St Helens (England)

St Helens is a town in the conurbation of Merseyside, England, and is traditionally part of the historic county of Lancashire.

Understand

St Helens is a growing town, which takes most of its influences from the nearby city of Liverpool.

The town was established from the unity of local townships Sutton, Parr, Windle, and Eccleston. A town hall was only constructed in 1839, and St Helens became a parish of its own right in 1852. Originally an industrial district providing success in coal mining and glass manufacturing, St Helens is now a young and populous town. St Helens is one of the most ethnically and culturally homogeneous places in Britain with over 98.8% of the population identifying themselves as White. As a former industrial town, St Helens has a serious male unemployment problem with 9% of men being unemployed, rising to 19.6% in the Parr and Hardshaw area.

Get in

St Helens is situated at the heart of the region's motorway network (M6, M62, M57, M58) and midway between the urban and cultural hubs of Liverpool (13 miles) & Manchester (22 miles) plus their respective airports - Liverpool John Lennon (14 miles), and Manchester Airport (28 miles).

By train

Rail is the easiest public transport to use when visiting St Helens. St Helens Central rail station is situated directly in the town centre, and all the towns attractions are no more than a short walk away. This station lies on the Wigan to Liverpool line making it easily accessible from both. Other stations on this line that station in St Helens include Thatto Heath and Eccleston Park.

The Liverpool to Manchester line serves St Helens at Rainhill, St Helens Junction railway station, Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows and Lea Green. St Helens town centre is easily accessed from Lea Green station via the A569 and by frequent bus services.

By bus

National Express, the UK's largest scheduled coach company has just one route serving St Helens, the London service, taking over 4 hours. However many more coach services call at Liverpool which is a short train ride away.

St Helens bus station is situated just a few minutes walk from St Helens Central train station. Links to Warrington, Liverpool, Wigan and Leigh.

Get around

Most of St Helens attractions are a short walk away, but bus travel is still a handy and quick way of navigating the town. The best place to start is by visiting the main bus station, which isn't easily missed, and is 200 yards from St Helens Central rail station, and next to the town hall, public library, theatre and shopping arcade. The main bus station has a tourist travel information centre which are open during typical office working hours, and can help with information on getting anywhere within Merseyside. Bus stops are frequent and plentiful throughout the town.

For safety, the buses are best not used after 7pm. They are not necessarily dangerous, but can often make a person feel hostile and not a pleasant way to travel late at night. To be safe, get a taxi. There are plenty of taxi ranks and cab services throughout the town, all of which are easy to find, and usually situated near popular night time venues. Everyone knows at least one taxi number, so it might be worth asking a local for a contact.

See

St Helens is not necessarily renowned for its architecture, but does provide varied places to see for different people.

Do

Learn

Buy

Eat

As well as providing one of the best nights out, Chicago Rock provides great quality food during the day. Open from lunch until around 7pm each day, this bar provides a great daytime atmosphere for a good meal and drink. A great start to a night out, as after your meal, the bar suddenly becomes vibrant, with the best music from the latest decades. See Drink for more details.

Drink

St Helens has an exciting and extensive list of bars and pubs, catering for all tastes. Monday and Tuesday nights don't provide much excitement, while Friday and Saturday are the busiest nights out. There are enough bars and pubs in town centre to stop you getting bored, so it's often good to try the different spots and see what suits your taste most for your night out. There's a good mix of age, so don't feel like you'll be surrounded by students. There are few youth-only bars so people don't typically feel out of place. There is no dress code for a night out but don't expect to be refused entry if you haven't at least made the effort. Jeans are ok for most places, but trainers/sneakers aren't usually allowed for popular nights when the bar is already populated. Jogging pants, shorts, tracksuits will never get you accepted into any of the bars no matter what night. 'Casual smart' is the typical unspoken dress code. Be warned, like most towns and cities, certain bars and pubs may make you feel hostile because of the way you are dressed or the way you act. Make sure to check the Be safe section when in town at nighttime. With Bar Diva and Flex 2 and an increased police presence, there appears to be a slowly improving acceptance of gays and lesbians in many of the pubs around the town, including The Counting House.

Club

Sleep

The main hotel in St Helens is the Hilton Hotel, Linkway West, WA10 1NG (Tel 00441744 453444). This can be a bit expensive though, with the average room cost being £160 per night. There are cheaper, though they are a little bit out of town, but never more than a short taxi ride away.

Stay safe

St Helens is a reasonably safe place, but like most parts of Britain has problems with violent crime, particularly unprovoked violence and harassment by bored teenagers. The town centre is usually reasonably safe but avoid groups of young people, particularly if you are gay, non-white or if you dress unconventionally. Particular caution should be taken in the deprived Parr and Hardshaw areas to the northeast of the town centre, but St Helens is demographically very mixed and there are housing estates and areas across the borough that it would be wise to avoid unless escorted by a local. Areas which are experiencing rising crime rates in the town and borough include Clock Face, Rainhill, Sutton and Thatto Heath and therefore non-locals should exercise caution in these districts.

In the winter, when the sun sets earlier, the centre of town can be less friendly. There is a small gap between shops closing and bars becoming populated where the town is overrun with disrespectful youths or beggars. Nighttime is fairly safe as long as you take care of yourself and those you're out with. Police are often patrolling or monitoring the streets but are enormously overstretched and often very slow to respond to calls for help. Fights are usually alcohol-fuelled and around pub closing time but can be avoided with a little tact or swift feet. Taxi ranks, take-aways, bus stops and Bridge Street are best avoided after the pubs close. It is very difficult to get a taxi home at the end of a night, so it is a good idea to book a minicab in advance or start making your way home ahead of the crowd.

Go next

While you're in the North West, why not travel locally outside St Helens and see a few places.

Catch the train to Liverpool, and take the Formby train from Liverpool Central station. 19 miles from St Helens.
Catch the train from St Helens Central to Blackpool North. 45 miles.
This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.