Coordinates: 53°23′24″N 3°10′48″W / 53.390°N 3.180°W / 53.390; -3.180
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hoylake beach, looking towards Hilbre Island
Hoylake is located in Merseyside
Location within Merseyside
Population5,710 (2001 census)
OS grid referenceSJ215888
• London183 mi (295 km)[1] SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWIRRAL
Postcode districtCH47, CH48
Dialling code0151
ISO 3166 codeGB-WRL
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
53°23′24″N 3°10′48″W / 53.390°N 3.180°W / 53.390; -3.180

Hoylake is a seaside town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England. It is at the north west of the Wirral Peninsula, near West Kirby and where the River Dee meets the Irish Sea.[2] Historically part of Cheshire, the Domesday Book of 1086 recorded it within the Hundred of Wilaveston.

At the 2001 census, the population of Hoylake was 5,710[3] of a total population of 13,042, as part of the Hoylake and Meols local government ward.[4] By the time of the 2011 census specific population figures for Hoylake were no longer maintained. The total population for the Hoylake and Meols Ward at this census was 13,348.[5]


In 1690, William III set sail from Hoylake, then known as Hyle or High-lake,[6][nb 1] with a 10,000-strong army to Ireland, where his army was to take part in the Battle of the Boyne. The location of departure remains known as King's Gap.[8][verification needed] The previous year a large force under Marshal Schomberg had also departed from Hoylake on 12 August,[9] crossing to Ireland to capture Carrickfergus.

The present day township grew up in the nineteenth century around the small fishing village of Hoose,[10] the name of which means "hollows".[11] The 1848 Topographical Dictionary of England described the inhabitants of Hoose as:

"...principally boatmen and fishermen, who have frequently evinced the greatest courage and alacrity in rescuing mariners from the horrors of shipwreck; large banks of sand, extending for miles on the northwest, being annually the scene of most fatal disasters to shipping."[12]

The name Hoylake was derived from Hoyle Lake, a channel of water between Hilbre Island and Dove Point.[13] Protected by a wide sandbank known as Hoyle Bank and with a water depth of about 20 feet, it provided a safe anchorage for ships too large to sail up the Dee to Chester.[14]

Civic history[edit]

The township of Hoose was part of the West Kirby Parish of the Wirral Hundred. It existed as a civil parish between 1866 and 1894 when it was merged into Hoylake and West Kirby civil parish.[15] Between 1894 and 1974 Hoylake was governed by its own urban district council.[16] On 1 April 1974, local government reorganisation in England and Wales resulted in most of the Wirral Peninsula, including Hoylake, transfer from the county of Cheshire to the nascent county of Merseyside.

The population of the town over time was measured at 60 in 1801, 589 in 1851 and 2,701 in 1901.[15] The total population of the Hoylake Urban District (which included West Kirby) was recorded as 19,745 in 1931.[16]


The Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial is a notable local landmark, as it was designed in 1922 by the British sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger who was responsible for a number of war memorials around the world, including the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London.

The former Town Hall, on the corner of Albert Road and Market Street, is due to be converted to a new arts centre, known as The Beacon, with craft workshops, restaurant, and flats above.[17]

Kings Gap roundabout is home to a sculpture by Scottish sculptor David Annand. Called 'Knots', it consists of seabirds looping around four poles. It was commissioned by the council as part of the regeneration of Hoylake and was installed in June 2006 in time for the 2006 Open Championship.[18]


Hoylake Lighthouse
The old upper lighthouse
OS gridSJ2146289004
Coordinates53°23′32″N 3°10′57″W / 53.392089°N 3.182614°W / 53.392089; -3.182614
Constructed1764 (first)
Constructionbrick tower
Height17 metres (56 ft)
Shapeoctagonal prism tower with balcony and lantern attached to 2-storey keeper's house
Markingsunpainted tower, black balcony, white lantern
HeritageGrade II listed building Edit this on Wikidata
First lit1865 (current)
Lens4th order fixed optic (azimuthal condensing)

To facilitate safe access into the Hoylake anchorage, two lighthouses were constructed in 1763,[20] at the initiative of William Hutchinson.[21] The lower light was a wooden structure that could be moved according to differing tides and shifting sands to remain aligned to the upper light, which was a permanent brick building. By the start of the 19th century each lighthouse was equipped with a single 3 ft-diameter reflector,[22] built to Hutchinson's design.[21]

Both of these structures were rebuilt a century later,[23] and in 1865 new lenses (a pair of fourth-order fixed optics) were designed and manufactured for the two towers by James Chance.[24] The upper lighthouse, consisting of an octagonal brick tower, last shone on 14 May 1886 and is now part of a private residence in Valentia Road.[23] The building was given Grade II listed status in 1988.[25] The lower lighthouse, closer to the shore in Alderley Road, was deactivated in 1908[26] and demolished in 1922.

Former landmarks[edit]

The Royal Hotel was built by Sir John Stanley in 1792, with the intention of developing the area as a holiday resort. The numerous steam packet vessels sailing between Liverpool and North Wales which called at the hotel provided valuable patronage. By the mid-19th century a racecourse was laid out in the grounds of the hotel. The hotel building was demolished in the 1950s.[27]

Hoylake's lido, located on the promenade, was opened in June 1913 and rebuilt in the late 1920s. In 1976, the Hoylake Pool and Community Trust took over the running of the facility from Wirral Borough Council.[14] The baths finally closed in 1981.[28]


Hoylake is at the north-western corner of the Wirral Peninsula, and is situated on the eastern side of the mouth of the Dee Estuary and adjacent to the Irish Sea. Hoylake is approximately 11 km (6.8 mi) west-south-west of the River Mersey at New Brighton. The centre of Hoylake is situated at an elevation of about 9 m (30 ft) above sea level.[29]

To the west of the town at Hilbre Point is Red Rocks, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is an exposed sandstone outcrop consisting of sand dunes, brackish marsh and reed beds.[30][31][32]


Hoylake is within the parliamentary constituency of Wirral West. The current Member of Parliament is Margaret Greenwood, a Labour representative.

At local government level, the town is incorporated into the Hoylake and Meols Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, in the metropolitan county of Merseyside. It is represented on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council by three councillors.[33] The most recent local elections took place on 6 May 2021.


Hoylake Community Centre

Hoylake is a largely residential area and there is an active nightlife in the town centre, which is located at the original village of Hoose.[10]

The town supports a permanent lifeboat station, manned by the RNLI. Initially founded in 1803 by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, it is one of the oldest in the country.[34] In 2008, the RNLI began to raise £2 million for a new lifeboat station and new generation all-weather lifeboat, to facilitate a faster response time to emergencies and rescues in the Irish Sea and the rivers Dee and Mersey. The building was opened in November 2009.[35]

The Kings Gap conservation area has been designated by Wirral Borough Council. Bounded by the coastline and the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, it consists of large nineteenth and early twentieth century houses, Hoylake Lighthouse and St Hildeburgh's Church.[36]


Hoylake includes the independent Kingsmead School, which educates girls and boys from 2 to 16 years old. Hoylake Holy Trinity C of E Primary School is the town's main primary school, educating children from the ages of 3 to 11.



The Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Hoylake is the home of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, built in 1869 on the site of the Royal Hotel racecourse.[10] It is the second oldest golf links in England, predated only by the Royal North Devon Golf Club, in Westward Ho!, Devon.[37] It has hosted many major tournaments such as the Open Championship and the Walker Cup. The club is often referred to as "Hoylake". It hosted the Open again in July 2006, after a gap of almost 40 years, with Tiger Woods earning the Claret Jug for the second year in a row. The 2014 Open Championship is the 12th time the event was held at Hoylake. This was won by Rory McIlroy.[38] The 2023 Open Championship is the most recent event to be held in Hoylake marking the 13th time it has returned to the town.[39] This was won by Brian Harman.[40]

Hoylake-born amateur golfer John Ball Jnr. won the Open in 1890, becoming the first Englishman to do so. Another local amateur, Harold Hilton became Open champion two years later. He won again in 1897 at his home club of Royal Liverpool.

On the other side of Meols Drive and the railway is Hoylake Municipal Golf course which is used by Hoylake Golf Club (since 1933), West Hoyle GC and Irby GC. It was used as the 2006 Open Championship practice course.

Rugby Union[edit]

Hoylake RFC rugby club was founded in 1922. They currently play in South Lancs/Cheshire Division One, the seventh tier of English rugby. Its predecessor, connected with the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, had been founded in the 1890s. British Open golf champion Harold Hilton was also captain of the rugby team for the 1890–91 season.[27]


Hoylake ASC was founded in 1931. The club now trains at the West Kirby Concourse and the Calday Grange Swimming Pool.


The sailing club on North Parade

Hoylake Sailing Club was founded in 1887 and has a clubhouse and boatyard on North Parade. The club hosts an annual regatta and sends a team to the Southport 24 Hour Race.

Sand yachting[edit]

Hoylake is one of the premier sites for sand yachting in Britain,[37] with banks around a quarter of a mile offshore. The town's beach was the venue for the European Sand Yacht Championships in 2007 and 2011 and hosted the 2017 event with Laytown & Bettystown, County Meath.[41][42]


Cricket was played at the now disused Ellerman Lines Cricket Ground from as early as the 1920s, when the then newly formed West Wirral Cricket Club played at the ground. It was later sold to Ellerman Lines, who transformed the site into their social club. Cheshire played minor counties cricket there from 1957 to 1968. The ground also held Cheshire's first ever appearance in List A cricket against Surrey in the first round of the 1964 Gillette Cup.[43]

The ground was later sold, with the site becoming a nightclub, before being demolished following a fire. In 2011 the site of the ground was selected for construction of 62 affordable homes.[44] Planning permission for this, and a revised plan for 26 properties, were refused. In 2020 a further planning proposal was submitted for 30 semi-detached bungalows and up to 61 assisted living retirement apartments.[45]


Hoylake and Manor Road railway stations serve the town. Both are on the West Kirby branch of Merseyrail's Wirral line.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ High lake is also mentioned, with regard to William III's army travelling to Ireland, in the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 12, Episode 3, about Derek Jacobi.[7]


  1. ^ "Coordinate Distance Calculator". boulter.com. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Hoylake Tourist Information & Visitor Guide". www.visitwirral.com. Wirral Council. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Wirral 2001 Census: Hoylake". Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Retrieved 23 December 2007.[dead link]
  4. ^ "2001 Census: Hoylake & Meols Ward". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
  5. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Hoylake and Meols Ward (E05000963)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  6. ^ Denham, Henry Mangles (1840). Sailing directions from Point Lynas to Liverpool. Liverpool: Mawdsley. p. 95. Retrieved 27 August 2015 – via Internet Archive. high lake ireland william iii.
  7. ^ "Derek Jacobi". Who Do You Think You Are?. Series 12. Episode 3. 27 August 2015. Event occurs at 52:50. BBC. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Walker Art Gallery (Frieze of King William III setting sail to Ireland from Hoylake)". International Centre for Digital Content. Archived from the original on 24 September 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  9. ^ Bartlett, Thomas; Jeffery, Keith (9 October 1997). A Military History of Ireland. Cambridge University Press. p. 193. ISBN 9780521629898. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "Hoylake". Merseyside Views. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  11. ^ "Key to English Place Names: Hoose". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Hoo - Hope-Baggot: Hoose". A Topographical Dictionary of England. British History Online. 1848. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  13. ^ Young, Derek; Young, Marian (1984). Pictures From The Past: A unique collection of photographs of old Hoylake, Meols and West Kirby. ASIN B001KA5LEY.
  14. ^ a b "Hoylake History". HoylakeAndWestKirby.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  15. ^ a b "Hoose (Hoylake)". GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Hoylake". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  17. ^ Jones, Lauren. "Plans approved to transform Hoylake's former town hall into 'The Beacon Arts Village'". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  19. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Northwest England". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  20. ^ Robinson, John; Robinson, Diane (2007). Lighthouses of Liverpool Bay. The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-4209-9.
  21. ^ a b "William Hutchinson (1715-1801)". The Maritime History Virtual Archive. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Hoylake Lighthouses: the old high light". Lighthouse Compendium. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Hoylake Lighthouse". Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  24. ^ Chance, James Frederick (1902). The Lighthouse Work of Sir James Chance, Baronet (PDF). London: Smith, Elder & co. p. 166. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  25. ^ Historic England. "Lighthouse and adjoining keepers house (1259767)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  26. ^ "Hoylake Low Light". lighthousedepot.com. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  27. ^ a b "Hoylake RFC History". Hoylake RFC. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
  28. ^ "Hoylake Amateur Swimming Club has uncovered archive film of the town's outdoor Lido as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations". BBC. 19 October 2006.
  29. ^ "SRTM & Ordnance Survey Elevation Data in PHP". Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  30. ^ "1:50000 geology series, England and Wales sheet 96, Liverpool, Bedrock and Superficial deposits". Maps Portal. British Geological Survey. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  31. ^ "Red Rocks Marsh". Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  32. ^ Smith, Richard. "Hoylake and Red Rocks". Dee Estuary Birding. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  33. ^ "Your Councillors by Ward". Wirral Borough Council. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  34. ^ "History". Hoylake Lifeboat website. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  35. ^ "Former Hoylake lifeboat station to become museum". Wirral Globe. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  36. ^ "Kings Gap conservation area". Wirral Borough Council. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  37. ^ a b "A-Hoylake!". BBC Sport. 17 July 2006. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  38. ^ "Previous Opens - 143rd Open Royal Liverpool 2014 - The Open". www.theopen.com. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  39. ^ "The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool". The Open. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  40. ^ "American Harman wins first major at The Open". ESPN.com. 23 July 2023. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  41. ^ "Sand yacht championships to start". BBC News. 16 September 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  42. ^ "Events". British Landsailing - BFSLYC. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  43. ^ "Ground profile: Ellerman Lines Cricket Ground, Hoylake". CricketArchive. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  44. ^ "Supporting Planning Statement: Former Ellerman Lines Social Club, Carr Lane, Hoylake" (PDF). www.wirral.gov.uk. October 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  45. ^ "New bid to build on site of former social club in Hoylake". Today News. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  46. ^ "Daniel Craig: The spy who loves Hoylake". Liverpool Echo. 20 October 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  47. ^ "Helen Forrester". Fantastic Fiction. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  48. ^ "Julian Lennon Biography". lennon.net. Archived from the original on 9 May 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  49. ^ Morecambe, Gary; Sterling, Martin (2001). Morecambe & Wise - Behind The Sunshine. Robson Books. p. 19. ISBN 1-86105-462-9.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]