"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Visit St Luke's Bombed Out Church

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, Liverpool.

May 2019. Head onto my search bar here at Leighton Travels, type in church, and you’ll get a whole bunch of articles zipping up from across 30+ countries. And yet I’m still confident that until now I haven’t blogged about anything quite like Liverpool’s amazing St Luke’s Church.

Better known to visitors as The Bombed Out Church, it was built between 1811 and 1832. Its nickname is due to the fact that the Germans dropped an incendiary bomb on it during the infamous Liverpool Blitz in 1941. Consequently, the building was reduced to a roofless shell, which is pretty much what remains to this day.

St Luke's Bombed Out Church in Liverpool

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Located on the corner of Leece Street and Berry Street, one can access St Luke’s Bombed Out Church via its lovely garden. As I entered, I took a moment to admire the touching All Together Now sculpture by Andrew Edwards. The same artist, in fact, who made the Beatles Statue at Pier Head on Liverpool’s historic waterfront.

World War I sculpture St Luke's Bombed Out Church

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Added to the church grounds in late 2015, the sculpture commemorates the amazing 1914 Christmas Day Truce between British and German soldiers during the First World War. The fibreglass sculpture shows two soldiers about to shake hands. A football set between them on the ground as the English and Germans prepare to play.

Christmas Truce First World War 1914

An illustration of the 1914 Christmas Truce by A.C. Michael.

According to Edwards, he intended his creation to “capture that moment of humanity amidst all the horror and carnage”.

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Visiting St Luke's Bombed Out Church Liverpool

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

The church gardens are understated but lovely and a highly popular spot for locals and tourists to come and hang out. Following decades of neglect, they reopened in their current form in 2015 after a two year project.

The garden at Church of St Luke in Liverpool

The garden at Church of St Luke.

That afternoon, as I took a load off on one of the benches, it was a wonderfully relaxed scene. Office workers from across the road had come to have their lunch. Moreover, students picnicked on the grass and the occasional tourist like me wandered in, camera in hand.

Roy Castle Memorial in Liverpool.

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Exploring the garden, I soon discovered this memorial stone to the English TV presenter and entertainer Roy Castle. I remember watching Roy on TV as a kid when he presented the popular BBC series Record Breakers, a show about amazing world records.

Roy Castle English TV presenter.

Roy Castle (1932-1994).

Roy presented the program for eleven years, breaking nine world records himself in the process! He died in September 1994 of lung cancer aged 62. Although from Yorkshire, Castle was a lifelong fan of Liverpool Football Club. Thus it came to pass that a memorial to the man and his achievements stands in the city he loved so much.

Church of St Luke, Liverpool.

Inside St Luke's Bombed Out Church

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

The Liverpool Blitz was a heavy and sustained period of bombing upon the city by The German Luftwaffe. The Nazis targeted Liverpool because it was home to the largest port on England’s west coast.

The attacks destroyed hundreds of Liverpool’s most historic buildings, including St Luke’s. After the war, there were numerous plans to knock it down. However, thanks to local protests that never happened and the ruin survived.

A hollow window at St Luke's Bombed Out Church

Church of St Luke, Liverpool.

In 1975 it became listed as a Grade II building. But it wasn’t until 2007 that the church became a managed public ruin thanks to a local arts company, Urban Strawberry Lunch. Under the guidance of their founder, Ambrose Reynolds, they opened an onsite visitor centre and drew up plans to transform the place into an events venue.

Second World War Exhibition St Luke's Bombed Out Church

Inside St. Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

In 2014 a new organisation sprang up called… funnily enough… Bombed Out Church. Supported by Liverpool City Council, volunteers, private donors and a crowdfunding campaign, the church’s long term protection was eventually guaranteed. Hooray!

What to See & Do, Liverpool.

The ruin of St Luke's Church in Liverpool

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

And so St. Luke’s has become a key part of Liverpool cultural life. There have been some fantastic events held here over the years, such as Yoko Ono’s Sky Ladders for Liverpool Exhibition. They also put on movie screenings and have hosted a number of local weddings.

St Luke's Bombed out Church Liverpool City Centre

Church of St Luke, Liverpool.

Prior to COVID you could show up here and see yoga classes in action, or perhaps a live performance of a Shakespeare play. Even if there’s nothing happening, as was the case the day I visited, it remains a fantastically atmospheric sight that simply oozes history.

Church Ruin in Liverpool.

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

The garden usually opens from 10:00-18:00, while to go inside they ask a very reasonable £1 donation. If you’re planning to come here, do check ahead of time, as they occasionally close for special events and maintenance days. For all the info, take a look at their website.

Church of St Luke in Liverpool.

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.

Like this? Check out more of my pieces from around Liverpool.

Or maybe search further afield with my articles from all around England.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

Leighton Travels logo travel reports and short stories.



    It’s great when you discover these little havens within the bustle of a city. There’s a similar adapted church ruin right in the heart of the City Of London. Amazing how serene they feel.

    May 16, 2021 - 10:06 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Are you referring to St Dunstable in the East? Also, did you get a notification today?

      May 16, 2021 - 10:15 am Reply

        I can’t actually remember the name just now but it’s hidden just off Cornhill as I recall. No we didn’t get an email but I did spot a new option on “reader” which was “turn on notifications” which we hadn’t seen before. Let’s see if that works.

        May 16, 2021 - 10:28 am
  • Little Miss Traveller

    Great post and somewhere new for me to visit when I’m back in Liverpool. I also remember enjoying watching Record Breakers with Roy Castle, he was such a good presenter of his day. Have a relaxing Sunday Leighton. Marion

    May 16, 2021 - 11:33 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, glad to have brought something new to the table. Enjoy your Sunday!

      May 16, 2021 - 12:27 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    This is a really amazing sight (or is it site?). The church almost looked “complete” on your first photo’s, until I started to read the history behind this wonderful place. I’m so glad they didn’t demolish the church – it must be great to walk around this church without a roof!

    May 16, 2021 - 12:25 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Aw I’m glad you appreciated this one. I’m so glad it survived and honours the city’s history in addition to embracing current events. Have a great Sunday!

      May 16, 2021 - 1:27 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    A beautiful memorial to the times that were and hopefully a reminder to those of today that we should not do this stage again. Glad they saved the shell. Stay well. Allan

    May 16, 2021 - 2:53 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for getting in touch Allan, I agree that they’ve done a great job with it. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

      May 16, 2021 - 2:57 pm Reply
  • I’ve Bean Travelling

    Wow, this does look like a very cool place to see. Thanks for sharing!

    May 16, 2021 - 3:00 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It’s definitely not to be missed but, strangely, sometimes gets left out of Liverpool’s most recommended sights. Thanks for commenting!

      May 16, 2021 - 3:29 pm Reply
  • Nic

    It’s stunning!

    May 16, 2021 - 3:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      They’ve done a great job with it right? Thanks for reading!

      May 16, 2021 - 3:30 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    What a unique name for a church! And all the more incredible that it survived so much damage during WWII! Forgive me for the ignorance, but can one not go inside the church? Or is there nothing at all to see? The gardens and the outside look stunning regardless, and I hope picnics are permitted there!

    May 16, 2021 - 9:29 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Rebecca, every photo after the Roy Castle shot is the interior! That’s all inside, though it is indeed just a grassy shell.

      May 16, 2021 - 10:03 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    More surprises about Liverpool. Love the Church, WW1 Football and the tribute to Roy Castle.

    May 16, 2021 - 9:53 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey someone, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. It’s definitely a unique church, can’t be too many like that in England.

      May 16, 2021 - 10:06 pm Reply
  • Memo

    I also am glad they decided to preserve the church. It evokes such a mixture of emotions from just looking at your pictures. Sadness about the past, hope for the future, pride at the human spirit. Tried to image using the church as a wedding site – it’s a unique choice.

    May 17, 2021 - 2:15 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha right? Not sure if the Bombed out Church would be my cup of tea as a wedding venue. The weather would almost certainly be an issue for starters. Cool photographs though.

      May 17, 2021 - 8:52 am Reply
  • Lookoom

    It’s a good choice to keep it that way rather than demolishing it or rebuilding it, it makes people think.

    May 17, 2021 - 5:44 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Definitely. I know it got me thinking about what it must have been like in Liverpool during The Blitz. And the day that church was hit must have been terrifying.

      May 17, 2021 - 8:54 am Reply
  • Jyothi

    Great post Leighton! Loved the church images!!

    May 17, 2021 - 3:18 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    What an incredibly beautiful place! I love the character of the building (not saying I love the cause of all that character but the aftereffect on it is so lovely). And how it looks against the blue of the sky. And what an inspiring story about the soldiers finding peace and comradery playing football in such a turbulent and terrifying time.

    May 18, 2021 - 5:58 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you liked this one! I agree that it’s survival as a historical marker is something to be cherished. Thanks for catching up with my recent Liverpool posts.

      May 18, 2021 - 6:04 pm Reply
  • Chocoviv

    Thank you for this! I hope to visit someday!

    May 19, 2021 - 7:00 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey, thanks for the flurry of likes and indeed the follow!

      May 19, 2021 - 9:39 am Reply
      • Chocoviv

        You’re welcome 😇

        May 19, 2021 - 9:53 am

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: