Beautiful UK ‘seaside village’ is only by the sea a few times a year | UK | News

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Beautiful UK ‘seaside village’ is only by the sea a few times a year | UK | News

Stewart Hardie, deputy manager, and Laura Atkins, senior supervisor, at The Boat House, Parkgate

Deputy manager Stewart Hardie and senior supervisor Laura Atkins,at The Boat House pub,Parkgate (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)

Parkgate, a charming village on the Wirral peninsula, just half an hour from Liverpool, is often described as a « seaside resort without the sea ». This quaint spot is famous for its delicious ice cream, fish and chips, and breathtaking views across the Dee Estuary to the Welsh hills.

However, 300 years ago, it was one of Britain’s busiest ports and Cheshire’s gateway to Ireland.

The port was not only a hub for trading goods between England and Dublin but also played a significant role in Irish migration. As the River Dee naturally silted up in the 1800s, the receding waters transformed into a beach resort where people would go for sea bathing.

Nowadays, the water has completely retreated from Parkgate, leaving it disconnected from the River Dee and the Irish Sea. The former beach has been replaced by a saltmarsh and RSPB nature reserve, attracting bird watchers and walkers from all over the North West with its diverse wildlife.

High tide now only happens a few times a year, and when it does, it’s quite a sight to behold. Hundreds of people gather to watch the water rise over the marshes and lap against the sea wall on the promenade, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Stunning views across the saltmarsh in Parkgate

The village of Parkgate in Cheshire, the county’s only coastal village, that boasts lots of quirky shops, ice cream parlours, pubs and cafes and is a popular spot for a walk. (Image: MEN)

Laura Atkins, who works at The Boat House pub in Parkgate, said: « You know if it’s going to be a high tide because you see everybody gathering. We get all the bird watchers coming down. They set their tents up down there. »

At high tide, the promenade, known as « the Parade », is a great spot to see ducks, geese, and birds of prey. People love the views from the Parade across to North Wales and enjoy ice cream or food at Parkgate’s places.

The Boat House has been around since 1926 and was made to look like a boat. It’s got outdoor areas that are perfect for sunny days.

Laura added: « We get people from all over the North West wanting to come to Parkgate. »

Parkgate is famous for its tasty ice cream, with two shops right next to each other. Joe Lyon works at Parkgate Homemade Ice Cream Shop, which his mum Dawn has run since 1984.

The village of Parkgate, Cheshire's only coastal village

The village of Parkgate in Cheshire, the county’s only coastal village, that boasts lots of quirky shops, ice cream parlours, pubs and cafes and is a popular spot for a walk. (Image: MEN)

Joe started working there when he was 14 and wants to keep it going after his mum. He said: « I realise what a lovely life my mum has had running it. »

« Owning an ice cream shop – it’s the happiness business isn’t it? I can see why she’s lasted for 40 years and I’m happy to do it for the next 40 years.

« It’s a destination to come to. We get people from all over the North West wanting to come to Parkgate. Although we’re geographically on the Wirral peninsula, Parkgate is Cheshire’s only coastal strip.

« You can’t find this anywhere else really. I think it’s fabulous. The tide came in a few weeks ago and two fellas came past on boats. It really is a phenomenon. »

He added: « It’s the seaside with no sea. People still like the fish and chips and they like having an ice cream sat by the sea. »

« I think we’re all quite nautical aren’t we? It’s in our genetics, in our DNA. We want the sunshine, we want the blue skies and we want to be by the sea. »

Despite being next door to another ice cream shop, Joe said he couldn’t wish for better neighbours, as both shops help each other out when they’ve run out of napkins or ice cream cones.

Nicholls of Parkgate began as a milkshake bar in 1933 before it started serving ice cream. The shop has been owned by the same family since the 1980s and has served generations of customers during that time.

Joe Lyon lives and works in the village

Joe Lyon from Parkgate Home-Made Ice-Cream.(Pic Andrew Teebay). (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)

Anthony Collier, who runs the shop with his dad William, said: « My dad bought the business in 1987. There used to be a Post Office and the ice cream, and now it’s one big shop. »

The shop’s ice cream flavours, from ginger, to raspberry ripple and mint choc chip, change regularly, and it also sells large tubs to customers and local businesses. On a sunny day people stop off for an ice cream during a walk along the Parade, which joins the Wirral Way.

Anthony said: « I suppose it’s a fairly cheap day out because it’s not like going to a theme park. Kids and families can have a walk and have an ice cream. People come to see the view and the birds. »

Also on the Parade is No. 1 Parkgate.

Helen Wilson, manager of Nicholls of Parkgate

Helen Wilson, manager of Nicholls Famous Ice-Cream of Parkgate (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)

Head chef Ben Mounsey and manager Tom Myles took over the premises in April last year with the hope of bringing something different to the area.

The cafe turned restaurant prides itself on serving local produce, sourced from local fishmongers, butchers and green grocers. The daytime menu is focused on brunch and freshly made sandwiches, served with coffee and wine.

On Friday and Saturday, No. 1 Parkgate also serves an evening menu with a selection of small plates, from heritage tomatoes with goat’s cheese to scallops with pea and samphire.

Panoramic views at No.1 Parkgate

Panoramic views at No1 Parkgate Cafe.(Pic Andrew Teebay). (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)

Parkgate’s Parade also isn’t short of good pubs. The Boathouse sits at one end of the promenade, while the Ship and the Old Quay sit at the other.

The Red Lion pub is situated in the middle of the Parade and dates back to 1776. Marc and Jess Edmunds took charge of the Red Lion pub in June 2021, and it was a bit run down after being closed for half a year.

They’ve given it a big makeover to make it nice for people of all ages to visit.

The Red Lion has yummy food every day until 5pm, and on Sundays, it’s so popular for its big roast dinners that you have to book a table!

Andy Sandwell, head chef, and Rachel Thompson, assistant manager, of the Red Lion pub in Parkgate

Andy Sandwell(Head Chef),and Rachel Thompson(Assistant Manager),of The Red Lion pub,Parkgate.(Pic Andrew Teebay). (Image: Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo)

These roasts have three kinds of meat, crispy potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veggies, and lots of gravy.

John, who runs the Red Lion, said: « We’re very much focused on the community. Our service level is exceptional. »

He added: « We do table service which most pubs don’t do. The biggest thing that put Parkgate on the map was lockdown – you could only travel locally and people didn’t really know Parkgate. »

Parkgate got famous from a BBC show called Villages by the Sea last year, and John thinks it helped bring more visitors. But he still reckons Parkgate is like a secret treasure that lots of folks haven’t discovered yet.

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