West Kirby

Coordinates: 53°22′23″N 3°11′02″W / 53.373°N 3.184°W / 53.373; -3.184
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West Kirby
Shops on The Crescent
West Kirby is located in the United Kingdom
West Kirby
West Kirby
Location within the United Kingdom
Population12,733 (2011 Census Ward)
OS grid referenceSJ213869
• London182 mi (293 km)[1] SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWIRRAL
Postcode districtCH48
Dialling code0151
ISO 3166 codeGB-WRL
UK Parliament
List of places
53°22′23″N 3°11′02″W / 53.373°N 3.184°W / 53.373; -3.184

West Kirby (/wɛst ˈkɜːrbi/) is a coastal town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, Merseyside, England, close to the mouth of the River Dee in the historic county of Cheshire. At the 2011 Census, the population was 12,733.[2][3][4]


The name West Kirby is of Viking origin, originally Kirkjubyr, meaning 'village with a church'.[5][6] The form with the modifier "West" exists to distinguish it from the other town of the same name in Wirral: Kirkby-in-Walea (now the modern town of Wallasey). The earliest usage given of this form is West Kyrkeby in Wirhale in 1285.[5]

The old village lay around St. Bridget's Church, but the town today is centred on West Kirby railway station, which is about 1 km away. The town has a Victorian promenade, flanked by the West Kirby Marine Lake that permits boats to sail even at low tide. The original wall was built to create the lake in 1899 but suffered a catastrophic leak in 1985.[7] A new lake was constructed on the site which is wider than previously and allows better sporting opportunities. The Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial is a notable local landmark, 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.

Civic history[edit]

West Kirby was a township and parish within the Wirral Hundred. It became part of Hoylake West Kirby civil parish[8] and Hoylake Urban District in 1894. The population was 148 in 1801, 435 in 1851 and 4,542 in 1901.[8]

On 1 April 1974, West Kirby was absorbed into the newly created Metropolitan Borough of Wirral as part of local government reorganisation in England and Wales. At that point, West Kirby ceased to be in Cheshire for administrative and ceremonial purposes and became part of the new metropolitan county of Merseyside.

In February 2008 plans were raised for a regeneration of the concourse sports and leisure centre including new retail space and controversially a multi-storey car park. As of 2013 the project appears to have stalled with developers' interest and funding wavering. Local residents' opposition is strong.[9]


West Kirby lies at the north-western corner of the Wirral Peninsula. West Kirby is on the eastern side of the mouth of the Dee Estuary, opposite North Wales and approximately 8 miles (13 km) west of Liverpool. Hilbre Island is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) offshore from West Kirby, at the mouth of the Dee Estuary.



Secondary schools in the area are Calday Grange Grammar School on Caldy Hill, West Kirby Grammar School and Hilbre High School, which includes the WestWirralWorks City Learning Centre and West Kirby Residential School.[10]


St Andrew's Church, at the junction of Graham Road and Meols Drive

St Bridget's Church is West Kirby's Church of England parish church, and the chancel of the present church dates from around 1320. St Andrew's Church is West Kirby's second Church of England church, originally built as a chapel of ease for St Bridget's, gaining its own parish in 1920.

St Agnes' Church is the local Roman Catholic church.[11] West Kirby also has a United Reformed church, which dates to 1890,[12] and a Methodist church dating from 1904.[13]


West Kirby Library is within West Kirby Concourse, and operated by the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. The West Kirby Museum, founded in 1892,[14] is adjacent to St Bridget's Church.

Parks, gardens and beach[edit]

Hilbre Island, approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) offshore from West Kirby

The town itself contains Ashton Park and a starting point of the Wirral Way, which follows the trackbed of the former Birkenhead Railway branch line from Hooton.[15] Sandlea Park lies in the centre of the town, a short walk from the railway station. Coronation Gardens is located between the southern end of the promenade between South Parade and Banks Road. There are various other small parks and bowling greens around the town. Another popular activity is to walk out to the islands of Little Eye, Middle Eye and Hilbre Island at low tide. The promenade, beach and the walk to the war memorial allow an excellent panoramic view of part of the North Wales coastline.


Sunset over the Marine Lake

Sailboarding, sailing and kayaking are all popular local sports. In October 1991 the World Windsurfing Production Speed Record was set by Dave White on the West Kirby Marine Lake at 42.16 knots.[16]

Water sports fans are warned to wear appropriate footwear while using the marine lake because of the presence of weaver fish with sharp poisonous barbs. There is also an RNLI Lifeboat Station near West Kirby Sailing Club.[17]

The Royal Liverpool Golf Club, a links course between West Kirby and Hoylake, has hosted 11 British Open Golf championships in the past 121 years, most recently the 2006 and 2014 British Opens.

Tennis tournaments have been held in Ashton Park. Here, players including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Monica Seles and Pete Sampras have played in competition.[18]

West Kirby FC is the town's senior football club, which plays in the West Cheshire League and plays its matches at Marine Park, Greenbank Road. West Kirby Ladies FC was officially established in 2017 and also play their matches at Marine Park, as do West Kirby Ladies U18s who play in the Cheshire Women's and Youth League.[19][20] The town has one of the largest junior football clubs in the North West, with over 90 teams and 1,000 players at West Kirby United.[citation needed] The teams play at many venues across West Kirby, including Calday Grange Grammar School, Hilbre High School and Greenbank Road. There were initially two junior clubs in the town, West Kirby Panthers and West Kirby Wasps, until the two sections merged to create West Kirby United in July 2017. The junior clubs play in the Eastham League with a youth section who play as West Kirby United in the North West under-21 League.

West Kirby is also home to Hoylake Amateur Swimming Club who train at West Kirby Concourse.

Marine Lake[edit]

The Marine Lake is a large man-made coastal lake. The structure is large enough to hold sailing events, such as the Wilson Trophy, sailboarding and water-related activities including canoeing, kayaking and power-boating.[21] In 2009, it was reported that the lake had undergone structural damage, most likely due to estuarine erosion. Since this report a £750K refurbishment has taken place to help restore the lake, and it is now back to holding water-sport activities.[22]



West Kirby station

West Kirby railway station is the western terminus of Merseyrail's Wirral line. It facilitates return services to Birkenhead Hamilton Square and Liverpool Central; a change at Bidston provides a connection to Wrexham and North Wales.[23]


Grange Road, the main thoroughfare of West Kirby, is part of the A540 road. The B5141, starting at the Dee Lane junction with Grange Road, joins West Kirby with Caldy via Banks Road, Sandy Lane and Caldy Road.


The town is well served by bus routes. There are frequent connections to Birkenhead and Liverpool, provided by Arriva North West services 407 and 437; these run every 10–20 minutes. Stagecoach Merseyside also serve the town with connections along the coast on service 38. There is also a direct bus service 22 between West Kirby to Chester, via Heswall and Neston, that runs hourly from Monday to Saturday.[24]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coordinate Distance Calculator". boulter.com. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  2. ^ new online wirral app directory, Whats up Smartmedia, retrieved 16 June 2012
  3. ^ 2001 Census: West Kirby and Thurstaston Ward, Office for National Statistics, retrieved 28 January 2008
  4. ^ "West Kirby and Thurstaston ward 2011". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b McNeal Dodgson, John (1972), The Place-Names of Cheshire Part IV ~ Broxton Hundred and Wirral Hundred, Cambridge University Press, pp. 294–295, ISBN 0-521-08247-1
  6. ^ Ellison, Norman (1955), The Wirral Peninsula, London: Robert Hale, p. 44, ISBN 0-7091-1660-8
  7. ^ WKSC History, West Kirby Sailing Club, archived from the original on 16 June 2008, retrieved 1 May 2008
  8. ^ a b Cheshire Towns & Parishes: West Kirby, GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy, retrieved 28 January 2008
  9. ^ "Wirral Council's Concourse Plans". West Kirby Renewal. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  10. ^ "West Wirral Works – Stay Strong, Live Long". www.westwirralworks.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Home". St Agnes RC Church, West Kirby. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  12. ^ "These five and twenty years" (PDF). West Kirby United Reformed Church. p. 10. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  13. ^ "History". West Kirby Methodist Church. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  14. ^ "History of the Museum". West Kirby Museum. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  15. ^ Christiansen, Rex (Autumn 1977). "On the track of a country park". The Countryman. pp. 75–79.
  16. ^ "The History of Speed sailing – Outright Record" (PDF). International Windsurfing Association. n.d. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  17. ^ "West Kirby Lifeboat Station".
  18. ^ "Ashton Park tennis: 'Use them or lose them says coach'". Wirral Globe. Birkenhead. 13 September 2001. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  19. ^ About. West Kirby Football Club. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  20. ^ Thomas, Mark (6 March 2017). "West Kirby FC to launch a women's team for next season". West Kirby Today. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  21. ^ Marine Lake West Kirby, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, archived from the original on 26 March 2010, retrieved 16 March 2022
  22. ^ Catterall, Carrie (27 July 2009). "West Kirby Marine Lake to reopen after £750k improvements". Liverpool Daily Post. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2022 – via Wirral News.
  23. ^ "Timetables". Merseyrail. 10 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  24. ^ "Stops in West Kirby". Bus Times. 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  25. ^ Johnson, Mark (30 December 2011). "Former Liverpool FC boss Rafa Benitez gives additional financial donation to support Hillsborough families". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  26. ^ Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., eds. (23 September 2004). "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/74452. Retrieved 14 June 2023. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  27. ^ Deans, Jason (17 October 2014). "BBC's Getting on creators take lead with new series Puppy Love". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]