Birkdale is likely to have taken its name from two Old Norse words, birki meaning 'birch-copse' and dalr meaning 'dale' or 'valley', and is a village and district in the southern part of Southport. 

It is located on the Irish Sea coast, a short distance from Southport. From 1894 to 1912, Birkdale and the adjoining suburb/village of Ainsdale were administered by Birkdale Urban District Council before becoming part of the county borough of Southport, in 1912. On 1 April 1974, Birkdale became integrated into the new borough of Sefton.

Birkdale is mainly an affluent area featuring many large Victorian and Edwardian houses. The district is almost entirely residential.

The area's centre, known as Birkdale Village, features a variety of (mostly local) shops. Birkdale is served by two railway stations (Hillside and Birkdale), and is situated on the Northern Line of the Merseyrail network, that links Southport to Liverpool.

The district has three secondary schools, Christ the King Catholic High School, Birkdale High School which is for boys, and Greenbank High School in Hillside, for girls.

The area sometimes plays host to The Open Golf Championship, played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.