AWARDSKingPrussiaPreston2023(AlexRamseyPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)1 AlexRamsey

St Walburge

The largest non cathedral Catholic church with the tallest parish spire in the country, open to all.

Preston, Lancashire

Opening times

We open from 7.30am to 7.30pm every day of the year. Sunday from 9am to 7pm at the moment.


Weston Street

St Walburge’s was designed by the architect Joseph Hansom and completed in 1854. It is one of the finest examples of a large mid 19th century urban Catholic church and was designated in 1950 as a Grade I listed building.

Designed in the revived 13th century French Gothic style, St Walburge’s is exceptionally rich in detail and of very fine architectural quality. Massive in scale, it is the largest (capacity: 1000) non cathedral Catholic church in the country. The elevation of St Walburge’s to a Shrine Church for Eucharistic devotion by the Bishop of Lancaster followed the 2014 arrival of the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP).

St Walburge's was described as ‘one of the most extraordinary churches in Britain’ in The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches, 1990.

The symbolic, historic and artistic importance of this magnificent church cannot be overstated. There are finely carved altars, a colossal hammer beam roof with twentyfour carved wood and polychrome life sized statues of various saints. The spire, rising to 314 feet, is a major, unique attraction for visitors who can climb the 173 spiral steps to obtain a magnificent 360 degree view over Preston city and westwards to Blackpool and the Irish Sea coast. This view is even more dramatic on darker winter evenings with the myriad of lights below. An added attraction in the spire is the heaviest Swing Bell in Lancashire, which is still rung here three times a day to signal the start of services .

The Rose window in the church is an amazing 22 feet wide and still has the original Victorian stained glass. Similarly the War Memorial altar is a popular focus in our heritage tours. It commemorates 150 members of the parish who gave their lives in the Great War and is an important part of local history. Overall, St Walburge's is a nationally significant landmark Catholic church and a remarkable feat of 19th century design and construction, which is attracting an ever growing number of visitors, allowing our heritage to become better known and appreciated by the nation.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Magnificent memorials

  • National heritage here

  • Social heritage stories

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Wildlife haven

  • Accessible toilets in church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Café within 500m

  • Car park at church

  • Church shop or souvenirs

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access throughout

  • Level access to the main areas

  • On street parking at church

  • Parking within 250m

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Monday to Friday : 7.30am Lauds (Morning Prayer), 8am Meditation, 8.30am Angelus and Low Mass, 5.30pm Vespers (Evening Prayer), 6pm Adoration (with Confession available), 7pm Compline (Night Prayer).

  • Saturday : 8am Low Mass & Devotions, 5pm Holy Hour & Benediction (Confessions during).

  • The Spire at Night : A chance to have a ‘bird’s eye view’ of Preston and surrounding area at night. Free mulled wine and nibbles to warm you when you descend.

  • Spire in Summer : Enjoy spectacular views from our Spire. In good weather you can see the sun set close to Blackpool Tower! Refreshments available at our well-stocked bar afterwards. Why not take your drink outside and enjoy the summer evening?

  • Weekly Heritage Guided Tour of the Church : Come and enjoy the majestic views of the interior of this church with its well preserved Victorian stained glass windows, stunning memorabilia and sacred artefacts. All the tours are led by expert guides (most Saturdays inquire beforehand).

  • Feast/ Special lunches : We celebrate certain Saints’ Days with sit down cooked lunches for our parishioners and visitors.

  • Barn Dance : An ever popular family event in the autumn.

  • Winter Bazaar : Come and have a warming lunch and enjoy shopping for Christmas gifts. Lots of fun for adults and children. Saint Nicolas present.

  • Music Recitals : Listen to a programme of popular sacred music played superbly by our resident musicians.

  • Summer Fete: Games for all, craft goods to buy, lots to eat. Very enjoyable, fun atmosphere.

  • Victorian High Tea : Spend an enjoyable Sunday afternoon sampling the delicacies of a High Tea of this era, dressed in Victorian attire of course!

  • Seasonal Retreats : Why don’t you join our seasonal half-day retreats to inspire you and bring tranquillity into your life?

  • Missal Latin for Beginners : Come and improve your basic Latin in these user-friendly sessions (fortnightly Saturday lunchtimes).

  • Christmas Carols with the Schools of Preston : Come and join us one afternoon in December at St Walburge’s to listen to the seasonal sound of Christmas Music and Singing from a variety of schools in Preston.

  • Sunday : 10am Confessions, 10.30am Solemn High Mass, 5.30pm Vespers, 6pm Rosary & Benediction, 6:30pm Holy Mass.

  • Catholic Church

  • Maintenance Grant, £3,000, 2018

  • Our Maintenance Grants funded urgent maintenance projects to help keep churches open.

  • Cornerstone Grant, £10,000, 2022

  • Our Cornerstone Grants fund urgent repairs and essential community facilities such as toilets and kitchens to help keep churches open.

Contact information

AWARDSKingPrussiaPreston2023(AlexRamseyPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)1 AlexRamsey

Make a donation

Donate to this church

Other nearby churches

St Michael & All Angels

Ashton, Lancashire

St Michael's originated as a chapel of ease to nearby St Andrew's, to cope with the rising population in the area.

St Mary

Leyland, Lancashire

Despite its sudden expansion in the 1950s with the arrival of the car industry, Leyland remains a pleasant Lancashire town of Victorian terraced cottages and suburban greenery.