Citizens from the Widnes area had to pay taxes at Halton Castle in Runcorn and a ferry service soon linked the two settlements.
Around the mid-19th century, the British chemical industry began in Widnes utilising Lancashire coal and Cheshire salt. Factories developed on both sides of the river and trade, labour and skills quickly became interlinked. As a result of this, in 1868 the London to Liverpool railway opened, followed in 1905 by a transporter bridge to carry road traffic and pedestrians. These constructions reinforced the links between the two towns which were increased even further when the borough’s current major landmark, the Silver Jubilee Bridge, opened in 1961.
The bridge is listed for its architectural importance and is reminiscent of the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Halton has a track record of delivering major projects and regeneration initiatives. The most recent and perhaps the most significant is the Mersey Gateway Bridge. The bridge opened in October 2017, a major regional infrastructure project and a significant achievement for the fourth smallest unitary authority in the country. The building of the Mersey Gateway Bridge not only eases congestion for the Borough and the wider region, it also provides further opportunity for significant development throughout the Borough.
Transport within the Borough is made easy by the modern network of roads and expressways. Halton has a unique system
of 17km of dedicated Busway serving the major employment and residential areas. Located within the M56 & M62 corridors, Halton is ideally situated at the heart of the region’s motorway network. Two railway stations, Runcorn Mainline & Runcorn East, provide fast and frequent services throughout the UK. Commuters can be in Liverpool in 20 minutes, Manchester in 40 minutes and London in
less than 2 hours. There are also regular connections to Birmingham, Chester, Crewe, and North Wales.
Halton is ideally located between Manchester International Airport and Liverpool John Lennon Airport, one of Europe’s fastest growing regional airports. Plus its proximity to Liverpool and Birkenhead means that ferries to Ireland and the Isle of Man make those journeys easily accessible. Liverpool Cruise Terminal is fast earning a reputation as a desirable embarkation point for those who prefer travelling from closer to home. An increasing number of cruise lines now include the city as their UK departure point. The Mersey Gateway Bridge a major regional infrastructure project and a significant achievement for the fourth smallest unitary authority in the country. The building of the Mersey Gateway Bridge not only eases congestion for the Borough and the wider region, it also provides further opportunity for significant development throughout the Borough.
Hours to London by Train
Minutes to Liverpool by Train
Minutes to Manchester by Train
Widnes, providing the most expensive at an average of £268,700 for a detached.
A buoyant rental market also exists starting at around £400 per month for a 2 bedroom terrace house up to £800 per month for a family sized 3 bedroom semi-detached. Halton has a comprehensive social housing strategy with a number of Registered Social Landlords (RSL).
Halton Housing Trust (HHT) is the largest RSL in the Borough. This forward thinking and dynamic not- for- profit housing association owns and manages 6,400 homes throughout Runcorn and Widnes. It provides many different types of homes ranging from semi-detached houses, flats and maisonettes to more specialist bungalows specifically designed for older people.
There are over 30 day nurseries spread across Widnes and Runcorn. There are also eight children’s centres providing many different children and family services including activities for parents, parents-to-be, their babies, toddlers, young children and the rest of the family.
Help for employers and employees
Halton Employment Partnership (HEP) is a strategic level Partnership which brings together expertise from various employment, learning and skills development agencies in Halton and can support inward investors and local businesses with a ‘complete employment offer’. One prime aim is to assist with recruitment and training and it offers tailored support for large and small scale recruitment projects. It also has a brief to ensure that inward investors and local businesses have a readily available and skilled workforce.
Additionally, entrepreneurs can be assisted with business start-up support. HEP includes various Halton Borough Council departments, Job Centre Plus, Riverside College, the Chamber of Commerce, Local Housing Trust, private and voluntary sector training providers, National Apprenticeship Service and Skills Funding Agency.
HBC Divisional Manager
Employment, Learning & Skills
Tel: 0151 511 8382
Halton excels at providing good education for young people of all ages. There are 22 primary schools, six high schools and three providers for the 16-18 age group.
Halton GCSE results are now consistently above the Regional and National rates. The majority of primary schools also perform well above the national average in the core subjects of English, Maths and Reading with an average of 80% of all pupils achieving Level 4 or above.
further education college serving the borough of Halton and the surrounding areas. The College has this year been ranked as the top performing College in the country on all three of the Department of Education’s vocational performance measures, following the achievement of 100% vocational pass rates and 72% triple distinctions results for its students.
Cronton Sixth Form College’s A level results also rank within the top 7% nationally with a 99.2% pass rate and 80% high grades achieved in the summer of 2014.
Riverside College’s Kingsway Campus is home to a wide range of full and part time vocational courses and apprenticeships, from foundation to degree level study. At Cronton Sixth Form College, students can choose to study from a vast range of full time A level and vocational programmes.
In recent years, significant investment has transformed both Colleges into truly inspiring places of learning, providing the latest equipment and technologies in order to prepare students for the modern workplace. Facilities include state of the art theatres, studios, laboratories, sports hall and gym, and a brand new Engineering and Construction Skills Centre which was officially opened in 2015.
The College works with a wide range of local and national employers and universities to provide exceptional opportunities for its students during their course such as work experience, trips, visits and master classes. This maximises opportunities for students to progress onto exciting degrees and careers.
to enjoy the outdoors, with three canals and miles of footpaths right on the doorstep.
In Widnes, The Hive is a big success with a brownfield site transformed into a high quality leisure park with a 5 screen cinema, bowling alley, ice rink and restaurants. At Select Security Stadium, rugby fans can enjoy watching Widnes Vikings, a club with a long and proud heritage in rugby league.
Over in Runcorn, there is a cinema, the award winning Brindley theatre and even a Snowsports Centre.
The picturesque villages of Hale and Daresbury hold their own surprises; one of the thatched cottages in Hale was once home to England’s tallest man, 9 3” John Middleton and Daresbury’s most famous resident was the famous children’s author, Lewis Carroll. Both areas also offer scenic walks; ambling along the Mersey coastline at Hale or wandering through the lush Cheshire countryside surrounding Daresbury.
Nature lovers are catered for with plenty of bird watching locations, nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest (SSI’s) on both sides of the bridge. Culture vultures can wander in the footsteps of ancient abbots amongst the medieval ruins at Norton Priory Museum and Gardens and also experience the intricacies of science at Catalyst Science Discovery Centre.
Shopping options are plentiful. There are big brand names at Runcorn Shopping Centre and Widnes Shopping Park and innumerable independent traders throughout both town centres. Runcorn has a weekly outdoor market and Widnes Market is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and variety of stalls, both indoor and out.
Eating out is easy, with plenty of options for all ages, budgets and tastes. National chains such as Frankie & Benny’s, Nando’s and Brewer’s Fayre can be found at The Hive, with lots of smaller, independent cafes and restaurants dotted throughout Widnes & Runcorn town centres. The Brindley café, for example, overlooks the Bridgewater Canal and is a great place to relax, enjoy a homemade cake and watch the boats pass by. Many of the pubs, such as the Ring O’Bells in Widnes and The Prospect in Runcorn, are renowned locally for their food and regularly hold special themed nights offering different cuisines.
For those who do want to venture further afield, the stunning scenery of North Wales and the Lake District is within one hour’s drive. Chester, Liverpool, Warrington and Manchester can all be reached in half an hour and offer their own sporting, shopping and cultural opportunities.
The city is renowned for its independentstores which sit alongside global brands. Many are situated on The Rows which are completely unique in the world to Chester. Continuous half-timbered galleries, reached by steps, form a second row of shops above those at street level and nobody is quite sure why they were built in this way.
Chester Zoo is the largest zoo in Britain and the first in Britain to be built without cages and bars. Its new £40m ‘Islands’ zone is the “biggest and most ambitious” development in the history of UK zoos, enabling visitors to explore the habitats of six exotic South East Asian islands.
With the largest collection of museums and galleries anywhere outside of the Capital, Liverpool’s culture and heritage are at the very heart of the city. Boasting a truly iconic, UNESCO world heritage waterfront and skyline, what better way to experience it than aboard a Mersey Ferry?
The magnificent Albert Dock forms part of the UNESCO site and is one of Britain’s top heritage attractions. Apart from being the UK’s largest group of Grade1 listed buildings, it is home to award winning visitor attractions including the Beatles Story, International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool.
Shoppers are spoilt for choice between gleaming new city-centre shopping centres, boutique arcades, bohemian streets and farmers markets.
Liverpool ONE, right in the heart of the city, is the huge open-air shopping district that is home to more than 160 famous high street and designer names, including the only Beauty Bazaar Harvey Nichols in the country.
The exclusive Metquarter and the ultra-fashionable Cavern Walks are the place to find designer names such as Armani and Vivienne Westwood.
Bold Street, with its eclectic independent stores, has been rated by Lonely Planet as one of the best shopping streets in the country.
It has plenty of shopping opportunities such as the Golden Square shopping centre which has all the big brand names alongside smaller boutiques selling everything from clothing to stationery. Warrington also has a traditional market.
For culture lovers, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery has over 200,000 objects and pieces of art under one roof. Families are catered for at their very own theme park, Gulliver’s World, and Speedkarting. Warrington is the largest indoor go-karting circuit in the UK.
Green Flag award winning Walton Gardens is set around an Elizabethan style hall, often used as a film location. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the children’s free zoo which has a wide variety of friendly residents including chipmunks, red squirrels and ponies.
There is also a lively night-time economy with lots of bars and restaurants in the town centre.