Here at Merseyrail, we’ve long championed the benefits of relying more on public transport and less on your car.
But we’re about to go even further in our crusade to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport.
Because for this year’s World Car Free Day, which takes place on September 22, we’re inviting kids to go free, with up to four children age 15 and under able to travel – completely free of charge - with one paying adult.
In order to help you make the most of this fantastic deal, we’ve created a handy guide to help you plan an exciting, car-free day out that won’t involve lots of walking.
So, make yourself a cuppa, check out our suggestions, and prepare for a day of family fun you won’t need a car to enjoy.
1) Enjoy a family bike ride
Show the kids just how much fun alternative transport can be by registering for the Knowsley Great Pedal Away, which takes place at the majestic Aintree Racecourse, home of the world-famous Grand National.
Brave little ones can take part in the ‘Ditch Your Stabilisers’ ride, or they can join the rest of the family for the Family Ride. Alternatively, cyclists of all abilities can undertake the ‘Wheels for All’ ride, and experience the joy of cycling together.
The rides and walk will start and finish at the Earl of Derby grandstand, and as well as the rides, you can enjoy refreshments and stalls at the festival village.
Nearest station: Aintree
Walking distance: 4 minutes
2) Enjoy a Disney musical family brunch
If your children know every word of the Disney songs - and love their food too - then the Arthouse Hotel’s Disney Sunday Brunch is tailor made for them.
Watch their jaws hit the floor as the singing waiter cast suddenly burst into song, performing classic Disney movie anthems right before their eyes.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’ll be appearances from their favourite fairytale characters too, all complemented by an all-American family brunch feast served on a platter to share.
Hosted in the Mulholland Diner in the Arthouse Hotel at 1pm, prices start at £14.95 per child or £49.95 for families of four, but the website is currently offering a 20% discount when booking online for September and October, so reserve your place in advance and ‘be their guest, be their guest, be their guest’! Book now here.
Nearest station: Liverpool Central
Walking distance: 6 minutes
3) Enjoy popcorn and a film at a traditional cinema
From its Art Deco features (the toilets, in particular, are beautiful) to its good old-fashioned sweet counter, the charity-run, 80-year-old Crosby Plaza is a really lovely place to enjoy a traditional cinema experience.
Saved from redevelopment in the nineties, when a 12-year-old schoolboy kick-started a campaign to protect the local landmark, the Plaza remains a much-loved part of the community today.
And while the interior may take you back in time, there’s nothing dated about the films; you’ll find all the new releases here, but without the hefty entrance fees. Expect to pay £3.90 for children and £4.90 for adults – and add £1 on to each for balcony seats if you really want to step back in time. Book now here.
Nearest station: Waterloo
Walking distance: 6 minutes
4) Get hands-on at Little Liverpool
If you haven’t yet taken the kids to the Museum of Liverpool, then make this activity a must-do on your Kids Go Free agenda. Created very much with kids in mind, there’s even a hands-on water section, Little Liverpool, which actively encourages children to don protective aprons and hats, stick their hands in the water, and zoom model boats along their own Liverpool waterway.
Away from the water action, you’ll find plenty of other exhibits to keep the kids entertained, including a carriage from the former Liverpool Overhead Railway, fixed at 16 feet above the ground – the exact height of the original railway – that visitors are actively encouraged to climb aboard.
And the best part about it? It’s all free (although donations are gratefully received!).
Nearest station: James Street
Walking distance: 7 minutes
5) Take a stroll around West Kirby’s Marine Lake
If you fancy escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life and getting back to nature, a walk around West Kirby’s Marine Lake offers food for the soul.
Tailor-made for those who want a bit of time out, there’s a great walking path that takes you around the lake, offering stunning views out to the Hilbre Islands and beyond, and the kids can make the most of the local wildlife by trying some crabbing and seal spotting too.
When you’re ready for refreshments, grab some chips and eat them sitting on one of the many benches dotted around the lake, or head to a nearby cafe. Just don’t forget to finish your day with the compulsory seaside experience; ice-cream from a local vendor.
Nearest station: West Kirby
Walking distance: 7 minutes
6) Strike a pose at the Vivienne Westwood exhibition
If you want to score serious brownie points with brand-conscious teens, why not suggest taking in the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at Southport’s Atkinson.
Those who lust after the fashion queen’s designs will be fascinated by this free exhibition, drawn from fan Malcolm Garrett’s personal collection, which examines not only her creations but also her crusade to raise awareness of environmental and human rights issues.
After you’ve taken in the show, you can treat yourselves to lunch at one of the town’s many places to eat. Remedy, which is just outside The Atkinson, serves beautiful cakes, great coffee, and lovely lunches – and is also the perfect place to spy on the townspeople and see how their style credentials measure up to those of Ms Westwood.
Nearest station: Southport
Walking distance: 8 minutes