What’s going for it? Time was when the English middle classes were content with a semi, an extramarital affair and reasonable access to a golf course. Now it’s all cold-pressed drip coffee and single-estate mint chocs. West Kirby is a veritable vision, though, of the way things used to be (I can’t, however, vouch for its marriages, one way or another). Golf courses, bowling greens, municipal parks, playing fields where dads watch Saturday team sports. Very good schools, of course. Sunday afternoon strolls along the prom, with an occasional foray on to the sands at low tide, to Hilbre Island. Sailing clubs. The town’s avenues weigh heavy with black-and-white Tudorbethans and lawns kept in check with a weekly shove of the Qualcast. It’s a haven of traditional aspiration, with only a slight, recent incursion of – whisper it – new money, easy to spot with their bling-bling extensions. They should probably preserve the town in its entirety as a monument to a certain way of life; it may not last. All the aspiration and granite work surfaces in Merseyside won’t be able to hold back the waves from this flat-as-a-pancake sandy coast if the worst happens.
The case against Too conventional for many, delightful as it is. I would keep an eye on predicted sea-level rises, especially in what estate agents here call the “flat” part of town.
Well connected? Trains: to Birkenhead (25 mins), where you can change for Chester, and Liverpool Lime Street (32 mins). Driving: Birkenhead and central Liverpool 25 mins, with Chester 40 mins; you are right by the M53, while the M56 is in whizzing distance.
Schools Primaries: West Kirby and Black Horse Hill Junior are “good”, says Ofsted, with St Bridget’s CofE and Black Horse Hill Infant “outstanding”. Secondaries: Hilbre High and Caldey Grange Grammar (boys) are “good”, with West Kirby Grammar (girls) “outstanding”.
Hang out at… Good coffee and homemade barn brak at Toast. West Kirby Tap for a huge range of beers and ales. Some nice spots a short drive away, such as the Red Fox at Thornton Hough, Burnt Truffle in Heswall and Fraiche in Oxton.
Where to buy I would go for the avenues of better-value handsome Victorian terraces and townhouses by the sea along Banks Road. Mind you, the poshest spots are on the low ridge that rises above the flat landscape. The money congregates up the hill in secluded drives off Column, Caldy and Village Roads, and off to Caldy itself, as well as Meols Drive by the golf course. There is a wee “old town” of older properties by St Bridget’s Church. Large detacheds and townhouses, £400,000-£800,000; occasionally a lot more. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £300,000-£400,000. Semis, £200,000-£600,000. Terraces and cottages, £160,000-£350,000. Flats, £100,000-£575,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £600-£700pcm; a three-bedroom house, £700-£900pcm.
Bargain of the week Four-bedroom semi, views to Wales, £365,000, with jonesandchapman.co.uk.
From the streets
Anne Bryson “The Wro: good vibe, good small plates, lovely staff.”
Catherine Lyons “We live a stone’s throw from the beach. Downside: expensive house prices.”
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