Where Southport rates in list of Britain’s 20 best and worst seaside towns - full rankings

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The nation’s classic seaside resorts have been rated on how they have reinvented themselves.

How do you strike the balance between what residents need and tourists expect from a seaside town? Especially when those expectations can change from visitor to visitor.

Some yearn for the nostalgia of fish and chips or doughnuts on the pier and a trip to the slot machines, while others desire hipster shops, bodyboarding and craft beer.

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Residents want to see upgrades to the town to help nurture a feeling of pride and ownership but that might mean an end to tourism trades such as B&Bs and traditional pubs.

The Telegraph has attempted to rank and rate 20 of the best and worst seaside towns in Britain based on how the classic resorts have adapted, or not, to that tricky balance over the past three decades.

How Southport rated

The list, which looks at ‘factors such as housing and high streets, renovations and conservation, as well as the cultural clout that so often accompanies gentrification’, ranks Southport at No.14, with a rating of 28 out of 100.

That’s ahead of the likes of Blackpool, Rhyl and Morcambe but behind Torquay and Scarborough. The full rankings can be viewed below.

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According to The Telegraph: “This most Victorian of seaside towns took visitors for granted for decades, expecting Lord Street – a boulevard that allegedly inspired those of Paris – to be sufficiently appealing on its own, to evolve without any help, to keep pulling in the crowds. But museum-pieces need sprucing up, and it’s no longer a flaneur-worthy beauty, while the armpit of an area around the railway station reflects the sorry state of the local economy.

“On the upside, the opening of The Grand theatre, bar and restaurant in the former Grand Casino and the reopening of Beales department store show there’s both investor interest and local demand. But Southport needs to reassert itself if it wants to challenge Formby, down the coast, and Lytham, across the Ribble.”

Regeneration of Southport

Not the greatest review, but it should be pointed out that there are plenty of plans afoot to maintain the momentum of Southport’s regeneration.

There’s a project for a new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre which could have a 1,500 capacity theatre, exhibition and conference facilities, water and light shows and create hundreds of jobs.

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The scheme has been described as “a really ambitious and impressive local project” which could “revitalise” the fortunes of the town after the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities gave the green light to a £33m investment as part of the Southport Town Deal.

The Atkinson, found in the centre of Lord Street in a stunning 19th century building, has a collection of over 3,500 pieces of art and over 25,000 pieces of social history. There is also a library and theatre which has a varied programme of events and lectures for the local community.

Southport Market has recently been reinvented as a trendy food and drink hub and the historic Grade II listed Victoria Baths is looking to be transformed by a new investor.

The full rankings of 20 best and worst seaside towns

  1. St Ives - 98/100
  2. Southwold - 94/100
  3. Whitstable - 87/100
  4. Lyme Regis - 85/100
  5. North Berwick - 80/100
  6. Brighton - 76/100
  7. Margate - 69/100
  8. Tenby - 57/100
  9. Portstewart - 53/100
  10. Worthing - 47/100
  11. Scarborough - 39/100
  12. Southend-on-Sea - 36/100
  13. Torquay - 33/100
  14. Southport - 28/100
  15. Cleethorpes - 27/100
  16. Morecambe - 24/100
  17. Blackpool - 22/100
  18. Weston-super-Mare - 18/100
  19. South Shields - 11/100
  20. Rhyl - 5/100

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