I suspect I’m not going to be getting the honorarium as Widnes Tourism Officer after this post. But I can do better than those quoted in Wikipedia;
In 1888 the town was described as “the dirtiest, ugliest and most depressing town in England” and in 1905 as a “poisonous hell-town“.
It really isn’t that bad.
Despite being a relatively modern town built on 19th century chemical industry, there’s pockets of real beauty, particularly on the West Bank (not that one) and Spike Island.
From here you can walk the Trans Pennine Trail, be deafened by schoolchildren in the excellent Catalyst Science Centre, or try to spot Pub Curmudgeon’s childhood home over the Mersey…
For real drama, head to the Select Security Stadium, where I saw a particularly bruising (and bloody) encounter between Liverpool Ladies and Manchester City Women for a fiver recently. Proper football.
The views from the Silver Jubilee Bridge were gorgeous in the sun, but sadly Mrs RM wasn’t able to capture it’s beauty to my satisfaction as we sped across (at 30mph).
I note the new bridge hinted at on the OS map will cause both a prolonged closure of the old bridge for maintenance, and then a £2 each way toll, so visit now.
We were a bit distracted by the stretch limos carrying Runcorn’s high society to Aintree. We’re always impressed by the elegance and poise of folk in Cheshire.
No problems snapping the other beauties in town though,
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder at The Eight Towers, Widnes Pub of the Year and it’s sole GBG entry. Made even more beautiful with an 11am opening.
As I admired the purple, an old chap with the Daily Mail beat me to the head of the queue (of two).
At 11.02 I bounded in, smiled at the lady cleaning the pub to within an inch of it’s life, and tripped over the hoover lead.
“You little bugger” she said, with a tiny trace of menace.
I was hoping Old Chap would order the cask but, no, Strongbow the only accompaniment to the Grand National selections. So I settled for a very decent Sunbeam, cool and with a touch of straw (NBSS 3). Quite why Marston’s pubs don’t sell Pedigree I’ve no idea.
It says a lot that the only Guide entry is a modern(ish) Marston’s dining pub that wouldn’t touch the Guide in many branches. That would be unfair, as the beer here was GBG standard. Beer quality first, always.
All the talk was of the National, but Nigella was (again) on the TV, and there were some pictures of Merseyside sporting legends to admire. I recognise Rob Jones (Crewe and Liverpool) in the middle, but the others elude me.
Just as I was going, an urgent young chap on his way to the horse racing burst in.
“Can I have some food ?”
“Can I have a burger then ?”
I ask you, what’s wrong with crisps ?
A true community pub. They even said “Thank you darling” on the way out.
My first Guide pub of the year with a soft toy machine, too.