Although hardly as charming as many other English churches, the massive Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral in the United Kingdom and it is worth a visit and the tower offers panoramic views of Liverpool.
The cathedral was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who is also noted for designing the iconic K2 red telephone box. The cathedral was built between 1904 and 1978, making it a relatively recent addition to the Liverpool cityscape and because of its relative modernity, it lacks the historical context of older churches and cathedrals elsewhere in the country.
What the cathedral lacks in history, it makes up for in size. Not only is it the largest religious building in the United Kingdom, it also:
- is the third-tallest building in Liverpool;
- is home to the world’s largest belltower;
- is the world’s highest (67m (220 ft)) and heaviest (16.8 tonnes (16.5 tons)) ringing peal of bells, which includes Great George, the United Kingdom’s third-heaviest bell (14.7 tonnes (14.5 tons));
- has the world’s highest and widest Gothic arches;
- and it has the United Kingdom’s largest organ.
Although relatively new, it is built to a classic design and it is one of the newest buildings in England to be designated as a Grade I listed building.
What to see at Liverpool Cathedral
Liverpool Catedral is a large cathedral with plenty to offer the visitor but it lacks the historical significance of most other churches and cathedrals in England and subsequently, it attracts fewer tourists than cathedrals elsewhere.
It is free to visit the main area of the cathedral and here you can see the large organ, the Lady Chapel, the stained-glass Great West Window and the Tracey Emin sculpture.
The Tower Experience
For an additional charge, visitors can upgrade to the Tower Experience, which gives you an audio tour and also lets you see a film showing how the cathedral was built and visit the tower, where you see the bells and enjoy the view of the city.
Although the Great Space film is certainly a nice bonus that gives you a great introduction to the cathedral, the main reason to pay extra for the Tower Experience is so you can go up to the top of the tower. This involves taking two separate lifts and climbing 108 stairs to the rooftop where you are treated to 360º views of the city. At this point, you are 152m (500 ft) high, which is around the same height as the 35th level of an office building.
By visiting the tower, you are also able to see the world’s highest and heaviest peal of bells, which includes Great George (the UK’s third-heaviest bell). However, it is not possible to visit the tower at times when the bells are being rung.
Visiting Liverpool Cathedral
Liverpool Cathedral is located at the southeastern corner of the city centre at the southern end of Hope Street. Liverpool’s other cathedral (the Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool) is at the other end of the street. The cathedral is close to the Georgian Quarter and the Knowledge Quarter and it is around a 15-minute walk into the heart of the city centre.
It is free to visit the cathedral, although an additional £5.50 gives the Tower Experience including the Great Space film, the Great Space audio tour and access to the tower where you can see its massive bells and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
It is also possible to take a guided tour of the cathedral. These cost £3 and depart at regular intervals after 10am Mondays to Saturdays and from noon on Sundays.
There is also package deal that gives you combined entry to the cathedral with a city bus tour and a Mersey Ferries cruise.
There is an on-site gift shop and two dining options at the cathedral: the Mezzanine Cafe for tea and coffee and light snacks and the Welsford for more substantial meals including a Sunday roast dinner.