On a sunny but blustery day in the Summer holidays I took the girls on a Ferry across the Mersey on Mersey Ferries.
If you’re anything like me you can’t actually make that statement without singing it to the tune of the Gerry & The Pacemakers hit.
We went to take advantage of their River Explorer Package which not only includes the return ferry across the Mersey, whether you start Liverpool or Wirral side, but also includes access to Spaceport at Seacombe terminal and The U-Boat Story at Woodside. A family ticket (families up to 5) for £35 gets you access to all 3 attractions.
A full round trip on the Mersey Ferry takes around 50 minutes but usually people incorporate the ferry into a day out from either side. We bumped into a few people from the Wirral side on our journey, using it as an exciting way to get into Liverpool and explore the fair on the Pierhead. There is also free parking at both ferry terminals on the Wirral side making it a great option for a day out, particularly with the cost of parking in Liverpool.
As we didn’t really have time for a day out in Liverpool as well as taking advantage of Spaceport, we decided to park up at Seacombe Ferry terminal, visit Spaceport (which we’ve never done before despite living 20 minutes away) and then do the round trip on the ferry whilst eating our picnic.
Spaceport is described on their website as ‘taking an inspirational journey through space, as you walk through several themed galleries’, ‘which all feature a large variety of interactive hands-on exhibits’. You start your journey by heading into a dark room where you effectively ‘blast off’ into space. This start to the day terrified my three aged 6, 5 and 5 but only because we had been to Disney the year before and every time we ushered them into a small space it was to get onto a simulator that scared them senseless. The sensory experience at Spaceport (not having the budget of Disney) is not as lifelike as that so they soon calmed down.
After you arrive into ‘Space’ you wander through lots of interactive galleries with lots to read. Being 5 and 6 a lot of the detail and the concepts in the gallery – gravity and the speed of light – were lost on my three, but they do like the planets and stars and learning lots of facts and figures, even if they don’t always understand them.
Due to them not being able to read all the signs and because a lot of the interactive games are either a little old so don’t work amazingly, or are designed for kids a lot taller and a lot older than them – we had exhausted the galleries quite quickly – say within an hour.
They did try to hit the shadows and blow up the ships on the large wall game but unless I was operating the game too it didn’t work. This would have been a treat for bigger kids though I’m sure.
So after an hour or so, and having gone round the Star Wars exhibit a couple of times as they have watched it and the twins like it a lot, I was left with a sense of disappointment about Spaceport and about to write it off, however we were then advised it was time for the 25 minute theatre show to start.
Once again I fought a battle about us heading into the show as Eve was scared the seats would move and she’d be shaken about – I did try to tell her this was the Wirral not Orlando but to no avail. So we all took our seats close to the edge of the row in case we needed to escape, their strategy, not mine and we settled down.
This is where for me Spaceport came into its own – a twenty five minute film played out on the domed ceiling of the theatre – about whether there is life anywhere else in the universe. My kids, me, and the rest of the theatre were gripped. It was excellent. Funny, informative and enjoyable.
If you are heading to Spaceport I would make sure you call ahead to establish the show times as you would be completely missing out if you visited with Spaceport without watching the show. For me, if we had missed it, I wouldn’t have thought it was worth visiting with children the same age as mine, but they absolutely LOVED this part of the day.
You can pay to visit Spaceport without the ferry, or buy a combination ticket. It’s also cheaper to book online at least the day before.
- Adult £9.50
- Child £6.00 5-15 yrs
- Family £24.50 2 adults & up to 3 children
- Concession £8.00
Ferry across the Mersey
After finishing up at Spaceport we made our way to the ferry terminal. The ferries set off every hour at twenty past the hour on the day we travelled, but again check online or call before you head over. It’s also worth double checking what time the ferries finish for the day if you’re intending to get off so you can plan your day and be able to get back.
We’ve been on the Ferry across the Mersey before so as we made our way onto the boat the girls rushed upstairs to get a bench facing our towards the river to make sure we didn’t miss some fabulous views of Liverpool.
With flags in hand (from the cafe) they proceeded to have fun with these in the very blustery winds as we made our way across to Liverpool. We had our own picnic and drinks with us, but you can buy food and drinks onboard the ferry, or at the cafes at all of the ferry terminals.
A top tip about travelling on the ferry is that even if it doesn’t feel windy when you’re on dry land, once you get out onto the Mersey you practically always need a coat!
There is an interesting pre-recorded story told on board the ferry about the history of Liverpool and the Wirral, and yes they do play the song so you can sing along.
We didn’t get chance to visit the U-Boat Story when we were out and about but if you have children who are a little older than mine and they are into history than you should definitely give it a whirl – it’s included in your ticket price after all.
RIVER EXPLORER CRUISE (INCLUDES ENTRY TO U-BOAT STORY) P
ONLINE PRICE*Adult £9.00 Child (5-15yrs) £5.50 Family (2 adults & 3 children) £24.50 Concessions (over 60s & NUS card holders) £7.50
We had a lovely day out on the Ferry across the Mersey. It’s a lovely way to spend a day.
NB: We were invited to spend a day on the Ferry across the Mersey by Mersey Ferries but all views and opinions are my own.