Posted: 04.05.21 at 07:18 by Mark Gorton
Does Wirral in general, and a town like Heswall in particular, do enough to market themselves as destinations which people can visit and enjoy, and spend their money?
The visitor economy is important to Wirral. Figures for 2018 reveal it had a total value of more than £455 million, thanks to the arrival of more than nine million visitors who came to the peninsula for a day trip or short break.
Tourism supports the equivalent of just shy of 6000 full-time jobs.
In fact, up until the pandemic, Wirral enjoyed a year-on-year boost to its visitor economy, so clearly the word was spreading. It’s not difficult to see why - the borough has a fine coast, wonderful countryside and easygoing towns and villages. There is even the once every few years dividend from The Open championship at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, when the Wirral is projected across the world. And of course it doesn't hurt that we are only a short ride or ferry across the Mersey to Liverpool, with Chester just half an hour away too.
But can we as a community do more to attract visitors? Heswall, and some will be relieved to know it, is not likely to become a tourist hotspot, but drawing it to the attention of day trippers and holidaymakers can do no harm, especially now as we hope local hotels, shops and restaurants can pick themselves up once restrictions are eased again and the fear of the COVID-19 virus has been dispelled.
The good news is, Heswall has plenty to offer.
Hotels include The Jug and Bottle; the Premier Inn incorporating the Glegg Arms; five minutes down the road is the Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa; and if people really want to push the boat out they can stay in palatial Thornton Manor and enjoy its substantial estate.
Motor homes, owned or rented, are becoming increasingly popular, and the Wirral Country Park Caravan Club Site at Thurstaston enjoys a five star community rating, and is much praised for being well run and having stunning views across the Dee Estuary.
It goes without saying the town has a wide range of restaurants: Nova, now relocated from Pensby Road to what was Pizza Express on Telegraph Road; Silk Road; Franklyn’s Bar and Grill; Barton Rouge; 107 Dining Room; Paolo’s Pizza; The Burnt Truffle; Gusto Italian; and more.
Then there are cafes with outdoor areas, like Isabelle's and the one at Linghams Booksellers.
And, when people aren’t sleeping or eating, the Heswall patch has a lot going for it.
Heswall Hall will reopen with a wide ranging offer of activities and entertainment, and a strategy designed to attract people from further afield; there’s an excellent golf course (and for those wanting to play more than one, Caldy and Royal Liverpool at Hoylake are just minutes away); enjoyable walks on the Wirral Way; a nice beach complete with ready made spots to barbecue; the Heswall Dales which remains something of a hidden gem despite being almost in the heart of the town; good independent shops on its high street; a fine landscape for cycling; and then there’s thriving West Kirby with its beach, Marine Lake and Ashton Park just a short drive away in one direction; Neston and its market in the other; and before that, Parkgate.
Let’s not forget Heswall Lower Village. The Black Horse pub will reopen, while normal table service will be resumed at Porcelli’s instead of the current takeaway offer.
There’s more to Heswall, and apologies for any omissions, but this is enough to prompt that question again: should the town, as well as relying on the individual efforts of local businesses to market themselves, find a means of singing the praises of Heswall as a whole in order to increase its popularity and prosperity?
And if so, how?
Please share any thoughts over on the Heswall Nub News Facebook page.