Welcome to Weekend Wanders, a series of blog posts about places to wander in Liverpool and surrounding areas. Having a dog means going out for walks, rain or shine. Our dog is a little bit of a princess and won't go if it's too rainy, but on those days when I'd usually look out the window, think "brr" and put the kettle on, our little pooch still needs her walk. I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch on Saturday, but storm Brian soon thwarted that plan! We decided to take our little Yorkshire Terrier Bonnie on a quick walk before the weather worsened. It was also the first outing of my Topshop red duffle coat - I always know it's officially Autumn when that comes out of the wardrobe!
I don't know about you, but I find the first few minutes of being out in the wind and rain completely horrid... but once I've warmed up, I kind of get into the groove of it and don't mind it so much; in fact, I find it quite invigorating. We were wandering around the streets locally and rather enjoying blowing the cobwebs away, so decided to venture a further 5 minutes away near the river and have a mooch around Cressington.
Cressington is a beautiful area of South Liverpool right by the River Mersey. It's a 19th century private gated community, built for wealthy merchants. A lot of Liverpool's grand architecture comes from when it was an affluent and important port, and huge elaborate houses and offices were built for sea merchants. Cressington is still a private community today; you can't take your car down there without a permit, and to walk down there is "granted by the right of Trustees".
One of my favourite features of the leafy Liverpool suburbs in which we live is the abundance of sandstone walls. I grew up on The Wirral in amongst villages and farmland, and all of the barns and small village shops were encased by these walls. It makes my heart happy to see them everywhere in my Liverpool home, too. Cressington is guided by these walls, all moss covered and aged, and each street is lined with original Victorian street lamps.
If you're anything like me, you'll love a good bit of dream house spotting. I absolutely love our 1930s semi and am super happy with it, but there are some seriously beautiful Victorian villas in Cressington that are total dream-house material. Ivy walls just turning russet red, double fronted bay windows astride intricate porches and huge doors, gorgeous stained glass and iron railings. We spent the walk going "wow!" "oh wow!" "WOW!". Autumn is my favourite season anyway, but just how beautiful do all these houses look atop a carpet of leaves?
Even the train station is quaint and beautiful!
One of the best bits about Cressington is that both private roads lead directly down to the River Mersey. I've always grown up by the sea. I went to school in West Kirby, which is a beautiful Victorian seaside town on the Wirral, and I spent my childhood and teenage years on the beach or at the sailing club. Having grown up by the water, I can't be without it. West Kirby looks out across the River Dee to Wales, and out to the Irish Sea, whereas Liverpool looks over the Mersey back on to the Wirral. The Mersey is always a sort of brownish clay colour because the current of the river is so fast, it's constantly churning up sand and silt to the surface. It's not pollution like many people think, it's incredibly clean! I do miss the blue-ness of the Irish Sea and the calming effect of looking out to see the horizon meet the water, but being able to walk to the river's edge from my house is pretty special too - even if it is a bit murky. I think when you grow up near the sea it becomes a part of you; I don't know anyone who has been able to move inland and not miss it.
It's always bracing the closer to the river you get, whatever the weather - especially when the tail end of a hurricane is fast approaching! We ended up having to pick Bonnie up as she was actually starting to get blown away, and the waves were really starting to crash against the walls quite dramatically.
I honestly can't think of a better way to spend the weekend than wandering with my little family. I'm so lucky to live somewhere with so much beauty available on foot... lots of tree lined avenues, huge parks, beautiful houses and of course the river. I think if I didn't have a dog we would have just curled up in the living room, which of course is lovely... but what better than going on a beautiful walk and blowing away the cobwebs followed by well deserved brunch and hot chocolate in front of the fire?