Port Sunlight is just six miles from Liverpool, a little south in the Wirral, and the best way to visit is by train. Jump on the train at Liverpool Central and head towards Chester, and you’ll stop at Port Sunlight some 17 minutes later. An open day return ticket costs just £4.05 as well. You can drive to Port Sunlight, but by the time you get out the city you’ll have wasted a decent bit of time, so best to get the train instead.
All of this jabbering but little substance; Port where? What is Port Sunlight, how is Port Sunlight, why is Port Sunlight? This is a Merseyside village with a difference. It was founded in the 19th century by a couple of wealthy entrepreneurial brothers, ostensibly to house the men who spent hours working in their soap factory. The brothers did a great job, and the village is home to what seems to be a conveyer belt of beautiful architecture. It has been nominated and suggested for UNESCO World Heritage status, and it is only a matter of time before it ascends to the list.
The Lady Lever Art Gallery is the cultural highlight, the personal art collection of, well, Lady Lever, that was opened in 1922 to the public. The building is a beaut but the collection is even better, and art lovers should make time for this gallery while in the area. There is Beatles history here too, as Hulme Hall was the venue for Ringo Starr’s first appearance with the band. Port Sunlight is a place for walking, a village of gorgeous buildings that gives off an air of absolute elegance.
Being a village, there isn’t a huge amount of food and drink options in Port Sunlight, but the whole ‘being 17 minutes from Liverpool’ thing shouldn’t make that an issue. If you do find yourself particularly parched when in town, consider the Sunlight Restaurant & Bar. If you’re after a proper old British boozer, give the beautiful Bridge Inn a look.
A model village just a short train ride from the centre of Liverpool, Port Sunlight is everything that somewhere with such a name should be. There is grace in the air and history on the streets, in one of the prettiest parts of the north. Fiona Bruce also grew up here, and if it is good enough for Fiona Bruce, it is good enough for us.