Birkenhead Park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. His concept was to create an idealised countryside landscape of open meadows and naturalistic woodland belts. The lakes are shaped to appear as sinuous rivers with views across them to features such as the Boathouse and Swiss Bridge.
Paxton incorporated surrounding land into the park which was sold at an enhanced value for housing to help pay for the building of the park.
He also provided a separate perimeter road for traffic which allowed the park interior to be enjoyed by pedestrians.
In 1850 F.L. Olmsted, an American, visited the park as part of a tour of Europe. Olmsted later became famous as the designer of Central Park, New York into which he incorporated many of the features he first observed in Birkenhead Park.
Paxton's original design remains largely intact. In 1977 the park was designated a Conservation Area and in 1995 declared a Grade 1 Listed Landscape by English Heritage.