Southport has some exciting things to look forward to in 2021, from superb new events to eye-catching new developments.
We may be in lockdown now with some difficult winter weeks ahead but if the vaccination roll-out is successful then hopefully we can look forward to a brighter year than 2020.
Here are just some of the new things we can enjoy in Southport in 2021 – if you know of any others then please let me know!
1 – Brand new Southport Market look revealed
Southport Market is currently being transformed into an exciting new food, drink and events hub with the reopening scheduled for Spring 2021.
Businesses inside the market will remain open while the work takes place.
The incredible £1.4 million redesign and refurbishment of the town centre market site will create a modern food and drinks space, along with a flexible events and market area with the ability to host casual markets.
The new look market will be an all year-round attraction with space for up to ten delicious food and drinks units.
Acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of Southport and surrounding area, and providing a vital boost to the local economy and continued regeneration of Southport’s market quarter and King Street, the market will also include units for fresh produce stalls, including the popular Blackhurst Butchers, which has been trading in the Market for over 20 years and will be moving into a brand-new unit.
2 – Brand new Southport Lifeboat Station opens
Progress on the brand new Southport Lifeboat Station is continuing well with the new station due to open this Spring.
The £1.4million has been made possible thanks to generous donations from members of the public.
3 – Transformation of the former BHS building
JSM Company Group, based on Fleet Street in Liverpool city centre, wants to transform the historic former BHS department store on Chapel Street into six retail and leisure units on the ground floor, with 30, two-bed apart hotel rooms on the first, second, third and fourth floors.
The apart hotel rooms would be run under the ‘Prestige Stay’ brand.
The ground floor would welcome five retail units, two of which have been let already.
Prestige Stay is looking to open a pub in the vacant unit at the back.
4 – New roof terrace at The Bold Hotel
The Bold Hotel, at 583 Lord Street in Southport town centre, has submitted a planning application to Sefton Council to create a stunning roof terrace with a retractable roof with “a unique experience” that includes views looking out across the coast..
The striking plans have been designed by Clayton Architecture Limited, which is based in Ainsdale.
The application also calls for the conversion of the attic at the Grade II Listed three-storey hotel into two new hotel rooms.
The existing flat roof would be converted into a roof terrace for additional external bar and seating.
It represents further substantial investment into redeveloping the ‘Northern Quarter’ of Lord Street by owners Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group.
Owner Andrew Mikhail said: “We are incredibly excited and proud that we can continue investing in Southport. The encouragement from the tremendous leaders within the local council to improve this wonderful area helps to keep us driven with our plans.”
5 – Hairy Bikers ride into Southport Flower Show
Hairy Biker Dave Myers loved the show that much when he visited in 2019, he’s encouraged his best friend and co-presenter Si King to join him this year!
The celebrity chefs will be revving up some of their favourite summertime recipes as they appear in our Cookery Theatre on Saturday 21st August at 12pm and 2pm.
Si and Dave have published more than 20 cookery books during a career spanning more than 20 years and filmed a TV series in the USA – the Hairy Bikers Ride Route 66 which was screened on BBC Two last year.
They said “We are so excited to be coming back to Southport for the Flower Show in 2021. It’s a year later than we expected but because of this we are looking forward to it even more.
“Southport Flower Show really is brilliant and one of the highlights of Summer.”
The Show is offering a guarantee that all ticket holders will be reimbursed in the unlikely event that the show will not proceed.
For tickets please visit: www.southportflowershow.co.uk
6 – Lord Street set to shine once more
The historic Lord Street boulevard will sparkle again this year thanks to Southport BID.
The BID is leading a project to provide new decorative lighting along an historic mile-long shopping boulevard in the North West.
The BID and Sefton Council have worked together to secure £100,000 through a Government Acceleration Grant, under Southport Town Deal. The BID has provided further match funding for the scheme.
Work on the substantial scheme is being carried out by Southport family firm IllumiDex UK Ltd, which has the painstaking task of removing three and a half tonnes of obsolete lighting from trees along both sides of Lord Street. The discarded lights would stretch for the equivalent of 22.5 miles if laid out end to end.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “The lights are something for the whole town, and for visitors, to enjoy. They create a feelgood factor which will encourage people to come and shop, dine out and stay in Southport, increasing spend with local businesses.”
7 – Southport Air Show roars back
Southport Air Show fans will be able to enjoy the best views of the event from Southport Pier for the first time.
Tickets for the 2021 Air Show went on sale last month with aviation enthusiasts excited about the event’s return after its cancellation this year due to the Covid pandemic.
A brand new exclusive Pier Viewing ticket will also go on sale with limited availability for those who want to guarantee the very best views of the upcoming Southport Air Show.
General admission entry will now be completely free for Under 16s.
Spectators will once again be able to watch some of the world’s best aircraft at Southport Beach in 2021 with a mixture of classic World War II icons, aerobatic displays and fast jets. There will be lots to enjoy on the ground too with the Air Show Village, food and drink outlets and other attractions.
This year’s event takes place in the Summer, on Saturday July 3 and Sunday July 4, so it should be nice and warm for watching the event on the beach.
For tickets visit: www.visitsouthport.com/airshow/
8 – Techedia to move into historic building creating 75 jobs
A £1million scheme will transform one of Southport’s most historic buildings, creating 75 new jobs.
Tech entrepreneur Matthew Townson has revealed his vision of redeveloping The Cloisters building in Southport, formerly Christ Church School.
The former Victorian school, most recently occupied by Taskers Sports, will be divided into two units – one for a new health and wellbeing centre, and the other to house Mr Townson’s Techedia firm.
Techedia specialises in IT in the professional services sector.
Mr Townson, from Southport, said: “As a proud Sandgrounder, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring such an important building in the town back to life after being empty for three years.
“We are keen to attract local people to work in the building and perhaps more importantly retain that talent, which in the past has moved elsewhere, as well as help fuel the local economy.”
9 – New Viking Adventure Golf attraction to open at Southport Pleasureland
Southport Pleasureland has revealed plans for an exciting new Viking themed attraction that will be “nothing like anywhere in the UK”.
The firm has submitted plans to Sefton Council for a new Viking themed 18-hole adventure golf attraction with an associated ‘longhouse’ themed pub / eatery and parking.
Visitors will be able to enjoy an outdoor barbecue area in a circular format with a ‘Firepit’ in the centre of the building with terraced seating around a feature fire.
Southport Pleasureland owner Norman Wallis said: “We are keen to create an attraction that is very exciting, with a really good atmosphere, but that also has local relevance so that it is both fun and educational.
“It really is unique as there is nothing like this anywhere else in the UK, so we hope that it will help to attract more people to the local area to help the wider Southport, Sefton and Liverpool City Region economies.”
10 – 157 new homes in Crossens
Thousands of people once worked at the former Philips Factory site in Crossens, building all types of goods at factories also including Vulcan, Mullards, Brockhouses and Dorman Smith.
The former factories are making way for dozens of new homes.
Contractors working for Elan Homes Ltd have been busy clearing the land during the pandemic ahead of building 157 two, three or four bedroom homes in addition to 6,000 square metres of new public open space. The first new homes are already under construction.
11 – A brand new Sainsbury’s supermarket
A huge new Sainsbury’s supermarket and petrol station in Southport can now finally go go-ahead after being given the go-ahead by the Government.
The investment will support over 200 jobs during construction of the 50,300 sq ft flagship store.
It will create up to 200 jobs including 30 full time positions and 130 part time roles in the store and meet the shopping needs of the community.
All works will be managed by the developer UBS, with Sainsbury’s commencing its store fit out in late 2021. The store is expected to open to customers by Summer 2022.
Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Property Director said: ““Our development will inject investment into the local economy, regenerate the area, support hundreds of jobs and enhance retail choice in the community.”
12 – Comedy In The Park
Comedy In The Park, an exciting all-day comedy extravaganza, will take place at Victoria Park in Southport on Saturday 17th July 2021.
John Bishop headlines the event with support from Katherine Ryan, Jason Manford, Al Murray, Paul Chowdhry and host Judi Love.
Home of world-class comedy, Comedy in the Park will feature spectacular stand-up stars and cutting-edge talent.
Operations Director James Penny said: “With Comedy in the Park our aim is to bring live comedy back in a big way. You will be guaranteed a night of side-splitting laughter, with six of the world’s best comedians providing a night of entertainment in an open-air theatre style setting. We will turn Victoria Park into an incredible arena for the evening.
“Now more than ever, people need something to look forward to. It’s been a tough year for live comedy but it’s coming back with a bang!”
13 – Southport Town Deal
A decision is expected soon on the £50million Southport Town Deal submission.
Top of the wishlist is a new waterside events centre to replace Southport Theatre & Convention Centre with the aim of attracting thousands of people into town and giving a huge boost to the local economy.
Also on the list is an immersive light and sound show in the Marine Lake, public realm improvements and infrastructure improvements to help Southport Pleasureland become an all-year round attraction. Fingers crossed!
14 – Southport Comedy Festival
Every October, some of the world’s top comedians and a wealth of up and coming comedy talen visit Southport for three weeks of great comedy gigs.
They take place in venues around Southport, from small pubs to big theatres, with events for all ages.
The 2020 event was due to be held at Victoria Park but was called off at the 11th hour due to the fast rising second Covid wave.
The 2021 Southport Comedy Festival promises to be a real cause for celebration.
15 – Fox & Goose reopens
Plans have been submitted to Sefton Council to redevelop and reopen the legendary Fox & Goose, on Cable Street in Southport town centre.
Local people were dismayed when the venue – famous for its live music – closed its doors two years ago.
It was soon followed by the news that the building was due to be turned into flats.
But now Southport businessman Hasan Akdeniz has taken over the venture, and has revealed exciting plans for its future.
The proposal is to change the existing premises by refurbishment and to extend the ground floor with a covered moveable garden area.
16 – British Musical Fireworks Championship
The British Musical Fireworks Championship is a firework competition across three nights (24-26 September 2021), where competitors battle it out to be crowned the ultimate winner.
Set in the beautiful Victoria Park, the British Musical Fireworks Championship presents firework displays like no other. Over three nights prepare for breath-taking displays, an array of light and a mixture of music which will have you dancing away.
The British Musical Fireworks Championship is a pyro musical competition. This means that the fireworks are synchronised to with the music and the entire show is choreographed to give you, the audience, some of the most spectacular fireworks you will ever see.
Over three nights, there will be seven 15-minute displays. Starting on Friday, 7 competitors will host jaw dropping pyro wizardry, with a panel of professional judges marking each display after the event, before announcing the winner on the Sunday evening in a closed ceremony.
17 – Brand new Smoke and Fire Festival
The UK’s largest BBQ Festival experience is coming to Southport in 2021.
Tickets are now on sale for the Smoke & Fire Festival North, which will take place at Victoria Park in Southport 18-21 June 2021.
It is one of four Smoke and Fire Festivals to take place next year, with the others being in Hastings (23-25 July 2021), Colchester (20-22 August 2021 ) and Weston-Super-Mare (10-12 September 2021).
The largest BBQ festival experience in the UK is warming up nicely for an unforgettable summer of smoke, fire, beer, cider, live music, plus all the food you dare to eat.
A spokesperson said: “Experience something truly innovative, exciting, engaging, and memorable.
“This alternative and all-inclusive food festival delivers new and exciting taste sensations, as well as sparking an everlasting interest in the alchemy and techniques of cooking with smoke and fire.”
18 – New Library at Birkdale Station Master’s House
A new community library in Birkdale in Southport will open in 2021.
The facility will open in the former Station Master’s House after a long-running community campaign by local volunteers to return a library to the area for the first time in eight years.
Five years ago, the group was offered the use of the old Station Master’s House at a peppercorn rent and the volunteers have since undergone major works to give the building new life as Birkdale Community Hub and Library.
Over 1,500 books, half of the current stock of 3,000, have now been catalogued and volunteers are currently working to get them on the shelves.
The library system will allow people to reserve books online and come to The Station Master’s House to join the library and collect their free membership card and books.
19 – Southport Food and Drink Festival
If you love food then make a date with the Southport Food and Drink Festival – a ‘foodies’ paradise with a little something for everyone to enjoy!
Stimulate your senses and try food from different cultures – you can enjoy crepes, gourmet burgers, hot wings, churros, spiral potatoes, paella and curry from the Street Food stalls.
Tantalise the taste buds by sampling the different produce around the event – handmade cheeses, sausages, sweet and savoury pies, chutneys and pickles are just a few of the delights that can be taken home.
Traditional British food is celebrated throughout the street food and producers with homemade pies, chutneys, local sausages, hog roast, and ice cream from a local dairy.
20 – A new Ainsdale gateway
Ainsdale Beach in Southport will enjoy a £350,000 transformation for 2021 with new facilities for visitors.
After a year of unprecedented demand, this investment by Sefton Council in new and semi-permanent facilities, including ‘off-beach’ car parking arrangements, toilets and rubbish management will ensure a better experience for residents and visitors.
It will also improve safety and accessibility as well as providing vital protection to the natural environment.
The new ‘off beach’ car parking facilities will help to reduce the impact on local communities who have been affected by irresponsible parking in the past.
It will also generate income to cover the cost of the works and the long-term care of Sefton’s unique, 22-mile coastline.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The further improvement of facilities will provide a better environment for people to enjoy this beautiful space, while protecting our special wildlife and landscape, and tackling car parking concerns.”
21 – Cinderella
Bring the whole family to Cinderella, a spellbinding new Christmas pantomime by LHK Productions staged in The Atkinson’s traditional theatre.
The full cast announcement will be made in Summer 2021, alongside regular panto pro’s Claire Simmo (Greatest Hits Radio), Michael Chapman (Liverpool’s favourite Dame), Lewis Pryor (Britain’s Got Talent 2016), Southport’s Tom Burroughs and Holli Jo Bradley (choreographer).
Early Bird tickets are available on selected performances until the end of March 2021 and Family Tickets offer great value.
The show is at The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, 10 December 2021 to 2 January 2022.