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.
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.
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.
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.
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