Article by: Matthew Inglis (Advertisement Manager, Coach Tours UK)
Steve Reed Tourism recently held their latest familiarisation trip, alongside Southport Tourism (Tel: 01704 395510), with a three day visit to the seaside resort of Southport, a superb coach friendly destination with plenty to offer, and ideally situated for your group to take in other major attractions in nearby Liverpool and Preston.
The Group stayed over the course of the weekend at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Southport (Tel: 01704 516220) a 4 star Hotel, offering 133 luxury bedrooms, with some providing beautiful views across the Marine Lake. Steve Reed had again put on a superb three day visit to the area to showcase what Southport can offer groups. The trip started on Saturday 17thAugust, with around 25 people arriving at the Hotel before having the opportunity to visit Genting Casino in the afternoon, and the chance to win big and start the weekend off on a high!
Following on from the afternoon, the group visited The Best Western Royal Clifton Hotel (Tel: 01704 533771) for an evening meal. The Royal Clifton Hotel is ideally situated if taking your group to Southport. Based on the Promenade, the Hotel is a stone’s throw away from Lord Street, the main shopping area of Southport, which itself is steeped in history. The Hotel has superb accommodation options and can suit almost any requirements.
Sunday was a busy day for the Group as they headed off for a look around the Britannia Prince of Wales Hotel, another coach friendly Hotel for your group to consider. Situated on Lord Street, the Hotel has an incredible 154 en suite rooms, and is ideal for a quiet stay by the sea (Tel: 0871 222 0039) The group then went onto the superb annual Southport Flower Show, held at Victoria Park. The Show offers an enjoyable and excellent day out, with superb colourful displays, Show Garden Results, Competitions, as well as the opportunity to see Chef Demo’s, Book Signings, meet celebrity guests, and purchase a massive range of plants, flowers, and locally grown fruit and vegetables. The show usually runs over several days, for more information visit www.southportflowershow.co.uk
I joined up with the group for the final day of the trip, leaving the Ramada Plaza early on Monday morning and boarding the waiting coach for a trip around Southport, with transport provided by Belle Vue Coaches, and Julia Fahey from Southport Tourism on Board. Our coach drive around Southport gave a real insight as to what the resort has to offer, including learning the history of the town which was founded back in 1792. Southport is booming in the current climate, with new developments opening, and many shopping opportunities. The town has two main coach drop off points, Neville Street, and one in the Promenade, making it easy for your coach group to be dropped off in two of the main areas. A meet and greet service can also be offered at Neville Street three days a week.
Southport has plenty to keep your group entertained, with Splashworld Water Park (Tel: 01704 537160) and the Southport Pleasureland giving the traditional attractions you would expect from a British Seaside Resort. Upon completion of our trip on the coach, we headed off to our first visit of the day to look around The Atkinson, a cultural centre offering theatre, dance, ballet and cinema. The Atkinson’s main Theatre offers a wide range of performances throughout the year with seating for 440 people, and full disabled access. The building also has an excellent new art gallery opening in September this year, as well as hosting the towns Library, Tourist information centre, and on level 3 of the Grade II listed building, a museum which will be open to the public in June 2014. For more information on The Atkinson and what they can offer you group (Tel: 01704 533 333)
Southport Pier is well worth a visit. The 2nd longest pier runs at ¾ mile long, and for those not keen to take the walk, a tram service runs along the pier all year, and a road train throughout the main season.
Our group then headed onto Frankie & Benny’s for lunch. The New York Italian Restaurant and Bar offers a wide menu with all tastes catered for, ranging from wraps and pizza’s, to the more traditional fish and chip lunch. Your group can take in a full three course lunch, or simply opt for the Lunch menu and a lighter snack. The Restaurant is bright, with some great music playing, and your group can be sure of a warm welcome from the team. Coach parking is provided close to the Restaurant entrance. Further details (Tel: 01704 547152)
The group then headed back onto the coach, visiting the wonderful and tranquil Churtown Botanical Gardens, situated just outside of Southport. Churtown is pretty village, with some wonderful old shops, and traditional pubs, and the Botanic Gardens are set in stunning grounds with colourful flower beds, an aviary housing over 200 birds, a Museum and Café, Crazy Golf, and, if visiting during the summer months, be sure to visit the Gardens on a Sunday when you can relax with a picnic and listen to the Brass Bands playing in the grounds. Entry to the Garden’s is free, for further details (Tel: 01704 214164)
Our final visit of the day was to visit the Courtyard at Tarleton, originally Webster’s of Tarleton. The Courtyard hosts Whittles Farm Restaurant and coffee shop which serves an excellent selection of homemade food, whilst the retail side of the Yard is looked after by two gentlemen who also run the nearby Ena Mill. The shopping side of the Courtyard is currently being refurbished, and will be open to the public late September.
Further information on the Courtyard can be obtained by calling Tel: 01772 812249