Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

ORT Sun­light in the Wir­ral is a beau­ti­ful model vil­lage built by Wil­liam Hes­keth Lever to pro­vide a de­cent stan­dard of liv­ing for his fa­mous soap fac­tory work­force.

There are ob­vi­ous com­par­isons to be drawn with Birm­ing­ham’s Bournville. The Lever and Cad­bury fam­i­lies built homes with de­cent san­i­ta­tion, pro­vided wel­fare and green open spa­ces for their loyal work­ers. Both com­pa­nies have long since been taken over by global giants but to this day, are lov­ingly pro­tected and man­aged through var­i­ous trusts.

For your visit to this his­toric vil­lage, just out­side Liver­pool, the Lev­er­hulme Ho­tel and Spa is the place to stay.

It was orig­i­nally built as a cot­tage hos­pi­tal in 1907 but has been trans­formed in a grade II-listed art deco four-star ho­tel.

Be warned there is a lim­ited amount of park­ing in front of the ho­tel and just out­side the en­trance, but af­ter a speedy and wel­com­ing check-in, I was shown to the Opus Suite.

You can leave your shoes, and any­thing else you do not want to bring into the room, in the handy space be­tween the two en­trance doors.

The suite was very spa­cious, with high ceil­ings and tall win­dows which flood it with nat­u­ral light. My suite was at the front of the ho­tel, with a view of the gar­den court­yard and rows of pretty homes.

By no means was it noisy and the thick cur­tains did a good job of block­ing out any ex­ter­nal lights.

The light­ing in the bed­room and bath­room is mostly re­mote­con­trolled – worth re­mem­ber­ing when you find your­self look­ing for the light switches in the mid­dle of the night. Guests can ring down for freshly brewed tea and cof­fee brought up in stylish crock­ery and ac­com­pa­nied with a cou­ple of bite-sized brown­ies.

This is an es­pe­cially nice touch be­cause I’d rather have a pre­pared cafetiere of cof­fee sent up than fum­ble around for a ket­tle, sa­chets and mini-milk con­tain­ers.

There are plenty of stor­age ar­eas around the room, which makes for a clut­ter-free, hence happy, stay.

The bath­room is sim­ply lux­u­ri­ous and won­der­ful to come back to af­ter a day of ex­plor­ing. There are ‘his and hers’ sinks, a big dou­ble Jacuzzi and a large rain shower. Af­ter a soak, slather on some Bv­gari prod­ucts and wrap your­self in one of the thick bathrobes.

The ho­tel’s spa was un­der re­fur­bish­ment dur­ing my visit, so I was treated to a hot stone mas­sage at their mag­nif­i­cent sis­ter ho­tel, the Hill­bark Ho­tel & Spa, a 20-minute drive away.

Af­ter din­ner in the Riviera restau­rant, you can kick back in the front bar or the games room which fea­tures a pool ta­ble, or read up on the his­tory of the ho­tel.

It’s the ideal base for ex­plor­ing Port Sun­light. I would put aside an hour to stroll through the vil­lage, be­cause you will be for­ever stop­ping to ad­mire the ar­chi­tec­ture of build­ings and land­marks such as Hulme Hall, Lady Lever Art Gallery, and the War Memo­rial.

More than 30 architects worked on the vil­lage and no two blocks of houses look the same.

Sir Ed­win Lu­tyens, who de­signed the Ceno­taph in White­hall, and Charles Tuke and James Maxwell – who de­signed Black­pool Tower – have their stamp on this es­tate.

Port Sun­light has been a Con­ser­va­tion Area since 1978 and the Trust re­spon­si­ble for its up­keep spends more than £2m an­nu­ally on build­ing work, con­ser­va­tion and land­scape main­te­nance to guar­an­tee gen­er­a­tions will en­joy this area for years to come.

If you are cu­ri­ous about learn­ing how a typ­i­cal worker lived back in the day, you can go in­side a quaint two-up two-down house, com­plete with scullery, two be­d­rooms, and liv­ing room.

You can learn a lot more about how the area was founded right up to the mod­ern day by vis­it­ing the Port Sun­light Mu­seum.

There are lots of in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays and ac­tiv­i­ties for those with kids, not to men­tion a fun dis­play on the Bea­tles in the Wir­ral for adults.

Port Sun­light, with a stopover at the Lev­er­hulme Ho­tel, is a must for those in­ter­ested in the gar­den cities of Eng­land.

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