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Historically a part of Lancashire, tourist attractions include Southport Pier, the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles, and Lord Street, a tree-lined shopping street once home of Napoleon III of France. It also hosted a fairground which was originally opened in 1912, but this was closed in 2006. Despite the wrecking of the site by the previous occupiers, New Pleasureland is now running on part of the site. http://www.newpleasureland.co.nr/ The town contains examples of Victorian architecture and town planning. These include much of Lord Street in addition to Cambridge Hall, Town Hall and Wayfarers' Arcade. A particular feature of the town is the extensive tree planting. This was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made land available for development in the 19th century. Hesketh Park at the northern end of the town is named after the Hesketh family, having been built on land donated by the Rev. Charles Hesketh.

Extensive sand dunes stretch for several kilometers between Birkdale and Ainsdale/Woodvale to the south of the town. The Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a National Nature Reserve in England and a Ramsar site. Local fauna include the Natterjack toad and the Sand lizard.

 

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