New Liverpool guide book reveals city’s hidden gems
1 month ago
Blue Badge tourist guides Claire Rider and Neil McDonald are putting Liverpool on the map with a brand-new book featuring some of the city’s best-loved walks – along with lesser-known trails and treasured spots even locals might not know about.
Liverpool Hidden Walks: Discover 20 routes in and around the city is designed to help people navigate their way on a fascinating journey through Liverpool’s streets and parks.
And as well as obvious sights and landmarks that had to be included, the couple wanted to make sure that in this, the latest in a series of A-Z guides, there were a few surprises too.
Neil says: “When we were approached by the publishers of the A-Z maps to do a guide for Liverpool we saw it as a great opportunity to mark what we have achieved so far.
“But we also said ‘ours has got to be better’.”
Neil, 58, and partner Claire, 53, from Mossley Hill, are expert guides and, while they offer tours as far away as the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, and to North Wales, Snowdon, Portmeirion, and beyond, it’s in Merseyside where they are most well-known.
Go-to faces for cruise visitors and other tourists, their detailed and often tailored journeys include walking tours and multi-day car tours, and cover everything from Beatles tours to Heritage tours (they even do days out for people who live nearby).
“So we sat down at the table and got a big map of Liverpool out, and started looking at which walks we thought we wanted to include,” says Neil.
“It was a tall order, narrowing it down to just 20 in a city that’s got so much to offer and see.
“So we started looking at the different quarters of the city, and focusing on the word ‘hidden’ in the title, looking to point out things we all probably walk past every day and don’t notice, and things that we’ve spotted when we’ve been out.”
Claire was adamant about doing a slavery walk which the couple have entitled ‘The walk of Shame’; and they were keen to include some Wirral walks within the guide book, which is out on March 16. adds Neil).
They have also included two Beatles walks.
Neil says: “There are 13 city centre walks and seven outside the city, including walks in villages like Woolton which has got two beautiful hidden gardens, West Derby, and Penny Lane which goes into Wavertree, and three in Wirral including one that starts from Woodside Ferry and goes round Morpeth Dock and past the One O’Clock Gun and into Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, Port Sunlight, and New Brighton, looking at all the street art there is there.”
“It’s been a labour of love, and we’ve learned so much more writing and researching the book!
“Liverpool is such a good city for walking. For a start we have got such a unique waterfront; the waterfront itself and the docks, and the history of the docks, is so fascinating.
“You have the regeneration of the city, and we are lucky because we have got so much heritage, and other things like the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, football, and, of course, The Beatles.
“We’ve got Victorian architecture and buildings, we’ve got Georgian, and we’ve got modern aswell. We have Liverpool ONE and the story of that… and all these things are brought to life in the book and in the walks.
“One of my favourite walks is one that goes from the Titanic Hotel, past where the new Everton stadium is being built, along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and to Stanley Park. Few people know about that canal and yet in 12 months or so everyone who supports Everton will know that flight of locks as they go down that way to the ground. On that walk you get the fabulous view from Everton Brow and on the way back down you go past beautiful Arts & Crafts houses.”
And the book is not just for visitors to the city: “It’s for local people who like to get out and learn a bit more about the city.
“It’s easy to navigate the routes – most of them are circular – and there are starting points and postcodes and bus routes to get there. I’m hoping once people have done one, they’ll want to do another.
“We forget what’s around us. It’s really about finding these things, these places that we walk past every day, and helping people to appreciate them. There’s so much to love about our city.”
A-Z Liverpool Hidden Walks: Discover 20 routes in and around the city by Claire E. Rider and Neil McDonald is out on March 16 and will be available at bookshops – Waterstones is doing a launch event on March 22 – and via pre-order on Amazon, £6.50. ORDER HERE.