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Things to do in Aintree, Merseyside

Aintree Entrance - Home Of The Grand National (c) Paolo Camera via Flickr

The village of Aintree is associated with the well-known Aintree Racecourse, home of the Grand National and other horse races since the 19th century. In order to differentiate the village from the racecourse, the council changed the name to "Aintree Village" in 1999.

The name "Aintree" in Saxon English means one tree, and until 2004 there was a very old tree on the outskirts of the town. Legend has it that it was this solitary tree after which Aintree was named.

Aintree was recorded as long ago as 1226 and the oldest part of the village can be found in the centre of the community.

Present Day Aintree

Aintree Village currently has a population of just over 7,000. It has two primary schools and a School of Music, which also has an in-house recording business at Abbey Cottage Studio.

Aintree Davenhill Primary School now occupies what was once intended to be a hospital. Plans changed before it was completed and the proposed hospital wards eventually became the corridors and classrooms of the school.

The other primary school, Holy Rosary was split between two sites at either end of the village. Recently, the Oriel Drive property was extended to accommodate the whole school and the Aintree Lane building became the Hope Centre, now a community centre.

There are five churches in Aintree and two local shopping areas for essential everyday needs. As Liverpool city centre is just six miles away, most major purchases can be done in the city or at the nearby retail park on Ormskirk Road.

Three pubs serve the community - the Village Inn, the canalside Blue Anchor and the Old Roan. Former Everton goalkeeper, Ted Sagar, once ran a pub in the village in the 1950s, after his retirement. Another connection with pro football is former Liverpool captain and Sky Sport commentator, Phil Thompson, who now lives on Bullbridge Lane.

The village even has two railway stations: the Old Roan station serving the village and the Aintree railway station near the racecourse. Both stations are on the Merseyrail Northern route which makes it very easy for residents to commute to Liverpool or Ormskirk. The proximity of the M57, M58 and the A59 also make Aintree Village very accessible, once drivers have mastered the complex junction known as Switch Island!

Things to Do in Aintree

If you are visiting Aintree in early April you will probably want to attend the Grand National steeplechase at this historic National Hunt course, which has been in operation since 1829.

Aintree Racecourse puts on a host of other activities and events to make use of the site amenities. Freaky Family Funday combines lighthearted Halloween celebrations with fairground fun and a special race day. Old Roan Raceday is held in late October and Becher's Chase Day is in November. In summer, look out for musical evenings and equestrian events organized by the Pony Club.

Golf is available on the racecourse; the course is one of the longest 9-hole courses in the UK. Golf lessons and a floodlit driving range share the site and the coffee bar is open for drinks and snacks.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal provides pleasant walks along the towpath and nature spotting.

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Images of Aintree

Welcome To Aintree - Grand National  (c) Paolo Camera via Flickr
Aintree Village Sign  (c) John Bradley via Wikimedia
Bull Lane Cottages Aintree Village  (c) Sue Adair via Wikimedia
Harlleys Village Spice Street Aintree (c) Nigel Cox  via Wikimedia

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