Five northern seaside gems

Holidays abroad for Britons may be making a tentative comeback as the coronavirus lockdown eases, but many people will opt to stay close to home. 

After a busy period of travel, a day trip now seems like an ambitious aim to me. However, the coast is in striking distance from my home city of Manchester by public transport and car. Here’s a look at five of the best places you can visit.


A beautiful stretch of sand within sight of the city of Liverpool, made special by sculptures of male figures dotted along the shoreline, which come and go with the ebb and flow of the tide. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

View of Crosby Beach and Another Place sculpture


A wonderful spot on the edge of the Wirral Peninsula, with north Wales across the water, sweeping sands offering low tide hikes and a marine lake to wander round. It feels like the end of the world. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Jetty on marine lake at West Kirby on the Wirral


A famous long stretch of the Lancashire coast, encompassing miles of sands and including the genteel seaside town of Lytham St Anne’s and its totemic windmill. An excellent day out in all seasons. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Sail of Lytham St Anne's windmill at dusk


A much-loved resort on the Mersey coastline north of Liverpool. The pier, which turns naked and exposed when the tide goes out, is a highlight. Long walks across the sands are a treat any time of the year. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Tide out at Southport beach, Merseyside


Back to the Wirral and what was once Liverpool’s seaside playground. One side of the town sits at the point where the Mersey River meets the sea. Plenty of coastal walks and fish and chip lunches to be had here. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO FIND OUT MORE

Red cranes on the Mersey estuary at New Brighton

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Beautiful Triffids

I bought two bunches of these popular wedding flowers for the first time and wasn’t impressed. Read more below

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The stalks of my Freesias seemed too tall and spindly, with the blooms perched on top like Triffids. And I was none too keen on their pungent fragrance.

It wasn’t until I photographed these flowers at close quarters that I appreciated their beauty, with delicate mauve and robust pastel pink and yellow petals.

By using a variety of backgrounds, these specimens became photogenic and versatile. I wonder what’s next in my ongoing indoor floral project?

Castlefield nights

Lockdown has made photography a very local affair here in Castlefield, Manchester. Continue reading below

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I’ve ventured out with my camera only a few times since coronavirus pandemic restrictions were eased, swapping indoor projects for exploring the neighbourhood’s canals, industrial architecture and tramways. 

Some warm summer weather prompted some walks to capture fiery sunsets (and even a bright, prominent moon).

And one late night I prowled around the viaducts armed only with a wide aperture, dialled-up ISO and the the street lights for company.

Travel still seems a remote prospect, but at least Castlefield is rich in texture and interesting spaces.

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Morocco road trip

On a trip to Morocco earlier this year I wanted to visit Legzira, of the country’s most striking beaches. Here’s how I did it. Read full story below

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The trip nearly didn’t happen after a booking made in the UK failed to materialise. But I was rescued by Bakhazouz Tours at my seaside base of Agadir.

It was early morning when small, wiry tour guide Imad arrived in his smart four-wheel drive jeep. My companions for the day were a pair of friendly, polite older French ladies – it was time to scrabble around for my schoolboy French. In the back were a young Russian couple who seemed content in their own bubble. Yet somehow they made it into one of my photographs.

The fabled stone arches of Legzira were a good three hours from Agadir, but this road trip came with a number of stops along the way. First it was a rustic Moroccan service station, complete with a butcher’s shop.

We reached the Youssef Ibn Tachfine Dam, with an artificial lake creating some unexpectedly beautiful landscapes. And close to this was a tiny scrap of full-on Sahara Desert, with orange sands and even a resident camel.

But for me a real highlight along the way was the old city of Tiznit where I could have spent much longer exploring and gathering photographs. Moroccan cities are intoxicating, colourful and humming with life. Tiznit’s ancient walls and crooked back streets were a thrill on the way to the main coastal attraction.

We finally got to Legzira by way of another beach called Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdelah, where buildings cling to the headland. Legzira itself is a small beach settlement of simple restaurants serving fish tagine, while there are also rooms for hire. Very tempting for catching blazing sunsets.

The beach is a broad sweep of sand with its famous ochre stone arch creating a corridor that you simply have to walk through. On one side it was enveloped in mist, from the other everything was clear and bright. You could spend hours wandering up and down the beach and exploring its rugged rock formations. Legzira was definitely worth the effort of getting there.

Our final stop seemed like a bonus. Further back up the coast, paragliders swooped around the sky catching some of those Atlantic thermals. A breathtaking sight, but a serious challenge for the camera.

Back in Agadir, I was the first to be dropped off. The end of a day trip is always tinged with sadness. Your companions head off into the sunset and are never seen again. It’s not usually long enough to establish real human connection. But I’d achieved my goal, I’d seen the Legzira arch and more besides.

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