It's easier to associate Liverpool with a sport like football than it is to think of the north west England city as a hiking destination. That's a shame since within Liverpool’s urban reach is one of the most scenic spots for hiking on England's west coast, the Wirral Peninsula.
You don't necessarily need to go out of Liverpool to find a good hiking trail, though. There are several in the city itself that are great for getting a breath of fresh air, seeing the city's architecture, and catching sight of some of the local wildlife.
It's not difficult to escape to the open countryside from Liverpool, but if you're planning on going hiking somewhere like the Wirral Country Park or the Crosby Marine Park you won't want to be weighed down with your suitcase. Leave your bags at a Bounce luggage storage facility in Liverpool and they'll be safe in a secure place while you tread light-footed around the city streets or the stunning landscapes of Merseyside.
Best Liverpool Walks
After you've walked down Abbey Road, one of the Liverpool walks everyone has to do, and taken a Beatles-inspired selfie on that infamous pedestrian crossing while jostling elbows with all the rest of the tourists, where else can you walk in Liverpool? You may well be surprised to discover that in Liverpool you can hike canalside, take a riverside stroll along a lengthy promenade, or explore the city's history on an eye-opening urban route.
The Otterspool Promenade is a paved walkway stretching for around six and a half kilometers along the Mersey River. It's one of the favourite walks in the city for residents and visitors. The promenade walk connects Garston Docks in the south of the city to the Otterspool Park and Nature Reserve. It's a good walk to go for when you're tired of the noise and traffic of the city as it provides expansive, traffic-free views of the Mersey estuary.
Trans Pennine Trail – Liverpool Loopline
Part of the 350 kilometer long Trans Pennine Trail runs through Liverpool. The section of the trail, known as the Liverpool Loopline, follows the route of a reconditioned railway line for around 11 miles through the eastern section of the city. For the most part, it's a walk through open countryside and woodlands along a level asphalted surface.
NB: If you're getting around Liverpool on public transport you'll find Merseytravel operate various bus routes with stops near the loopline access points.
Hardman Heritage Walk
The Hardman Heritage Walk is a three-and-a-half-kilometer-long circular route running through Liverpool city center. The trail starts and ends on Dale Street near Moorfields Station. The walk will take you to the Pier Head followed by George's Docks and the city's landmark, the Liver Building. Other points on the walk include the Canning Dock and the Salthouse Quay.
NB: This is not a marked trail so the best thing to do before setting off is to download the trail map from the National Trust Organisation website where you'll find it on the Hardman House page.
Head to Calderstone Park in Liverpool and you'll discover a prime public green space with a thousand-year-old tree plus a super network of pathways for taking a leisurely stroll.
Covering 94 acres in total, Calderstone Park also contains a lake, fields, woodlands, an English garden, and a Japanese garden. It's a super spot for escaping the city mayhem and enjoying some get back to nature moments without having to travel out of the city.
Sefton Park is a district of Liverpool where there's a 235-acre public green space of the same name.
In Sefton Park, the green space, you can wander at will along pathways that will lead you past a beautiful lake where there are natural-looking cascades streaming down a manmade cliff side, explore caves, and flit your way through a fairy glen.
There are several noteworthy monuments in the park, a vintage bandstand, and the Palm House, a glass conservatory where you can finish your walk with a tea dance if you time it right.
Best Walks Near Liverpool
Wirral Country Park
Wirral Country Park has to be one of the best free things to do in Liverpool. The park is an area of natural countryside on what is known as the Wirral Way, a disused railway line on the west coast of the Wirral peninsula.
The park is around a ten-mile drive from Liverpool city center to one of the main access points near the town of Thurstaston. Thurstaston has a train station so as well as getting there by car or bus, you can also use the train. The trailhead to the 20-kilometer-long pathway running through the park is by the train station.
As well as being a park for outdoor recreational activities, it's a nature reserve where you can see flocks of migratory birds on the Dee River and badgers, foxes, and deer alongside the trail. There are several more trails running off the main one so to make sure you don't get lost, pick up a trail map from one of the visitor centers on your way past.
While you're over in the Wirral Country Park area you may well want to stay and take a look at the village of Thurstaston and Thurstaston Beach.
Thurstaston Beach near Liverpool is a very popular walking spot on the Wirral Peninsula. Put some good shoes on as while the beach is pretty flat and sandy, the grass-covered dune area behind it where there are more isolated trails isn't.
If you have any energy left after the last two hikes, don't miss hiking up to the top of Thurstaston Common from where you'll get super views of the Liverpool skyline, and if it's a clear day, Blackpool in the distance.
Crosby and Crosby Beach
There are some great walks near Liverpool in a place called Crosby, a town less than ten miles north of Liverpool. One of the best is along the lengthy shoreline of the Crosby Coastal Park which stretches from Waterloo to Hightown.
This is a hike where you'll want to take a picnic along with you as you'll come across lots of places on Crosby Beach where you can sit and rest while taking in the views of the Irish Sea.
Apart from seagulls and wind turbines, the main attraction on this walk is an artwork known as Another Place on Crosby Beach. Another Place is a series of 100 human-shaped sculptures created by artist Anthony Gormley. Some are partly buried in the sand, others are in the water, but all are facing out to sea.
If you don't want to get sand in your shoes, there's a great coastal pathway, called the Sefton Coastal Path, you can walk instead. Although Sefton is a town a couple of miles further inland, and not to be confused with Sefton Park which is a district of Liverpool, this path that runs along the back of Crosby Beach is named for the town.
Two miles further inland from Sefton and close to the small town of Maghull is an area of woodland called the Sefton Meadow which is a forest park in the development process. While the area was once a landfill site, it's now unrecognizable as a rubbish dump and consists of three separate parts, Roughly Woods, Jubilee Woods, and Brooms Cross.
The Jubilee Woods Trail – The Jubilee Woods trail is an unusual one because it's shaped to mimic the silhouette of a barn owl. It's an easy short walk through the trees where if you keep your eyes open, you'll spot a barn owl sculpture.
The Maghull Trail – The Maghull Trail is a four-mile loop trail rated intermediate that also winds through Jubilee Woods. You'll find the trailhead next to Maghull Railway Station in the middle of Maghull. The trail winds through both urban areas and countryside as well as alongside the River Alt.
Lunt Meadows is a popular spot for walks near Liverpool. Just a couple of miles northwest of Sefton, this nature reserve has a large network of unpaved trails running through the wetlands. They're not always easy-going so be prepared for damp and uneven ground.
There are numerous hides for bird watching at Lunt Meadows so take binoculars and you'll be able to spot oystercatchers, lapwings, redshanks, and maybe even a marsh harrier or peregrine falcon.
Queen's Jubilee Nature Trail
Southport is a coastal resort town around twelve miles northwest of Liverpool and where you can join the Queen's Jubilee Nature Trail.
The Queen's Jubilee Nature Trail runs through a small nature reserve close to the seafront. There are two loop trails winding through the reserve, both of which can be accessed from the Esplanade. They're both rated as easy works and are accessible to anyone with mobility difficulties.
Most visitors come here to watch the birdlife and to escape from the more commercial resort area of Southport for a while.
The Mersey Way
Hale village is around 15 miles southeast of Liverpool and is where you can join the trail that leads to Hale Head Lighthouse. The trail is a semi-marked trail known as the Mersey Way considered to be easy though it can be tricky in places and muddy when it's been raining.
The Mersey Way spans 35 km and is a loop trail so if that's too far for you, you may want to turn around once you've reached Hale Head Lighthouse and head back the way you came.
The trail starts on Withins Way in the middle of Hale village and winds along the coastline in parts. There are several kissing gates to negotiate so if you're not overly nimble this might not be the right trail for you.
NB: The Hale Head Lighthouse is no longer a working lighthouse, but private property so be careful to respect the fence boundaries around it.
Before you undertake to make the hike from West Kirby to Hilbre Island, an island in the Dee Estuary, you have to be aware of the tides or you could find yourself swimming in dangerous currents.
Whenever you go, and it's recommended to do the walk at least three hours before the high tide is due, be prepared to be marooned on the island for at least five hours. You'll need to carry enough food and drink to get you through as well as warm clothing even in the summertime. There are no amenities of any kind, including toilets, on the island.
The walk from the boat slipway in West Kirby across the exposed wet sands is about three and a half kilometers and if you don't think you can do it in an hour or thereabouts, don't attempt it.
Hilbre Island is only 11.5 acres in total so somewhere you can explore in a few hours. Most of it is a nature reserve with abundant wildlife and lots of grey seals swimming around the shoreline. There are also frequent sightings of whales and dolphins.
NB: There are a few derelict buildings to explore on the island, but as there are no public conveniences on the island, it's best to avoid them where possible unless you want to get put off tucking into the best brunch in Liverpool when you get back to the mainland.
Easy Hikes In Liverpool
These are hikes in Liverpool that are literally a walk in the park. If you want to enjoy a leisurely stroll, head to Otterspool Promenade, Hardman Heritage Walk, Calderstone Park, and Sefton Park. These locations offer pretty scenery with minimal effort.
Intermediate Walks Near Liverpool
The ideal intermediate hikes in Liverpool are the Liverpool Loopline and Maghull Trail. Alhtough these two hikes are classed as intermediate, they won't test you too much.
Difficult Walks Near Liverpool
The majority of hikes in or near Liverpool are either easy or intermediate. For one that will stretch your leg muscles just that little bit more, try the hike up to the hill in Thurstaston Commons or the one over to Hilbre Island, but on the latter always be aware of the tide patterns.
Now you know all about the great hikes there are in Liverpool all you have to do is get your walking shoes on and put your best foot forward.