Windy Gap has numerous fabulous attractions nearby – nature, sport, funfairs and shopping.
Ainsdale Nature Reserve
Windy Gap is within Ainsdale Nature Reserve. There are eight miles of marked pathways in the reserve. Only a short walk away from the house is a picnic area with tables and benches overlooking RAF Woodvale air field – great for the younger (or older!) members of your party.
A 30-minute walk through the reserve takes you to Ainsdale sand dunes. Look out for the rare natterjack toad or one of the 33 rare plant species, including petalwort and dune hellebore.
There are two paths that are accessible by bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs. The Fisherman’s Path takes you right through the wooded reserve to Formby beach, and beyond to Freshfield Railway Station. Guests unable to bring their own bikes can hire them at Southport Train Station – www.southportcyclehire.info.
Alongside Windy Gap is the Boardwalk, which takes you around a beautiful lake, with ducks, moorhens and other waterfowl.
Natural England have produced a useful leaflet that provides details of the history and management of the reserve.
See the Natural England website for further information.
Southport is a traditional family seaside resort. A walk along the second longest pier will be rewarded by penny slot machines and views – you can always get the pier tram back if it’s bracing. Kings Gardens is being resorted to its Victorian glory, and includes a Boating Lake with Venetian bridge, Crazy Golf and new adventure playground.
A wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants line Lord Street. Rumour has it that this tree-lined avenue, with its wrought iron arcades, inspired Napoleon III to create the boulevards of Paris.
For rainy days, there is Dunes Splash World, or maybe a visit to the Bristish Lawnmower Museum. Southport Pleasureland is great in any weather – plenty of traditional fairground attractions and rides.
Southport Flower Show is an annual highlight, with show gardens alongside amateur produce and flowers. In 2014 the show is from 14th to 17th August.
For full listings of events, see the Visit Southport website.
Liverpool is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has a fantastic range of museums and galleries – Tate Liverpool at the Albert Dock, the Walker Art Gallery, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, and not forgetting the Beatles Story.
Shoppers have a wide range of designer shops, department stores and high-street fashion. The two football teams aren’t bad either.
See Visit Liverpool for full details and up-to-date listings.
This stretch of coast draws golfers from all over the world. The jewel in the crown is Royal Birkdale, which has hosted the Open Championship. Formby, Southport & Ainsdale, Hesketh and West Lancashire are all excellent examples of links golf.