The best road trips near Liverpool are well-varied, thanks to the city's favourable geographic position, roads, and transport links. The northern city is a great starting point for road-trippers wishing to enjoy the great outdoors, as it’s within driving distance of 2 of the UK's largest and best-loved national parks.

    Liverpool is surrounded by a striking coastline, with the famous seaside resorts of the North Wales coast within easy reach of the city. If that isn’t enough, the nearby area is home to more than its fair share of gardens and parks. Escape to North West England this weekend with our guide to the best road trips near Liverpool.

    1

    Formby Beach

    Wildlife, dunes, and unbroken ocean views

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    Formby Beach offers a wonderful city escape and is among the best road trips near Liverpool thanks to its near-endless dunes and outstanding ocean vistas. The National Trust protected area boasts pristine pine woodland, long walking trails, and picturesque picnic areas. The views from up on the high dunes are nothing short of spectacular, with the distant Cumbrian Mountains visible on clear days.

    The area is famed for its native wildlife, with plentiful bird species, colourful sand lizards, red squirrels, and the enigmatic natterjack toad. There's plenty of parking available for day-trippers, while the Northern Line-serviced Formby train station is just 1 mile away from Formby Beach.

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    Location: Formby, Liverpool L37 1YD, UK

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    2

    Hilbre Island

    Walk across from the mainland to meet the playful seals

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    Hilbre Island is a great location for intrepid walkers, with its magnificent array of rare and endangered wildlife. The island is one of the best road trips near Liverpool for nature lovers. It's home to a colony of beautiful grey seals, with numbers at their highest in the summer months. Bird watchers should keep a special eye out for the many species of waders, while those less interested in twitching can still enjoy outstanding views from the River Dee estuary to the North Wales and Wirral coastlines.

    Access to Hilbre Island is dependent on the tide and only possible on foot, so bring sensible walking shoes. Crossing from the mainland starts at Dee Lane, West Kirby, which is well serviced by both bus and train, with car parking available for drivers.

    Location: Wirral CH48 8BW, UK

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    3

    Snowdonia

    Sensational mountain views before you've even left the car

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    Snowdonia is home to the tallest mountain in England and Wales. Covering 823 square miles of diverse landscapes, Wale's largest national park is also the site of the country's biggest lake. It takes around 1.5 hours of driving from Liverpool, but the jaw-dropping views on the scenic drive make it worthy of consideration.

    The spectacular park features 14 peaks over 3000 ft, making it a magnet for walkers and climbers. If hiking isn't for you, fear not, as the Snowdon Mountain Railway is a marvellous way to ascend the peak. Other manmade attractions include the delightful villages of Llanberis and Beddgelert, as well as the fascinating National Slate Museum.

    Location: Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd LL48 6LF, UK

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    4

    Chester Zoo

    Get up close with exotic animals while learning about conservation

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    Chester Zoo is one of the most visited zoos in the UK. The 128-acre complex houses a collection of rare and endangered animals in beautifully landscaped enclosures. You can get up close and personal with over 35,000 animals from the world over, including lions, giraffes, orangutans, chimpanzees, rhinos, and elephants.

    It's not just animals, though, as Chester Zoo also features award-winning botanical gardens, as well as cafes, restaurants, and a shop. The zoo is famed for its conservation and educational projects. Younger visitors can take part in daily activities and games throughout the day.

    Location: Chester CH2 1EU, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1244 380280

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    5

    Colwyn Bay

    Quintessential seaside living in this ever-popular resort town

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    Colwyn Bay is a seaside resort town with a spacious beach, a 3-mile promenade, and abundant green spaces. The North Wales resort has been a popular destination since Victorian times. With golden sands and quaint shops, it's managed to retain its bygone charm while tastefully modernising for today's travel market. While the beach is still the biggest draw, the charming town is a joy to explore.

    There's plenty to do in Colwyn Bay on rainy days, too, including Bay Gallery, Bayview Shopping Centre, and Theatr Colwyn – Wales' oldest operating theatre and cinema. Nearby, Eirias Park has a boating lake, bowling green and leisure centre, while the magnificent snow leopards at the Welsh Mountain Zoo make for a great excursion.

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    6

    Sefton Park

    Enjoy Mother Nature without having to leave the city

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    Sefton Park is a Grade I-listed English Heritage park in Liverpool. The gorgeous 200-acre park feels like a natural landscape rather than a manmade space. Its springtime bloom of golden daffodils and brightly coloured bluebells brings visitors in droves to marvel at the display.

    Walking along Sefton's curved pathways, you’ll find magnificent indigenous trees as well as beautiful statues of Eros and Peter Pan. The park is also home to a boating lake and a cafe, as well as Palm House – a lovingly restored 19th-century dome conservatory. It houses palm trees, orchids and one of the oldest horticultural collections in Britain.

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    Location: Sefton Park, Liverpool L17, UK

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    7

    Rufford Old Hall

    Take a trip to Tudor England

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    Rufford Old Hall is a fascinating Tudor building surrounded by serene Victorian and Edwardian gardens. The Grade I-listed building is home to an exceptional collection of antique furniture, tapestries, and armour. It offers a rare glimpse of life in Tudor England. Built in the 1530s, the impressive original main hall still stands today, along with a Jacobean style wing added in 1661, and another in the 1820s.

    Rufford Old Hall is famous for its links to William Shakespeare, with evidence suggesting that The Bard performed there sometime in the 1580s. You can enjoy a stroll on the grounds or take a walk along the nearby Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Seasonal dishes are available at the quintessentially English Tea Room.

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    Location: 200 Liverpool Rd, Rufford, Ormskirk L40 1SG, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1704 821254

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    photo by Francis Franklin (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Lake District

    Immerse yourself in the magnificence of this famous National Park

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    The Lake District is a vast national park known for its glacial ribbon lakes and mighty fell mountains. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, as well as its largest lake, Windemere. Derwentwater lake is a must-see, too. There are some fantastic hikes to be had here, with trails at Helvellyn and the Catbells Lakeland Walk among some of its most popular options.

    The Arts and Crafts-style Blackwell is a wonderful historic home that attracts museum lovers. The idyllic market towns of Keswick, Kendall, and Ambleside are great bases from which to explore. You’ll find old-style inns, galleries showing work from local artists, and, of course, outdoor equipment stores.

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    9

    Crosby Beach

    Unspoilt sands and modern art combine on the Wirral coast

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    Crosby Beach is a wide, sandy beach with beautiful ocean-side views of North Wales and The Wirral. Crosby Beach is the starting point of the 22-mile Sefton Coastal Path, which journeys through several nature reserves, including Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve and Crossens Marsh Reserve.

    Art lovers may know the beach best for being home to the striking Another Place sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist, Antony Gormley. It consists of 100 cast-iron figures facing towards the sea. Crosby Beach has been awarded the Quality Coast Award by Keep Britain Tidy, meaning that the standard of beach management is of the highest quality in the UK.

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    10

    Ness Botanic Gardens

    Award-winning gardens and year-round colour

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    The Ness Botanic Gardens is a delightful horticultural collection with show gardens, a Victorian-style kitchen garden, and splendid views across the Dee Estuary. The gardens were founded in 1898 by Arthur Kilpin Bulley, and in recent years have won a string of awards and accolades, including the coveted Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal display garden at the RHS Flower Show.

    The gardens boast year-round colour thanks to a wonderful collection of rhododendrons, camellias, snowdrops, and Sorbus, among many other species. The welcoming visitor centre provides details of activities catering to guests of all ages in all seasons. The Ness Botanic Gardens has an events schedule that includes stargazing, nature walks, and arts and crafts programs.

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    Location: Neston Rd, Little Neston, Ness CH64 4AY, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)151 7956300

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    photo by Esther Westerveld (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Patrizio Cavaliere | Contributing Writer

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