Where to eat, drink and kick back in this underdog of a seaside resort

New Brighton is the true underdog of Britain’s old seaside resorts. Sure, it hasn’t got Blackpool’s tower. And no, it hasn’t got Brighton’s trendy atmosphere, either. It hasn’t even got a Butlins. What it has got, however, is a fascinating history, buckets of charm and plenty to see and do. Here’s the best of the best.

Eat at… Remember When Wirral 

Remember When Wirral is a neat little tea room located on Victoria Parade, just off the seafront. It's a quaint and immeasurably friendly place to be, decked out in a pleasant bric-a-brac decor and run by genuinely lovely staff. And the food? Well, it’s not exactly the Fat Duck, but they have got a wide array of sandwiches, soups, pies, cakes, scones and drinks. Stop in for a good ploughman’s and a cup of tea and you won’t be disappointed. Proper British grub, innit? 64 Victoria Parade, Wallasey CH45 2PH

Remember When Wirral Cafe
RWW is quaint and friendly

Drink at… The Magazine

If you head up to Marine Point, you’ll find all kinds of chain bars and pubs that’ll be more than willing to take your money and give you back a name-brand beer, a half-decent view and not much else. If it’s a proper local boozer you’re after, however, you won’t find much better than the Magazine. Dating back to 1759, this old-school drinking hole is one of the few places in the country which sells Bass Ale on draught – and also features a staggering range of guest ales, most of which are brewed locally. Oh, and the hillside garden looks right out onto the Mersey. Perfect. 7 Magazine Brow, Wallasey CH45 1HP

The Magazine New Brighton
The Magazine is a proper local boozer

Catch a show at… The Floral Pavilion

A firm favourite of late comedy legend Ken Dodd, the Floral Pavilion is nowadays best known for its Christmas pantomimes – but there’s plenty more on offer for anyone after something a little meatier. From adaptations of film classics (hello, The Lady Vanishes) to beloved musicals (hi, Avenue Q) to inexplicable wildcards (okay, who invited Madagascar: The Musical?) you’re bound to find something to whet your theatrical whistle. Marine Promenade, Wallasey CH45 2JS

The Lady Vanishes New Brighton Floral Pavillion
The Lady Vanishes is playing the Floral Pavilion Floral Pavilion

Relax at… Vale Park

Vale Park is a gorgeous little place located just up the hill from the banks of the Mersey. Although relatively small, it's got plenty of grass space on which to chill out, a cafe and even a rose garden to wander around. Most impressive of all, however, is the fairy village: created by the same artists responsible for the near-iconic Black Pearl ship on the nearby beach, this driftwood village - populated by trolls, dolls and sprites - is made entirely with materials that have washed up on the shore. In the nicer months, it’s also overrun with wildflowers. Strange, yes; but beautiful, too. 86 Magazine Ln, Wallasey CH45 1LX 

Fairy Village Vale Park New Brighton
Fairy Village, Vale Park Flickr

Visit… Literally Books

Sitting just over the road from New Brighton station, this indie bookshop is (in their own words) far more than just a bookshop. Inside, it's a veritable treasure trove of classic literature, modern bestsellers, poetry, Shakespeare, non-fiction and basically more books than you could shake a very wordy stick at. Readings, signings and other events regularly take place, but half the fun is going in there and losing yourself for a while. As you might expect, Ken Dodd was a patron. 6 Atherton St, Wallasey CH45 2NY

02 28 2019 Literally Books Liverpool
It's Literally 'far more than just a bookshop'

See a landmark at… Fort Perch Rock

Arguably the most iconic sight the Wirral has to offer, Fort Perch Rock – which may or may not have once been manned by Ken Dodd – is an impressive and imposing feature of New Brighton’s coastline. Originally built to defend Liverpool against the pesky French, the fort (which soon gained the nickname “the Little Gibraltar of the Mersey) is nowadays closed to the public but can be hired for private events. ‘Cos who doesn’t love a Napoleonic rave? Marine Promenade, Wirral CH45 2JU

02 28 2019 Fort Perch Rock Liverpool
Fort Perch Rock Lighthouse

Stay at… The Grove House

New Brighton is hardly overrun with luxury hotels – you’re a good hundred years too late for that – but you could do worse than a night at the Grove House. It's an intimate and friendly little hotel (with only twelve rooms) which is nonetheless spacious, cosy and chock-full of all the amenities you could possibly want. Bonus points: there's a garden for the summer, the restaurant downstairs is fab and it's only a short walk from the hotel to the sea. More a Grove Home than a Grove House, really. Grove Rd, Wirral CH45 3HF

Already completed New Brighton? Don't worry, here's how to spend a day in Sefton Park and Southport.

Header image: David Dixon