St Mary Redcliffe Church has a number of fabulous features that make it one of Bristol’s most notable landmarks. For starters, it’s a magnificent example of English Gothic architecture, which is best characterised by its towering Gothic spire. The exterior is breathtaking, and the interior is just as impressive. There are many large stained glass windows and decorative stone vaults dotted around the building, making it a gorgeous venue perfect to host a range of events including the enchanting series of Candlelight concerts.
The church is located a short 10-minute walk from Temple Meads train station, and you can also catch the number 3, 73, 74, X39 or X4 buses to get here. The War Memorial & Remembrance Garden can be found close by, and you can park at the Portwall Lane Car Park which is just a 2-minute walk from the church.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about St Mary Redcliffe Church
1. Historians can’t agree on how old the church actually is
There’s still a bit of contention as to when the church was officially built. Some argue that the building was first opened some time around the Saxon era (around 450 to 1066). However, there’s no mention of the church in the Domesday Book, so if it did exist around this time, it’s possible that it may have been demolished just before the year 1100 and rebuilt later on.
2. A symbol of defiance during World War Two
Throughout the Second World War, locals feared that the church would be destroyed by the German Luftwaffe due to its sheer size and towering spire that would give away its location. Nevertheless, the church survived the war mostly unscathed. In fact, a team of watchmen were stationed on the church roof to check for incendiary bombs and report any fires that they could see in the city.
3. 21st century changes
In the past few years, the church has gone under intense restoration and cleaning to help clean up the exterior stonework that had darkened due to pollution over the centuries. In 2020, following multiple protests, the church also removed the stained glass window commemorating the Royal African Company as well as the highly controversial statue of slave trader Edward Colston.
Thousands of flickering candles have illuminated this historic venue to set the enchanting scene for this series of Candlelight concerts. Unforgettable tributes to stars like Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac and Adele in addition to concerts devoted to the iconic works of Vivaldi, Hans Zimmer, Ludovico Einaudi and more continue to light up the church’s spectacular interior. With breathtaking live music performances and the enchanting glow of candlelight, you won’t want to miss out on these spellbinding tributes to musical icons of the past and present.
What else can you do at St Mary Redcliffe Church?
Not only is the enchanting Candlelight series known for its stunning live music performances and signature sea of twinkling candles, but it’s also pretty famous for the incredible venues that host the concerts, too. Some of Bristol’s most beautiful locations including The Mouth Without and The Church of All Saints join St Mary Redcliffe Church in hosting these unforgettable evenings that pay tribute to some of your favourite modern hits, classical compositions, soundtracks, genres and more.