Since we are still in the Winter months and the days are still short and, generally speaking, us older ones, who go about on our bus pass, don’t like being out in the dark – I thought a day out nearer home would be better. Furthermore, if we keep going long distances, we are liable to miss ‘jems’ that are nearer home! So this time we go to Birkenhead.
Now, if you haven’t been on the River Explorer Cruise – which departs every day at 10 am from the Pier Head, and every hour until 4 pm – then it’s well worthwhile. Your Merseytravel Pass enables you to go free – but make sure you get a ticket. There is a commentary going on all the time about the things you can see along the waterfront. Light refreshments are available on the ferry – but, of course, you pay for those.
At Birkenhead we alight to go to Birkenhead Priory. (If you have gone by Merseyrail, alight at Hamilton Square for the ten minute walk to it). Within
the last few weeks’ special lighting has been installed and there have been other improvements made over the past year. Entry is free. Toilets are available. It was founded in 1150 as a Benedictine Monastery, and is one of, if not the oldest building in the whole of Merseyside. It was closed down at the time of Henry VIII and the Monks dispersed. It is now a Scheduled Monument with parts listed, including the Chapter House, which is now a place of Worship – where I think Church of England Services take place about one Sunday in five.
Next door is St. Mary’s Church – built in 1821 – but now only the Tower of it remains. You can climb the 101 steps up to the top of the Tower – what a view ! You can ask to be shown the Scriptorium – built above the Chapter House. Visit the Frater Range to see a Museum display of the Priory’s history. But to make sure you don’t miss anything, pick up the free leaflet ‘Birkenhead Priory – the small place with a big history’. Note the opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 12 noon until 4 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am until 4 pm.
There is also a free leaflet entitled ‘Brick by Brick’ which tells you about the markings by the medieval stonemasons’ which you can see on certain stones.
Click on Birkenhead Priory for more information.
Please let us have your feedback if you visited the Priory. Many thanks.