10 fascinating Liverpool City Region heritage sites you can visit for free this September
1 month ago
Heritage Open Days are back with more than 5,000 fascinating places to visit in Liverpool City Region.
From historic houses to factories and museums, and formal gardens to graveyards, and more, there are more than 5,000 fascinating spaces and places open to the public in this year’s Liverpool Heritage Open Days festival.The event, between September 8-17, is held annually and is the country’s largest community-led festival of history and culture offering people the chance to explore their heritage, community and local history.
It’s a chance to get inside all those buildings you might walk past in wonder every day – some not normally open to the public – and find out more about them. And, as you might expect, there are plenty of places you can visit across the whole of Merseyside, like these…Bidston Windmill
Volunteers will be on hand to tell you all about the brick-built tower mill which was used for grinding corn from 1800 until 1875, and the conservation work being carried out by the Friends of Bidston Hill in conjunction with Wirral Council. The windmill will be open on Friday, September 8 between 10.30am and 12.30pm and, while there’s no need to book, it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Birkenhead Priory and St Mary’s Tower
As the oldest standing building on Merseyside, the Priory offers a unique insight into Birkenhead and its importance in the development of Wirral. The Priory operated the first ferry across the Mersey between 1150 to 1536, and St Mary’s Tower boasts some of the most spectacular views of Liverpool, the river, and beyond. It’s open on September 8, 13, 14, and 15 with guided tours at 1.30pm and 2.30pm; and on September 9, 10, 16 and 17, with guided tours at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. There’s no booking needed.
Williamson’s Tunnels Tours
Deep below Liverpool’s streets are the historic subterranean tunnels and chambers built by Georgian philanthropist and merchant Joseph Williamson; and Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels will be leading a special tour to tell their unique history. They’ll be opening up the chambers beneath Joseph Williamson’s House on Mason Street, and you can see the dramatic banqueting hall and wine bins quarried out of the sandstone in the early 1800s. They’ll be open on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, and Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, with guided tours at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, and 2pm. Booking is essential. Call Lynn Mills on 07906 935769, or email email@example.com.
Abdullah Quilliam Mosque, Brougham Terrace
This was Britain’s first ever mosque, founded by a Victorian English convert to Islam, Abdullah Quilliam in 1887 – yet for almost 100 years it was used as Liverpool Register Office! It is being restored as a national heritage centre by the Abdullah Quilliam Society and you can visit the old Victorian kitchen, its printing press, and many distinct features of the premises with tour guides providing a fascinating insight into its history. It will be open on Saturday, September 16, between 10am and 4pm with booking not essential but preferred. Contact Mumin Khan on 07949921692; email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the website HERE.
Port Sunlight River Park
It’s hard to believe this nature reserve was once a landfill site, but you can learn all about its transformation and the 100-year history of the area, as well as the poetry and creativity the park has inspired. There’s a guided walk on Wednesday, September 13 between 11am and 1pm, and on Sunday, September 17, also between 11am and 1pm. You do need to pre-book for this one and you can do that by emailing email@example.com.
St Chad’s Church, Kirkby
St. Chad’s has been at the heart of the community for centuries, and for most of that time was a small chapel in a small agricultural community. But 150 years ago, the current church was built by the Earl of Sefton, and Kirkby was elevated to its own parish, with a building that contains the best of its Victorian era. There’ll be photos, silverware and old magazines out on display, and there’ll be tours of the bell tower. It’s open on Saturday, September 9 from 12 noon to 4pm; Sunday, September 10 from 12 noon to 3pm, and Wednesday, September 13 between 11am and 2pm. No booking needed.
St George’s Hall
Chance to tour the Great Hall in the Grade I listed St George’s Hall, one of the greatest examples of neo-classical architecture in Europe. It opened in 1854, originally intended to be Liverpool’s first concert hall, and you can view the beautifully designed barrel-vaulted ceiling, two magnificent stained glass windows at either end, the organ made by Henry Willis with 7,737 pipes making it the third largest pipe organ in the United Kingdom, and its 10 chandeliers. It will be open for viewing on Friday, September 8; Saturday, September 9; Wednesday, September 13; Thursday, September 14; Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16, at 1pm. Book via the Ticketquarter website here.
As the UK’s first arts centre – formally constituted in 1927 – creativity is still at the heart of everything it does almost 100 years later, and you can get to see inside some of the studios of artists working in the building and enjoy guided tours and talks to reveal its history. It’s open everyday from September 8 to 17 – except September 11! – from 11am to 5pm. There’s no booking needed, but you will be able to book via www.thebluecoat.org.uk/heritageopendays to be certain of a place as numbers are limited.
The Old Dock Tour, Liverpool ONE
This is an opportunity to explore The Old Dock at Liverpool ONE, in partnership with National Museums Liverpool. The Old Dock – revealed in 2001 during the excavations to create Liverpool ONE – is the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock, and paved the way for the successful dock expansion on both sides of the river leading to Liverpool’s great contributions in commerce and world trade. You need to book to visit on Monday, September 11, and Thursday, September 14, with 30-minute tours at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm, and 2pm. Go to: the website here.
Bridewell Studios and Gallery
The Prescot Street studios are housed in an early 20th-century police station and visitors can get to see evidence of the building’s previous use including original tiles, concrete staircases, and prison cells as well as explore current artists’ studios. The building – which was also a fire station – is now home to 38 artists and crafts people and you’ll be able to wander around the building and see parts of it not usually open to the public. It’s open Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, and Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, between 12 noon and 4pm, with guided tours at 1pm and 3pm. You will need to book via Fiona Filby on 07733 402692, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.