so proper sandcastles are totally do-able (instead of the sand just falling away when you try to make your kingdom!)
(5) Let them loose on the play area at King’s Garden.
The King’s Garden play area is HUGE and I’m sure your munchkins will adore being let loose on all of the equipment and apparatus. There’s an area for babies and smaller children, a sand pit (which Lily loved running round and round the edges of) and another big section for older children — some of which Lily was quite happy to attempt anyway.
King’s Garden also benefits from a family-friendly mini golf course and vintage-style tea rooms and being just along the waterfront, it’s not to be missed.
(6) Did somebody say ice cream? Forget your bog-standard vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. If there’s a really obscure ice cream flavour you’re looking for — amaretto and cherry anyone? — you’re likely to find it in Southport and they’re not too hideously expensive either!
Have you been to Southport before? Perhaps your kiddos love it there as much as Lily does? Let me know what you like to do when you go as a family and if there’s anything worthwhile that I’ve missed!