When to go, how to get there, and what to eat
We love a food and drink market at Confidentials, so when we heard that Woodside Ferry Village had been ranked in the top 12 city-based food markets in Britain, we had the perfect excuse to jump on the Ferry Cross the Mersey for a fresh visit.
The idea first came about when a group of businesses came together to discuss how best to support and rejuvenate an area of Birkenhead.
In Visit Britain’s round-up, which also included London’s Borough Market, Hatch in Manchester and Cardiff Central Market, it said of Woodside; “Pulling together artisan makers, creators and entrepreneurs, this market is the place to be for finding artsy produce, proper tasty nosh and sweeping citywide views.”
Birkenhead - or “Birkenvegas” as it's fondly known - has had something of a cultural renaissance recently. Even before the Government announced that Birkenhead would get £19.6m from the Levelling Up fund, the wheels were in motion; Wirral Chamber’s Independent Wirral initiative has championed and supported local independent businesses, while Future Yard on Argyle Street is now one of the best live music venues in the country.
Opened in 2019, Woodside Ferry Village has played its own part in the new wave of positivity. The original ferry booking hall - now a listed building - was built in 1864. It remained virtually unaltered until it was refurbished from 1985, when an adjacent terminal building was demolished and the passenger bridge and landing stage (featured in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire) were replaced at the same time.
The refurb must have been an improvement on the original Victorian facilities, but didn't leave much for visitors to do beyond the ticket office, a small cafe and toilets.
The idea for Woodside Ferry Village first came about in 2017 when a group of businesses came together to discuss how best to support and rejuvenate an area of Birkenhead. They decided that a food market would be the most effective way to breathe new life into the area and increase footfall.
Cue the transformation of the old Woodside terminal into a cool, contemporary, hotspot with a buzzing food and drink court and an outside terrace with views of the River Mersey and the Liverpool skyline.
The inside food hall has nine traders and is open Wednesday to Sunday. At weekends the outside space hosts a variety of traders for The Woodside Markets. Since opening, Woodside Ferry Village has also added a calendar of special events and activities - from cultural, music and art events to social initiatives.
What to eat and drink
Japanese street food, offering a variety of dishes including sushi, curry, noodles, gyoza, donburi, bao, ramen and more. Haku uses fresh wasabi from The Wasabi Company in Dorset. Since joining the vendors at Woodside in 2019, Haku has been a favourite with customers.
Coffee is small-batch roasted on the Wirral and their famous small-batch homemade ice cream is made fresh by the team every day.
PAUSHA WINE & COCKTAIL BAR
Pairing specially selected world wines with a growing range of cocktails.
This place seemed to pull the biggest queues. Enjoy a taste of Greek with chicken gyros, pork skewers, salads, dips and, of course, baklava.
British dishes include steak and chips, bangers and mash, stuffed chicken, pork belly and a classic roast.
If you’ve eaten at Joro in Birkenhead then you’ll already know all about their tasty vegan bites. The Woodside menu includes nachos, lasagne, the Joro Burger, loaded fries, wraps, salads and desserts. Grab a doughnut if you can.
A taste of America with some British classics. Something for everyone; burgers, ribs, fish and chips. You can’t go wrong with this menu.
From fairly modest beginnings, Murphy’s has grown into a small batch, artisanal distillery supplying some of the best restaurants and bars in the area. This is your stop for local gins along with a selection of cider, lager and IPA.
Make them taste buds tingle with a variety of African-Caribbean meals. All of the food on the Ena Pa menu is made with their very own sauces and spices. Products are all based around Janet’s African roots and are handmade using only natural products with no additives, preservatives or gluten.
How to get there
Hamilton Square on the Merseyrail Wirral Line is just a five minute walk from Woodside Ferry Village. Trains run regularly to Hamilton Square from Liverpool’s Lime Street, Moorfields and Central stations, as well as from Chester, Ellesmere Port, West Kirby and New Brighton.
If you’re coming from Liverpool, the most scenic route is via Mersey Ferries’ River Explorer. The ferry leaves from the Gerry Marsden Terminal (Pier Head) on the hour from 10am - 4pm. The return ferry from Woodside leaves at 20 past the hour from 10.20am-4.20pm. Tickets cost £11.50 / £10 / £7.50 / children under five free, with family tickets available from £32. Purchase online from Mersey Ferries or card payments at the terminal.
The kitchens at Woodside Ferry Village are open Wednesday 12pm-8pm, Thursday 12pm-8pm, Friday 12pm-9pm, Saturday 12pm-9pm, Sunday 12pm-7pm.
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