Doors open on ‘architectural wonders’

Hundreds of buildings and places in the North West have opened to the public free of charge for the annual nationwide Heritage Open Days season.

Open Days involves over 500 contemporary buildings, churches, factories, tunnels, temples, offices, private homes, industrial sites, castles, windmills, and town halls opening across the counties of Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, and Cheshire.

In Liverpool, a total of 20 Grade I-listed and Grade II*-listed buildings will open to the public including St George's Hall, Speke Hall and Liverpool's two cathedrals.

Tours of the city's Grade I-listed Royal Liver Building on the Pier Head are already fully booked, while tours of the 78 year old bascule bridge on Regent Road in the central docks, which reopened last month after a two year renovation project was carried out by Peel, will run from 11 to 12 September from 1.30pm-5pm.

Cllr Wendy Simon, cabinet member for culture and tourism at Liverpool City Council, said: "Liverpool is blessed to have so many architectural wonders from down the ages and theses next two weeks gives everyone a chance to learn so much about so many aspects of our fascinating history."

Tours of Manchester's Town Hall will take place this Sunday, while the city's Cathedral will open on Saturday and Sunday. Elsewhere, people can also visit the Grade II-listed Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road in Chorlton-on-Medlock. The swimming baths is currently being restored with over £1m pledged on improving the building.

Heritage Open Days is being run by English Heritage for the second year running after it took over from the previous organisers Civic Trust.

English Heritage said over 4,000 places across the country are opening free of charge this year between Thursday 9 and Sunday 12 September. Liverpool City Council said the Open Days season will run in the city until Sunday 19 September this year.

EH added that around one million people visited thousands of properties in England last year.

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