The Open 2008 Guide to Birkdale

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The Open 2008 is just days away now and some of you will be lucky enough to be going up to Birkdale to enjoy the action.

Even if you haven't got a ticket to the event there is always plenty going on and a great atmosphere to enjoy and below you'll find our rough guide to the Open 2008's host town Birkdale. It  points you towards the best places to stay, play, drink and generally have a great time at the 2008 Open...

 The Open 2008 Guide to Birkdale | Staying

£100 and under >>>

If you really want to do The Open on the dirt cheap then you can quite literally pitch up at Southport’s Willowbank Holiday Home and Touring Park from a tenner a night (for two people).

Also recommended: You can camp out under the stars at Riverside Holiday Park near Southport. Or you can experience decent Southport B&Bs such as The New England and Bay Trees which will set you back from £25 and £30, respectively, for single accommodation.

Websites: www.willowbankcp.co.uk; www.riversideleisurecentre.co.uk; www.thenewenglandgh.co.uk; www.baytreeshotel.co.uk.

£300 and under >>>

The Scarisbrick Hotel is handily placed for Birkdale and the area’s attractions: accommodation from £50 a night. All rooms have en-suites and satellite TV. After golf, you can then sweat it out in the Leisure Club gym or simply unwind in either the pool, sauna or steam room.

Also recommended: Bay Trees House (costs £75-£99 double or twin inc. breakfast); Cambridge Town House costs from £55.

Websites: www.scarisbrickhotel.com; www.baytreehousesouthport.co.uk; www.cambridgehousehotel.co.uk.

£500 and under >>>

The spanking new Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa (costs from £120) boasts quality facilities as well as accommodation; and there’s a cracking 18-hole course on site, so you can try to emulate the stars when you’ve returned from Birkdale.

Also recommended: The brand spanking new Vincent Hotel on Lord Street (from £140), offers luxury accommodation as well as a terrific spa and useful delicatessen. A real corker!

Websites: www.formbythallgolfclub.co.uk; www.thevincenthotel.com.

 

The Open 2008 Guide to Birkdale | Playing

£100 and under >>>

The cheapest round in town is the 6,139-year par-69 test that is Southport Municipal (tel. 01704 535286). You’ll only be asked to cough up £11.50 and it’s a links course so at least you can half pretend that it’s Royal Birkdale and you’ve got a putt for the Claret Jug.

Also recommended: A pair of halls, namely Hurlston (£22 green fee) and Mossock (£25 green fee). Both are parkland venues. The Hurlston is located on the outskirts of Southport while Mossock is on the Lancashire/Merseyside border.

Websites: www.hurlstonhall.co.uk; www.mossockhallgolfclub.co.uk.

£300 and under >>>

The magical St Annes Old Links has been a worthy Open qualifying venue since 1926 and, at £55 a round, offers splendid value for money. The legendary par-3 9th is worth the green fee alone.

Also recommended: £50 will enable you to tee it up at the classy hidden gem links of Fairhaven, another Open qualifier venue. Both Heswall on the Wirral Peninsula and Fylde’s Lytham Green Drive offer excellent parkland alternatives for £50 and £38, respectively.

Websites: www.stannesoldlinks.com; www.fairhavengolfclub.co.uk; www.heswallgolfclub.com; www.lythamgreendrive.co.uk.

£500 and under >>>

Two other ‘Royal’ Open venues – Liverpool and Lytham – are obvious must-plays. They cost £140 and £132, respectively, but at least lunch is thrown in!

Also recommended: Experience the best of links golf at Southport & Ainsdale (£75), Formby (£95) and West Lancs (£70); the former is a virtual Birkdale neighbour.

Websites: www.royal-liverpool-golf.com; www.royallytham.org; www.sandagolfclub.co.uk; www.formbygolfclub.co.uk; www.westlancashiregolf.co.uk .

 

The Open 2008 Guide to Birkdale | Eating/Drinking

£100 and under >>>

There are a string of cheap-as-chips ‘chippies’ and tea rooms. You’ll also find the Lakeside Inn (tel. 01704 530173), the smallest pub in Britain, on Marine Drive and it serves a good selection of barncakes and sandwiches.

Also recommended: Pub-wise take your pick from the centrally located trio of Leo’s, O’Leary’s and Fox and Goose or bite-wise you can get a tasty salami and rocket sarnie at Gusto Trattoria down Lord Street for just £3.50. Another big hit, though not on price, is the After Dark (tel. 01704 563689) Chinese in Birkdale itself.
Website: www.gustotrattoria.co.uk

£300 and under >>>

Italian food lovers are well catered for in the form of Casa Italia (just over a tenner for an early evening main with starter or dessert) and Mama Mia (tel. 01704 540259), both in Southport, while French food fanciers should head for the town’s Chez Moi (£15.95 for a three-course meal) and Auberge brasseries.

Also recommended: Try Owens restaurant (£11.95 for a two-course meal) or The Grill Inn Steak Bar.

Websites: www.casaitalia.co.uk; www.chezmoibrasserie.co.uk; www.auberge-brasserie.com; www.owenstherestaurant.co.uk; www.grillinnsouthport.com.

£500 and under >>>

If you can get a reservation try Southport’s award-winning Warehouse Brasserie which served up top nosh at a top price; a fillet steak and all the trimmings costs about £25.

Also recommended: If you love fish you’ll love Forge Brasserie, Queen Anne Street, Southport, whiles Crystals Restaurant & Bar in Birkdale itself provides a quality fine dining and wine bar experiences.

Websites: www.warehousebrasserie.co.uk; www.forgebrasserie.co.uk; www.crystalsrandb.com.

 

The Open 2008 Guide to Birkdale | And The Rest

£100 and under >>>

Free-of-charge activities are plentiful. Popular ones include strolling along the seafront, popping into Formby Nature Reserve to glimpse the rare red squirrel population or checking out Anthony Gormley’s 100-plus cast-iron figures, which adorn a 1km stretch of Crosby beach. You can also amuse yourself at Funland … or maybe your luck will be in at Mecca Bingo.

£300 and under >>>

For about a tenner you can catch a show at Southport Theatre & Floral Hall where you can see anything from Ken Dodd to wrestling – but alas, not Ken Dodd wrestling. Or maybe you fancy a visit to the cinema or the tenpin bowling centre?

£500 and under >>>

Many will make the 30-minute tip into Liverpool, this year’s European Capital of Culture. How about doing a Beatles Day and taking in the Cavern, where it all started for the Fab Four, visiting the Beatles museum and jumping aboard the Magical Mystery Tour before rounding-off with a meal at the new Hard Day’s Night Hotel? On the classical front, forking out £30 should secure a top seat at a Philharmonic Hall concert. There’s loads to do in Liverpool and it’s well worth a visit during Open week.