The Eurovision Song Contest’s Best Moments

By Ade Blackburn

The Eurovision Song Contests Best Moments
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be held at Liverpool’s M&s Bank Arena

The Eurovision Song Contest has been one of the most anticipated music events in the world for over six decades, bringing together countries from across Europe and beyond to compete for the title of the continent’s best song. Eurovision always provides a great deal of fun and is renowned for having some jaw-dropping moments. From hardcore rock to bizarre fairytales, the contest seldom disappoints.

With the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest set to take place in Liverpool this May, now is the perfect time to look back on some of the competition’s most memorable performances.

Here’s a selection of historical moments from the competition.

1. Sandie Shaw

The first British Eurovision triumph was Sandie Shaw with Puppet on a String in 1967. A convincing winner but of the five songs she was offered to perform, Puppet on a String was Shaw’s least favourite.

In her own words, ‘I hated it from the very first ‘oompah’ to the final ‘bang’ on the big bass drum’ and even went as far as describing the song as ‘cuckoo-clock’ music.

Puppet on a String won the contest hands down though and became her third number one hit in the UK and a big worldwide smash.

2. Abba 

One of the greatest and most iconic performances to ever grace the Eurovision stage. Eurovision had always been popular but it was Abba with Waterloo that lifted it into the pop culture stratosphere.

Their glam-inspired performance in 1974 gave Sweden their first-ever win in the contest. The title and lyrics reference the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, and use it as a metaphor for a romantic relationship.

Abba, of course, went on to become one of the biggest groups in the world and their hits remain part of the cultural zeitgeist to this day, with stage shows and two movies made based on their hit songs.

3. Conchita Wurst

Austrian singer and drag queen Conchita Wurst became famous around the world after winning 2014’s Eurovision with Rise Like A Phoenix.

Stylistically, the power ballad recalls classic James Bond songs, while Wurst’s victory helped make the singer a global gay icon. Conchita was also the first singer to win without backing singers or dancers since 1970.

Using her newfound fame for a good cause, the singer brought attention to homophobia and legal restrictions on gay rights in many European countries.

4. Lordi 

Lordi’s 2006 performance was one of the most iconic from the competition. Representing Finland with their song Hard Rock Hallelujah, the costumed rock band blew everyone away and left many others a touch disturbed.

Their masked stage-act was heavily inspired by the band Kiss and vocalist Gene Simmons became a fan of Lordi, even offering to publish their music.

They did more than enough to secure victory for their country with a score of 262 – which was a record at the time and only surpassed in 2019 by the Netherlands.

5. Dustin the Turkey

Another unforgettable Eurovision moment was Dustin the Turkey taking to the stage in 2008 to represent Ireland in the competition. Dustin had first appeared on the television show The Den with madcap Irish puppet duo Zig and Zag.

The song of choice was called Irelande Douze Pointe, which did not persuade the judges to hand out that many points, sadly for Dustin. The performance did not go as well as Ireland would have hoped and they failed to make it out of the semi-finals that year.

Undeterred, Dustin made a surprise comeback in 2005 on a duet of Patricia the Stripper with singer Chris De Burgh, reaching #3 on the Irish charts.

6. Bucks Fizz

Bucks Fizz’s classic 1981 performance of Making Your Mind Up was Eurovision at its best. The upbeat song and colourful performance captured many of the contest’s endearing qualities.

The act was even slightly risqué for the time, with the velcro-ripping moment in their dance routine raising a few eyebrows at home and all over Europe. Bucks Fizz went on to become a major 80s chart act, with three number one singles and sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Three of the original band members are now back performing under the name The Fizz and playing live in 2023.

7. Dana International

The Dana International win was an iconic moment and an important one that paved the way for inclusivity in the contest.

Dana International’s Diva was the first ever transgender winner of Eurovision, when she successfully competed in the 1998 contest on behalf of Israel. Her performance reinforced the message that everyone is welcome in Eurovision, and her win was celebrated by people all over the world.

Dana had many chart hits before and after Eurovision, and even wrote the 2008 entry for Israel in the competition.

8. Buranovskiye Babushki

Some performances are just too surreal to forget, which more than applied to Buranovskiye Babushki (The Grannies from Buranovo) and the bizarre show they staged for Russia in 2012.

Dressed as local villagers, the eight elderly women took part in some baking, as they all danced around an oven performing their song Party for Everybody. In an attempt to add some clarity, a member of the ensemble stated ‘We sing about lighting the oven, kneading the dough and spreading the tablecloth’.

It almost did the trick though as Russia came second that year!

9. France Gall

Penned by the notoriously controversial French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg for Paris-born singer France Gall, this winning entry for Luxembourg brought a touch of French yé-yé to Eurovision in 1965.

Mixing chanson with an upbeat song inspired by British beat music, Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son – whose title translates as Wax Doll, Rag Doll – inspired a host of toy-themed Eurovision efforts from 60s pop artists, including, Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String.

With its charm and addictive melody, Gall’s song went on to sell more than half a million copies in her French homeland.

For full information on this year’s contest, see the Eurovision 2023 website

Spring walks on Merseyside

By Ade Blackburn

Merseyside has some excellent spring walks to explore, ranging from city trails around Liverpool to scenic walks in areas such as Wirral Peninsula and Calderstones Park.

Formby Beach
Formby Beach

1. Rimrose Valley Country Park

Crosby’s Rimrose Valley Park sits by the side of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and includes the delightful Brookvale Local Nature Reserve.

As Sefton’s only non-coastal reserve, Brookvale provides a unique green oasis amongst what is otherwise a heavily populated and industrialised area. With its interesting network of pathways and raised boardwalks, Brookvale and Rimrose Valley as a whole, provide opportunities for quiet countryside walks in an area where those activities are scarce.

The site now boasts a mosaic of several habitats including Reed-bed swamp, Rimrose Brook, a hand-built pond system and Willow Carr woodland.

Rimrose Valley Country Park: 29 Parklands Way, Liverpool, L22 3YX.

2. Bidston Hill

This walk in Birkenhead explores 100 of acres heathland and woodland with historic buildings and ancient rock carvings. The Bidston Hill park includes a 16th century windmill, the grade II listed Bidston Observatory and Bidston Lighthouse. The hill rises to 231 feet so there are fantastic views of Wirral from the summit.

The park is a great place to walk and you will find lakes, woodland and pretty gardens to visit on a series of surfaced footpaths. There’s also a number of Grade I listed buildings to see.

Bidston Hill: Boundary Road, Wirral, CH43 7PD.

3. Calderstones Park

Lovely Calderstones Park in Liverpool covers nearly one hundred acres of land. There’s easy to navigate footpaths taking you to woodland, lakes and a beautiful botanical garden. The area is also home to 4000 species of plants with vibrant colours in the summer months.

The park is named after a number of ancient megaliths that are said to be older than Stonehenge. Other highlights include a 1000 year old tree, a peaceful Japanese garden and a park cafe.

The Trans Pennine Trail runs past the northern edge of the park. You can pick this up to continue your walking in the area and heading west will bring you to Sefton Park.

Calderstones Park: Calderstones Rd, Liverpool, L18 3JB.

4. Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Enjoy waterside walking and cycling along Britain’s longest single canal, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The canal runs for 126 miles across the Pennines, passing many villages, towns and cities with a fascinating heritage and industrial history. There are also many scenic locks, viaducts and some wonderful countryside to enjoy.

Walkers can enjoy the whole route from Leeds to Liverpool, while there are several sections for cyclists too. Near Burscough, you’ll pass the wonderful Martin Mere Nature Reserve where you can look for otters, flamingos, beavers and thousands of water loving birds.

5. Liverpool City Walk

This long circular Liverpool City Walk, through the centre of Liverpool, visits the most famous sights. You’ll visit the waterfront, Albert Dock, Liverpool Festival Gardens, Sefton Park and Princes Park on this ten mile trail. The route uses the waymarked Trans Pennine Trail and is also suitable for cyclists.

The walk starts at St John’s Gardens where you can view The Gladstone Monument dedicated to the memory of W. E. Gladstone, a former Prime Minister, who was born in Liverpool and died in 1898.

After exploring the gardens, the route leads to the Cavern Club and then heads towards the waterfront passing Liverpool ONE. The area includes the attractive Chavasse Park and a chance to enjoy a walk along the Liverpool Canal Link on Mann Island.

6. Billinge Hill

Climb to the highest point on Merseyside and enjoy fantastic views as far as Snowdonia in Wales, on this Billinge Hill walk in St Helens.

The walk starts in Longshaw, where there is a footpath into the woods of the Billinge Plantation. Follow the woodland trails south and you will gradually ascend to the hill summit on the other side of the plantation.

The hill stands at a height of 587 ft, with excellent views towards Great Orme in Wales, Blackpool tower, Greater Manchester, Winter Hill and the Derbyshire Peak District. You’ll also see a beacon tower at the summit and several large transmitter masts nearby.

Billinge Hill: Billinge, St Helens, WN5 7NW.

7. Formby Beach

Explore the beaches, sand dunes and woodland in this beautiful nature reserve at Formby Beach. The area is famous for its wildlife, with the natterjack toad and the red squirrel being the major highlights.

The reserve is run by the National Trust so you will find a series of well laid out footpaths and waymarked trails. There is a squirrel trail through the lovely pine woodlands, where you can look out for the growing population of red squirrels.

There’s also an asparagus trail where you can learn about Formby’s asparagus heritage. The trail also passes through farmland with Hebridean and Herdwick sheep.

Formby Beach: Victoria Road, Formby, Liverpool L37 1LJ.

Things to do in Birkenhead

By Ade Blackburn

Wirral’s Birkenhead has a fantastic range of things to do and places to discover, including innovative venues such as Future Yard and Make Hamilton Square, plus the excellent Williamson Gallery and Museum.

Future Yard - The Future Is Birkenhead
Future Yard

1. Future Yard

Future Yard brings some of today’s most exciting new national and international artists to Wirral, whilst providing performance opportunities and training for emerging local musicians.

The venue is run on a non-profit basis and is committed to a goal of becoming the first carbon-neutral grassroots music venue in the North of England.

Future Yard CIC have also recently set up Future50, a scheme where organisations can pledge to support their Neighbourhood Fund. The scheme will fund free and subsidised training and events for local people.

Upcoming live shows include, Badly Drawn Boy, Steve Mason and legendary Liverpool band The Stairs.

Future Yard: 75 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6AB.

2. Make Hamilton Square

In 2019 Make CIC worked with Wirral Council to open a community creative hub in Birkenhead, Make Hamilton Square.

The vibrant urban growing space, services an in-house cafe with seasonal produce and honey from their busy bees. The space is also home to fifty businesses and makers, alongside an incredible programme of workshops and activities.

Make continues to support many creatives to run classes and start businesses. They provide space for people to affordably host shows and exhibitions, often for the first time.

Make Hamilton Square: 2 Cleveland Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6ND.

3. Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

One of Wirral’s hidden gems, Williamson Art Gallery & Museum is just minutes from the heart of Birkenhead.

Their wide-ranging permanent collections include painting, sculpture, furniture, prints and decorative arts. They are also home to the largest public collection of Della Robbia pottery in the UK – Birkenhead’s contribution to the Arts & Crafts movement.

Meanwhile, their superb ship models celebrate the region’s fascinating maritime history. They also host a range of temporary exhibitions and events.

Williamson Art Gallery: Slatey Rd, Oxton, Birkenhead, Prenton, CH43 4UE.


Ten years ago, a disabled theatre company was set up with a focus to enable, enhance and engage disabled artists across Wirral, through weekly sessions.

In their 10th year, RAWD has got a little bigger, with more members and a wider outreach. They continue to champion disabled artists and put them centre stage in theatres and festivals.

RAWD explore new and innovative ways to turn-up disabled voices in the arts as a whole; with fun and inclusivity at its heart.

RAWD: Tranmere Methodist Church, 4 Whitfield St, Birkenhead CH42 0LF.

5. Birkenhead Priory

Birkenhead Priory is a unique family outing – experience the history, wonder and beauty of this 850 year old site. As the oldest standing building on Merseyside, the Priory offers a unique insight into the town of Birkenhead, and its historical and spiritual importance in the North West.

Now surrounded by factory units and shipyards, the Priory is an oasis of calm in a busy world. Head along and explore the site with the whole family. Climb the 101 steps to the top of St Mary’s tower for spectacular views of the Mersey and local area.

You can even bring a picnic to enjoy in their grounds!

Birkenhead Priory: Priory St, Birkenhead, CH41 5JH.

Birkenhead Park by Ryan Warburton Via Unsplash
Birkenhead Park. Credit: Ryan Warburton via Unsplash

6. The Hive/Wirral Youth Zone

Wirral Youth Zone, named by young people as ‘The Hive’, is a purpose-built facility for young people aged 8 – 19, and up to 25 for those with disabilities.

Young people have access to fantastic facilities for a cost of £5 for an annual membership and 50p per visit. The facilities include a climbing wall, boxing gym, music suite, art room and sensory room.

The Youth Zone provides a safe environment where young people can come and enjoy themselves and enables them to raise their aspirations and confidence.

The Hive: Bright St, Birkenhead CH41 4EA.

7. Wirral Transport Museum and Heritage Tramway

Wirral Transport Museum & Heritage Tramway is a working museum and heritage tramway preserving buses, trams and other local transport vehicles

Back when Birkenhead was a pioneering industrial town it was the first place in Europe to adopt a street tramway. The trams ceased operating in 1937, but visitors can ride on original fully restored heritage trams, see their collection of preserved local buses and view their ongoing restoration projects in the museum.

They also have a huge working model railway, ideal for keeping the whole family entertained!

Wirral Transport Museum and Heritage Tramway: 1 Taylor Street, Birkenhead, CH41 1BG.

8. Convenience Gallery

Convenience Gallery  is a community-centered arts organisation providing opportunities for local communities to engage, create and work in the arts. They take art out into public spaces and mental health settings, rather than traditional environments, working with local people.

The gallery are advocates for artists fair pay, mental health, wellbeing and inclusion. They are dedicated to championing the arts and artists.

They always aim to create high quality, diverse, educational and challenging programming.

Convenience Gallery: 3 Abbey Close, Birkenhead, CH41 5FQ.

9. Birkenhead Park

On Easter Monday 1847, the gates were opened to the very first publicly funded park in the world. Designed by Joseph Paxton – Birkenhead Park was created to be the People’s Garden – a place where the lowliest peasant to the British Monarch could enjoy a piece of the countryside in the city.

In 1850, Fredrick Law Olmstead visited the park and with its inspiration, then went on to design and create what is arguably the most famous public park in the world – Central Park, New York.

In 2004 Birkenhead Park underwent an £11.8million restoration returning it to its former glory. Today, Birkenhead Park is a Grade I listed landscape, it caters for all visitors with a number of sports such as football, cricket, bowls, angling and cycling, as well as providing an onsite visitors centre.

Birkenhead Park: Park Drive, Birkenhead, CH41 4HY.

10. Bloom Building

Bloom is a great space to for all types of creative events. They have previously opened their doors to festivals, electronic nights, film screenings, book launches and immersive exhibitions.

They hold a range of monthly events at Bloom such as Open Mic nights, Life Drawing, Open Mic poetry nights and a weekly choir. Bloom also hold coffee mornings with Mencap and Positivitree weekly.

The venue is available to hire for community projects and private bookings.

Bloom Building: 3 Abbey Close, Birkenhead, CH41 5FQ.

11. Birkenhead Youth Club

The Birkenhead Youth Club started life as The Birkenhead Boys Club in 1932, the prime mover in its establishment being the late Harry France, a Senior Probation Officer, in the town. 

The club is for anyone aged between 8 and 24. They have an extensive range of sports facilities, from an indoor 5-a-side pitch to squash courts and trampolining. Admission is just 50p per night.

The facilities are also available for hire at very reasonable rates.Opening times are 6-9pm, Monday to Friday.

Birkenhead Youth Club: 8 Watson St, Birkenhead, CH41 3PY.

12. Wirral MakeFest

Wirral MakeFest is a free community event that aims to cultivate the public’s engagement with makers, inspiring future careers, hobbies and skills in the community and raising the visibility of local makers through the event and its accompanying website.

The event takes place 3 June 2023 at both Birkenhead Central Library and Williamson Museum and Art Gallery.

MakeFest is a fusion between art, science and technology. Their makers are from a wide range of arts and sciences, from crafts and drama to VR.

Open Call: Paid Artist Commissions Right To Succeed Birkenhead Event

Are you an artist looking for open calls? Check out this Open Call: Paid Artists Commissions opportunity through Right To Succeed. Right to Succeed, in collaboration with Open Culture, invites artistic proposals to celebrate the end of their three-year Cradle to Career project at an event to be held on Saturday 15th July 2023 in Birkenhead Park, Liverpool City Region. Deadline to apply: Midnight 19th March 2023.

Things To Do in St Helens

By Ade Blackburn

St Helens is a fascinating town to visit in the Liverpool City Region. The area has a colourful mix of culture and history, including the famous St Helens Theatre Royal, World of Glass tours and the scenic Car Mill Dam.

Things To Do In St Helens - World of Glass
World of Glass

1. North West Museum of Road Transport

This engaging Road Transport Museum is based in the old town centre bus depot, which dates back to 1881. The museum is home to a fleet of historic buses, previously in operation across the whole region.

Head along on weekends and Bank Holidays, to view their collection of single and double-decker buses dating back to the 1930s, all decked-out in their original livery.

The museum also displays other fascinating vintage vehicles, including a fire engine from the 1950s, and a range of historic cars.

The Old Bus Depot: 51 Hall St, Saint Helens WA10 1DU.

2. World of Glass

Pilkington display their World of Glass collections at this excellent canal-side museum, located on the site of the former glass factory.

You can view the collections of ornate studio glass and discover the history of St Helens’ glassmaking trade, from its 17th-century inception to a heyday in the 19th and early 20th century.

Their Glass Roots Gallery looks at the wider history of glass, displaying pieces going back to Ancient Egypt. Glassmaking demonstrations are held every day, and you can even try your hand at a glassblowing course.

World of Glass: Chalon Way E, St Helens, Saint Helens WA10 1BX.

3. Car Mill Dam

A lovely place to stroll around with an option of a scenic drink at a waterside cafe. Ideal to relax and watch the local wildlife, which includes Goldfinch, Blackbirds and Grey Herons.

The four hundred year old Carr Mill Dam is also a great spot for water sports enthusiasts and anglers, the lake is crossed by the impressive Nineteen Arches Bridge and there are well made footpaths around the entire dam.

The site also contains the only tract of ancient woodland in St Helens.

Carr Mill Dam: Billinge, St Helens, WA11 7LX.

4. St Helens Theatre Royal

Dating back to the early 1900s, St Helens Theatre Royal was designed by renowned theatre architect Frank Matcham, and was later revamped in the 1960s.

Theatre Royal has a wide and interesting programme of events. This year, their programme features comedians such as Sarah Millican, pantomimes, musicals and Dinosaur World Live events for kids.

The venue hosts appearances by sports personalities, many relating to Liverpool FC, and popular cultural figures. In the school holidays, kids can also watch colourful science demonstrations and children’s shows adapted from books and TV.

St Helens Theatre Royal: Corporation St, Saint Helens WA10 1LQ.

Things To Do in St Helens - Knowsley Safari
Knowsley Safari

5. Knowsley Safari

The park opened in 1971 and is one of the best days out in the Liverpool City Region, a five-mile drive through 550 acres, inhabited by more than 750 animals.

The Knowsley Safari takes you through different zones of animals, from deer and bison, to zebras and southern white rhinos. Their most renowned animals are possibly the baboons, infamous for being a bit on the cheeky side!

If driving doesn’t suit you, there is a regular bus that runs the route of the Safari Drive. The site also has a Foot Safari, similar to a regular zoo, with a tiger trail and demonstration areas for birds of prey and sea lions.

Knowsley Safari Park: A58 bypass, Prescot, L34 4AN.

6. Inglenook Farm

The farm is ideal for a relaxing family day out, kids will love the farm’s animals, which include a pair of Shetland ponies, goats, ducks, peacocks and chickens. The land is also used to grow chamomile and lavender for essential oils, which are distilled on site.

There’s a host of local businesses based at Inglenook Farm’s courtyard, a craft beer shop, a vintage bike restorer, a pet groomer, and a garden room designer.

Visitors can also drop-in to their legendary farmhouse cafe for cooked breakfasts and lunchtime bites.

Inglenook Farm: Moss Nook Lane, Rainford, St Helens, WA11 8AE.

To discover events happening across the Liverpool city region visit our What’s On events listings.

Things to do in Runcorn and Widnes

By Ade Blackburn

Runcorn and Widnes are well worth a visit to explore their unique outdoor and indoor attractions. The towns offer beautiful garden spaces, Halton Castle, a cutting edge science museum and the excellent Brindley Theatre.

Things To Do In Widnes and Runcorn Norton Priory Museum & Gardens
Credit: Norton Priory Museum & Gardens Facebook Page

1. Norton Priory Museum and Gardens

Norton Priory is the most excavated monastic site in Europe. Boasting the priory ruins, and an 18th century Walled Garden, it is located within an oasis of 42 acres of tranquil woodland and wildflower meadows.

The museum includes two exhibition galleries which explore the site’s history, including the archaeological digs which took place in the 1970s and 1980s. Thousands of artefacts from Norton’s 900 year history are on display, including the 14th century statue of St. Christopher, which features in Lucy M. Boston’s classic children’s book, The Children of Green Knowe.

Norton Priory: Tudor Road, Runcorn, WA7 1SX.

2. The Brindley Theatre

Located by the Bridgewater Canal, the centre is named after the canal’s engineer, James Brindley. It opened in autumn 2004. The Brindley Theatre has won several awards for its architecture including the Architectural Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The venue plays host to touring productions, a professional pantomime each Christmas season, local amateur shows and in-house productions. A separate  studio space serves as a single screen cinema, an exhibition and gallery. The venue’s bar and café overlook the scenic canal.

The Brindley Theatre: High Street, Runcorn, WA7 1BG.

3. Halton Castle

The castle is one of the two surviving Norman castles in Cheshire and stands on a rocky hill overlooking the Mersey River above the former village of Halton. This location is a clear choice for it’s elevation and potential as an observation post.

At Halton Castle, there are a number of fascinating features such as the sally port, garderobe and tower. The castle itself is opened for special events and tours several times a year, however it is accessible to walk around the castle walls at any time of the year.

Halton Castle: Castle Road, Runcorn, WA7 2BE.

4. Wigg Island Community Park

A community park and local nature reserve, Wigg Island was originally Runcorn saltmarsh. A community park was opened in 2002 by the Mayor of Halton and celebrity birdwatcher Bill Oddie.

The nature reserve covers 57 acres and is very popular with birdwatchers. There are a number of bird hides and long views over the Mersey estuary, with plenty of wide open spaces. It’s also great for dogs and there’s woodland walks with trolls and sculptures, Bee Orchids are amongst the wild flowers found there.

The area has a cycle path leading from Wigg to Port Warrington and Moore Nature Reserve as well as a visitor centre and a wind turbine.

Wigg Island Community Park: Expressway A553, off Astmoor Industrial Estate, Runcorn, WA7 1LU.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
Credit: Catalyst Science Discovery Centre Facebook Page

5. Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

Catalayst makes science exciting and accessible to people of all ages and abilities, explore the award winning galleries, visit the stunning interactive theatre, experience fun activities in the lab or travel 30m above the River Mersey in the external glass lift to the glass walled observatory gallery.

The museum regularly hosts family shows and hands-on workshops to help get everyone involved in the world of science. The centre also has an Elements cafe with scenic riverside views.

Catalyst is normally open Tuesday to Sunday and has free car parking.

Catalyst Science Discovery Centre: Mersey Road, Widnes, WA8 ODF.

6. Pickerings Pasture

A nice area for a short walk, free parking, plenty of grassed areas to explore and to see the lovely wild flowers and birds. Pickerings Pasture is a beautiful, relaxing, local riverside walking spot. The site was many years ago the local council’s household refuse tip but has been brilliantly reclaimed.

A Green Flag Award winning local nature reserve with acres of wild flower meadows and a fabulous view across the upper Mersey estuary.

Pickerings Pasture: Mersey View Road, Widnes, WA8 8LP.

7. Widnes Market

Both indoor and outdoor, Widnes Market offers the shopper traditional value in a modern setting.

Stallholders provide fresh fruit, fish, vegetables, flowers, fresh and cooked meats, a wide range of clothing and furnishings, hardware, telephone accessories, Cafe, and even haircuts! Wednesdays there’s a flea and collectors market selling second hand goods, from books to vacuum cleaners and coins.

Open every day except Tuesday and Sunday, they offer free parking, next to the bus station and near the central shopping area.

Widnes Market: Bradley Way, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 6UE.

8. Spike Island

A lovely local, canal side walking area, situated at the end of the old St Helens canal, on the edge of the River Mersey. It is an artificial island between the Sankey Canal and the estuary of the river. The area plays host to a range of waterfowl and friendly swans. There are also short hiking trails you can take, with a suggested duration of 1-2 hours.

The island is also famous for being the site of the legendary Stone Roses one day festival in 1990. The gig briefly turned Spike Island into the coolest place in the country.

Spike Island: Upper Mersey Rd, Widnes WA8 0DG.

To discover events happening across the Liverpool city region visit our What’s On events listings.

Kid’s Festive Activities In The Liverpool City Region

There’s a host of festive activities and events for children this December, from Christmas singalongs and crafting to pantomimes and Arctic-themed workshops.

Singalong with Santa
Singalong with Santa

1. Christmas Incy Wincy Rhymers

Celebrate Christmas with some special Festive Incy Wincy Rhymers this December. The Reader’s sessions are for little ones, 1-4 years old, and their families.

They’ll explore Christmas stories, festive favourites and seasonal nursery rhymes through storytelling and sing-a-longs. Under ones are free but will still need a ticket. The sessions last for 70 minutes.

The Reader, until 21 December, various times.

2. Up Close With: Nature In The Snow

World Museum are going out into the wild! Each month the Participation team are set loose on Gallery, bringing their handling collections out for you to explore and enjoy. Keep your eyes peeled for their team and their trolley full of incredible stories and specimens.

This December, the team explore the Arctic and other snowy habitats to learn about the incredible animals and plants that survive in the snow.

Up Close With: Nature in the Snow, World Museum, until 31 December, various days, 1-3pm.

3. Singalong With Santa

This year, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Children’s Choirs have something very special lined-up for Christmas. This fabulously festive performance contains all the magical ingredients for the perfect family Christmas celebration.

The singalong will feature Christmas favourites such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, plus a host of seasonal surprises, so get ready to sing your heart out!

Singalong with Santa, Philharmonic Hall, 17-18 December, various times.

4. A Crafty Christmas At The Museum

Take the opportunity to create something festive in the Maritime Museum’s fun, child-friendly art and craft session. Their facilitators will help you to make something fantastic to take home.

The workshops are free and held in the morning and afternoon so drop in and get creative with them!

A Crafty Christmas at the Museum, Maritime Museum, 21 December, 11am and 1.30pm.

5. Aladdin – Christmas Pantomime

Take the whole family to Aladdin, an action-packed pantomime staged in The Atkinson’s traditional theatre. TV and film actor Patsy Kensit stars as the Genie of the Lamp!

Joining Patsy on stage are a fabulous cast of panto professionals. Merseyside dancer and actor Dominic Gore plays the hero Aladdin and Southport’s very own Tom Burroughs is the evil Abanazer.

The Atkinson, Southport until 31 December, various times.

6. Craft and Create – Christmas

Enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and make something unique to decorate your home or to gift to someone special.

These craft workshops are free and ideal to fire youngsters’ imaginations, all in the wonderful surroundings of the Walker Art Gallery for inspiration!

Craft and Create, Walker Art Gallery, 17 December, 1-4 pm.

To find more events happening across the Liverpool City Region in December and beyond check out our What’s On listings.

Things to do in Ormskirk

By Ade Blackburn

Ormskirk is ideal for a family day out and to discover its unique mix of culture, history and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Rufford Old Hall Ormskirk Credit NT Rufford Old Hall Facebook Page
Credit: NT Rufford Old Hall Facebook Page

1. Cycling

Cycling is a great way of exploring West Lancashire’s countryside. Most of the area is flat and there are many quiet lanes, which are great to cycle on, with splendid views over the West Lancashire Plain.

Use your bike to get to attractions like Ainsdale Nature Reserve for a day out. West Lancashire also has some wonderful churches and monuments steeped in history, with the oldest, St Michael’s Church in Aughton dating back to around 850AD. This route offers an insight into the churches, their grounds and their history, riders can join the route at various access points, including Ormskirk, Aughton Park, Town Green and Burscough Bridge Railway Stations.

2. Chapel Gallery

Chapel Gallery’s diverse programme includes internationally regarded artists, such as David Hockney and Peter Blake, while bringing innovative contemporary art and craft from across the UK to the region, and supporting local artists in the development of their careers.

From art clubs and school holiday activities to adult learning music and cinema, there are plenty of ways to get creative, whatever your age or ability.

The gallery is also home to a cafe and their craft and design shop.

3. Farmer Ted’s Adventure Farm

Farmer Ted’s Adventure Farm is a large farm geared around children with plenty of fun on offer. They offer free tractor rides around the farm, Birds of Prey, pony grooming, ferret racing, guinea pig handling and a jungle themed mini-beast centre.

The farm is also the venue for the legendary Pumpkin Festival at Halloween, now running throughout October, and their Christmas Adventure walks.

4. Ormskirk Market

Ormskirk Market is renowned for being one of the UK’s oldest and most traditional outdoor markets. Granted a Royal Charter in 1286 by King Edward I, this popular and well-loved market has been held in Ormskirk ever since.

The market is now hosted every Thursday and Saturday, 8am-4pm. The pedestrianised streets around the famous clock tower offer around 100 stalls, attracting a variety of shoppers each market day.

The stalls offer everything from clothing and bedding to fresh meat and vegetables. They’re also well worth checking out for stocking-filler gifts that won’t break the bank!

5. National Trust Rufford Old Hall

Follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps and visit one of Lancashire’s finest Tudor buildings, Rufford Old Hall, which was built in the 1530s.

You can discover something different every day, from the changing fortunes of the family who lived there, to Shakespeare’s connections with the house. At the centre of the building there’s an enchanting cobbled 18th Century court to explore.

You can also enjoy a stroll outdoors in their formal Victorian and Edwardian garden, take a walk through the tranquil woodland or along the Leeds/Liverpool canal.

6. The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University

The Arts Centre at Edge Hill University offers a full programme of events, from cutting-edge drama and dance to poetry and some brilliant stand-up comedy nights.

Past performances include shows by James Acaster, Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett and Russell Kane. The venue also presents talks by famous guest speakers and the latest cinema releases.

Hosting two theatres and a café bar, The Arts Centre provides a year-round programme full of diverse and inspirational performances for visitors to Ormskirk.

To discover events happening across the Liverpool city region visit our What’s On events listings.

Things to do in Southport

By Ade Blackburn

Southport has a wealth of things to do and see, the town has a year-round impressive cultural offer, as well as the more traditional seaside attractions.

The Atkinson - Southport

1. The Atkinson

The Atkinson is Southport’s home for music, theatre, art, literature and history. Situated in the middle of the iconic Lord Street and just three minutes’ walk from Southport train station.

The venue is a popular destination for families and arts enthusiasts alike. The nineteenth century buildings create a welcoming and accessible multi art-form venue.

The Atkinson is open throughout the year and presents a varied seasonal programme and changing exhibitions, events and lectures, so whatever time you visit, they offer a creative and varied day out.

The Atkinson
Lord Street

2. Hesketh Park

Hesketh Park is one of the largest parks in Southport. The Victorian Park has plenty to offer visitors, a mile walk away from Southport’s centre and with plenty of on street parking, this picturesque park is a perfect place to lose track of time.

The gardens and ornate fountains have been restored and reconstructed, to bring the park back to its former glory. There are numerous nature trails, varied wildlife, a large lake, and a children’s play area.

Hesketh Park
17 Park Crescent
Brentwood Court

3. British Lawnmower Museum

Southport’s British Lawnmower Museum has now become one of the world’s leading authorities on vintage lawnmowers and are now specialists in antique garden machinery, supplying parts, and valuing machines from all over the world.

They have created a unique ‘turfrific’ exhibition called Lawnmowers of the Rich & Famous including lawnmowers and garden implements by Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Brian May and Eric Morecambe.

British Lawnmower Museum
106-112 Shakespeare Street

4. RSPB Marshside

This fantastic wetland site is located north of Southport town centre and has some of the best wildlife in the region, with amazing year round viewing opportunities.

In the summer, you’ll see nesting birds like avocets and lapwings, while the skies are full with pink-footed geese and wigeons in the winter.

If you’re new to wildlife watching, they also offer special event days to learn more and help get you involved.

RSPB Marshside
Marine Drive

5. Southport Little Theatre

Southport Dramatic Club was founded in 1920 and the art deco styled Little Theatre became their permanent home just prior to World War Two.

By the 1960s, the club was putting on seven shows a season. Seasons now comprise of eight productions, including, a regular ‘Out-of-Season’ production in their bar.

They are currently presenting Gym and Tonic, a bittersweet comedy and honest commentary on the state of our times, 20-29 October, 7.30pm.

Little Theatre
Hoghton Street

6.Wesley Street

Wesley Street is affectionately known as the Village in the Town with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the street hosts a string of unique, independent shops painted in pastel colours.

The traders run family-friendly events throughout the year, such as the Wesley Street Festival and Movember. They also recently decorated the street with miles of wool in a yarnbombing spectacular!

You will find a traditional sweet shop, celebration cakes, antique jewellers, cafes and gift sellers. With 22 locally owned shops, Wesley street has a truly unique feel.

Wesley Street

To discover more things to do across the Liverpool City Region check out our What’s On listings.

Legendary Liverpool Comedians

By Ade Blackburn

Liverpool has a renowned history of comedic talent, comedy that made us laugh and challenged the ideas of what humour could be. Here’s a selection of legendary comedians from the region.

Legendary Liverpool Comedians

1. Alexei Sayle

Best known for his cynicism and political awareness, Alexei Sayle also developed his own unique brand of physical comedy. Much of his humour is in the surreal tradition of Monty Python and his style led to various roles in the classic 1980s comedy The Young Ones. The success of the show was followed by appearances in Doctor Who and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

Alexei Sayle also forged a side-career as an unlikely 80s pop star, his most successful single was the suitably unhinged Ullo John Gotta New Motor which made the Top 20 in 1984. The single was recorded with hit producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who worked with Madness and Elvis Costello.

2. Chris Cairns

Chris Cairns has gained a reputation for being able to handle the toughest of rooms with his sharp put downs and a fine eye for a cutting remark.

He is a regular compere at Laughterhouse venues in Liverpool and is known all over the country as a friend to the audience but a deadly foe to the heckler. He was awarded Eric Morecambe Comedian of the Year and Liverpool Comedian of the Year in 2011.

As well as performing stand up comedy, Chris is also educating the next generation of stand up comedians as a tutor on Stand Out, the comedy course for 14-18 year olds in the North West.

3. Kenny Everett

From a Catholic family, Kenny Everett attended the local secondary modern school in Crosby, now part of Sacred Heart Catholic College. Born Maurice Cole, he started his career with spells on pirate radio in the mid-1960s and was one of the first DJs to join BBC’s newly-created Radio 1 in 1967.

The Kenny Everett Video Show was his big comedy breakthrough and a vehicle for Everett’s characters such as the infamous Sid Snot and Cupid Stunt. Various pop and TV stars made cameo appearances on the show, including Kate Bush and Freddie Mercury.

In the first three series, all the animated segments were created by the fledgling Cosgrove_Hall partnership, later responsible for the children’s cartoon series Dangermouse.

4. Faith Brown

One of the earliest female comedians to break into television in the 1970s, Faith Brown attended Walton’s St Francis De Sales School and was a singer in vocal group The Carrolls with her brothers, before using her talent for mimicry to switch to comedy impressions.

She became known for her impressions of Hollywood stars and eventually presented her own primetime show, regularly attracting millions of viewers. As her profile grew, she appeared as a guest on Blankety Blank and is another surprise veteran of Doctor Who, Faith played an alien in the 1985 story Attack of the Cybermen.

In recent years, she made a comeback on the reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here! and worked as a children’s presenter at the BBC.

5. Arthur Askey

Askey was born in Moses Street, Dingle in 1900, he was known for his short stature, distinctive horn-rimmed glasses, and his playful humour.

In the early 1930s, Askey appeared on an early form of BBC television— The Spinning Disc invented by John Logie Baird that scanned vertically and had only thirty lines. Askey had to be heavily made up for his face to be recognisable at such low resolution.

When television became electronic, with 405 horizontal lines, Askey was a regular performer in variety shows such as The Good Old Days and subsequently starred in several  comedy films as part of the Second World War effort.

6. Ken Dodd

No comedy list would be complete without the legendary ‘Doddy’. A lifelong resident of Knotty Ash, Ken Dodd’s career as an entertainer started in the mid-1950s.

His performances would run for several hours, frequently past midnight. He earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest ever joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours (7.14 jokes per minute).

His surreal gags were supplemented by his infamous tickling stick and the legendary Diddy Men. He interspersed the comedy with songs, both serious and humorous, which led to several hit singles in the 1960s. He even appeared in some dramatic roles, including a part in the 1996 film of Hamlet, directed by Kenneth Branagh.


Visit the Uncover Liverpool Events Listings to discover up-coming comedy events and much more!

30 Years of Cream – Liverpool‘s Legendary Nightclub

By Ade Blackburn

2022 will be a landmark year for Cream as it celebrates its 30 year anniversary. Since its humble beginnings in 1992 as a small underground club night, it grew to become one of the worlds most recognisable youth brands and a global powerhouse in electronic music.

Here we look at some of the key moments and events in the club’s history.

Cream On The Waterfront 2021
Cream On The Waterfront 2021. Credit: Cream Official Facebook Page

1. Beginnings 

Cream originally began as a weekly house music night at the now demolished Nation (formerly Snobs Disco) in Wolstenholme Square. It ran from October 1992 to June 2002. Cream was viewed as a welcome antidote to the business-minded approach of London club, Ministry of Sound.

The club grew from being a small intimate venue catering for around 400 clubbers every Saturday night to being one of the UK’s first ‘superclubs’ regularly attracting thousands from all over the country.

The club was started by Everton-born James Barton and Chester’s Darren Hughes in the early nineties and within a few years had become one of the most famous in the UK.

Prior to Cream, James Barton was a resident DJ at Bootle’s legendary Quadrant Park during the acid house scene.

2. Success

By the middle of the decade, Cream had arrived. Clubbers were sporting tattoos of the distinctive Cream logo (which itself had won awards for its ‘propeller-style’ design), DJs from around the world were lining up to play in the main room, and one Liverpool couple even decided to get married at a Cream event.

In 1996, Cream was cited as the third main reason people applied to Liverpool University in a poll conducted by the university.

Many of the titans of electronic music played at a Cream event, such as Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers.

People from New York were coming to the city week in week out and helped create a vibrant scene in Liverpool. Kylie Minogue even performed at Cream’s second birthday party in 1994. The brand had well and truly entered its Superstar DJ era.

3. Legacy

Cream capitalised on its success by launching merchandising and setting up its own record label in partnership with Virgin and Paul Oakenfold’s Creamfields (2004) was nominated for Best Electronic/Dance Album at the Grammy Awards.

Many of their compilation albums have also been commercially successful, Cream Anthems 2001 reached number 1 in the UK Compilation Chart.

Creamfields 2022 - Credit Creamfields Facebook Page
Creamfields 2022 – Credit Creamfields Facebook Page

4. Creamfields

James Barton helped the brand evolve and when Creamfields started it became the dance festival to go to in the UK.

The first Creamfields was at Winchester Bowl in Hampshire and had a huge line up including Run DMC. Creamfields has won the award for Best Dance Event at the UK Festival Awards a record six times and caters for around 40,000 clubbers.

As well as establishing Creamfields, they started successful club nights at Amnesia in Ibiza. The nights became one of the longest running UK club events on the island.

5. Legendary Status

Cream is still a very active brand in 2022. Never ones to stand still, in 2016 they launched Cream Classical in Liverpool Cathedral which has become an annual staple in the event calendar and yet another success story. The shows are fronted by the now-legendary 50 piece Kaleidoscope Orchestra and curated by DJ/Producer duo K-Klass.

To mark their 30th anniversary, the shows are making a return to the Cathedral for the first time since 2019, with two nights on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

Liverpool Cathedral, St James Mt, Liverpool, L1