Hilbre Islands

Shoreline on Hilbre Island

The “Hilbre Islands” are a chain of three tiny islands “Little Eye”, “Middle Eye” and “Hilbre” at the mouth of “Dee Estuary” just off the coast of West Kirby in the Wirral Peninsula of Merseyside. A unique thing about these islands is that you can walk the 2 miles to them across the sand flats at low tide from West Kirby (they are free to visit).


The main island is home to a seal colony, lots of birds, great views (on a clear day) of the surrounding shorelines of England and Wales, and a handful of people but not a lot else. Note that this is a nature reserve. The lifeboat post was abandoned years ago and the only public facilities on the island are a pair of composting toilets and paths that criss-cross the island.

How to Get There

That way!

This is the trick. Please consult some of the sources listed in the “Further Information” section for details on high and low tides before considering the walk across - You should only ever consider the walk out/back at least 2-3 hours before/after high tide as five hours a day the islands are completely inaccessible by land and there are no facilities on the islands themselves. Other than the toilets, there is no accommodation, water or food and camping is not allowed. Another key thing to think about is the weather so keep an eye on the forecast as there is very little shelter once you are out in the estuary.

"Walking to Hilbre Island?" Sign

The walk starts from the north shore of the Marine Lake at the Marine Lake Slipway on West Kirby Beach in West Kirby (look for the large yellow “Walking to Hilbre Island?” sign). Parking is free along the coastal road here but that can fill quite quickly. There is a pay and display car park at the Morrisons supermarket nearby but it only allows for relatively short durations, perhaps not enough to walk to and from the islands. If you do chose not to drive, there is a train station in West Kirby otherwise you can take a local bus from Liverpool.

Marine Lake to Little Eye

The first part of the walk on the sand follows the line of the northern edge of the Marine Lake straight across to “Little Eye” where you take a slight right to travel on to “Middle Eye”.

Little Eye Little Eye

Each of these walks are about a mile in length with the walk between Little and Middle Eye a bit wet in places as you walk amongst the rocks and sand.

Little Eye to Middle Eye Middle Eye

“Middle Eye” and the main island are connected to each other so that part will take only a few minutes.

Hilbre Island

There is a path leading to the top of the main island on the left (north west) side where you will be welcomed with a sign indicating you have made it…and what to do/not do…

Welcome to Hilbre Island

What to Do There

Well, not much. The most exciting thing to do is probably to watch the waves crash along the base of the rocky cliffs, or perhaps watch the seals and birds. Note that summer is the best time for seal spotting.

Lifeboat Station Telegraph Station

You can explore the small ruins of the lifeboat station and poke around the other abandoned public buildings including the telegraph station.

Buoymasters Museum

There is also the small “Buoymasters Museum” which may be open during your visit and offering a glimpse of what it must have been like on the island years ago.

North Cliffs

There are lots of areas you can spread out a blanket and have a picnic or sit on the cliffs or waterfront and enjoy the views.

Open Days

The “Friends of Hilbre Island” have periodic “Open Days” where they have volunteers on the island doing lectures, offering drinks/nibbles, answering question, and opening up some of the buildings including the telegraph house. Note that during these days it can be very busy on the island.

Open Day - Canteen

See the “Friends of Hilbre Island” web site at https://www.hilbreisland.info/ for details on upcoming dates.


Further Information

For further information, please see: