Cycling Liverpool, Birkenhead and the Wirral Peninsula

The City centre itself is not currently so well endowed with cycle infrastructure, however the main attractions in the centre are in any case best appreciated on foot. (see this review, although their Cycling strategy is ambitious.)

You can take your own bike by rail, or use City bike hire, or Bike and go on arrival.

Outside of the centre Merseyside is more cycle friendly. Mersey Rail are very relaxed about bikes being bundled up and down their escalators and on their trains, and they offer a free fob scheme to access secure parking at many stations.

The Trans Pennine Trail passes through, whether you take the direct through route N of the city centre on the Old Loop railway line, or better still the alternative route via Sefton Park/Pier Head/the Leeds Liverpool Canal and see much more of the city.

Merseyforest publish a 32 mile ‘See Liverpool in a (longish) day?’ urban City circular ride (click on link for map)  as a basis for seeing more of the city. Like the TPT, this also utilises part of the Old Loop line. (Not tried by author as yet)

The Wirral Way is a good and very coastal way to cycle around the Wirral Penninsula, maybe stopping at the lovely Harp pub at Neston to admire the view across the Dee estuary.


There is a really good range of paper and online city wide Cycle Maps available, also maps specific to the Wirral , and Sustrans routes into and around the area to help you find your way.

OS wise, it is Explorer map 266 – Wirral and Chester, on which National Cycle Network (NCN) cycle routes are clearly shown, as well as other traffic-free cycle routes, Bridleways etc. (Or you might want to consider their £19.99 annual smartphone and PC subscription to get access all their maps!)

For the City itself, there is a range of maps for directions, shopping, real ale etc

Chester is about a 25 mile bike ride away by all accts – one to be explored further, but it looks like NCN 56 would get you down to Chester/Connahs quay area and beyond. (Watch this space)

Liverpool is a great place to visit:

  • It has a great atmosphere – the locals are a hoot and very friendly..
  • It has loads of static attractions (Tate modern etc at Albert Dock, Walker Art Gallery near Lime St station are best known but there are lots of others.)
  • The Pubs are amazing (map 1 CAMRA,  map 2 Real Ale Pubs) – from the sublime (Philharmonic) to the ridiculous (Coopers Arms – think Restaurant at end of Universe) The Globe, Belvedere, Baltic Fleet, the Stork in Birkenhead and on and on.
  • Both Cathedrals are stunning – and the restaurant in the Anglican one does a large dish of triple fried chips for £2.95!
  • It’s easy to get to – by train (couple hrs – cheap if you book ahead) or road (bit more time, maybe best park at a Mersey Rail station outside – ie Liverpool South Parkway – and get train in.) Or maybe just get a bargain break deal at the historic  Adelphi Hotel. (but ask for one of the lower floor original posh rooms when booking..)
  • The Mersey and the old docksides/wharfs/warehouses in the increasingly gentrified  streets toward the riverside have lots of upcoming bars and atmosphere.
  • The  Transport museum at Birkenhead (opens 1.00 – 4.30 Sat and Sun) is worth a visit.
  • They do a good line in  festivals.
  • Port Sunlight is worth a visit.
  • Gormley’s Another Place statues on the beach just North of the city by bike or train are fabulous.
  • The Mersey rail network reaches as far as great places to visit like Chester, elegant Southport and the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.


As with any city, hotels in the centre are costly, we took the option of using the Premier Inn in Birkenhead , ½ the price and just a short walk from Conway Park or the impressive Hamilton Square Mersey rail stops for a short ride under the Mersey to the city centre.

We have also camped at Arrow Brook Farm on the lovely Wirral, and used the Wirral cycle map to cycle to New Brighton and the Mersey (a good hour – navigating NCN 56), or just use the Arrow Brook bridleway and quiet estate roads to cycle to Moreton station (20 mins) and train it in to Birkenhead or Liverpool centre.

Richard Attwood October 2018