Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool (Self Guided), Liverpool

Rich in religious roots, Liverpool has many noteworthy places of worship for visitors to experience. A number of churches are located in the town and nearby outside of it, such as the two famous cathedrals, the antique Saint Luke's Church and the Swedish Seamen's Church. Take the following self-guided tour to discover the most interesting religious buildings of Liverpool.
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Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool Map

Guide Name: Holy Buildings Tour in Liverpool
Guide Location: England » Liverpool (See other walking tours in Liverpool)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Author: irenes
Gustav Adolfus Kyrka

1) Gustav Adolfus Kyrka

Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka is a Scandinavian church, located close to Albert Dock in the south of the city centre. The church was built in 1883 to serve Liverpool’s growing Scandinavian community, which by that time had surpassed 50,000 immigrants. The city was a halfway house for Scandinavians travelling to the Americas, and many chose to settle in Merseyside rather than head to the uncharted New World. Liverpool and the surrounding region continues to house a large Scandinavian population, and Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka remains a focal point for the city’s Nordic community.

The church is owned and managed by the Liverpool International Nordic Community, and provides religious services, community events and language courses for citizens and descendants of Scandinavia – Norway, Sweden and Denmark – and their fellow Nordic nations, Finland and Iceland. Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka, named after a 17th century King of Sweden, is one of only four octagonal church buildings remaining in the UK. This unusual building was designed by William Caroe, and combines Gothic Revival architecture with uniquely Scandinavian features, including stepped gables and a concave lead spire. The church holds regular services each Sunday morning at 11am, coffee mornings on weekdays at the same time and Scandinavian language courses on weekday evenings.
Saint Luke's Church

2) Saint Luke's Church

St Luke's Church was designed by John Foster, and construction of the building began on 9 April 1811, with consecration taking place on 12 January 1831. On Monday, 5 May 1941, St Luke's was hit and burned by an incendiary bomb. Today it still stands as a burnt out shell, commonly known locally as "the bombed-out church", and its churchyard is a public park. A memorial to the dead of the Irish famine has been added to the grounds recently. The church is on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register. From 2007 the low-tech music group Urban Strawberry Lunch have been artists in residence at St Lukes, hosting an eclectic range of music, arts & film events. Additionally, since 2003 Urban Strawberry Lunch has been compiling a sound archive of oral histories of the Liverpool Blitz, the Finest Hour project. They also organise an annual event commemorating the anniversary of the bombing of St Lukes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Saint Andrew

3) Church of Saint Andrew

The Church of Saint Andrew is found on Rodney Street, in the heart of Liverpool’s historic city centre. A formerly Scottish Presbyterian church founded in 1823, it lies ruined following a fire in 1983. The church’s main body was designed by Daniel Stewart, whilst the elegant façade was designed by John Foster. At the time, Foster was Liverpool council’s chief surveyor, and he went on to become one of the city’s most famous architects.

A specialist place of worship for Merseyside’s growing Scottish community, the church survived for 150 years, before closing in 1975. The later fire led to one of the church’s towers being demolished, leaving just the tower to the right of the columned entrance remaining. The Church of Saint Andrew is now on the Buildings at Risk Register, and efforts are being made to redevelop the site before it is too late. The church’s congregation have held services at the nearby Liverpool Cathedral since it closed.

An unusual, distinguished building, the church was designed in the Greek Revival style, complete with columns and the aforementioned square towers. The neighbouring churchyard houses a pyramid shaped monument, dedicated to William MacKenzie, a local railway pioneer. Rumour has it that the pyramid itself holds MacKenzie’s body, as he refused to be buried underground, for fear that the devil would claim his soul.
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

4) Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (must see)

The Metropolitan Cathedral, dedicated to Catholic worship (as the so-called "Liverpool Cathedral" is Anglican), is a recent building, built in the 1960s, which nevertheless inserts harmoniously in the English city environment. Interestingly, this cathedral is not the first, but the fourth in a long series of projects, constructions and failures. It seems that when construction started, they intended it to be a huge building – even bigger than St. Peter's Basilica – but the war and the economic crisis paralyzed the process. Nevertheless, there is something intriguing about the modernity of its architecture, as the word "cathedral" always evokes high towers, statues of saints, and old wooden. Instead, exploring the Cathedral's majestic interior reveals modern works of art and stunning design features, such as its striking Lantern Tower – the world’s largest area of coloured glass. Of special note is the magnificent Lutyens Crypt and Treasury. An architectural gem in its own right, the Crypt is one of the most significant works in the UK of the leading British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Make sure to visit before the crypt closes for the day (3:30pm); also, try and go on a sunny day when the sunshine lights up the modern stained glass.
With luck maybe come in times of an art exhibition, or in times of organ concerts and/or classical music!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-5:30pm
Closing time is provisional and may be subject to change.
Admission is free, although a donation is suggested to parish funds.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Philip Neri Church

5) Saint Philip Neri Church

St Philip Neri Church is home to the Roman Catholic chaplaincy to the Universities in Liverpool. It features a Byzantine-inspired design and was built between 1914 and 1920. There are exterior friezes depicting the Last Supper and of Our Lady and the Child Jesus inscribed with the two titles given to Our Lady at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, i.e. 'Deipara' and 'Theotokos'. The parish grew from the school named 'The Institute' which opened in 1853 in nearby Hope Street. The parish and later the church were named after Saint Philip Neri. In the 1950s, the then-priest Dr John Garvin transformed an adjoining bombsite into a Spanish garden, 'El Jardin della Nuestra Senora.' The church became the chaplaincy for the Universities in September 2001 when the old Liverpool University chaplaincy relocated from its previous home on the cathedral precinct opposite the University of Liverpool Guild of Students on Mount Pleasant. The church is a Grade II listed building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Bride's Church

6) St Bride's Church

St Bride’s Church was designed by Samuel Rowland, and consecrated in 1830. Built for esteemed local reverend James Haldane Stewart, the Grade II* listed building is widely considered to be the finest surviving Neoclassical church in Liverpool. It is situated on Percy Street, in the historic Canning district of the city centre. The church’s exterior is typical of many grand Classical buildings in the city. Fronted by a six column portico entrance, from the main road it resembles a Greek temple rather than an English church.

Whilst the church is well known for its beautifully preserved exterior, there are some interesting artefacts to be found inside too. There is a monument to the Reverend Stewart housed in the chancel, next to a memorial for a local family that perished in the Rothsay Castle disaster of 1831. The Rothsay Castle was a steam boat which ferried families from Liverpool to the beaches of North Wales in the early 19th century, before tragically running aground on a voyage, leading to the deaths of 130 people.

Still an active religious and community centre, St. Bride’s is the parish church for the University of Liverpool. It also hosts events as part of Liverpool’s Biennial art festival, one of many artistic events that led the city to be named European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Church of St James, Liverpool

7) Church of St James, Liverpool

Church of St James dates from 1774, and was built by Cuthbert Bisbrowne. This building is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area of Toxteth. It is a rectangular building made of brick, with round-topped windows and castellated square tower. It is situated in a rectangle bordered by Upper Parliament Street, Upper Stanhope Street, St James' Place, and Chesterfield Street. Although the church was purposely built in 1774, it did not gain its own parish until 1844. It has been enlarged several times since then. It is a Grade II listed building. From about 1900 the churchyard was closed for interments and was appropriated and part was used to widen St James' Place. The remaining part of the yard was converted into ornamental gardens which are still open to the public. The church closed in 1971 and in September 2009 reopened its doors as St. James' in the City and describes itself as "a modern model of church in response to a modern city culture."
Sight description based on wikipedia
Liverpool Cathedral

8) Liverpool Cathedral (must see)

Built on St James' Mount, Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral and religious building in Britain. The total external length of the building, including the Lady Chapel (dedicated to the Blessed Virgin), is 207 yards (189 m) making it the longest cathedral in the world. In terms of overall volume, Liverpool Cathedral ranks as the fifth-largest cathedral in the world and contests with the incomplete Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City for the title of largest Anglican church building. In addition to the sheer size, it has a very striking color, especially during sunset as it was built with red sandstone in the early to mid-twentieth-century.

The cathedral's belltower is the largest, and also one of the tallest, in the world, rising to a height of 330 ft. It houses the highest and heaviest ringing peal of bells in the world. One of the cathedral's stained glass windows shows the artisans who designed and built it — Bodley and Scott are both shown, sitting together. The organ, built by Henry Willis & Sons, is the largest pipe organ in the UK and has two five-manual consoles (one sited high up in one of the organ cases and the other, a mobile console, on the floor of the cathedral), 10,268 pipes and a trompette militaire.

Why You Should Visit:
Striking from the outside and not like your traditional church inside, where you may find a telephone booth, neon sign, "secret mouse", "whispering arch", plus concerts and interesting exhibits.

Make sure you take the tour up to the top for the best view in the city, and also spend some time in St. James' Gardens just outside, as some of the gravestones are really interesting.
There's also a lovely café upstairs (by lift) where you can look down at the nave whilst enjoying morning coffee or a reasonably-priced light lunch.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-6pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia

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