Woodside terminal upgrade to begin ‘as soon as possible’

Woodside Ferry Terminal has been closed to ferry services for almost nine months but work on a multi-million pound refresh may soon be under way. Tony McDonough reports

Woodside Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead is set for an upgrade. Picture by Tony McDonough


Work may soon be under way on the multi-million pound revamp of Woodside Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead.

Woodside closed to ferries in October 2022 just after the reopening of the Seacombe Ferry Terminal following a £7m upgrade that saw its 130-year-old linkspan bridges replaced in a major piece of engineering work.

That project took two years to complete. With almost nine months passed since ferries stopped calling at Woodside, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is expected to begin work soon on the transformation.

Built in 1864, the Woodside terminal is a listed building made of wood but on brick foundations. It was used for the shooting of the film Chariots of Fire in 1981 and in 1985 it underwent a major refurbishment.

It is also also home to Woodside Ferry Village, a food and drink venue with multiple operators and a market outside. This has remained open despite the terminal being closed to ferries.

A refresh of the Woodside terminal will form part of a wider regeneration of Birkenhead and will also include work on the adjacent U-boat Story attraction in partnership with Big Heritage. This is also currently closed.

LBN understands that work is now going on to finalise the plans for Woodside with a view to work starting “as soon as possible”.

This is part of a wider investment by the Combined Authority to future proof the Mersey Ferries service. 

There has been a ‘Ferry Across the Mersey’ for more than 800 years with the original service operated by the monks of Birkenhead Priory from a slipway on the Wirral side of the river still known as Monks Ferry.

In November 2022 Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the multi-million pound plan to build a new ferry, first announced in 2018, was to be revived.


Woodside Ferry Village
Woodside Ferry Village in Woodside Ferry Terminal. Picture by Tony McDonough
Woodside Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead dates back to 1864. Picture by Tony McDonough


He confirmed the build of the new vessel, and an overhaul of one of the existing ferries, would likely be carried out by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead and Damen Shipyards Group in the Netherlands. This was originally revealed by LBN in March 2022.

There are currently two vessels operating the Mersey Ferries service – Snowdrop and Royal Iris. Both are in constant use for the daily river cruises, the morning and evening commuter service and special voyages such as trips up the Manchester Ship Canal.

Due to the high cost of maintenance and running the vessels, it is thought investment in a new ferry is the best way of ensuring the services long-term future.

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