Tag Archives: United Kingdom

The Cathedrals of Liverpool (Roman Catholic vs. Anglican)

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1. Liverpool Metropolitan Roman Catholic Cathedral

Quick Facts:

  • Height: 84.86 m (278.41 feet); Diameter: 59.43 m (195.98 feet)
  • Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1967
  • The cathedral is made of conrete and features an aluminum covered roof
The Steps leading to the main entrance of the Metropolitan Cathedral
The view from the top of the steps (Hey, I can see my residence from here!)

The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic church in Liverpool. It’s located in the Knowledge Quater of the city, about a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Central Station. I got to know this cathedral very well as it was directly across the street from my student residence at the University of Liverpool while I was on my international study exchange.

I only ever went inside once, hense the rather limited pictures below, but it served as a beacon to lead me home anywhere I was in the city. Although exactly what you would expect of architecture from the 1960s, the exterior of the building is rather unique for a religous construction of this size, at least in my experience.

The interior of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is a massive circle. Your immediate attention is pulled to the height of the ceiling, and the stained glass windows high above your head. There are 13 chapels lining the circumfrence of the main room, and an endless sea of pews leading to the alter at the front.

Inside of the Cathedral
Stained glass windows in the roof of the cathedral

The most memorable part of the cathedral for me were the bells and their ability to disturb my sleep on many mornings over the course of 5 months living across the street from them. While they sounded great, the bells had a tendency to go on for a very long time, and at very inconvenient times in the morning.

Entrance is free, although donations are encouraged. If you’re visiting Liverpool and happen to be in the area, definitely take the time to visit the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Otherwise, in my opinion and as you’ll see below, the Liverpool Cathredral is worth more of a visit and your time.

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2. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Quick Facts:

  • Construction began in 1904 and didn’t finish until 1978
  • Height: 100.8 m (331 ft); Length: 188.67 m (619 ft)
  • Among a number of records, it is the longest cathedral in the world, and the largest Anglican cathedral in the world. It is also the fifth largest by volume in the world.
Liverpool Catheral as seen from the parking lot

I visited the Liverpool Cathedral 3 times during my time living and study at the University of Liverpool. Once by myself and another 2 times with visiting family and friends. Built in the gothic revival style of architecture, I think it’s fair to say the Liverpool Cathedral is a much more impressive structure than its Roman Catholic counterpart. The sheer scale of the building dominates the surrounding skyline, and the interior of the building is just as grand.

There’s lots to explore inside, including your typical religious artifacts, tombs, ornate stained glass windows and a grand altar. Tucked away within the back corner of the main cathedral is The Lady Chapel, the first part of the structure to be completed. There’s also a cafe with plenty of seating available in the centre of the building, and a small gift shop as well.

The exterior’s impressive gothic arches
The interior of the cathedral. The cafe can be seen in the left of the picture
Looking down the centre of the cathedral towards the altar
The Cathedral features towering stained glass windows
A close up view of the altar
The Lady Chapel, the oldest part of the Cathedral

Outside Liverpool Cathedral you’ll find St. James’ Gardens. Originally used as a cemetary with more than 57,000 burials, it was closed in 1936 when the land was deemed full. It was then converted into a public garden and greenspace in 1972, meaning all the gravestones had to be relocated. Many of these gravestones now line the exterior perimeter of the park and date back to the early 19th century. I found it really interesting reading the inscriptions, the names of the deceased, and when they lived and died. With the backdrop of the massive cathedral looming overhead, it really is a unique place to visit and go for a walk.

Entrance to the Liverpool Cathedral and St. James’ Gardens are free, although donations are encouraged. It is located in the Georgian Quater of the city, and while it is a 17 minute walk from Liverpool Central Station, (a little futher away from the city centre than the Roman Catholic Cathedral) it is most definitely worth the walk to come and see.

A view of St. James’ Gardens with Liverpool Cathedral in the background
Gravestones line the entire exterior boundary of St. James’ Gardens
There is a looped walking path that winds its way around the gardens
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3. Honourable Mentions

No cathedral tour of Liverpool is complete without at least mentioning the hallowed grounds that each of the city’s beloved football teams play in and call home. I’m of course talking about Anfield and Goodison Park, the respective stadium’s of Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C.

Anfield Stadium, Home of Liverpool F.C.
Goodison Park, Home of Everton F.C.

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27-Hour Travel Day (Arriving in the United Kingdom)

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Travel days tend to turn into one giant blur, filled with excitment, confusion, and exhaustion; my journey from Toronto to London was no exception.

It all started with a 10:30 a.m. wake up call to do the last of the laundry and packing, as well as to get all of the necessary documents and affairs in order needed when leaving for a 5-month trip abroad. A ride to the airport, a starbucks coffee, and a few emotional goodbyes later and I found myself sitting in front of gate E70 at Pearson International Airport waiting to board my Air Canada Boeing 787-9 to London Heathrow at 8:30 p.m. Of course, the one time I decided to be a responsible adult and not buy overpriced snacks for the plane, there was a problem with the aircraft’s auxillary power unit meaning the pilots were unable to get the engines started. As a result of this misfortune, I sat in snackless agony for almost 2 hours while mechanics assessed the situation and fixed the problem.

Air Canada Boeing 787-9
Sitting at the gate, Pearson International Airport
Sunsrise over the Atlantic Ocean

Fortunately, I had an entire row to myself which allowed me to sprall out and get comfy. While I never managed to get some sleep, this was the first time I’d been able to lie flat on an airplane, and lord was it glorious. After just over 6 hours in the air, the flight touched down in England at 10 a.m. local time. While the delay was a tad frustrating, in the end it worked out for the better as we arrived inbetween peak arrival times, meaning customs and immigration took a mere 10 minutes from deplaning to luggage collection.

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This meant plenty of time to activate my sim card, buy train tickets into the city centre, and even get a Covid test at the airport. (I tested negative) The downside? I wasn’t due to check into my Airbnb until 2 p.m. so I had a lot of time to kill. I decided to take the short walk from London Paddington Station to Hyde Park, and spent the late morning and early afternoon people watching and hanging out in nature.

London Paddington Station
London Paddington Station
Streets of London
Hyde Park
Hyde Park

Hours later, after checking in and taking a much needed hot shower and a quick rest I made the 45 minute walk to Buckingham Palace. I’ve been twice before, and both times were in peak season with large crowds of people so it was an interesting contrast seeing this major tourist destination relatively free of crowds.

Aside from a quick stop for groceries and dinner, the trek back consisted of my body screaming in full revolt after just over 21 km of walking on little to no sleep in the past 27 hours. I’m looking forward to getting some rest, but excited for the next few days spent in London before journeying elsewhere in the week before I begin my studies in Liverpool later this month.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
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Queen Victoria Memorial
Queen Victoria Memorial
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch

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*This blog was originally posted on seekingsaudades.com*

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